Almost five years ago… or was it six? maybe seven… I decided to write a book. I’m a counselor and a regular person who had a regular person’s dream to write a book that would help people.
I wanted to go with a professional publishing firm so I knew I needed an agent. “Hmmm, where do you find an agent?” I wondered. I ended up on the website of the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference and looked at the list of editors and agents from the previous year’s conference. I found a man named Greg Johnson at WordServe Literary.
He was so kind to even read my email, considering the fact that I did not follow protocol or write a proper query. Nowadays I know that writers need to learn to query an agent. And for non-fiction, they need to learn how to write a proposal and three sample chapters. Even if you think you have a great idea, you still need to follow basic guidelines.
I was a newbie and it showed. Yet Greg forwarded my email to Rachelle. She was generous to send back a long reply telling me how to do things the right way.
Years passed while I read her blog and learned how things are supposed to be done. I wrote my proposal. Eventually Rachelle and I met at a conference and she offered to represent me. So did another agent. I went with the other agent who was a great champion for my book idea. We worked together to try and sell that first book, but it didn’t happen. Due to some unrelated snafus I ended up switching agents. Now I was back with Rachelle, working on a second book proposal, which she then shopped to publishers. Another year passed.
Maybe it’s the protector of our hearts that cautions us not to get our hopes up too high, but even when you believe you have a great idea, and even when you have a skilled agent, it’s almost unfathomable to really envision an editor saying yes.
So one morning last summer, I was out jogging when I felt a buzz on my phone. “I just checked my email. Now there’s more?” I squinted, shading my tiny phone with my hands. All I saw was the name of an editor and the words, “Lucille’s book is a go.”
I froze, looked around and tried to decide my next move. I verified that the email meant what I thought it did. Then I began to skip. And then cry. I wondered, “Now what do I do?” I thought about going home, but reconsidered when I felt adrenaline surge through my body. I called my husband who couldn’t understand me trying to tell him thanks for all his support. It’s cliché to say but he has been such a believer in me. All these years he helped me tinker with websites, search for lost Word documents, and encouraged me to attend seminars. All these years he believed it would happen.
Luckily I didn’t have any clients that afternoon. I spent the day in happy silence and introspection. I walked across the new $3.5 million dollar bridge near our home. Just for fun. I felt silly inside. I giggled out loud. I talked to my agent, and told her I wished my parents were alive. I cried.
I knew the hard part was just beginning. But I was overwhelmed with gratitude to all the people who supported me on this journey. I think of my professors, friends, critique partners, supervisors, pastors, clients, Facebook and Twitter friends, writer friends, relatives, and of course, my agent and now my brand new publisher.
There was a bottle of champagne in my fridge that had been waiting to be opened for a long, long time. On a normal day in August, a normal person with a normal dream of being published saw her dream come true, and finally opened that celebratory bottle of bubbly.
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Lucille Zimmerman is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Littleton, Colorado, as well as an affiliate faculty professor at Colorado Christian University. Her book about self-care will be published Spring, 2013 by Abingdon Press. Visit her blog, Rumors of Glory, where you can get a free copy of 100 Ways to Care for Yourself.[ Next Post → ] [ ← Previous Post ]