As a soon-to-be published author I've thought often about whom I'll thank in the acknowledgments pages of my book. And I do mean pages. None of that thanks-to-the-world-in-a-paragraph for me. This is my first book, and while I don't intend for it to be my last, it has been almost six years since I started writing The Glass Wives. Many hands and hearts have helped me -- really helped me time -- with their expertise, words of kindness and acts of encouragement.
But what about the people for whom I won't dedicate space on the page? The ones who were discouraging or aloof? What about the strangers who didn't even know their outfits or swaggers or the lilts in their voices inspired me? What about the form rejections and the silence after submissions?
Not typical thank-yous, but valid nonetheless. So here goes:
There are many people to whom I'm grateful who unknowingly participating in helping me reach my goal of becoming a published author.
I'd like to thank the moms in the carpool line at the local junior high school who emerged from their minivans and SUVs in all sorts of weather to chat with each other so that I could see their outfits, witness their huddles and listen in on their conversations. Your secrets are safe with me. One day, a mom dressed the way Laney, one of the characters in The Glass Wives, would have dressed. I pictured that day and that outfit (long skirt, boots, distressed caramel-colored leather jacket) for the past six years whenever I wrote scenes or dialogue for Laney. I know that seems creepy. I promise it's a compliment.
I'd like to thank the people who ignored that I was writing a book, querying agents and getting a book deal by rarely or never asking a question or by dismissing it. Disinterest is a powerful motivator.
Some of the most helpful folks in writing The Glass Wives were the ones who suggested what the book should be about. Usually, about them. Those conversations drove me deeper into the fictional Chicago suburb of Lakewood, Illinois, which is the setting for my novel, and made me strive to know its imaginary residents more closely.
I think it's funny, in that not-so-funny way, that people who learn I have a book being published assume that I have written a light and fluffy chick-lit novel. This is an assumption often expounded on in the media in a semi-literate battle of wills (or words, perhaps) among authors, reviewers and publications. It's true, I have enjoyed many whimsical stories about shoes and shopping, but The Glass Wives is not one of those. These incorrect assumptions have helped me fine-tune my explanation of what my novel is about and to learn the nuances of literary genres, which are many.
I received many rejections during the 10 months I queried literary agents in 2010. The rejections fell into three categories: helpful, form-letter and non-existent. To the agents who offered helpful hints for improving my book, I thank you wholeheartedly, even though you didn't want to read my book again and probably don't remember me. Most especially, I recall the agent who told me I introduced too many characters too quickly in the first few pages. I changed that right away. The first few pages of The Glass Wives then remained the same through signing with an agent and selling my book to St. Martin's Press. The first pages of the book only changed under the guidance of my editor, Brenda Copeland. But had I left them the way they were back in January 2010, I think I may not have reached this point.
I welcomed the form letter rejections because each one spurred me to send another query letter or enter another content. I met my agent Jason Yarn through one of those contests.
To the agents who never responded to the queries, the partials and even the fulls that they requested, you helped me develop the thick skin necessary in this business. Being ignored is never easy, but publishing is no place for sissies.
I'd like to acknowledge the people who barely know me, but want to come to a book party because they think all of a sudden I'm a suburban Carrie Bradshaw. Only Jewish, and heavier and older. Not only do my parties end before 10 p.m., it will be 2013 when my book comes out. There is no such thing as a book party anymore. But there are still bookstores. And reading a good book can feel like a party in your brain. Especially if you have an adult beverage or bite-size snacks while you are reading. Two things I highly recommend.
I'm thankful for all of the weird things I have to be thankful for. The intermittent negativity propelled me forward and every bit of unintentional positive feedback made me feel as though I'd found a 10-dollar bill in the pocket of my winter coat the first time I put it on in October.
Good or bad or somewhere in between, all of these incidents and situations have made me who I am and have brought me to this very moment in time.
And I acknowledge that this moment is quite wonderful. So hey, thanks.