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The Best Bet I Ever Lost

Eighteen months ago, I sat down and started writing my first novel. With no idea of what I was doing, I put my fingers on the keyboard, and suddenly, the blank screen filled with words. And then, another screen filled up and so on and so forth until three months later, I completed the manuscript.

While I worked on the subsequent phases of that manuscript, I put pen to paper and wrote another manuscript in eight weeks. The words poured out. With two completed manuscripts, I juggled revisions, rewrites, editing, and started the querying process to find an agent.

You see, if you want to submit to certain publishing houses, they require an agent to represent your work. Like all aspiring authors, I wanted to sell my manuscript to one of those publishers, so I sent query letter after query letter to prospective agents. And if you’ve been following my journey to publication, then you know how many rejections I received and how long it took me to find one. But what you don’t know is what transpired two weeks before finding an agent.

Often while querying, I’d fall into a funk, convinced I’d never find representation. I mean, after so many rejections, how can one not feel that way? One night I was in said funk and my guy said to me, “I bet you a thousand dollars that you’ll find an agent before…” I jumped in and said, “November,” because that’d be one year since I’d started querying. He agreed. He had such faith in me and my work that he was willing to bet on it. I was so down in the dumps that I was convinced I’d win that bet.

Two weeks later, I received my offer of representation. Two weeks. Oh, the irony. My guy looked at me and said, “I take Venmo, Zelle, Paypal, and Apple Pay.” What could I do but laugh as I stroked a check? I’m not a welsher––a bet’s a bet, and that’s one I was more than happy to lose! And I opted for a paper check because it now hangs in my office as a reminder of his faith in me and as a memento of clearing the next hurdle on my journey to publication.

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