First-Sale Jitters -- Kiki ClarkSelling a book was a lot like losing my virginity. I didn’t understand exactly how the process worked and there was no written contract. “What’s happening? Is this normal? Wait! I’m not comfortable! Okay, I guess this feels pretty good.” Even with an agent (and we’re dropping the sex metaphor right there), I had to take a lot of things on faith. Faith that the contract details will be worked out, even though nothing might be signed for two or even five months. Faith that the edits, which I won’t see for six months, won’t be onerous. Faith that my second book idea will be approved, and faith that the paranormal market won’t be dead and gone by the time my first book appears.
As a perfectionist who loves control, I’m easing my way into pleasure at this first sale. The days of being agented and unsold were halcyon. I would have paid my agent up front to say the nice things she said about my writing. True, there were no covers on my books, but I had no cover worries. I was free to try any genre I wanted, take my time, and dream of the day when slavering publishers bid on my most-loved manuscript like wolves fighting over a choice piece of carcass.
Selling a book is like a dream come true, but remember -- we don’t have the control over dreams that we have over our writing. Dream characters change mid-plot, locations are oddly unfamiliar, and our hands don’t work the way we want them to. This doesn’t mean we’d be willing to give up dreaming. To use another metaphor, I want a writing career the way some women want children. This sale is one of many baby steps toward that goal and if I’m lucky, the overall experience will be wonderful, with miminal sleepless nights and vomit on my shoulder. I’m nervous about this sale, and afraid of failing at something so measurable, but of course I’m excited and happy. I’ve sold a book.