On Friday, October 29th, at 7:21 PM Eastern Standard Time, I received an email. The subject read, “manuscripts” and the body of the message was:
The Submission Committee has sent me their responses concerning your manuscripts and I would like to discuss contracts publishing both of them. Can we have a skype or facetime chat soon. I am available tomorrow and all weekend.”
It’s not an exaggeration to say I went a little off my nut. I messaged my family, my friends, everybody I could think of trying to find someone I could tell the news. It took about 30 minutes before anyone answered me, and I’m not exaggerating when I say those were the longest thirty minutes of my life. I’d spent 35 years working towards this one moment, and I wanted to tell someone. I needed to tell someone. I was so excited I could barely type. I was shaking too hard to hit the right keys.
Finally, someone did answer, and we sat there for a while, laughing and crying and then someone else answered, and someone else, and then I got on Skype with my new publisher, and we spent an hour talking about what comes next, and contracts and book covers, and the editing process and pronouns and style guides and the oxford comma, and awards qualifications and I don’t know what else, because it’s all a blur, but she told me I could shout it from the rafters, and I did just that.
One email changed my life. I don’t know what those changes look like just yet, but I do know that from the moment I received that email forward, I’m a professional author. I know that I did it. I made my dream come true. I know that all the work and sweat and sleepless nights, all the reading and writing and re-writing, all the waiting for feedback while I stressed out, has all been worth it. I get to share my work with the world. I get to say the things I want to say. But most of all, I know that I’m finally doing work that is important to me. I am finally doing work that is meaningful. I finally have a job that actually matters.
I know this is just the beginning of my journey as a professional author. I know that it’s going to take a lot more work before I can support myself as a full-time writer. I know that the journey is not going to be easy, that there will be ups and downs and bumps along the road, but right now, I know two things. I can write novels that can sell. I have contracts on two books. I have a publisher that is willing to look at a third book as soon as editing is done on the first one.
I’m not a fluke. I’m not a one off. I have talent. I have skill. I’m good at this. And that feels amazing.