It starts like this. You’ve worked 6 years on your manuscript because you CARE insanely, illogically, deeply about telling this story. Every author you’ve ever admired glares (symbolically, psychically) over your shoulder, checking to see if you’ve really got the goods. Okay. You sweat. But this manuscript gets you a new agent, a man you actually believe is human, which seems remarkable because almost every agent you’ve ever met or worked with has a strange reality show TV quality of — let’s say — non-humanity. So now you have a human agent, a person with a sense of humor even. Within a couple of months, your manuscript is with the editor of your dreams. When you graduated from college you read the biography of Maxwell Perkins, editor to Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe. From then on in you have dreamed about the relationship between an editor and an author, understanding it can be one of the deepest love stories possible.
Your dream editor pushes further, asking many probing questions, over a precious phone conversation. You must edit your book again; you, her adoring lover. Four months later the manuscript is immeasurably improved. It has the shine of hope. This fantastic editor convinces the editorial board (in and of itself a heroic feat) to accept the book. In a stroke of genius, she finds the perfect publicist who cares about your subject matter. While in negotiation with your agent, she begins everything necessary to creating a “buzz.” But, a bolt of lighting strikes. The head of the RH publishing house now suddenly says: “No!” Perhaps in preparation for the fact that, over the next 2 weeks, almost 50% of this major publishing house will be laid off, including the chief and your beloved editor. A publishing crisis. You can’t take this personally but you remain devastated for weeks. As my sister says, “You must remember life is random.”
From here on in, other editors become interested, but the publishing industry seems to be crashing faster than you can blink. “No! No! No!” is NYC’s editorial password. I am devastated.