A few weeks ago I signed with a stellar NY literary agent, Jacquelyn Flynn. Exciting? Absolutely!
I jumped for joy. I told my husband, "I did it."
I got heard! I've been shouting from my speck of dust for someone to hear me--and far, far away in New York City, with all the noise and bustle, I was heard. That alone is amazing. We celebrated and my kids got a kick out of their mom jumping for joy!
Then I came down from my bubble and realized getting an agent is a giant step, but it is a first step. Now we need to sell the book.
I sit on the cusp of my dreams.
So now I'm expecting.It's the perfect word. It means to look forward to the probable occurrence or appearance of (something).
The key word here is probable. It is reasonable for me to expect a sale since my highly regarded agent believes it's reasonable, but it is not certain. The outcome of a pregnancy is not certain either.
In short, it's a nail biter. Do you prepare the nursery, do you celebrate, do you buy a mini-van--or will all these things break your heart later if your pregnancy terminates?
I was so focused on getting an agent for Wings, I didn't realize it was half of the battle. They say it's the toughest half, but waiting has been even tougher for me. I love querying and marketing and solving puzzles. It's action and it's fun to hope. Every time I queried an agent I shot an imaginary arrow into the universe. I envisioned it landing on the right agent's desk. And one day--it did!
So what am I doing now? The only thing I can do; I'm preparing for publication. While some people might wait until their baby is born to purchase a crib, a car seat, and clothes, most of us don't. We ready ourselves for a positive outcome. So I cleaned the computer room where I write (my nursery). I've promoted Wings to my Pet Washer fans, and I'm 20,000 words into book two.
I believe there are trimesters to this waiting game. After I signed the agency agreement, I entered the first trimester. I couldn't eat or focus. I forgot to pick up my kids, I drank protein shakes to stay alive, and I dreamed BIG! This was all followed by huge fears of "what if it doesn't sell?" I stalked editor's tweets, read countless articles on publishing, and obsessed over my agent's emails to me. I needed to do this. I needed to run myself out.
Now I'm settling into the second trimester. I feel great. The nerves are gone. I'm announcing my expectations to the public with this article, and I've let go of trying to control this thing which can't be controlled. My agent has got this, I don't need to worry. I'm having a blast writing book two and I'm back to being a good mom and wife--picking up my kids, cooking, helping with homework, and talking to my husband about topics other than flying horses.
The third trimester will bring either joy or heartbreak. My goal is to be healthy and present for either.I want for nothing--literally. I love my husband, I have three happy children, I live in my dream home, I write books and speak to kids about writing, I'm educated, and I have great friends. I am successful now.
What publication means to me is the opportunity to expand my readership.
As a writing professional, the BEST thing about being published, hands down, is the opportunity to work with an EDITOR. I never knew how much I wanted this until I signed with an agent. My brother is the editor at Marin Magazine and when I emailed him about my excitement he wrote:
Yes, my dear brother, I hope you can!
Jennifer Lynn Alvarez
Is anyone else in this place, or have you been in this place? What was it like for you? Any tips or advice on staying sane?
Congratulations Jennifer. Getting an agent is great. Even better thing is... after you had your moment of joy, you continued working on your second book. That's the right way to do it.
Wish you all the best.