Friday, June 13, 2008

Kissing Them Goodbye

Today I sent THE HEALER'S HEART off to my Tyndale editor, and I only let my cursor hover over the "Send" button . . . for ten minutes or so. After opening the attached document about 3 times to check that the formatting hadn't mysteriously morphed into Klingon in Wingding font. Seriously, I think about these things. Because, for an author, submitting a completed manuscript to your editor (especially for the first time) is a LOT like sending your child off to school. Packing his lunch, choosing his clothes, double-knotting his laces, and spitting on a Kleenex to wipe his face one last time--oh c'mon, we've all done that! But really, a completed manuscript feels like precious cargo after you've molded the characters, "listened" to them talk, struggled over theme, lost sleep, thrilled to flashes of brilliant insight and survived (so many) moments of doubt. Months and months of work, from the seed of an idea to a completed work weighing in at some 277 pages or 80-plus thousand words . . . and 4 1/2 pounds of paper . . . it's a wonder I don't have stretch marks!

Before I was published, we would send my manuscripts out to requesting editors via "snail mail." Which meant I'd run off copies at home (burned up 3 printers!) and send them to my agent, along with my biography sheets and author headshots. She would then re-package them into gorgeous burgundy boxes with her agency logo, add a stellar cover letter . . . and mail them out to editors. I once sent NINE manuscripts to her in one box . . . like 45 pounds or so of pages. I had a closet full of specially purchased manuscript boxes, rolls and rolls of strapping tape, sheets of shipping labels, yards of bubble wrap . . . and huge postage expenses write off on my taxes. In comparison with today's "cyber-send," I guess it was harder to physically hand over a manuscript box to the post office or UPS guys. Especially when they laughed at me for kissing it goodbye. Hey, you had to be there to understand. And I'm far more mature and professional now.

So, today it was CLICK-SEND for my newest crew: Nurses Claire Avery, Erin Quinn, Sarah Burke, and Dr. Logan Caldwell . . . along with Smokey the cat, a few speckled chickens, 300,000 daffodils . . . and a mechanical bull. Pulse-pounding medical drama, heart-tugging romance, a few great chuckles . . . and a soul satisfying message of hope. Whirling through cyberspace. No burgundy box, no strapping tape, no bubble wrap.

Do you think Windex will remove the lipstick smudge from my computer monitor?


Megan DiMaria said...

Don't worry, I'm sure you'll see your baby again--when it's time to edit, edit, edit.

By the time you send baby back to Tyndale again, he'll be even more handsome and a bit more grown up.

A prisoner of hope,

CandaceCalvert said...

Thanks, Megan--I have no doubt you're right. Especially since you're one step ahead of me at Tyndale--and we share the same editor.

By the way, I LOVE your new debut, SEARCHING FOR SPICE. Bravo!