20th January 2013
I have been writing this blog weekly for almost exactly a year now, sometimes with more readers, sometimes with fewer. I started it just after I signed a contract with Simon and Schuster to publish my book (within eighteen months, so they are pushing the envelpoe a little here.) The idea was to track the book's progress through the system, marking significant points. A year later, and the book has got through the editor's office and is now into production. I haven't heard from anyone in that department. My editor, Abby, says that office looks like air traffic control and she doesn't want to pressure them but I should be hearing from them within the month. I think she said that about a month ago.
What I have learned in this year-long process is to take deadlines with that metaphoric pinch of salt. To departments in a large publishing house, one book must seem much the same as another. They have a list before them, and they go down it book by book. So mine is in the line-up somewhere, chugging along like the little engine that could. I have sort of lost track of what's up next - I think we're through line-editing and onto prooof reading, but there may be another level of editing I've forgotten about. Once we get through that and into things like cover-art, it will get more interesting. But forgive me if I snore off in the meantime.
People ask me in endless rotation, "So how's the book coming along?" and I know they must wonder at my blank look. "But it's so exciting," they say. And, yes, it is exciting, but, like buying tickets to see your favourite star, you lose sight of the goal a bit when you've been standing in line for a year. I've stood in line for tickets where the queue ran out of the building and back around the block. I probably haven't stood in line anywhere for more than two hours, but the time always seems interminable. Anyway, opint is, you lose a little enthusiasm along the way.
I have no doubt that as we approach my publishing date (the exact one I have not been told yet), I'll be waking up in the night with butterflies doing flips in my stomach, just as when you finally get close enough to that box office it's time to take out your wallet and pay for the much-anticipated tickets. But day to day, the answer to "What's happening with your book?" seems to be "Not much."
People look back at me quizically. "You don't even know your publication date?" "Why aren't you more excited?" "Are you making this whole thing up?"
Maybe I am. Maybe publication is all in my head, something I simply dreamed up. Except for the odd note from my editor, I might thing it was.
The answer to when my book is coming out is "Last I heard, September," which seems like a bleedin' life time away. Eventually things will start to heat up, but not before I have made quite a few more blog entries. I'm sorry it's boring. It's out of my control. It could drive a writer to distraction, and maybe that's why we move on to different projects in the meantime. It's an act of sanity. In my case, I might have a sequel ready to go before the first one sees light of day. I might. I am enjoying this free floating space of zero pressure to write it in.
The really good news is that the little engine that could eventually does. At some point we will pull out of the station again and be on the go. In the meantime, I'll keep you posted.