I’ve been asked a bunch of questions since announcing my book deal a few weeks ago, and I thought I’d try to answer some of the common ones here. I would hesitate to call them FAQs since that implies a level of regularity of interest that I am yet lacking, so I’m going with infrequently asked questions, iFAQs, for now.
First one up – how did I get The News, what was it like?
If you love being in a constant state of anxiety, leaving your phone by the bed so you can check your emails as soon as you wake up, the author’s life might just be for you. I knew my book had interest from an editor I admired at a dream label, but things can still fall over at any stage, so I was trying not to get my hopes up. This meant waking up periodically during the night and trying to convince myself not to check my phone … but it’s RIGHT THERE, how could it hurt, I’m awake anyway, etc … (I guess this is less stressful when you’re not battling timezones, though it’s probably better for my productivity in my day job).
So one thing I learned on the day my phone had that precious precious email on it was that my agent is more chill than me.
I get a notification screen on my phone when I’ve received an email from someone on my VIP list. It has the sender, the subject line, and maybe the first line and a bit of the email text. You can usually get a sense of what kind of news you’re getting from that. This is what greeted me on that fateful morning when I woke up at stupid-o’clock and immediately reached over to my phone:
My heart sank. Good news doesn’t usually start with a ‘so’, and if it’s an offer surely it starts with HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT WE GOT AN OFFER YOU’RE GONNA BE A TOR AUTHOR AND ALL YOUR DREAMZ IS COMING TRUE BABY? No, I thought, this is probably not great news. But like a bandaid, right offffffff, is my motto with scary/exciting emails, so I clicked right away. To find, of course, that the sentence went on with ‘and I’m pleased to say we have an offer…’
But check that preview again.
OBSERVE THAT PERIOD.
No exclamation point. It’s not a reply to anything, it’s a fresh email, so she typed that subject line in. She CHOSE that period. Not an exclamation mark, which I’d argue is warranted in the circumstances. Not the more traditional choice of no punctuation at all.
I see two options here.
Option 1: Julie is literally the coolest person possible. She typed that while casually sipping tea. “Oh, I must mention that only-barely-interesting news to Sam, perhaps she will be interested, I mean obviously I wouldn’t say excited or anything so coarse, but interest may be piqued. There may be piquedge. Now, first with the pleasantries, then on line 3 I’ll mention…’
Option 2: she is trolling me, and she is a stone cold mother at it. In this version she’s downing whisky and laughing under her breath as she deliberately adds that period. ‘Haha she’s going to be so flattened by that full stop,’ the cruel genius crows as she slams back another Old Fashioned.
I hope one day to learn which one it is.
Anyway, moral to the story: I am not cool, I was super pumped, I woke everyone up, I sent my siblings annoying prank texts trying unsuccessfully to troll them (no-one was fooled), and it’s very good for my career that I have a professional person representing me who will not reply to communications with a screaming-face-emoji. Thank you Julie. Damn you, and thank you.