Let me tell you a story.
There was once a teenager, and they wanted to be published so badly. They wrote a book for NaNoWriMo in 2009, about a girl and a violin. That book didn’t get published (maybe someday!) but the teen knew then they wanted to write.
Fast forward to 2015: that book got them their agent. And they thought, surely now. Surely now is going to be the time I become a published author.
But it didn’t happen. The book didn’t sell, and the writer parted ways with their agent, and seriously thought about giving up. They made revisions on a new that had been suggested, but those revisions felt like pulling teeth, and after six months, they decided to not change their book. Their book about a grieving cross-country runner whose secret girlfriend died, unable to mourn because no one around her knew that they were together.
The book was fine the way it was, they thought. And it was time to get a new agent.
So they queried. And in May 2018, they ended up represented by Eric Smith at P.S. Literary. And the book they’d affectionately taken to calling #sadbibook went out on submission.
By this time, I was in my twenties. I’d been around publishing for about five years. I’d been on sub before. I’d gone to acquisitions before. Nothing had ever panned out, and I was seriously starting to think I would never be published, that it just wasn’t going to happen for me. I came close to giving up.
And then. Then Eric called me and told me someone wanted to publish my book. A small house. I was stoked, and we notified everyone else.
And then he called me a week later. HarperCollins wanted to publish my book. My quiet book about a grieving, closeted girl. A book I’d almost given up on.
This moment has felt like a really long time coming. It’s a moment I honestly thought would almost never happen. The response has been overwhelming, the love and support from the publishing community has absolutely floored me.
I wish I could tell that teen in 2009, and 2010, and all the years in between now, to just wait. To be patient. Because great things are coming. Because there is going to be a time you’ll have more queer lit to read than you know what to do with. There’s a time, not long in the future, where your book is going to be on shelves. Where people are going to want to read it, and celebrate its release with you. That even if you may want to give up, your friends and family and agent and loved ones aren’t going to let you.
All you have to do is keep going.