I just signed with an agent! All of the late nights hunched over my computer, the countless hours spent on researching agencies and licking submission envelopes, the missed beach trips because I had to edit...all of these things are paying off. Someone in the publishing world thinks I have potential. I am still having difficulty believing that it's true. In fact, I was afraid to mention it until I had the signed representation agreement in my hand.
The day I received it, I tore open the envelope, clutched it to my chest and called my parents to share the wonderful news.
"Hey Dad, guess what? I have an agent!"
"That's great...so how much money are you going to get?"
"Err, umm, it doesn't really work like that. First I have to edit, then we go on submission and hopefully, a publisher will buy it."
"Then how much money are you going to get?"
"Well, the average debut advance is about $15,000."
"That doesn't seem like much...you know we have a friend who is a writer. She doesn't seem to have any trouble getting published..."
In a few short sentences, my father managed to stomp out my excitement with the steel-toed boots of reality. Thankfully, my mom was a bit more enthusiastic.
I realize though, for those not so heavily immersed in the publishing world, getting an agent or getting published doesn't seem like a big deal. They have no idea how many talented writers are out there, struggling, just to be noticed. They also don't understand how we can write for the love of it, with no promise of receiving any praise or money for our work...but we do.
We are all bound to receive criticism or cynicism in our writing journeys, so always remember why you write and celebrate the milestones: crafting the perfect scene, getting a full request, signing your first agent agreement...even if you are celebrating by yourself.