A Contemplation on Cookies: A Publishing Tale

Hi, All! Stephanie here, and I’m so excited about today’s guest post from the lovely Roshani Chokshi. After reading an ARC and falling in love with Roshani’s debut novel, The Star-Touched Queen, I asked her if she’d be willing to do a guest post on Pub(lishing) Crawl. Not only was she kind enough to say yes, but I’m particularly excited about her post, because I believe it will be encouraging to some of you who are currently waiting on things they fear will never happen.

A Contemplation on Cookies: A Publishing Tale

Roshani author photoA year and a day ago, I was in class. I should have been listening about how to calculate damages in a contracts case, but instead I was pondering the cookie options that would be available at Einstein’s.

When could I get the cookie?

Did I deserve a cookie?

What if someone gets to the cookie before me?

My deeply philosophical thoughts were disrupted by THE EMAIL.

 

Email subject

 

All thoughts of cookies were instantly forgotten. Which is a feat in itself, in my world. You already know the rest of this story. There was a lot of muppet flailing and happy sigh-crying.

But how we got there had a great deal less Muppet flailing and a lot more sigh-crying (of the despairing, set-myself-on-fire variety). Though far less sweet, I think my path to publication mirrored most of my thoughts to eating cookies…

When could I get the cookie?

I wrote The Star-Touched Queen the year after I graduated. I worked as a legal assistant in a small, frigid office and recited the plot to the Ficus plant. I like to think it was struck speechless with my brilliance. When I signed with my fabulous agent in August, I thought *THIS* is it. I HAVE ARRIVED.

LOL NO. We were on submission from October to March. Rejection after rejection wore me down. One day, we got four in a row. (I didn’t get out of bed that day). The question of “when” quickly became “if.”

Did I deserve a cookie?

I poured my heart into those early drafts of The Star-Touched Queen. But after months of rejection, I looked at it again and found it wanting. That was hard. Harder, still, to start over. I rewrote feverishly. Cut characters. Erased sub-plots. Changed tenses. Trimmed the fat. Questioned everything.

At the back of my head was the question of why I was doing this. Maybe it would never deserve to be published. But *I* owed my story the best life I could give it. When I write now, I keep that in mind. I write it for me first and everyone else later.

What if someone gets to the cookie before me?

Every day I was on sub, I thought about the people who were on submission for 2 days before getting a glorious deal. But those were highlight reels. When people talk about those stories, they don’t mention that author’s personal agony (how many drafts s/he went through, how many times s/he had been on sub before this, etc. etc.) And ultimately, if someone gets to the cookie before you, WHO CARES. Is it the last cookie on the face of the earth? Probably not. There’s plenty of other cookies. Maybe you just have to walk a little farther.

Looking back, I realize a lot of things that I wish I knew then. You’re only responsible to yourself and your craft. Keep your head down. Keep going. Your timeline is your own. Essentially: THAT COOKIE IS OUT THERE.

And that, dear friends, is the tale of how I finally got a cookie book deal.

Roshani fun photoROSHANI CHOKSHI comes from a small town in Georgia where she collected a Southern accent, but does not use it unless under duress. Her Young Adult fantasy, THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN (Macmillan/St.Martin’s Press), will be released on April 26, 2016.

  

2 Responses to A Contemplation on Cookies: A Publishing Tale

  1. Brittany Mar 21 2016 at 10:11 am #

    I really enjoyed reading this! I think hearing about author’s struggles makes me feel hopeful and not as bad about my cookie days haha.

  2. Kayla Mar 21 2016 at 11:16 pm #

    And now, I’m starving.

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