Book deal: An ode to Lady Luck

6 months ago I was despairing. I should have been celebrating. Jeremy and I had just launched, we were still high on paint fumes (having rolled 7 gallons of eggshell white all over our Brooklyn flat) and were paying our bills.

We had moved to New York with no jobs and no savings and we had survived our first winter. I was proud of us.

And yet my latest rejection from a literary agent was staining my desk. Memoirs were no longer vogue, she wrote. Stuttering wasn’t a subject that had mass appeal. Good luck elsewhere.

I added the last rejection letter to my pile. I knew what she was really saying. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t be an author. I’d never get a book deal. My dreams were foolish.

writing: good luckFortunately when Lady Luck thinks she has trampled on your soul enough times she decides to give you a break. Yesterday I danced around my office, drank a celebratory Manhattan and ate some amazing homemade pasta with friends. I had just received my signed contract from Simon and Schuster.

It took me three years to get my book deal. I’m not sure whether that is a long time or a short time. It felt long. It felt hopeless towards the end. When I left England in October 2008 to research my book I had no idea what a challenge I was setting myself up for.

Writing was no joy ride. I faced far too much rejection, mockingly blank pages, a year of horrendous work and a very sad looking bank account.

Is it worth it? Definitely. I met Jeremy, I met hundreds of people from all over the country, I travelled, I lived in Chicago, I moved to New York and finally, at the end of it all, I ended up with an amazing editor, a highly respected publisher and a lovely agent.

I still have a long way to go. I have to finish the writing, I have to prove myself to everyone who has put their trust in me, and I have to get the piecemeal manuscript on my laptop into a real life book. But, with this book deal, I’m one step further along than I was.

I have no advice, sadly. It seems like there is no one clear path. It is not like becoming a lawyer, or an accountant, or a banker. There’s no clear ladder to scramble up with a pot of gold at the end. You do it because you have to, because nothing else will do, because you have some latent faith that, at some point, maybe, you will see your dreams come true.

13 thoughts on “Book deal: An ode to Lady Luck

  1. Congratulations Kat! I am so happy for you – and myself as I can’t wait to read the book!

    Missing you back in London, I’ll sip a Manhatten for you this evening.

    Lots of love

  2. Pam – yes indeed, fancy that. Phew.
    Lizzie – missing you too! I’ll be back in London for a couple weeks in April. Can’t wait to have you read it either…you guys are in it.

  3. Hooray! So excited for you, Katherine. Your first draft was un-put-downable, so compelling and honest and insightful — can’t wait to see what you turn it into! Thanks for sharing — it’s a joy to know you.
    Love xxxoooxxx

  4. Danielle – Thank you! And thank you for your life sustaining spring roll the other day. See you soon hopefully and so much good luck with the incubator plan.
    Rach – You’re lovely and ditto. Your blog is fantastic.

  5. Julia – thank you so much!
    Amelia – I love the excited use of exclamations…that is exactly how I feel! Looking forward to catching up in person in April.

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