In October of last year a call was made by Dreamspinner Press for short story submissions to their UK Anthology to be published in June.
And me being me I decided to fuck it, have a go and write a story which celebrated the United Kingdom. I have to admit right away I found it hard. Really hard. I planned for 5k – I’d written a story previously at that length and it worked really well, so I sat down and wrote straight off a story about a son who returned home to find his fortune telling grandmother had died and left him her ‘booth.’
It was ‘okay’.
That was mid December. With the hustle and bustle of Christmas I didn’t touch the story again until the New Year. Then I attacked it with a big knife and completely changed it. The story ended up being something very different to the original.
The next thing I did was have someone read it. She loved it (apparently).
Her feedback was good. Her final word on the matter – “submit it.”
Next I then gave it to my boyfriend who also said – “submit it.”
However the day before the deadline I still hadn’t submitted. Why? Well most people think I am confident, talkative, kinda girl. In reality I’m neither. I have at times anxiety issues and sometimes my self esteem goes so low it takes a strong minded man who I adore to pull me back out.
On that particular day the man was about. He sat with me as I did a final read through, wrote the submission email and did a short synopsis. He was then the one to click send.
I couldn’t do it.
However as soon as he hit send I felt better – for about an hour. Then the doubts crept in. Should I recall it? Am I going to show myself up? What if… heavens above they like it and want it (nah..).
I sat and waited for two days and on the third I received an email.
They said yes.
Insert screaming. Lots of oh my gods, fucking hells, and explanations to work colleagues as to why little old me was unable to breathe.
Suddenly I had people whose names I only knew from twitter emailing me, welcome emails from Dreamspinner Press and apparently had to go and get something called an ITIN.
A what now?
Because what they don’t tell you that when you have said yes and signed a contract there is the little thing called IRS, then the British tax system, legalizing yourself (I am officially me now), something about artwork (really?), burbs, adjectives to describe your story (erm funny??’) and then there are track changes. And honestly? I hate track changes.
Thankfully though, I have had help and everyone I have got information and advice from has been wonderful.
But all the while, my nerves are getting steadily worse. What if I let the ‘side’ down? What if no one ‘gets’ it? What if the publisher already regrets saying yes?!
For an aspiring author to have their first submission accepted and published is just down right fucking scary but in the end getting published and submitting work is exactly what I wanted. I made a promise to myself that by the time I was 40 I would be an published author.
At 39 I will have achieved that.
I hope people like my story.
I hope they get it.
I also feel I might have to do a guide to Blackpool at the beginning for those whose have never heard of it.
But in the end I am proud. My short story will be published, it may lead to other things, it may not but for a girl who needs a new head attaching every now and again and who has wanted to smoke a packet of cigarettes whilst typing this, that can’t be a bad thing.