Monday, October 15, 2018

The Dinosaur Dress

I pitched the Fisher Men series to an editor. Yep, I did that thing I said I would never do. I had a very good reason. It was the dinosaur dress. The dinosaur dress made me do it.

Perhaps I should start from the beginning. You see, I love being an independent author. I love that nobody gets a say in what I write or how quickly I finish it. If I go to print with a typo, It’s my typo and I own it with my human-ness. My career began with a simple notion. Life is too short to do anything less than what I love. I know, spoken like a true cancer survivor. I design my covers, and I am unapologetic about their imperfections, because it’s mine. If only one person bought my book, that is fabulous.

My goals are small, because writing is this thing I do for my soul. I shake off the stress of my life as a first responder by giving the patients of my really tough cases a rich back story, and the happily ever after I wish for them. I used to delete my novels after I wrote them because I got what I needed from them. One day with little to no guidance I hit publish on a really terrible version of my first book. Seriously, I learned all the ways not to do it. In the end, I wrote and published four books and a novella in one year. The fourth being my favorited best. My soul has a lot to say so I was already “plantsing” my next series.

I met her in my Romance Writers of America meeting. She did a presentation on pitches. I supported my sister writers, but I had no intention of ever pitching my soul to an editor. As she discussed what she was looking for I thought, oh that’s what I write. She described the heros she likes to see and I was like I know, right? I love a well-rounded beta male over an asshole alpha. She talked about her nerd fetishes which were also mine, and I thought if only I could be eight years old. If I was eight, I could grab her arm and claim her as my best friend. It’s creepy when adults try this. So I’ve been told.

The next time I saw her was at Chicago North Spring Fling. I was an attendant and a volunteer so I bumped into my secret best friend a time or two. I realize this girl crush is weird, but hey, so am I. The fact that we have never spoken doesn’t mean I couldn’t meet her for dinner sometime. The fact that I’m an introvert does. No, no. Dinner dates with my girl crush, they happen only in my head.
I sat a banquet table scrolling my phone because hello, introvert with strangers. The world of cocky-gate is unfolding at my fingertips. At this time the indie community is being beaten with new Amazon algorithms (I had a book banned for questionable content for about a week), the spotlight on page turn scammers, book stuffing, word patenting, and subpar content was slowly becoming the face of the Indie Author. My heart hurt. A voice stepped out of the darkness on our behalf. A lovely author decided to streamline the voices and represent our interests to Amazon.

I can’t disagree with the concept. The lovely author is like a pit-bull once she sinks her teeth into the kong, she isn’t going to let it go. Every organization needs a person like her. It’s the only way shit gets done. There is a reason that person is never the face of the organization though. Harsh and brash mannerisms aren’t always well received. I don’t know her personally and maybe she has a professional face I’m not aware of, but either way, I didn’t choose her. If someone is going to represent me, my work, my soul, to not only my publisher, but my readers, and the world, shouldn’t I get a say in who that person is?

Enter my girl crush in the most adorable blue dress printed with colorful dinosaurs. For the love of Joe, could this woman be any more perfect. A dinosaur dress! As she took the stage for a panel Q&A she beamed a beautiful smile that crinkled her eyes under her gorgeously large glasses. She dropped her head and giggled like the quirky characters I write. I stared at the lost member of my tribe. She is my people. That’s when it clicked, that is a woman who gets me. That beautiful smile adorns the face of someone who could adequately represent me. If my representation is inevitable, then the Independent Author in me, is making a choice. I slapped my hand on the table much to the alarm of the other authors and announced “I’m pitching my next series.” I turned my heart shaped eyes on the woman in the dinosaur dress and thought quietly, to her. To ONLY her.

I might have mildly stalked her twitter looking for a place she is doing in-person pitch appointments, because I need to do this face to face. Then the email arrives from Midwest Fiction Writers she’s taking pitches. Never mind her office is forty-five minutes from my home, I’m driving seven hours with my husband and kids to Minnesota, because who wouldn’t?
I attended her presentation on how to pitch but I didn’t pay attention. I wasn’t pitching then. I went with no notes or real plan for words. I wasn’t even sure if I’d go through with it. I mean, I thought I would. I’m a determined person but I could still bolt. I walked in with my head held high. Then I saw her.

She stood at the front of the room in her DINOSAUR DRESS. Her hands were clutching the sides of it and she swayed back and forth like a little girl in line for ice cream. I drove straight through all night. I smelled like the bad decisions one makes on road trips. It smells like Funyons and feet in case you didn’t know. Every sleepless moment was worth it. She was wearing the dinosaurs like a beacon to my soul. Later that evening when my smell multiplied with nervous sweat, I swallowed the lump on my throat and rambled incoherently to my girl crush about all the words my soul needed to speak.

She handed me her card and said, “I think you’ve got something here.” AHHHHH!
See the thing is, even if she reads it and decides it’s not for her, that’s okay. If she loves it but can’t market it, that’s okay, too. She will still be my "in my mind" best friend and we will have imaginary dinner and superhero movie dates in my head. Because at that moment she gave me everything I needed.
Stay tuned my Rebellious Readers, winter is coming.

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