• Michelle Vernal

The Book Deal Moment


I’ve read so many authors descriptions of that long awaited moment when they’re offered a publishing deal. When mine finally happened, nine years after I wrote my first book, The Brazilian Job it wasn’t quite how I’d pictured it. And believe you me throughout that nine-year apprenticeship, I’d pictured it, and champagne was always a feature in those fantasies.

Anyway, there was the initial e-mail which arrived Saturday morning from my agent, Vicki saying that Harper Impulse UK was interested in The Traveller’s Daughter and were looking at a two-book deal. That was a euphoric moment spent in my pyjamas due to the time difference. I wasn’t supposed to broadcast the news until it was all signed off but of course, friends and family had the email shoved under their noses that weekend. Then, I waited, and I waited and honestly it was worse than when I was overdue with both my boys.

I tried not to pester my lovely agent Vicki whose path and mine have kept crossing from the early days of The Brazilian Job. I knew from experience the publishing industry does not move at speed. I knew too that she’d let me know as soon as she heard anything but even still the odd needy for news email arrived in her inbox and was dealt with patiently by her. Despite being told not to worry, I went through every scenario as to why it was taking so long to get my contract. I’d already learned the hard way that nothing is a done deal until it is signed. My hubby and I cracked the champagne, the power of positive thinking and all that and I wasn't missing out on my champers. It worked because finally, nearly three months later there it was... my contract. Signed, sealed, delivered.

That wasn’t the moment my book deal felt real, though. It was when I received my author welcome pack from Harper Impulse. That was when I could finally shout to all and sundry that yes, finally it’s happened to me (picking up on a musical theme?). Even the local newspaper got on board. It was all so exciting, and there I was floating around on Cloud Nine having just hung up from a phone interview with a  journalist when I heard a bellowing from the bowels of the bathroom. My youngest son was home for the day with a tummy upset.  “Muuuuum! I’ve crapped my pants.” I was too busy crashing back down to earth to tell him off regarding his choice of phrase.

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