Here I am, summer of 2017 with no agent, no pub deal, and not a whole lot of hope. I’ve got this polished manuscript that I worked super hard on, and it can’t go anywhere because it’s “tainted”—it’s been on submission before.
I didn’t know what to do. I’d completed and revised a YA contemporary story in the meantime, but something just wasn’t working with it. I’d edited it into the ground and just kept making it worse. There was no chance for querying it in such a state. Between feeling like I had nothing new to offer the literary world and sulking over all the work I put into my pirates for nothing, I contemplated throwing in the towel completely.
I still wanted to be a writer more than anything. Nothing had changed there. But I didn’t know what to do or where to even start.
Then it hit me. Just because agents couldn’t sub my pirates didn’t mean I couldn’t sub them.
I began the hunt for smaller presses and found three that I thought might be fun to work with. After carefully querying each one, I waited.
A couple weeks later, I received my first rejection.
Another week went by, and I saw an email from an editor at another press. Expecting the second rejection, I was surprised to see that she liked the three sample chapters and wanted to read the full!
I sent the manuscript and waited.
Player three entered the game with an email stating that they were very interested and still reading.
More waiting. (Patience is not my strong suit, people!)
September rolled around and I hadn’t been doing much writing or anything terribly creative, really. My brain just hurt and hope dwindled.
One ordinary day, my hubby and I plopped on the couch for lunch, and I scrolled through my phone to check email.
And I had one.
From the editor I queried at Anaiah Press. Alas, I could already tell that the first line of the email was “I am so sorry”.
I groaned and took a bite of my sandwich before clicking on the email to read the rest.
(Paraphrasing) “I am so sorry I forgot to let you know I got your pages! But I guess that doesn’t matter now, because we would love to publish your book!”
My phone tumbled out of my shaking hands before I could read any more. I started to cry instantaneously, which caused me to choke on the bite of sandwich I’d shoved into my mouth. Hubby flew to my side to see what was wrong. I snatched my phone up from the floor and pushed it in his direction, barely squeaking out a “They want my book!”
The weeping lasted quite a while. Like, a really, really long time. Embarrassingly long.
I connected immediately with my editor and just fell in love with everyone at Anaiah. It made signing the contract with them so easy, and they have continued to be amazing throughout the whole process! I know I’m in the right place!
More editing, planning, and polishing took place with deadlines at every corner. This time, it didn’t seem so bad, because there was a glorious goal in sight!
UNANCHORED releases in e-book format on April 17 (https://www.amazon.com/Unanchored-Stephanie-Eding-ebook/dp/B07BFQJG9L) with the printed release coming this fall!
This journey has had some wild ups and downs, let me tell you. If I’m being totally honest, I’m completely exhausted. But if you see me freaking out over small things book-related on social media (or in real life), now you know why. I can’t say that I’ve ever worked this hard or been knocked down this many times on anything I’ve ever done. I’m a little bit proud that I didn’t give up, quite frankly, and a whole heck-of-a-lot excited that I FINALLY HAVE A BOOK WITH MY NAME ON IT!
Up next, I’m planning to get back into the query trenches this summer with a women’s fiction I’ve been working on. I’m both terrified and excited to do the process all over again, knowing what might be ahead. But writing is still my dream, and I don’t see that ever changing.