There must be a word that describes how I feel, but I can't seem to find it. Maybe the word doesn't exist in English. Here's the situation: I convinced myself that I didn't need something (because it seemed that it didn't need me), and now it has appeared and told me that it might, indeed, be interested in me. What is this thing? "It" is an agent. I have been sending queries off and on for about two years now, and while there have been a few that expressed interest, most have not. My most recent round of querying was the most disappointing, with rejection after form rejection. It was disheartening enough to encourage me to explore the self-publishing route. As I started the process, the rejections continued to trickle in, and they didn't hurt as badly as the ones that had come before I considered self-publishing as an option. I had the publishing process of my book in my control. I got to design my cover, choose the font, and select the spine color. I started this blog, and wrote about how much I liked self-publishing more than I would have liked going the route of traditional agent-represented publishing.
Well, last night at around 11pm, I checked my e-mail one last time before heading off to bed. There was an e-mail with Re: Query in the subject line. Another rejection, I assumed. I opened the e-mail and was really shocked to read that it was not a rejection. An actual agent, one I had hand-picked as a good match for this book, was interested in seeing the full manuscript. Meredith Barnes of Lowenstein Associates wanted to see more. Now, I know that this is not an offer of representation, but it could lead to that.
What is it called when you convince yourself that you don't want something because you can't get it, and then it becomes possible and you aren't sure if you really don't want it or if you were just consoling yourself because you couldn't get it? If there is not a word for that, there should be.
And that is how I feel right now. I feel ambivalent. I admit that I have thoroughly enjoyed parts of the self-publishing experience. I am putting a lot of effort into promoting my book, and I think that I will ultimately reach the correct audience for it. But when it comes to getting it into actual bookstores, I am more helpless, especially given that my book is in English and I don't live in an English-speaking country. I don't have a big publisher on my side, helping out with its connections and glossy promotional materials. I don't have many connections in the foreign-rights department, even though I think my book would do really well in translation, particularly in Turkey and in parts of Europe with lots of Turkish immigrants (Germany, Austria, etc...).
I'm going to write back to Ms. Barnes and send my manuscript, per her request. But I will also tell her that I'm on the eve of the official release of my book - I have a large list of addresses to which I'll send my press release as soon as the e-book appears on Apple iBooks. (Dear Apple, if you're listening, you shouldn't bother allowing self-publishing if you make it so darn difficult for us to upload our content. We own two apple computers but they are too old, in your opinion, to let me upload my content. So my dear brother is tearing his hair out trying to do it for me on his newer Apple. I'm not sure that is going to create user loyalty.) Ms. Barnes may immediately lose interest in my manuscript, once I've told her that I have self-published it. If she does, I guess I'll have to continue trying to convince myself that self-publishing is what I really want...