As my last post noted, it's been a year and a bit since I started WaterMullen, and at the time of my departure, my own business wasn't part of the plan--WaterMullen materialized almost fully-formed once I realized that I had all the workings of my own company, minus the name and a snazzy website.
No, it wasn't part of the plan at all, because when I left my steady job with good benefits, my plan was to work on my novel.
Typing that makes me cringe. "WORK ON MY NOVEL. " How...melodramatic. To me, it feels like a combination of the most entitled, naive, Millenial thing ever and the most dewey-eyed, starving-artist-on-the-steps-of-Monmatre-in-1896 thing ever. Like I could be saying that while swigging PBR or Absinthe. I am the worst of at least two generations.
OK, yes, I left to work on my novel. Back when I graduated from NYU with my MFA in 2012, I finished with a completed first draft of my manuscript. After three years of grad school, I was sick and tired of everything academic. I put my manuscript away to run back to the sensible and, relatively speaking, lucrative world of science.
I missed writing badly enough that in 2015, I went back to it and put in about another six months of work, all while doing my WaterMullen thing to keep me financially solvent.
In late January, 2016, I was once again approaching my limit with revising. I felt like I and my wonderful readers had done all we could to make the manuscript the best it could be; now I needed professional eyes to bring it to the next level.
Long, long ago, even before NYU, I'd made a pact with myself: whenever I had a finished book, I would submit it to Barbara Kingsolver's agent. While she is one of my favorite authors and it made sense because of the similarity between our writing styles, I wasn't thinking practically when I made the pact. It was a pie-in-the-sky promise, like, "When I win a million dollars, I'll buy a pink Cadillac."
A pact's a pact. So, I Googled Barbara Kingsolver's agent (she's represented by Frances Goldin Literary Agency, P.S.), found their submission portal, and sent off my first thirty pages and a query letter. I fulfilled my promise, and never expected anything to come of it.
In March, I got an email from one of those "firstname.lastname@example.org" addresses with my novel's title as the subject line. When I saw it, I remember thinking that it was really nice they actually bothered to email everyone they rejected. I expected it to say something like, "thanks for trying, we're full of people who actually know how to write, which means you can't be part of our group, kthxbye" but it was actually a two line note asking to see the rest of my manuscript.
Asking. To see. The rest of. My manuscript.
It was so surreal. It's STILL so surreal! I couldn't stop smiling and panicking. I sat at my desk for fourteen hours straight and swept the whole book clean, obsessing over every minor detail, formatting and agonizing over font choices (Courier or Camrbia? Times New Roman or Calibri?! GARAMOND? Oh GOD.)...and then I sent it again.
Then I was swept away in a tide of emails and phone calls and I was stunned by the knowledge that there were real people who thought that I could be a published author and they believed that enough that they wanted me to sign a contract with them. A CONTRACT! For BOOK STUFF!
Forty bajillion paragraphs later, we get to the "why" of this post: I signed a contract with a literary agency, and as of last week, my novel is officially ready to be shopped around.
I'm one step closer to being a published author, so...only like twelve steps to go.
Because things are heating up, I've added a new section to the website that can be a place to hunt for the latest about fictional happenings over at WaterMullen. The "Writing" tab will be dedicated to news and info specifically pertaining to creative pursuits.
I hope that soon, I'll have some more good news and can write another painfully long blog about how amazing this all is.