Three hundred and eighty

Wow!  It has been quite the week.  Besides a hectic “first patio day of the year and therefore a completely s__t-show” (working not drinking) at the pub which left me feeling like a shell of a human being void of all soul, emotion, energy or drive to do anything, it’s been an educational and tough-in-a-good-way few days.  I started writing the book, beginning with the prologue and back story of why I started this project in the first place, using my parents’ house in the country as inspiration.  I came back to an amazing meeting with the literary agent I spoke about last week.  I love her!  She’s very calming, put together (both great traits to play off my occasional manic tendencies), and really passionate about her job.

We talked a lot about the role of the agent in the ever-changing publishing industry.  I know a lot of people who read this blog are writers, so therefore I’ll tell you what I understood from our conversation in hopes that you can learn from the information as well.  The agent is now as much of an editor, as someone who eventually pitches your work to editors at publishing companies.  What happens in steps is:

  • A writer sends a query to an agent to see whether the agent will represent the writer
  • If the agent is interested, they meet, the agent reads more of the writing and they decide if they will work together
  • The writer then writes the book or sections of the book and sends it/them to the agent
  • The agent edits and they work together to develop the book into almost ready-to-publish form
  • The agent then researches editors at publishing companies that would fit well with that particular writer
  • The agent sends out manuscripts (or parts of manuscripts – I’m still a little iffy on this step) to editors and waits for usually around 3-6 months, or maybe more, to hear back.
  • The agent also approaches editors at three majors book fairs across the world.
  • If or when the book gets published, the agent takes a percentage of what the publisher offers the writer.  This is how the agent gets paid.

This is how I understand it – although I’m just starting out and by no means an expert in any of this.  But I thought it would be interesting for you all to follow along on my thought process as well and help inspire you if you’re thinking about writing a book.

In my case, because the agent approached me, I don’t send a query.  However, yesterday I sent her the prologue I have written and she is going to read it, see if we are still on the same page in terms of what we both want from this book and how my book writing style is (versus blog writing – a completely different skill set), and then we go from there.  It’s pretty nerve-racking sending her what I’ve written. You think I’d get used to sharing my words with other people after blogging every day for a year, but it’s still hard.  It’s like sharing a little piece of your soul and waiting to hear back if someone likes it or not. Yesterday I spent the night at work trying not to dwell on the fact that the agent could possibly hate it.  Although it’s probably better than sitting at home refreshing my e-mail every ten minutes to see if anything came through!

Writing the book is different than writing the blog and I’m working on my description and dialogue skills.  And of course not letting my doubts, insecurities and nervousness get in the way of the writing.  I am not letting fear stop me from writing this book.  Although, it’s going to be even harder because the book is my personal journey behind the blog posts.  And sharing my personal life has always been the hardest part for me.

Anytime I doubt myself, though, I look through all the encouraging comments from my post a couple weeks ago and I remember this:

Thank you!  (And of course, I write it out, like I just did in this blog post and what I’m doing in the book.  I feel much better now.).

What happens next?

Wednesday February 29th, 6:33 PM.  My heart started racing and I couldn’t stop starring at the screen.  I was frozen for a second, then I started to laugh, walk around the room, talk to myself.  If anyone was filming me, they would think I had gone crazy – really lost my mind.  It had been three hours since I posted my 366th post and I had gone for a walk around Montreal – one of my favourite cities in the world and where I was visiting my boyfriend, who is working there for the month.  I came back with cheap bubbly and rosy cheeks from the cold and thought I’d pour myself a little glass and check my e-mail while I was waiting for my bf to be done work.  But when I turned on my e-mail it was full of messages from WordPress (the blogging site I use, for those who don’t know) saying that I had comments and “likes” from my final post – lots and lots of them.  I check my stats on the blog: 3,411 views in three hours!!!!  And that’s when I went crazy…

As I put up my last post earlier that day, I was a little disappointed I hadn’t reached 1,000 views in one day.  I have a regular group of readers, but never did hit the thousand mark.  Now I was over 3,000!  And it kept going up.  Six thousand views by 8:00. 11,185 by the end of the day.  Over 35,000 two days later.  I am still in shock – although I’ve stopped talking to myself, spontaneously laughing out loud for no apparent reason, and speaking so fast my mouth can’t keep up with my brain!

And the comments just kept coming.  So many encouraging, lovely messages from other writers and bloggers who enjoyed what I did.  I was so proud of myself for accomplishing my goal and getting through the 366 days of ups and downs, documenting it all the way through.  Now there were all these other people who I’d never met proud of me too!  Thank you so much to everyone out there who have inspired me to keep going.  I tried to respond personally to each of you, but it got a little much for a bit there (especially since I was also trying to enjoy my mini-break in Montreal).  I appreciate the comments and support so much.

I never really understood the power of the “Freshly Pressed” section of the WordPress homepage (for the non-bloggers out there, it’s the “best of” blogs from the day) until a few days ago.  It was the fact that my 366th post was featured in the Freshly Pressed section that caused all the other bloggers to see it, the chain reaction and all the views and comments.  For those of you who enjoy reading blogs, it’s a great way to check out some of the best reads of the moment.  (I made a screen shot of my post next to the “Freshly Pressed” sign because I was so excited)

The point of me writing all this (besides because I feel I need to write it and say it out loud to believe it’s real), is to thank you for all your support and to say that I am now going to have to keep blogging.  The momentum is pushing me forward and giving me all sorts of ideas of new projects to do and new adventures to take.  For now, though, I have to write this book…

To all of you: