When I signed my contract with the publishers for Lesser Lives, I was at the top of the world. I was finally going to be an author, with a book to my name! And when you are a first-time anything, you have big dreams; I too have mine. I would look through the display windows of bookshops and imagine seeing copies of my book there. I would hold learned conversations in my head about my book, sign imaginary copies for my readers…in short, I would do everything that a pragmatic, language-teaching, worldly-wise mother of two is not supposed to at forty-something. But then, like I said, this is my first time!
For the past sixteen months, I have been waiting for my manuscript of 200 plus pages on MS Word to transform itself into a real book. Life has, since signing the contract, been a roller coaster ride with highs of anticipation plummeting into lows of bitter disappointment. As the gestation period gets longer, my confidence gets lower. I would have liked my literary agent to keep me updated and reassured, or to check on my literary well-being every so often, but it is not to be.
Long weeks of nail-biting anxiety on my side and utter silence from my agent’s motivate me to message him yet again. I ask him if there is any sign of life on Mars. Back comes his written equivalent of monosyllabic reply – he doesn’t waste time on niceties or humour; unlike me he’s a busy young man – that the publishing is rescheduled for April 2013. I want scream, rant and rave at whoever’s out there, but as I have mentioned elsewhere, my front door isn’t exactly sound-proof. I want to tear up a few things – but then I’d have to pick up after myself… Frustration, thy name is ME!
All you first-timers out there who have not ‘arrived’, you have my deepest respect. We are blood siblings. And all you amazing authors who have faced rejection and delay – and survived to tell the tale, you are worth every penny you make and more. I salute you!