I feel very fortunate that 2010 was basically the Year of Jess. Especially considering how badly the year sucked for so many people that I know.

Sold my first book, which is exciting itself. But in addition to the w00t! is the fact that I sold it to the first publisher on my list. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be working with BSB. It’s been a positive experience in every way so far. Everyone is not only professional, but warm, friendly, and very encouraging to a very inexperienced new writer.

And it almost didn’t happen.

After extensive market research, I came up with a list of potential publishers– sort of like one comes up with a list of colleges one would like to attend. There are the ones on the “love to, but it’ll never happen” list, the “I’ve got a good shot” list, and the “safety” schools.

BSB was on my “love to, but it’ll never happen” list. They publish so many excellent books and work with so many authors whose work I respect. Their books are sold in brick-and-mortar stores the world over and translated into many different languages. They have a solid (and transparently explained) marketing plan that includes, but does not rely exclusively on author participation. They have a presence and a brand.

And right until I pressed that “send” button, I was convinced that I didn’t have the nerve to submit to them– that I would chicken out at the last minute and sub to someone further down on the list. And, I figured, I would end up with a list of rejections anyway, and have to gather what was left of my hope and start over.

But instead….

My only New Year’s Resolution for 2010 was to be a little bolder– to stick my neck out more, take a few chances, put myself out there. To aim a little higher, not sell myself so short. In many cases, to do the George Costanza trick: think of what I would normally do, and then do the opposite.

Rather humbling to learn that in many of the important things, the opposite of my usual reaction is actually the right thing. To the power of Wow.

In the coming year, I aim to complete novel #2. APD took nearly four years to write, but that was when I had exactly three dedicated hours per week for writing. With my new schedule, getting another novel to the same point in one year is absolutely doable. Especially since now I have some idea what I’m doing; it’s not firing in the dark and hoping for the best. I’m in the middle of the proposal right now. Anyone who thinks selling based on a proposal and three chapters is easier than completing a manuscript for submission has never done either. A good proposal is a hell of a lot of work.

And there is also the sequel to APD that seems to be writing itself when I should be doing other things.

Thank you, 2010, for being a year of awesomeness. I look forward to seeing what your successor brings.

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