Author Seeks Publishers – The Moment I Hit the “Send” Button

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The three “lucky” bamboo stalks

Yesterday night, at 10:10 p.m., I hit the “send” button and emailed my first query letter.

Then I immediately saved the email in a folder on my desktop and added the date—I’m not delusional, this is probably the first of the many query letters I will send over the months (years?), I have to keep track.

These 465 words stressed me out all week. Even though, overall, I’ve been fine and busy since we came back, suddenly I was nervous, worried about little things for absolutely no reason.

“Must be your French elections,” Feng assessed when I admitted I was feeling anxious.

“I don’t think so…” I replied, considering the suggestion at the same time.

Could it? No. I mean, the administrative fight had been annoying but these kinds of unexpected, minor life glitches don’t affect me much. I hope I can vote and I hope Le Pen won’t score too high but hey, whatever. I’m not that involved in French politics.

Then, I realized I was probably stressed out by the query letter. I have been working on it since my birthday, a couple of weeks ago, and I wanted to email it soon. The problem is, when I don’t have a deadline, I always find convenient excuses to postpone the final editing/proofreading.

If I don’t send the letter, I can’t fail, right?

But I had to send it eventually and yes, I need to accept the consequences.

Yesterday night, I had a perfect window of time. Work was done and I was already booked for a large editing job that would keep me busy on Monday and Tuesday. Then there is the Easter Weekend coming up, and school will be closed for a couple of days. It was now or… well, not “never,” but “later,” much later.

In the morning, I bought three bamboo stalks for good luck. Then, on my way home, I realized that I had made my purchase at Loblaws and that the woman who had sold them to me was whiter than me and could have made up the “Chinese good luck” part.

I tested the purchase on Feng to get the real Chinese perspective.

“I hate to break it to you, Juliette,” he laughed, “but all our house plants die.”

Right.

This is the moment when I grabbed something on my three-drawer chest and knocked over the mug with the lucky bamboos. I mean, they didn’t cry and they weren’t hurt or anything, these are bamboo stalks… yet I’m not sure what it means in terms of luck, now.

Shit. Did I spill my luck?

The confidence I had felt when I finished the query letter is gone. At that moment, after I condensed the book, its background and my life into a short to-the-point letter, I smiled. I briefly thought I haven’t felt that positive about my chances of success since I had to take a French-as-a-second-language test at the University of Ottawa (don’t ask…).

The feeling didn’t last long. I’m left with doubts.

Is the letter good? Is the book good? Did I leave a noticeable typo? Are query letters even read?

This is strange: I didn’t know how much I cared about the book project until I started working on it again. Now that I have admitted I had “unfinished business” and that I wanted to open that chapter of my life again, I feel the same passion I had when I wrote the story. I care. I want this to happen.

I’m like Mark who suddenly falls in love with the baby toys I moved to the basement, even though I never liked them as a baby.

Humans are completely illogical.

I need to take a deep breath.

Nothing will happen. I sent an email, that’s all. The world is still spinning. Gee.

Tomorrow, a new week will start and I’ll sort through my morning emails, as usual, then I’ll work on my editing assignment and whatever comes next.

Somewhere, for the person I sent the email to, it will just another Monday morning at work.

And that’s it. The “online me” writes about the book project but the “real life me” doesn’t talk about it.

Inconveniently, I don’t believe in a higher power and starting to pray for success at this stage probably won’t yield any result—I’m pretty sure you actually have to show some faith for at least a few years to be eligible for a miracle.

I’ll just wait and eventually move on, then.

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

18 Comments

  1. Congratulations! You’ve already done more than a lot of authors or people who like me have always wanted to write a book but haven’t started yet! I hear you though about wishing I believed in a higher power sometimes… Let’s hope you get a prompt response

      • Mouais, j’ai vu ça. Disons que sur le principe, pourquoi pas (je sais, je suis maso!). MAIS, gros “mais”, encore faudrait-il qu’on bénéficie de services. Juste mon embrouille avec le consulat montre qu’on a que dalle. Je ne parle même pas de sous, aides ou autres…

      • Martin Penwald on

        C’est très … Américain de sa part. En fait, je ne suis même pas contre, sauf qu’il va bien falloir faire passer l’argent d’une monnaie à l’autre, et les banques vont s’en donner à cœur joie pour nous ponctionner des frais de change.

        • C’est finalement la partie qui me ferait le plus chier, le côté pratique. Tiens, je me demande comment les Américains à l’étranger paient leurs impôts, d’ailleurs.

  2. “If I don’t send the letter, I can’t fail, right?”

    So true. How many of us never take that first step because of our fear of failure? I know I am guilty of that for sure.

    Glad you took the plunge!

  3. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so…
    *found it in pinterest…of course*

  4. This reminded me of the book I am reading right now, Jose Saramago’s “Skylight”. Apparently, it was a “lost” manuscript. Saramago was a young man, and he sent the manuscript to a publisher, but the publisher somehow misplaced it and he never heard from them again. Years later, the manuscript was discovered, and by this time Saramago was already a well-known author. The publishing house said that they would gladly publish it. Saramago this time refused, saying the manuscript would never be published while he was alive. He died a few years ago, and finally it came out!

    Of course, I do wish your manuscript gets published sooner than that, and that you won’t wait a lifetime waiting for it to be printed!

    • Yeah, a lifetime sounds a bit long 😆 I’ve heard so many stories around publishers regretting not publishing writers who had become famous. It’s a gamble, I see both sides I guess.

  5. I’m so proud of you – just getting it out there is a step forward. Good luck!

    Also, I’m interested in hearing more about how you decided *who* you would send it to. Did you send it to an agent or directly to a publishing house? How did you know they would be a good fit?

    • I made a list of agents/publishers and I focused on those who had published books I had enjoyed. Then I did research to see if they would accept my “genre” and… a name was at the top of my list 🙂 Now I may have been a bit ambitious. I’ll wait for a while and then I’ll move on to the next name on the list!

  6. Hello !

    Si jamais tu cherches un plan B, voici les références d’une maison d’éditions en Belgique qui est spécialisée dans les nouveaux auteurs-premier écrit. Ca a été fondé par la soeur d’une collègue. Après, je ne sais pas ce que ça vaut. https://www.editionsdiagonale.com/

    Sinon j’ai découvert ton blog grâce notamment à ceux d’Hélène et Lexie. Il est vraiment chouette (j’ai passé la semaine à le découvrir). Il nourrit grandement ma passion pour découvrir les facettes de la vie dans d’autres pays. Merciiii ! Et bonne continuation !

    • Ça c’est sympa! Un tuyau et un retour positif! J’aime bien ce que tu fais aussi avec ta photo quotidienne.

      J’ai regardé pour la maison d’édition, mais j’écris en anglais, et je crois qu’elle ne s’adresse qu’aux francophones 🙂 Ceci dit, ça me donne aussi des idées…

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