Looking back a year-and-half, I can see the warning signs that were interlaced with all the excitement.
That’s how hindsight works.
At the time though, they were undetectable.
At the time, this felt like an absolute culmination of all things in my life. It felt cosmic. It felt like God had done the crazy-viral thing with our blog post, and then now He was orchestrating this thing with the book. Every step forward felt like confirmation that God wanted us to get this book out in the world, and He wanted it to happen fast. It felt so exhilarating. It felt like the fulfillment of promises He had made to us long ago–certain promised blessings we had been awaiting for years. It felt like an “I love you,” from God. It felt like it had his signature all over it.
It felt like He was guiding the process, step by step, just as He had guided us so often in the past.
The proposal came next. Our agent sent us proposals from some of his past clients–proposals from real, live books that had been very successful. It was so crazy to read those. It was crazy to see how the process had worked for them, and how it was now happening for us.
Lolly and I worked on the proposal at nights–finishing the polish on the first 20 pages of our book, and then writing the proposal itself–boasting our book’s finer qualities, on what it was, on how it contributed to the literary world.
The work on the proposal felt very different than the synchronicity that we had felt as we worked on the actual book. Working on the book itself had been amazing–it had felt organic and exciting. But as we worked on the proposal, we kept hitting road-bumps. There was a lot of conflict between us, suddenly, about how things should go. Things felt strained. We would come together to work on it, and instead of feeling exciting and fun, there was a dark pall over our interactions. It felt very stressful and bleak.
Like I say: hindsight.
We plowed forward. After all, this was a very stressful thing, very potentially life-changing. It was a process that was bound to contain some conflict. But if we worked hard we could get through it.
It took longer than we expected, but after about six weeks and a million emails back and forth with our agent, we had finally perfected our proposal. And it looked good. We had a full perfected draft of the first 20 pages, and the proposal itself, and chapter summaries for all the chapters we hadn’t written yet. It was a compelling story, with a good arc. We had done our job well, and our agent was very excited.
But I didn’t feel connected to the template as we had it. It felt… obvious. Dry. Commercial. Insipid. It absolutely worked, and we had done a good job. It told our story, and in a compelling way. But I didn’t feel a yearning to breathe life into it this proposed book. I didn’t yearn to see its ideas or story spread around the world.
I just wanted to sell it.
Finally, in the middle of the night after hours of work, Lolly and I gave that perfected proposal a final-looking-over. We had worked hard, and we were relieved and excited to be putting this book into our agent’s capable hands. He had already looked it over many times, and was excited to put it out there, too. We had all worked hard on this, and we were all very ready for the next step: selling the book to a publisher.
We had done all we could do. It was time for us to let the process just happen–letting our agent do his job. After we sent this, it was just a matter of waiting. Any day we could get the phone call that would change our lives forever. We could get a call for an offer on our book. We would meet our editor. We would know what publishing house we would be associated with. Would there be a bidding war? Would we like our editor? Would we feel connected to the publishing house? Would everything feel right?
It could be days, or it could be weeks, or it could be one or two months. But it was going to be soon.
This was actually happening.
We pressed “send,” looked at each other, and smiled.