From the beginning, I knew I would submit my book to Ylva, a lesbian publisher based in Germany. My friend encouraged me to shop around for the “best deal,” but I had solid reasons for my loyalty.
- Ylva publishes my favorite lesbian romance novels.
- The submission process is easy and accessible to all.
- I wouldn’t have to do stressful research on alternative publishers or “book agents.”
So I typed up the submission, created and then discarded a bunch of overachieving “extra” materials (including a cringey PowerPoint presentation about the book… what was I thinking), and finally hit send.
After a few weeks, I heard back from the CEO, Astrid Ohletz. She asked to speak over Skype and said (this is a direct quote), “I have a few questions I would like to discuss.”
Cue epic, flailing freakout. Holy shit, I’m actually talking to Ylva. This is probably a good sign. But what in gods name are these questions, and what if I get them wrong???
A top student for 27 years, I knew what to do. I needed to think of every possible question and prepare perfect answers in advance. Pacing the living room, I enlisted my wife to help.
“Imagine that you’re a publisher. What would you want to know?”
Wife: “Uhhh, maybe she’ll want to know what inspired you.”
“She’s not going to ask that! You’re terrible at this.”
After an evening of frantic brainstorming, a new thought occurred. “What if she says, I’m interested in your book… but first, can you name ten facts about Germany?”
We started with “It’s in Europe,” and a few minutes later we arrived at number ten: Heidi Klum is from there. We didn’t check our phones once. I raised my arms in triumph. I was ready.