Friday, January 13, 2012

Snow Days and Book Contracts

With the mild winter we've had over here in Michigan, my kids are dying for a snow day. Never mind the fact that they just got 2 weeks off for Christmas Break and have 2 days off next week after exams. They want a snow day! My kids are in high school now, but I teased them last night that they'd better do all those things they did in elementary school to ensure a snow day the next morning: wear their pajamas inside out (or boxers, in my son's case), put a spoon under their pillow, flush ice cubes down the toilet. I don't think they did any of those things (can you imagine if it got out on Facebook?) but I did catch them looking out the window several times to make sure the snow was still falling fast and furiously.

But really, who can blame them? There is something about having a snow day that bring a sense of downright giddyness!

Kind of like getting that book contract.

How, you ask? Like this:

1. I will make it happen. Like the spoon, the pajamas, and the ice cubes, we try to make our book deal happen. Yes, we have to work towards publication, but we try to force it. We do things like self-publish a poorly (or non) edited book, make deals with God, or corner poor unsuspecting agents and editors in the bathroom to pitch our novel. We forget that we can't make a book deal happen any more than kids can make it snow. When it comes down to it, God is in control.

2. Work? What work? Kids don't think about the fact that if there's a snow day - especially 2 or 3 in a row - they will need to make up all of the work they missed. If enough snow days occur, they may even have to tack on a couple days at the end of the school year. In the same way, writers sometimes think that getting that book contract is the end, when it's really only the beginning. Edits, marketing, book prepared for more work than you ever imagined.

3. My lip is quivering. Your kids experience it when you gently nudge them awake in the morning. They rub the sleep from their eyes and ask you to repeat what you just said. "There is no snow day?" The feeling of disappointment overcomes them. Oh, man, no fair! Especially when 200 other schools are closed and theirs isn't. Every writer has experienced that same disappointment,  in the form of a rejection letter, or an editor's disinterest in the pitch you just gave at your conference appointment. We may even resort to the child's response: "No fair!" Especially when it seems like everyone is landing contracts except you.

4. Break out the dance moves. But then there is that moment when a child wakes up and realizes it's two hours later than his mom usually wakes him up for school. Aha! That must mean it's a snow day! Yippee!! As hard as it is to drag him out of bed every other morning, today he can't get up fast enough. He is elated and walks on air for the rest of the day. If you've ever received a "yes" on your manuscript, you know the feeling. There is nothing like getting "the call" informing you that your dream is coming true. It may be days of hovering between the floor and ceiling before you finally come down.

My kids really were hoping for a snow day today. They experienced a bit of #3 today, as 241 schools around the area were closed and their doors remain open. Bummer for them.

Wishing all of you writers out there that #4 feeling very soon!


Joanne Sher said...

We're one your kids are jealous of ;)

And this is a GREAT analogy, Lynda!

Raquel Byrnes said...

This was great and spot on! More work than you realize was a super surprise for me. Great post! :)
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quietspirit said...

Here in Indiana, the snow days are made up one for one. One day out due to snow equals one day added to the schedule. A friend's son's school had to move graduation back one full week. The graduation announcements had to have an added note for the date correction.

Thanks for the book contract information. Not there yet but I felt like the work would begin after the contract was signed.

Lynda Lee Schab said... for one. Around here, schools have an allotted number of snow days before they start tacking on extras. And some of the schools seem to be closed a lot more than others - they're in a snow belt or in the U.P., where they get slammed. Usually we end up with between 2-4. None so far, though. We'll see...

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