My husband brings me the envelope. It’s black, a non-standard size, somehow matte and shiny at the same time. The word “Typo” is embossed ever-so faintly on the little closure flap. I notice this as I carefully peel it open. I know what this is, but I won’t react until I’ve seen the words.
Inside are three sheets of paper, folded twice. I somehow unfold them, hands turning unresponsive as I see the publisher’s logo through the paper. Printed in the top left corner, dark black ink. Fitting.
There it is. My contract. My first writing contract. I read the top line three times, trying not to let my eyes blur with tears. There’s my name, and the name of my story. I’ve been accepted.
My first run through the contract details makes no sense. I don’t know what words are anymore. I cry a little, silently, trying to puzzle through the text on these few pieces of paper. I give up and hug my husband, and he is warm and very soft. I love polar fleece. It makes soft hugs softer, and warmer.
I can finally remember how to slow my brain down enough to read each word individually. One at a time, putting the sentences together. I read through the contract carefully, once, twice, making sure I definitely understand what it says. It’s straight-forward. It’s both what I expected a publication agreement to be, and yet so much simpler.
The third page is where I sign. I’m not shaking, so my signature looks exactly like the usual mess it is. I’ve never thought of it as a “real” signature. I’m going to have to practice something more suitable, for signing my books. Somehow, I’ve forgotten the date. I ask my husband, and he laughs gently. He was born in the US, and it’s the Fourth of July. Now we will add to our vague Independence Day celebrations, because it will also be my first publication acceptance anniversary.
I fill in the rest of the details on my contract. I’ve agreed. I’m accepted. As long as everything goes according to plan, I’ll be able to hold a real book in my hands, containing my story, in under a year. Wow.
My short story is called “Harvest”, and will be published in the Dark Prints Press “Surviving the End” post-apocalyptic horror anthology. I’ll keep you all informed with pre-orders and release dates as soon as I know specifics!
I want to thank Dark Prints Press for accepting my submission. I’m looking forward to working with you now, and again down the road.
With even greater thanks to my beta readers/editors. M, T and L. You three made me realise the absolute fullest potential of my story. I’ll be coming to you again soon enough.
And of course, thank you to all my friends, family and new-found internet buddies, who have all shaped me in some way. You are ALL special to me. Thank you for joining me, no matter which part of my journey you hop in on.