I am so pleased to share that less than a month after my agent Liz started pitching the two book proposals in a simultaneous submission, and we're well on our way to finalizing these book deals! 😮 Here's what's been happening and what I've learned along the way...
Act 1: "Allow me to make this very complicated."
The simultaneous submission for two different books aimed at readers from two different age groups meant that if we are to keep all Oxherd Boy literature in one home, Liz had to focus on houses that published in both children and adult gift/lifestyle categories. But, that kind of complicates things for the editors reviewing them, because they not only have to consult with their own teams, there is the added layer of consulting with completely different imprints on whether to coordinate on a bid. As the initial days passed, we quickly received rejections from either side: some from the children's side, and some from the adult. The list of houses that could take both books got shorter. LEARNING MOMENT: Seeing the "No"s flow in was a little disheartening, and I had to reflect and consider why my brain and heart stung and how to ease it through the pain. As Liz had said from the beginning, it could be months before we got any indication of interest, so I had to prepare myself to endure a longer road of emotional uncertainty.
Act 2: "Wait... What?"
Ten days in, and a breakthrough dropped into Liz's inbox. Someone was interested in acquiring! My next step was to meet with the editor and get to know them, their team, the imprint, and their vision for the book. We had a really sweet conversation for about an hour, and I was excited with the direction they wanted to take the book. Well, such a funny thing about the human consciousness is how much it wants to protect us from pain. 😥 Receiving rejection after rejection kicked my mind into gear to give myself pep talks on how a rejection of one's work is not a rejection of myself. But now, my mind was protecting me from the pain of failure by giving me a healthy dose of imposter syndrome: "Who are you to be writing and illustrating inspirational literature?" LEARNING MOMENT: Self sabotage is a very real reaction when we are on the cusp of transformation. It often sounds like "the voice of reason," but the dead giveaway is when that voice focuses more on internal worth or ability rather than external red flags. It's important to not allow that voice to detract us from our own growth.
Act 3: "Do you like me? Check: Yes or No"
Liz had provided this initial deadline for editors to respond to the book proposals, but honestly, editors have a lot on their plates. We never expected to hear back from all except one of them, either with a rejection or expression of interest. So that in itself was pretty amazing. As I am a debut author, Liz was insistent that I meet with all interested editors before choosing with whom to work. For this I am grateful, because it was so fascinating to meet the people who are largely behind the scenes, making the magic happen for books. ⚡️ Depending on the editor, the conversation ranged from the style of art, to the characters, to my professional goals as an author and illustrator. But, one common thread that was apparent throughout our conversations was just how passionate each of them were in their work and their desire to make books to be enjoyed and loved for a long time. LEARNING MOMENT: I think that there are many, myself included, who will say that creating for creating's sake is a wonderful thing, that we don't need to rely on external acceptance for our work to have inherent value. But there is also something to be said for collaboration and the power to lift each other up and elevate the work together.
To Be Continued...
I've learned so much from this part of the publishing journey and reflecting on what has happened through this post has been helpful for myself to make sense of it all. Maybe it was enlightening to you as well. I'm not going to lie, I'm still more than a little stunned by how things have gone, but more than anything, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Thank you for sticking with me so far. I'll be free to share exactly where each of these books land in a couple of months, and the work ahead of creating them for you. With much love, Regina 💛