I’m also frightened to make this announcement.
As an aspiring writer, persuading an agent to represent my work to publishers has been the goal for a long time. But now that I’ve somehow managed that, I must admit that I feel small.
Maybe this is a mistake? Maybe Ms. Davis meant to call someone else? I imagine receiving an email later this week:
Dear Mr. Ribay,
I’m sorry to infom you that the offer of representation was made in error. See, we actually meant to contact a Mr. Ribav, and we mistook the V for a Y. Oops. Our bad.
But you’re a good writer, so we’re sure you’ll land on your feet. Good luck!
Even if this doesn’t happen (but it probably will), that will only assuage one of my many fears. What if no publisher wil buy my book? What if one does, and then they slap a horrible, career-ending cover on it? What if I throw a book release party and nobody shows up except for some weird dude in sweatpants? What if nobody ever reads it? What if a few people read it, and they hate it? What if my parents read it and disown me? What if it sells a few copies and I’m forced to admit at dinner parties that no I haven’t written anything you’ve heard of? What if…
You get the point. A flood of insecurity flowing from what should be a proud accomplishment.
So what do I do with this?
My brain keeps going back to something I heard Barry Lyga say at the Writer’s Digest Conference in NYC a month ago (where I pitched to Ms. Davis!) as he talked about the role of luck in every step of the publication process. Ultimately, it’s frightening–but it’s also freeing. He compared it to surfing. You prepare and then you wait for the wave. It might never come, but if it does, the only thing you have control over is the story you’ve created. So focus on your writing. Make sure it’s good, and forget everything else.
I’m trying to do that. I’m already well underway on a weird, new story that I’m excited about.
But at the end of the day, I know I’m just a guy trying to stay afloat on some words waiting to catch a wave. At the end of day, the ocean is the ocean. It is enormous and unforgiving and unpredictale.
And that scares the hell out of me.