by Aunty Cindy
July 2006 Atlanta, Georgia -- RWA National Conference
My "roomie" and writing buddy, Willie Ferguson and I leave our room on the 20th floor of the hotel to go to the continental breakfast being served before the start of the workshops. (Amazingly Aunty is up and dressed at the ungodly hour of 7 a.m.)
The elevator door opens and we get in with two other people, a woman and a man. The man asks the woman what she writes and she tells him she's not a writer, but an editor. Then she looks over at Willie and me and seeing the Golden Heart ribbon on my name badge, she says, "Oh, you're a Golden Heart Finalist! My name is Deb Werksman and I'm an editor at Sourcebooks. I'd really love to read your manuscript." I tell her sure, I'll be happy to send it to her and she gives me her business card.
Once we get off the elevator and go our separate ways, Willie gasps, "I can't believe how cool and calm you were!" I am staring at the card yawning, and she realizes I'm still half-asleep.
However, I DO send the editor the full manuscript of my GH finalist when I get home from the conference.
Fast forward six months...
At the urging of my fellow Bandita and CP, Jo-Mama, I send an email to the editor as a friendly little request on the status of my manuscript and while I'm at it, I throw in a query for my current WIP. A month later, I get a rejection of the "not quite right for me" variety and figure that is the last I will hear.
Two months later...
I receive an email from the editor saying she would like to read more of the WIP. I am surprised, but also in the midst of doing a mass query of agents and sending out a requested full of my GH manuscript. I take my sweet time until Jo-Mama kicks my arse and I send the partial a month after the request.
Friday, July 27th
Still somewhat in a funk because I didn't get to go to Dallas with my Bandita buddies, I return home from my usual Friday lunch "date" with 3 friends, to be greeted by the DH. Looking unusually frazzled, he clutches a piece of paper with his semi-legible scribbles all over one side of it. He says, "Deb Werksman called here on her way home from work. She wants you to send the entire manuscript of Death In The Fens!" As I stare dumbfounded at the paper (an editor has never called me before), he adds, "She said you would know what to do because you already sent her the first four chapters."
I hug him and praise him profusely for doing a "good job" (men need this kind of positive reinforcement!), and then spend the next few days in a frenzy trying to polish up the last few chapters. Finally, on August 2nd, afraid to wait any longer, I dash off a cover email, attach the whole file and hit "send."
Now the waiting starts. I query a few more agents and two more editors. I fumble around with ideas for my next project and do some research, all the while telling myself, "The first editor to see a manuscript NEVER buys it!" Meanwhile, I continue collecting rejections.
Friday, September 14th -- a day that will henceforth surpass all others for sheer joy!
8:45 a.m. The phone rings and wakes me up. A woman's voice asks for Cindy and I groggily identify myself. Then she says, "This is Deb Werksman from Sourcebooks..."
For one nano-second my heart stops while my mind races. She would NOT call me to REJECT the manuscript...
"...I'm calling because we want to publish Death In The Fens..."
I leap out of bed! Scream! Cry! Somewhere along the line, I actually calm down enough to have a semi-coherent conversation with her -- MY EDITOR!
Fifteen minutes, or a lifetime or so later, I tell her that I may have to call her back on Monday just to be sure all this REALLY HAPPENED! She laughs and tells me to go ahead.
That morning in Atlanta, I never dreamed that getting into the elevator would eventually change my life!
What about you? Did a seemingly random event turn out to be life changing? Aunty would love to hear about it!