The contracts for my book deal dropped through the letterbox yesterday morning. I remained completely grown-up about this epic moment, and didn't tear the envelope open and read avidly for half an hour before signing and posting back to LBA immediately. First Class. Recorded.
It's probably the first time since the auction that everything's actually felt 'real'. After so many years of working toward this very goal, now that it's actually happened things have sometimes felt a bit dream-like, as though I've been mistaken for someone else. This always happens to the 'other guy', in the newspaper or on television, not me. What's best about it though is that the contract detailed not just all the stuff that all new authors want to read about, like how much of the advance will be forthcoming, what the royalties are etc, but gave a defined timeline of delivery dates and publication dates and so on. For the first time since September, I now have a realistic mental idea of how much work I have to do, where I should do it, and how to go about planning my next two years.
The deal I signed was for three books: "Covenant", "Elixir" and "Event-Horizon" ( the last two being working titles ). The reason I feel really happy about it all is that I'm now technically employed again, this time as a 'professional' author ( ish ) and have a bright future ahead that will hopefully involve more contracts just like this one.
It's a huge relief, and comforting to know that I can do the work within the contractual deadlines. No more distractions, no more squeezing in an hour after work or not going out with mates because I feel bad about not quite having finished that final chapter yet. Now it's full steam ahead, full-time, and I can't wait to get started.
For all those aspiring writers reading these posts, who think it always happens to 'the other guy', keep hacking away at it. It took me 15 years to get from where I started to my first deal. Those who make it through aren't necessarily the best - they're the ones who didn't quit.