There is something gratifying about hitting the send button for your first book proposal--and terrifying too.
It reminds me of Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones movie when he takes a step across the canyon--he has to step before he can see or feel the bridge beneath him.
How will you know when you should hit the send button?
First: pray, pray, and pray some more.
Any potential great success--or failure--will need God's guiding will and presence on your journey. I had this proposal nearly finished three months after I was invited to send it, but God said--wait. So, I have been waiting. And that was nine months ago!
Second: work while you wait.
Network. Critique. Read other's works that you love. Edit your work. Start your next novel. Keep working, keep honing your craft. Go to a conference. Learn to take criticism well.
Third: develop an attitude that finishing your first novel is a lofty goal, but not so amazing that everyone will notice--so get over yourself.
Many people tell me they've dreamed of writing a book; dreaming isn't hard work. But the number of people who actually write a first book--now that's certainly an accomplishment. But it's really only a personal goal. It's when you keep writing after that, and keep writing, and keep writing--that you know you write to have a voice and to tell a story for the sake of Truth.
I was working on plotting my book two when I overheard a line from the series Castle while the kids were watching T.V. in the next room. It gave me pause. Castle says to another writer who'd just boasted about the completion of his first novel: "Yeah, I wrote a book. Then I shut up about it and wrote twenty-five more."
Fourth: keep praying. Once you hit send, it's in God's hands.
When the Prayer of Jabez came out and I read that line about asking God to increase my territory, I confess--I told God I didn't need my territory increased--I had enough on my plate already. It was fear that made me tell God that. I continually feel that tension. It's God who manages the territory, not me--but it's still me who walks in my territory, touching lives that intersect with mine. I am literally terrified of success. I thought after I hit send, that a rejection would be easier than success. The most releasing thing about hitting the send button was imagining I'd sent the email to God and not to the Senior Acquisitions Editor at a big publishing house.
So: Let go, and let God.
I'm trying to get out of my own way.