distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.

One Day, Two Lives

I spent two hours in another life yesterday. I had a long lunch with my editor in the middle of my workday, as if I were a real author. At the restaurant, for a short time, it felt like I was. We talked about what the head of the imprint had to say about my writing. We talked about what the Barnes & Noble sales rep had to say. (I am thrilled, on both counts.) We talked about the cover and what it could be like. It occurred to me that there are these people I’ve never met, people who actually read my pages and then sat around a table talking about me and decided to take the leap and publish these pages in an actual book, even though I haven’t finished it yet. Isn’t that weird, like on so many levels? My editor and I talked for so long that a whole other lunch party came and went in the tables beside us.

My editor told me how people are responding to the voice of the first three chapters (all I’ve really written so far). Such a great response. Which means… which means… well, I really have to work hard to make the remaining chapters just as good. No pressure!

Also there’s this: I really, really like my editor. I mean I want to be friends with her. We have so much in common. What do you do when you like your editor that much? And isn’t it a coincidence that this person I never met really is a lot like me and, of course, knowing that, of course, she responded to my writing. I got very lucky in pitching to her, very lucky.

In a way, I’m happy I went at this without an agent. The working relationship between me and my editor feels great to me; I don’t know what it would be like with an agent in the middle. Of course, we also talked about agents and when and if I’d look for one and I said not yet—too late for this particular book anyway. Maybe later… I’m just not ready to go through that again (and I also have to finish my other manuscript first).

So then, as always happens, lunch was over and it was time to return to my other life… you know, the one where I mark things up with a red pencil and I’m no one anyone would sit around talking about at a meeting. That’s the one that feels like my real life just because I spend so much time in it… but I sure do like the other one better.

p.s. The title of my book might change… Sales, or was it marketing?, may like the original title better… Not sure how I feel about this yet. I’m just going to focus on finishing my outline now and see what happens.

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6 responses to “One Day, Two Lives”

  1. I’m so glad of this! And: Your other life will take over soon enough or at least make itself more known to you. I hope it’s bewildering and exciting for you, and all the good things rolled up into one life.

  2. Nova, I’m so happy for you! Gratz on your real writer hours spent with a real editor!

    I was unrepresented with my first two books, but sought an agent to represent my third. It didn’t work on several levels, for several reasons, but I was lucky to have an editor with whom I “fit” just as you and your editor do. (Or maybe they just study that in Editor school? “Schmoozing with the Writer 1113: Introduction”?)

    It’s a blessing when you fit with an editor, and I imagine just as big a one when you find a good fit in an agent. Maybe that’s why so many writers thank their editor and/or agents in their Acknowledgements.

  3. Ooh, this is so awesome. I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOUR BOOK. I am so so glad you and your editor hit it off and everyone’s digging it. Keep us updated on the saga of the title!

    … But just one little thing–

    I had a long lunch with my editor in the middle of my workday, as if I were a real author.

    You ARE.

  4. Wonderful to read that you clicked with your editor and that so many people are digging your writing. Sometimes just the tiniest bit of positive feedback can be what you need to combat the doubts. The publishers believe in you AND like you. Keep doing what you are doing the way you are doing it. I’m sure you will do as brilliantly with the remainder of the book.

  5. Awesome! And I am so glad that you have found yourself a great relationship with your editor. Those kinds of relationships are so very valuable to have.

  6. That sounds beautiful in a fantasy kind of way, the kind of lunch I can almost, on my better days, imagine myself having. And the thing is, if you didn’t have your real life, you wouldn’t have the fairy-tale part either; they need each other to work.

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