Monday, November 23, 2009

At last, an update on my book

I love to write. As a child I wrote with abandon, without fear or insecurities nagging at me. Yet, once I hit college, I stopped writing. I thought about writing a lot, but actually putting pen to paper just didn't happen. Fear, instead, took over. How could I presume to ever see my book in print when there were so many writers out there trying to make it? I began getting books on "how to write" and "get published quick" and reading them cover to cover. I browsed the "Writer's digest guides" and "Writer's Market" and then stuck them back on the shelf. I fancied myself a writer yet I stopped writing altogether. I became a teacher, and then I went to law school. You would be surprised with how many published authors are also lawyers. I think law school is the safe choice for people who love the written word but are afraid to take a risk.

Despite different career paths and different hobbies, the desire to write stayed with me. I wrote about my frustration and then one day, I wrote about how inspiration struck in 2007. Suddenly I saw the girl who wanted me to write about her. Some writers say this happens, you just suddenly see a character and they lead you down their path. I felt like a journalist at first taking in the facts of her life and then slowly more visualization came in and I kept writing. I had to push out my fears of getting published, and failure and just write because writing felt so natural and good and the public recognition of it ceased to matter. My story mattered and even if it only was read by me, it was worth it.

After many revisions, and edits, whole hearted red X's across the white pages, a kind author, family and good friends who agreed to read and felt brave enough to give me honesty, I was done. Being done, it became time once again to face my fears. I had to take this writing that I slaved over for years and finally put it out into the world where people would not cradle it as gently as I had or spare my feelings perhaps as my friends might have as they read it. I wrote about my fear, a lot.

I sat with my manuscript, afraid to send it out into the world for some time. The odds sucked. I would likely get enough rejections to paper the walls of my house. Did I need to feel that pain? I read somewhere 500,000 writers try each year and only a few hundred succeed. Who did I think I was?

After some time in limbo land debating whether to make a healthy bonfire and toss my manuscript in, I decided I had to try. Yes daydreams are comforting because in your dreams you succeed, I knew I had to walk down the road and find if my dream was just an illusion or something that could truly be. So I looked my fear in the eye and I leapt. If I failed, at least I would know to put this dream to rest.

In May, I went to the bookstore and looked up authors who write in my genre and found out that most of them had one agent in common. I looked up the agency, they accepted unsolicited work. But- this is the same agency that represents Amy Tan and Lisa See. I knew my odds were slim to none but what did I have to lose? I sent my submission in on October 16. Then I sent in some to a few other agencies. I had a list of 100 and my plan was to tick them off one by one, and at first as I began getting rejections my heart sank as I pictured crossing of number 100.

And then, I got a request from my dream agency. They wanted to read my full manuscript. And then, just this week I got the e-mail:

They love my book. They want to represent me.

So in the most long winded way I know how, this post is to tell you that a dream I've harbored since a child just might be coming true. The Sand.ra Di.jk.stra Literary Agency believes they can sell my book.

The process is far from over. I still have to revise the manuscript once more, it has to be submitted to publishing houses, and someone has to like it enough to buy it, so I still have a ways to go before my book is something you will see in bookstores, but, there is a chance, there is an ever growing flame of hope that my dream will come true.

There once was a time I wrote a lot more on this blog and had a lot more readers. I can't be sure who reads now but I know some of you have been here for a very long time and have been there to support me as I wrote about my fears and hopes about my dream of writing. Thank you to you guys, y'all reading these meager words on the screen and responding and caring went a long way in boosting my confidence.

31 comments:

adnan. said...

congrats! =D

rehtwo said...

Congratulations! That is so exciting. I hope to be able to one day buy your book and secretly gloat that I "met" you through the Internet way back when. :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations!!!

Shawna said...

Subhan'Allah! AMAZING! I'm very inspired by your persistence, courage and success!

pixie said...

I'm so excited for you!!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait to read your book!!!!:) Woo-hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Aisha said...

WOW, you guys are all still here!!! *hugs**

Thanks SOOO much. I appreciate you guys and your warm comments more than you'll know.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Aisha! I can't wait to read your book Inshallah.

--Rasha

Me said...

Congrats! Very inspiring :)

pjf said...

congratulations!!! what a wonderful achievement, on paper and in your heart...to overcome all the 2nd thoughts and finally see your dream come true!

Anisa said...

Oh my goodness! That is amazing. Congratulations!!!

Anonymous said...

w00t!

Anonymous said...

Oh.my.god! I'm so, SO happy for you! Many, many mubaraks!! Don't forget us little people when you hit the big time ;) Cannot wait to read it when it comes out, iA!
Congrats again, Aisha - you followed your dream and it came true - how many ppl can say that?

Ash

Ben said...

Aisha -

Congrats on getting over the hurdle! Your words today touched me more than I can express. I too have bottled up the "I am a writer" in that I don't even mention it anymore. Getting over the fear has been incredibly difficult and I'm glad to see someone persevere.

I cannot wait to read your book someday. Keep us posted on the publishing date! :D

rickshawdiaries said...

Congratulations Aishajan!

You are an inspiration for following your dream and I am so proud of you! :)

Love ya,
Baraka

mystic said...

Kiya baat hai....dil khush ho gaya

BEST EID MUBARAK.....

Anonymous said...

Wow. That is really incredible, and you have a right to be very proud. Good luck and I can't wait to read your book!

Abdusalaam al-Hindi said...

I'm really happy for you Aisha. Congratulations.

I'm even happier to realize that I was able to recognize a good writer when I saw one.

I know I don't comment much on your blog. But know that I regularly visit your blog since that fateful day I stumbled upon it many moons ago.

Your story has become a source of inspiration for me.

Hope to read your book when it's out. However, I doubt it'll be available here in India.

Good luck and hope you sell a million copies.

Abdu
( http://abdusalaam.blogspot.com )

Safiyyah said...

Salaams Aisha:

Mabrook! And Eid Mubarak!

Summer said...

Awesome!! I am so excited for you!!

yasmine said...

o mein gott! with ALL-CAPS and multiple exclamation points!!!!!!! it's past midnight here and i thought i was half-asleep, but your post has propelled me out of my drowsy state. SO EXCITED for you! congratulations on this amazing milestone, you rockstar. i'm so proud of you, and can't wait to hear more about this journey of yours. please do keep us updated!

also: SMASHING HIGHFIVES!

PS: love this part --

I had to push out my fears of getting published, and failure and just write because writing felt so natural and good and the public recognition of it ceased to matter. My story mattered and even if it only was read by me, it was worth it.

beautiful.

Zarah said...

Congrats!! And let us know when the book will be availble on amazon.. and if I got a signature on it from you, that would be even better! :-)

deepbluesea said...

WOW mA that's amazing news, congrats! iA it will all go well. i cannot wait to read your book when it comes out :D

'liya said...

Congrats, that's so awesome!! :D

s.zakiahasan said...

I have the same feeling as you, right now.feeling fear to get people read what i'm writing.how to overcome that,aisha?i know it seems like natural strenght that came out naturally from you.What a success that you've done.i only once read your blog,and from that i knew you might the same people who has same character as mine. Congrats!

tfl said...

That is so awesome! Congratulations!!

zak said...

hi aisha dunno if you remember me ..but congrats and Eid greetings!

cindy said...

congratulations! this is great news. thanks for sharing.

Maleeha said...

Wow Aisha, fantastic! So proud of you!

Sharon said...

You made a plan and went for it. Congratulations! I came over from "A Writer's Diary."

Amen said...

Oh Aisha Appi, I didn't read this post earlier, but I'm so so so proud of you. You know that I already think that you're the best thing to hit the planet after sliced bread (seriously, I tell all my friends about my cousin that rocks the world to pieces) and now I'm just SO happy for you. SO SO SO happy. Congratulations times a million. I believed in you and I still know that Allah will make a road to fulfilling your dreams. I love you!

Toi said...

OMGosh! Congratulations! I knew you could do it! I CANNOT wait to read it. Let me know when the release party is:-). Toi

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