So I was checking my email back in December when I opened up the magical one; the one every aspiring novelist dreams about, sometimes even when they're asleep - the acceptance. This was the letter stating a publisher was interested in producing my novel. So interested, in fact, that they were offering a contract to seal the deal, with a projected publication date of February, 2011 for the mass-market paperback version of FINAL VECTOR.
What did I do, you ask? Well, I did what anyone would do in that circumstance - I began hyperventilating. That reaction doesn't last long, though, and within hours I was back to breathing normally.
Just kidding. I'm sure it didn't take hours. My memory of that precise moment is etched vividly in my mind, as I hope it will be forever, and I can virtually guarantee it was only minutes. And I didn't hyperventilate, exactly, it was more like I forgot to breathe for a little while. Like twenty minutes, max.
Anyway, once I got that little glitch under control, you can probably guess what my next move was; of course you can, you would have done it, too: I checked the calendar to make sure it wasn't April 1. It wasn't.
Then, of course, I had to triple-check the email address of the sender to ensure it wasn't a practical joke being played on me by one of the many comedians I work with. It wasn't that, either.
By this time I had pretty much decided, yes, this is the real thing. I am actually going to be a professional novelist. My book will be competing for readership with people like Barry Eisler, Lee Child, Tom Piccirilli, Lawrence Block, and so many other authors whose work I have admired for so long. It won't be much of a competition, maybe, but you get the point.
In addition to being scared to death, I realized pretty much right off the bat that I needed two things: 1) Validation, and 2) Guidance.
Happily, I knew just where to get both - the International Thriller Writers, an organization which is, well, exactly what it says it is in the name. Most, if not all, of the writers I have loved for so long are members, and as a pending professional novelist I realized I was now eligible for membership as well.
I applied and my membership was approved within a matter of days, so I guess Medallion Press really wasn't kidding about publishing my novel. In the ITW I have found a group of writers with a combined total - literally - of centuries of publishing experience, from long-time pros like David Morrell, who has been churning out books for nearly forty years, to other publishing newbies like myself.
In fact, one of the things I like best about the ITW is what they call their Debut Authors Program, where people like me, whose first publication is scheduled, can learn from the experience of the others, who have all gone through exactly the same experiences and are in a position to pass along some of the wisdom they have gained.
Hopefully I won't be too dense to absorb it; after all, February, 2011 is right around the corner.