Here's To The Writing Life!

This career requires nerves of steel. Countless disappointments and the agonies of waiting have driven many a writer to drink. Or to Cadbury chocolate. Basically, choose your favorite numbing agent to survive the ride. There are celebrations along the way, though.

First you endure a long string of rejections. Mini Fiesta #1: Here's to landing a contract! Clink! For Secret Keeper, an offer came from Delacorte almost three years ago.

Next you wait to see if critics like your work. Mini Fiesta #2: Here's to getting a good review! Clink! My book's coming out in a month, and I'm exhaling bit by bit as the reviews start trickling in. I already heard that PW liked it, but the good news is that Kirkus agreed, saying that "this achingly realistic story ... will enlighten and inspire young women, and encourage them to value their own freedom." Whew.

Then you hope the darn thing sells. Mini Fiesta #3: Here's to earning out your advance and getting royalties! Clink! Ka-ching! Checks come for Sunita, Monsoon Summer, and Rickshaw Girl, but will they for Secret Keeper? I hope so. Because for some books I'm still waiting.

Each letter or note from a reader generates celebration, too (clink, clink), but finally, inevitably, no matter how many starry reviews and awards and fan mail and checks come your way, you'll get a letter from your publisher. It will inform you politely and formally that the book is going out of print and getting remaindered. Do you want to buy some copies, and if so how many? CLINK! *glass SHATTERS*

That's why the real party is writing the next story. Pass the Cadbury please.