Back in April of last year when I announced that I had completed my novel, there was an optimistic little part of me that thought, Hey, finishing a book in 2018 could mean that I’ll be publishing a book in 2019.
And guess what? I am!
Plot twist: not that book.
I know. I’m as surprised as you.
Here’s what happened.
After I finished the book, I wrote myself a decent query letter and throughout the spring and summer submitted it to a bunch of different agents. I received a lot of very polite but impersonal rejections. Then I submitted to a bunch more agents and received a bunch more rejections. Fun times.
By the end of the summer, I had submitted to just under two dozen agents and received rejections from the same. By that point, I wasn’t feeling great about the whole process (this, I realize, makes me a total wimp–getting 20 or 30 nos before getting a yes is pretty much the norm). I was beginning to suspect that something I thought might be a minor hindrance to selling my book might actually be a major impediment. Truly fixing it (rather than minimizing it like I had done before I started sending it out) would require rethinking what I was trying to do entirely, and that was going to be a lot of work. Work I didn’t really want to do because, honestly, after seven years of working on the book I was kind of done.
Meanwhile, of course, I had a couple of new projects going, but neither one of them was holding my attention or really lighting me on fire. I was making okay progress, but at the rate I was going, it was going to take me another seven years to finish either one of those.
Then September 1st came, and a novel downloaded itself into my brain.
I know that’s a weird way to put it, but that’s what it felt like. One minute I was thinking Hey, you know what would be a fun novel to read and then within a couple of hours I had characters, a complete plot, key scenes, lines of dialogue, all right there in my head just waiting to be written. I bailed on the idea of doing basically anything that weekend and instead pretty much locked myself in my room and wrote (sorry, kids!). By September 3rd, I had written more than 20,000 words, something I have never even approached before. And they were good words! The vast majority of them made it into the final draft. And since it was going so well, I just kept writing. Not at that furious pace, obviously, because, like, life still had to happen occasionally. But by the end of October, I had a complete 70,000 word novel.
The Reunion was born.
And it was good. I mean, I know I’m biased here. But honestly, it’s almost certainly better than that novel I completed back in April. It’s not as ambitious, certainly, and it’s a lot less sprawling (instead of taking place over the course of a year, the bulk of it takes place over the course of four days), but it’s sprightly and fun and not nearly so self-serious.
The next obvious question was: what do I do with this? Despite how proud if it I was, I had a feeling that finding it a home with a publisher or an agent was going to require that I make some changes that I didn’t want to make. Plus, obviously, I wasn’t feeling super keen on going through the whole rejection process again. More than that, though, this book felt like something that had just fallen into my lap. I had so much fun writing it and it fell out of me so quickly that I didn’t really feel like I had so much invested in it that it had to turn into something real. Maybe I should just continue having fun and do whatever the heck I felt like with it.
So, that’s what I’m doing. I’m self-publishing it, because I can and this feels like an adventure. The Reunion will be available in ebook and paperback in April. I honestly cannot wait to introduce you to these characters, because they’re some of my favorites I have ever written. They feel like friends, and I hope that they’ll feel like friends to you, too.
There’s a lot more details to come in the next few months: pre-order listing, cover design reveal, back cover blurb, sample chapters. But for the moment I’m just excited to revel in this moment. 2018 didn’t take me to the place that I thought or hoped it might. Maybe it’s just that optimistic little part of me again, but I think it might have taken me somewhere better. So I’m feeling hopeful and excited about 2019. I hope that you are, too. I can’t wait to go on this adventure together.
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Let’s all get excited for an awesome 2019!