On Thursday I submitted Flotsam, with the query I posted previously, to a publisher.
This was something I had no intention of doing. But Thursday morning I got very overwhelmed by the Big Things that I faced in the moderately distant future.
I was getting ahead of myself, falling out of the now. It’s one thing to make a plan. It’s another thing entirely to apply lightning and amniotic fluid to that plan and bring it to life so it can set its gnashing teeth upon my throat. The plan, in my mind, was becoming a monster. Something I had wrought in my folly, and something that would bury me in the wreckage of my own mistakes.
And then there were all the ground-quaking events that had been going on. Audible split with iTunes. Amazon auto-canceling authors based on the action of third party scammer behavior. Facebook ads becoming less effective. Every week there’s something new blaring Caveat Scriptor!
I didn’t think like this with my monkey brain. It was all in the lizard brain. The vagus nerve. It threatened to make me run. Make me freeze in face of the threat until my heart stopped. It was another aspect trying to control me.
Acting out of fear, and trying to make All The Big Things go away, I succumbed to what felt like a less resistant path when, later that day, Parvus Press (retweeted by my developmental editor) put out a reminder that they’re seeking SFF novels. Blurbs have been added to their site about wanting to work very closely with their authors, and about returning rights if they don’t properly sell the books. It all sounded very safe and warm at the time. Someone else would do all These Big Things for me (though I know full well that no author can afford not to be part of their own marketing efforts).
So I submitted.
Thursday evening I was an email-checking fiend, as if somehow I’d get a quick answer because their managing editor just so happened to know my manuscript by heart already.
But Friday I was calm. Hindu cow calm. I had nothing I could do but wait for their answer and, in my inactivity, I realized what I was lacking on Thursday was what I had already found: mindfulness. I dropped out of that future fear state because my future was no longer a to-do list of things to be tackled and mistakes to be made. And in this calm I realized that I had cut at the heart of the potential my book had. The things I’d put in motion (cover art, sales copy, other plans) might be rendered impotent by the decision to potentially sign on with a traditional publisher.
But once I cleared the mess of fear and resistance from my gut, by removing it by force of dramatic action, I could hear the voice of intuition again.
And it told me my first plan was still the right plan. Self-publish. Nurture these novels on my own. Rise or fall by my own hand.
At the time of writing this no offer of contract has been made. Though I now have come to peace with my original plan, I do have this new possibility out there, and I’m remaining open to anything. If I receive an offer, I will consider it. But it will not be that chunk of wood that Rose clings to at the end of Titanic. It will be a door, one of several, that I can choose with mindfulness instead of fear.