I have a confession to make. I don’t like making decisions. In fact, it’s akin to sticking pins in my eyes. I’ve always been like this. It started with shopping. I search and search and then tired and disgusted from the journey, I buy something. I have to shop in stores that allow refunds because I will inevitably be struck with a roaring case of buyer’s remorse and have to go back to the store, tail between my legs, to return my purchase.
The reason I’m outing my skeleton for fellow writers is to explain a recent situation of mine, one which we all hope to be in at some point: I received an offer to publish my first novel. Now, before you jump up and down like a twelve year old girl at a Justin Beiber concert, let me tell you a bit about the specifics. As all writers should, I poured my heart, my soul, and six months of my life into writing this novel. Making light of a serious situation with my signature morbid humor, I felt (and feel) that it is a topic which deserves to be discussed.
After just a few weeks of submitting my manuscript to agents, my inbox was filling up with overly polite form rejection letters. And then came the one email I’ve been waiting my whole life to read: “We love your manuscript and would like to publish it.” I was filled with warm fuzzies. My hard work, my blood, sweat and tears were finally paying off. I lept around the house like a gazelle on Ecstasy and phoned my nearest and dearest.
The high lasted about 48 hours before the reality of the situation struck me. The publishing company was brand new, there would be no advance, and for these reasons, I would not be eligible to join the Writer’s Guild. It’s not that I was expecting a check for three million dollars, or that I was waiting for the president of Penguin to phone me personally to extend his congratulations. It’s just that I really had my heart set on joining the Writer’s Guild. It may sound silly, but I hope to have a long writing career and that will be my signal that it’s begun. I will finally be A Writer.
You might be asking yourself right now, “Is she crazy? She got a publishing offer.” And I might be. I mulled over the decision for months, consulting every writer, life coach, friend, and dog that would listen before, in a moment of false bravado, I turned down the deal.
I still don’t know if I made the right choice, and I’m not sure I ever will. As writer’s we struggle with the decision to take the first offer that comes our way, it’s an offer after all, and may be the only one we get, or to hold out for that amazing deal which will catapult us into fame and fortune (sort of). No one can make that choice for us.
The offer is still on the table and fingers crossed, there’s another one out there with my name on it.