I keep hearing people say variations on this theme:
“You made it!”
“You worked so hard and now you did it!”
“Yay! You finally got there!”
I like these things. I like it when people congratulate me. We should celebrate! Eat that chocolate! Buy that Transformer! Fill a bathtub with premium Whole Foods brand peanut butter and sit in it while reciting Hamlet to a gummi bear. I mean, if that’s how you celebrate.
“You’ve made it” isn’t quite accurate, though. The publishing business is really fickle. As proof, I offer you the NY Times’ Notable Books of 1996, and your consequent, “Who?” Though Tor cut me a nice check, it wasn’t quit-your-day-job money. Lots of things could happen at this point. Kirkus could pan the book. PW could pan it. Barnes & Noble’s buyer might hate it. Iiiii… might be kept up at night by anxiety about these sorts of things. Ignore this part, actually. NOTHING TO SEE HERE CERTAINLY NOT ME CHEWING MY NAILS IN A CORNER MUTTERING “PLEASE LOVE ME”
Anyway… The first novel deal is less “full-time 401k and benefits” as “independent contractor wins a big bid.”
I’ve been producing a product for many years, and making a small amount of money off it. Now I’m making a larger profit, and hopefully going to be able to produce more, eventually reducing my other freelance commitments. So yes, that’s awesome. It’s nice that I sold something through traditional publishing channels, which gets around a lot of the work self-pubbers have to do.
But I haven’t made it. Independent contractor won a big bid. Here’s to many more.