Got an amazing email the other day. A publisher offering a contract for a YA novel I’d written. I forget how long ago I’d sent the query. Maybe close to eighteen months ago? About 6 months back they wrote me asking for a complete copy of the manuscript. I sent it. Nothing to lose.
Nothing to lose, because now – with this contract, I’ve officially sold the work three times. First time was in 2005. I worked with an agent then. She landed a nice deal. Got a healthy advance. It covered some bills with a small chunk left over to feed the family a nice dinner or two.
I worked close with the publisher’s editor and then the publishing company folded.
I won’t lie. Felt a bit devastated. It was a good size press. Hard not to get high hopes for my story. I envisioned awards and a shot at a bestseller list … maybe not the New York Times, but whatever.
Next publisher to offer a contract was a smaller, newer press. Just getting their feet wet. This was about two years ago. Again, I grew excited. I really wanted to see this title brought to life, and was thankful years later the work was still sellable.
The editor and I did not see eye-to-eye on some issues. They wanted too much changed. I refused to make those changes. Eventually, we’d reached a crossroads, and the contract was unfortunately, mutually, shredded. No hard feelings, other than the fact once again my YA novel would not make it to print (or eBook).
So. Like I was saying. The email came with a contract. Looked good to me. Talked about a paperback and eBook release. I’d already gathered endorsements from key people and a handful of reviews over the years. And now, I’m feeling pretty good. Pretty hopeful.
I posted about it on Facebook, Tweeted it once or twice. And . . . after work that night? I’d be off for two days. It was the start of my weekend. Can you imagine getting an awesome email at the start of your weekend? First thing you think, first thing I thought, was, “I’m celebrating.”
I’m going out. Karaoke! Eat some grilled and greasy food with friends! Do it up right. Not much of a champagne drinker, not when there is beer available, but hell, I tossed around the idea of buying a bottle.
I’d sold the same book three times in 7 years. Same book. Three times. Seven years.
Third time’s the charm. I’ve heard that. You’ve heard that. It’s an old cliché. Third time’s the charm. It’s what I should call this post. Third Time’s The Charm.
But really, honestly … remember when I started this blog? I said I was not going to hold back. Posts would be honest and raw. I’ll admit I’ve done some holding back. And while honest, posts haven’t been as raw as they may have been medium rare. One main reason is I’ve found I have younger readers checking in now and then. And it is important me to be honest and as raw as I can be without being offensive. You may have noticed a blog-post or two missing. Pulled ‘em. Had to. Anyway . . .
This blog is not about selling a 10th novel (since 2000). It’s about the fact that my weekend (a Monday and Tuesday night) celebration turned out to be little more than drinking cans of beer from the fridge, watching Netflix and ordering a pizza (which covered many meals over the next two days).
You know why? Because divorce sucks.
I don’t miss my ex. Not at all. Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying here.
But—at the time—I actually enjoyed being married. Loved my family.
Still love my kids!
But when that got stripped away in ’07, battling life has been an endless and emotional strain. It really interrupts and interferes with, well … everything.
Even though my ex was never supportive of my writing, never understood why I wanted to keep selling stories I’d written, manuscripts I’d slaved over—why I wrote in the first place, when I did make a sale (regardless), or even when I finished writing a novel—we’d all go out an celebrate. Every time.
Pack the kids in the car, we’re going for dinner!
I remember doing that a lot in the 90’s when I was pounding out short-stories like mad. In ‘00, when my first novel sold, and ’01, twice in ’02 … and on and on.
I miss that.
At first, I tried contacting a few friends; see if they wanted to go out. Most work day jobs, Monday through Friday, and don’t go out until the weekend – the real, normal, weekend; or they work opposite wheels from the one I work – so if I’m off, they’re working, and vice-versa.
Bottom line, at one point I stopped trying.
It turned out to be a tough weekend, despite being excited about a sale. It hit me, hard, the fact that I had no one special to share any of this with.
God forbid my mother or anyone in my family read this.
It has nothing to do with them. They were all very excited for the contract, and would gladly have celebrated the night (or entire weekend) with me. But listen, between us (sorry if you are reading this, Mom, Love You), but singing Garth Brooks karaoke with your mother – just not the same kinda fun, you know what I’m sayin’?
Is this post about selling a 10th novel in 12 years? I don’t know. Maybe. Or about selling a novel 3 times? Kind of, yes. Or is it about the fact that, even when it looks to someone else like someone has all their shit together, that looks are usually deceiving?
You know what I have to say to that, smile on the outside, my friends. Always smile on the outside. Because letting them see you cry on the inside – what good does that do? None. It does no good.
Take care, and keep an eye out. Got a two-part blog coming at you soon. It will be about writing, Not heart-on-the-sleeve stuff, promise. I call it, Writing Is Like Going To The Gym. Great title, right? Whatever J
I’m out …
The Molech Prophecy for sale on Nook/Paperback — writing as Thomas Phillips