I’ll Know I’ve Made it as a Writer When . . .

by Justine Larbalestier

. . . I finish a whole manuscript.

. . . I learn how to rewrite that whole manuscript.

. . . I get five/ten/fifteen/one hundred/etc rejection letters from real-life agents.

. . . I knuckle down and rewrite the book again. And again. And again. Etc.

. . . I get a request for the whole manuscript from a real-life agent.

. . . I get an agent.

. . . I get five rejections from publishers.

. . . I get ten rejections from publishers. (Would you believe twenty rejections? How about thirty? One hundred? One thousand? One million?)

. . . I start writing my second/third/fourth/fifth/etc book despite the fact that the first/second/third/fourth etc book hasn’t sold yet.

. . . I get an offer from a publisher.

. . . the deal is announced in Publishers Lunch.

. . . I get my first real editorial letter.

. . . I have my first hissy fit about my first editorial letter.

. . . I knuckle down and rewrite the book.

. . . I get my second real editorial letter.

. . . I have my second hissy fit about my second editorial letter.

. . . I knuckle down and rewrite the book. Again.

. . . (And repeat. Or not. Depending.)

. . . I get my first copyedit.

. . . I have my first hissy hit about my first copyedit. (Only robots speak without contractions! “Me and LJ” is how my character would say it NOT “LJ and I” because my character is not the FREAKING QUEEN OF FREAKING ENGLAND!)

. . . I get my first ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) of my very own book with my name on the front and EVERYTHING. Oh my Elvis! It’s real, people. Book by me! *faints*

. . . I get my first page proofs and am overwhelmed by the urge to completely rewrite everything and make the book, you know, ACTUALLY GOOD!! (Also notice that I use the word “actually” way too much and that is BY NO MEANS the only word I use WAY TOO MUCH. Wonder if I have also overused CAPS and italics and exclamation marks!!! Consider getting publisher to cancel book. Actually.)

. . . I get my first good review.

. . . I get my first bad review.

. . . I get my first meh review.

. . . I am enraged by an eleven year old who enjoyed my book but wished it was as good as [redacted]‘s bestselling piece of [redacted] about [redacted].

. . . I get my first box full of my own finished actually TRULY REALLY book what I have written MYSELF!!!

. . . I open said book on a page with a typo of “actualy” and the CAPS and italics in the wrong places.

. . . I realise that it is the last book in the entire world I wish to read.

. . . I go to my local bookshop and there is my book in a real actual book shop.

. . . I get a query from my publisher wondering where my next book is.

. . . I miss a deadline.

. . . I miss two/three/four/five/etc deadlines.

. . . I get my first query from Hollywood which goes nowhere.

. . . I am sent on tour to promote my book.

. . . I bitch and moan about being sent on tour to promote my book.

. . . I am not sent on tour.

. . . I bitch and moan about not being sent on tour to promote my book.

. . . I get my very first fan letter. Someone read and enjoyed my book enough to write to me! Best. Day. Ever.

. . . the fan letters I get make me cry because they are so moving.

. . . the fan letters I get make me cry because they are so illiterate.

. . . I get more fan letters than I could ever possibly answer.

. . . I become a New York Times bestseller.

. . . I am disappointed when my next book only reaches no. 8 on the New York Times bestseller list.

. . . I am not a New York Times bestseller.

. . . I think about killing those entitled bastards who whinge about their books only getting to no. 8 on the New York Times bestseller list.

. . . I quit my dayjob.

. . . I can live off my advances.

. . . I can live off my royalties and don’t have to sell books on proposal anymore.

. . . I have to live in a garret and eat ramen in order to keep writing.

. . . all my friends are writers.

. . . I don’t have to hang out with writers anymore.

. . . I win the Nobel Prize.

. . . I do an event and half the crowd is dressed up as characters from my books.

. . . one of my books is optioned to be made into a movie.

. . . my book becomes a movie.

. . . my book is made into a movie and I get to complain about how Hollywood destroyed it.

. . . my book is made into a movie and I get to go to all the Hollywood parties for it and stand in the corner because no one’s interested in talking to a writer. Even a nobel-prize winning New York Times bestseller who can live off their own royalties.

. . . all my books are optioned to be made into movies.

. . . all my books are made into movies.

. . . my first book is remaindered.

. . . all my books except the most recent are remaindered.

. . . I fire my first agent.

. . . I move to a different publisher.

. . . even people who don’t read know my name.

. . . only people who read my genre know my name.

. . . only some of the people who read my genre know my name.

. . . I have to change my name and genre in order to keep being published.

. . . I write a book that I am truly happy with.

•••

Justine Larbalestier is an author and editor. Her novels include LiarMagic or Madness, Magic Lessons, and Magic’s Child. Her next book, Team Human, was co-written with Sarah Rees Brennan, and will be published in July 2012. She lives in Sydney and sometimes New York City. For more information, visit her blog, where this post first appeared.

3 Responses

  1. Elizabeth Guizzetti

    I didn’t get an ARC and I haven’t gotten any online reviews yet, but I did have one guy who yelled at me at a local sci-fi convention “because my protagonist’s life is pretty bleak right now,” so I am hovering somewhere between 21 and 28. Now that my first novel is published, but I am more nervous about my books then I ever was.