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Thursday, October 21, 2010

VERY SPECIAL BLOG POST!! Rebecca Serle, and Why She Can't Sleep At Night

Greetings from the land of silicone, movie stars, and train-wreck child actresses (I'm in LA, y'all). Since arriving in the West Coast I've had no time to blog, since I've been zipping between meetings and losing business cards and then GETTING MADE FUN OF FOR LOSING BUSINESS CARDS BY ASHTON KUTCHER. (I love how my first-ever celebrity encounter entails me being a complete stress ball.)

Point is, my gracious friend, sometimes-yoga instructor, Huff Po blogger (check out one of her fab articles here), and fellow YA author REBECCA SERLE volunteered to do a guest post. Earlier last week, Rebecca's debut novel went out on submission, meaning it was sent around to various publishers in order for them to squabble over who gets to publish it. I remember when I was out on submission for Before I Fall, I was convinced that no one was going to buy it, and so terrified I had no choice but to cut my grad school class (Sorry, NYU!) and eat about a pint of ice cream on the couch. Want to know how Rebecca's coping? See below!

So my book is out on submission. People who don’t know too much about publishing get very excited when I tell them this. “It’s out!” They exclaim. “Where can I BUY it?!” Then I have to sit them down and tell them what I tell myself every night in the mirror: We will get there. We are just not there yet.
Here are the facts:
1) I wrote what I think is a good book.
2) I have a great agent.
3) I pace my apartment for hours on end with no real sense of time or space.
Turns out, being on submission is kind of stressful.
I was having lunch with another YA author friend of mine yesterday who had been through this process about a year ago. She told me that she was a total mess but that if she could do it over again, she’d enjoy it. “Enjoy what?” I asked her, my eyes bloodshot from lack of sleep (yes, sometimes the pacing occurs at night). “The anticipating,” she said, “the not knowing.”
Now I love this girl, I really do. I value her as a peer and a critic and a friend and a writer. But I also know her to be someone, like myself, who wants all the facts. Enjoying the not knowing? Come on.
But then she explained more and what she said was that this time, before I have any answers, is one of infinitive possibilities. “Think about it,” she said. “Right now you’re a bestselling author. You’re number one on the Times. You have no information to tell you otherwise.”
“Or to tell me so,” I pointed out. “What, exactly, are we working off here?”
“Nothing,” she said, smiling and going back to her French fries.
Nothing. So often that word is one we avoid. It can be fear inducing. It’s empty, black, barren. It’s unknown and scary. But it’s also new, and, admittedly, full of possibility.
Starting a book is never too easy for me. There are a million things to figure out and explain and catalog. But it’s also my favorite part. When everything is ahead and plot points are endless and absolutely, positively, anything can happen. It’s nothing, but that nothing isn’t empty. That nothing is bubbling over.
There are times in our lives where we are forced to wait, where something that we need in order to move forward we just don’t have yet. But instead of seeing these times as ones in which to shut our eyes and misery our way through, it might not be a bad idea to enjoy them. Am I still pacing my apartment? Absolutely. But I’m also dreaming. Haven’t you heard? I’m a bestselling author.



Carla said...


Thank you SO much for this lovely guest post! I've read a few of Rebecca's post's on Huff Po and on her onlg blog, plus I read her guest post over on FYA about the day in a life of a YA writer which was pure genius and i'm still trying to figure out if what she said actually happened because I am sure that amount of awesome is unprecedented.

Rebecca I just KNOW your book is going to sell. I mean, i can tell from your guest posts and your own posts that your fresh and witty and bring something new to the table. Ask Lauren, all the things I said to her before BIF was released into the world came true. it's like the world listens to my whispers. So celebrate, you've done something extremely amazing, you've wrote a BOOK, a full book all by yourself. You made something out of nothing, something now exists because of you. And that is an acheivement. Here....have a COCKTAIL and toast to YOU. You little author you!

Marquita Hockaday said...

Wait a freakin' minute!!! Lauren, you met FREAKING ASHTON KUTCHER! Omygoodnes!!! I would just die on the spot! The one time me and Pam went to LA we read on Twitter that Ashton was just in LAX when we were going to be there the next day. I missed my meeting with him.

Okay, back to the matter at hand...Rebecca- that is so cool that your book is out on submission. I can imagine the pacing and the nervousness, but it's nice to know that others in the publishing world are going to be looking at your book! When you're still that querying stage, hearing about a YA author making it to the submission stage is like the holy grail or something. Congrats and remember...you ARE a bestselling author!

Twi-sessed said...

I can sooo sadly/excitedly relate. I'm in the pre-submission phase w/my agent and I already can't stand it. Now you say there's more pacing on sub? Gah!

Good luck Ms. Bestselling Author! :)

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