[Editor’s note: Krista Richmond is the online engagement manager for United Way of Acadiana and the author of the soon-to-be published novel Spotlight. Join us each Monday for a glimpse at her journey from the first draft to the bookshelf and read the story behind the story. Spotlight’s official release date is May 22.]
My life during the last few years can be summed up in 103,000 words.
The funny thing is that I didn’t set out to write a novel. I simply wanted to write down some of the crazy experiences I’ve had as both a fan and a journalist. But the more I wrote, the more a story started to take shape. At some point, it became less about me and more about what I wanted to say.
Spotlight is a look at media coverage of celebrities from a journalist’s point of view. It’s also a look at fandoms and how they impact entertainment journalism. Both of those things are important to me. I want people to know that every entertainment journalist isn’t a paparazzo hiding in bushes to get the best possible shot at the worst possible moment. I want people to know that every member of a fandom isn’t a stalker trying to find a way to sneak past security.
And as scary as it is for me, I want people to read Daniel, Lily and Nate’s story.
When I typed the last period at the end of the last sentence of my manuscript, I had absolutely no idea what to do next.
Do I query literary agents?
Do I send it out to publishing companies?
Do I save myself the heartache and not do anything at all?
What I did know is that it needed an editor. So, I settled for reading through it for all those typos and wrong words that happen when your brain works faster than your fingers while I looked for one.
What happened during that search wasn’t what I expected at all.
Last spring, I finished my fourth or fifth (or 693,837th) read-through of the manuscript and decided to scroll through my Facebook News Feed. A friend of mine had posted a few minutes before that she’d finished the last round of edits on her second novel. I was thrilled for her, of course, and liked her status and clicked to comment on it. I think I said something along the lines of … “That’s awesome! I’m still looking for someone to help me start editing mine - LOL!” It was an offhand comment, and I didn’t think much about it.
A few hours later, I opened my Facebook app and saw that someone else had commented on her post and tagged me. Naturally, I was curious, so I clicked on it. My friend’s editor had replied and mentioned that she also did freelance editing and that we should talk.
So, we exchanged email addresses and began discussing timelines and prices and all sorts of other details. But one afternoon, I got a message from her that changed everything.
She wanted to know if I would be okay with her passing along my synopsis and first three chapters to the publishing company.
It took me 0.000028 seconds to respond and say yes … because who says no to an opportunity like that?!
She responded within a few minutes and said, “Good … because I already did, and they want it.”
And I stared at that message on my computer until my screensaver came on.
The next few weeks were a blur of contracts and legal terms. But – as my friends and family will tell you – I struggled with signing. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking, “This is too … easy. What about the countless rejection letters and sleepless nights wondering if anyone will ever want to read my work I’m supposed to have?” It all felt a little too good to be true. But my very wise and amazing friends and family continue to remind me that it’s not too good to be true … it’s meant to be.
When I began writing what would become Spotlight almost seven years ago, I didn’t know what an incredible journey I was starting. But signing the contract and sending off the manuscript … that was just the beginning.