If you’re a writer like me, and you are trying to get published like I was (and am, because there are always more books to write and sell), then you know that publishing comes, free of charge, with a barrel full of waiting and disappointments.
But while we’re waiting, and even while we’re waiting to be disappointed, we must get on with our lives. So I did.
One day while THE GLASS WIVES was out on submission with editors, even though I knew I might hear from my agent that day, I headed to Target. What better way to pass the time than to look at dog beds, towels, socks, shampoo, and depending on the store, fresh veggies? Truly! It’s all my divergent dreams within the same four walls (nail polish, lawn art, small, colorful appliances, and hot popcorn), which serve as a
procrastinator’s writer’s best coping mechanism.
So there I was, walking the aisles of one of my Target stores (I have three), and my phone rang like I knew it would the way you know that you’ll find the missing ingredient in your cabinet as soon as you buy a new one pound bag. I stopped in the middle of the decorative/throw pillow aisle, off to one side, and answered.
Bad news. An editor had passed on the book. Along with the no came comments that were inconsistent with other things we’d heard from interested and non-interested editors. Was this editor the ONE who was right? Or was this editor the ONE who was wrong? The fact that authors know in their heads that acquisitions are subjective has no bearing on the emotional upheaval that comes with someone telling you your work isn’t good enough for them.
My agent and I chatted. There were kind words and consolation. We were sallying forth. I hung up the phone, checked my list, checked the time, checked around me—and burst into tears.
I wasn’t simply teary. It was rejection waterworks. Unstoppable. Unconscionable. Unbelievable. Then I started coughing to mask the crying. I mean, coughing up a lung is much more preferrable to crying hysterically when you’re in Target. My literary life passed before my eyes, lost in the cotton and silk, embroidery and tassels. I couldn’t see a future amidst the fluff.
I don’t remember what was in my cart (no throw pillows, they now give me nightmares) but know I went straight for the check out and drove home. Lesson learned. When waiting for a call from your agent, my best advice is to renege on your responsibilities and stay the hell home. Or at least carry tissues so you don’t have to open the rolls of Charmin and say, “Oh, it’s allergies, really,” to every shopping, staring stranger.
Needless to say, not long after my “unfortunate Target incident,” that same novel sold to the right editor at the right publishing house—Brenda Copeland at St. Martin’s Press.
And on May 14th, THE GLASS WIVES will be available, DRUMROLL PLEASE…in Target stores.