I don't know if it's like this for everybody, but as soon as I email my manuscript to my agent, as soon as I hit Send, everything changes. Up until that point, I fantasize about the book release, the cover, an editor who loves it, a publishing house that's backing in. Maybe even a mini tour funded by someone other than myself. Some national buzz and great reviews. Walk past bookstores to see copies displayed in window. An invitation to guest on MPR and WPR. Already wondering if I should do it when the invitation comes, because I'm not good at that kind of thing. Maybe it would be best to decline. And yet... And now I'm already thinking about the questions they will ask, and formulating replies.
Then I hit Send.
In that instant my brain does a 180.
Nobody is going to buy my book. I'm already imagining editors looking at the manuscript with a WTF expression on their faces. I'm imagining emails from my agent with attached rejection letters, her enthusiasm dwindling with each response. Now I'm mentally trying to find a job. Would Burger King hire me? A bar? The casino? A waitress at Wayne's Diner? Or would I be better off to start another book, a different book? What are people buying now? I've had my head buried in this failure for two years and I haven't paid attention.
Oh, reply from my agent.
Reprieve. It looks like the manuscript won't be submitted until January because of the holidays. And now I'm once again imagining the book tour, and the lovely cover, and the glowing reviews.
Where would writers be without their delusions? Would we write at all? It makes me wonder if optimism is just delusion dressed in pretty clothes.