So here’s how the book auction went down

I love a good story. So stick with me.

I had my son back in May of 2007. It was a brutal, terrifying delivery. When my due date was originally set for June 18, I remember telling everyone that I was disappointed I wouldn’t be delivering in the winter, because I’d love to be one of those women giving birth in a snowdrift or something, just because I love having a good story.

Well, I got one. 

Now, I also have a stepson, who’s a badass awesome 13-year-old, so I’ve been fairly content with the children in my life. After the drama of the first delivery, Mike and I weren’t sure we wanted to go through that again. I’ve had a history of other gynecological problems, and last September, I finally said to the doctor, “I’m done. Whatever you need to do to get rid of the pain, let’s do it.”

He said, “Here’s your option: a hysterectomy. You’re 33. Talk to your husband, make sure you want to do this.”

So Mike and I talked. We decided to give it one more shot. We weren’t really going to try to have another baby, but we weren’t exactly not trying either. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen with the book, I wasn’t sure how we were going to deal with day care for another child (I mean, I already have a full time job and a toddler, in addition to the writing), but Mike astutely said, “Hon, it’s never the right time.”

So in December, I went off birth control, saw the doctor for one more checkup, and listened to him explain that it could take a year, that it might not happen, that my one remaining ovary might have already checked out or be choked by cysts. I was okay with all that. I’ve had a baby. This wasn’t a last shot deal for me. I saw that doctor on December 21.

While all this was going on, my book was on submission.

Now, if you’re querying a novel, you’re getting slapped with a lot of rejection, right? That’s pretty much the name of the game. If you’re realistic, you know that not everyone is going to love your book. And they don’t just have to love it, they have to think they can sell it. That’s key. KEY, people.

Let me just shatter any illusions right here: once you have an agent, the rejection doesn’t stop.

Now, I’m kind of a control freak. When you’re querying, if you get a rejection, you can say, “F it,” and send out another query.

If you have an agent and your novel is on submission, when you get a rejection, you can’t do anything.

I mean, you can go get a bottle of wine and cry, but that’s not something productive.

I had some early interest in my book: real, solid interest from real, solid publishers. But it was December, and you know what happens in December: everyone has something else to do. No matter what you celebrate, most people aren’t thinking about book deals, most people are thinking about cooking or buying or wrapping or sleeping. Not to mention, most of the publishing industry shuts down for the last two weeks of the year. Don’t whine about it, it’s a fact of life.

Everyone needs a break.

So late in January, I got a rejection that just hit me the wrong way. Usually I let those things roll right off my back, but that one just sent me into a tailspin. I was depressed. I went into the bathroom at work and cried. Then I cried all the way home.

Then I called my husband and said, “I’m going to stop at the liquor store and get a bottle of wine, and I’m going to drink the whole thing tonight.”

He laughed and said, “Go ahead.” (He laughed because I am SO not a drinker.)

But when I hit the turn signal for the liquor store, I thought to myself, “I should stop and get a pregnancy test first. Just in case.” I figured it was a day for disappointments, right? I mean, the doctor said it could take a year, and here we were three weeks after my appointment with him. But I wanted to be on the safe side.

So I picked up my son, went to CVS for a pregnancy test (and jelly beans, hello!), and went home.


I owe that editor, whoever she is, a bottle of wine.

So I was thrilled! I have an active imagination. (Hi. I’m a writer.) I started having all these bizarre thoughts. “Maybe this is the universe’s plan for me. My book won’t sell because I’m destined to become a mommy.”

I love being a mother. I couldn’t have been happier. 

That was Thursday.

Sunday night, my son was up all night puking. The whole time, I’m thinking, “Why the HELL did I want to go through this again?”

Tuesday afternoon, right before an important conference call at work, I get a call from Tamar. She had an offer on my book.

I almost screamed in the middle of my office. Then she tells me there are two more houses who have expressed interest, so she’s going to call them to see if they want to make an offer.

[Side note: THIS, people, this is why you need an agent. (In addition to the other amazing things Tamar does.) I would have just said yes to the first offer.]

I. Was. Over. The. Moon.

Since this was late Tuesday, she said we probably wouldn’t have firm numbers until Thursday, so I knew I had a little bit of waiting ahead of me.

Tuesday night, after eating steak with my husband, I caught my son’s stomach virus. All night, I was puking.

And when you’re pregnant, you can’t take anything.

The only thing that perked me up was a phone call from Tamar, in the middle of the day, with a new offer, from a second house. (The third house pulled out.) Tamar said she was going to go back to the first house to see if they wanted to up their offer.

Keep in mind, while these calls are going on, I’m throwing up like every 30 minutes.

Tamar called back an hour later with an offer that almost knocked me off my chair. I actually asked her to repeat it. I thought I might be hallucinating.

Then I got another offer.

Thursday, the bidding continued.

This stretched over the weekend.

Finally, on Monday, final offers were in. (No, I’m not going to give you numbers. I’m not shy about that kind of thing, but there are a lot of people involved in this deal, and I’m not going to reveal information they might prefer be kept secret.)The offers were comparable, with different aspects to them.

I picked Kensington, because it felt like the right fit for me and my book. And when I spoke with the amazing Alicia Condon on the phone, I immediately knew it was the right choice. They’re an amazing house, and I’m so lucky to be working with them.

Since I got the positive pregnancy test and the book deal within the same week, it made for some interesting times. People kept saying, “Congratulations!”

I’d smile and say, “Thank you!” Then I’d pause and say, “Wait. For which?”

A book deal and a baby, all in the same month.

I should go play a lottery ticket.


10 thoughts on “So here’s how the book auction went down

  1. Oh my goodness! That’s great! (The book deal and the pregnancy, not the puking part.) Of course, you deserve it. (Especially considering the amount of people you follow on Twitter :P)

  2. Hysterical!
    Oh you poor thing, pregnant at a time like this! My sympathies that kid number 2 did wait for a couple of months for you.
    But congrats on the book. THAT is awesome. And the nice thing about the book deal is that it’s unlikely to lead to morning sickness.

  3. Truly inspiring! But I sincerely hope that my “when I sold my book” story happens, that it does not involve so much puking–in spite of the fact that my book got some feedback that said, “I think you need to tone down all the vomiting.”

    At least it sounds like you’ll have a start on a college fund for this little one.

  4. This is such a great story! And even crazier, it’s not fiction, it’s real life!! Congratulations on both book and baby!

    Though mine was not quite as crazy (no new babies involved!) I had quite a depressed week where I was sure my book wouldn’t sell, I was doomed for epic failure, then the next week, the magic happened. This publishing sh@% is just one emotional rollercoaster after another!

  5. I just hope the puking stops soon so that you can work on your sequel! Congrats and GOOD LUCK!!

    I honestly didn’t think adding the second kid was hard. Hopefully it will be an easy transition for you! Adding the puppy and then getting pregnant with the third… Yeah. That’s just stupid.

  6. Pingback: Reader Question Friday: How many queries did I send before I got to “yes”? | Brigid Kemmerer

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