February 10th 2013
This is the Year of the Snake, and I am a Pig (well, I like to say Boar, because that fits in with the Pictish stone carvings in my novel and in with the place where I grew up in Scotland.) I was looking at my astrological forecast for the Year of the Snake, and it said that I should lie low this year and put off any big ventures for a year. So, I called up my agent and my editor immediately and said, "Look, you have to pull all the strings you can so that I can put this publishing thing off until 2014. Next year, the Year of the Horse, is going to be much more compatible with launching my career, because the horse likes to be in the limelight, unlike the snake who has sneaky energy and likes to work behind the scenes. The Year of the Snake has to do with steady progress and attention to detail, so, please, in my best interests, could we wait and not publish until next year?"
My agent said he didn't think they could do that - I mean, there are all those potential readers out there, waiting for September so that they can read this book. At my insistence he broke down and talked to my editor at Simon and Schuster, and with much reluctance, they took a look at their 2014 calendar and said, "Okay. We will put Claire McDougall's book on the March 1st slot. But tell her this is the last time we are going to do this."
Because I spend my time dreaming up fiction, this is the way I cope with devastating news. It's a way of thinking of March 1, 2014 and not crying, because it is an entire bleedin' year from now. Do you want the truth? Then here it is: I e-mailed my editor this week and asked if she could give me a firm publishing date, in September like she said. Her e-mail came right back. It said my firm publishing date is March 1st 2014, the year of the horse. (She didn't mention the horse. I put that in.) I admit I cried. I admit I whisked off an e-mail to my agent which said, "Can they really do this?" Unfortunately they can. My agent said, "I'll talk to them." He did. The publishing date it still March 1st, but he said he talked them into something to my advantage, the details of which he couldn't give me because Hurricane Nemo was banging at his door and he had to run from his office in fear of his life. (He really did! I'm not making that part up. Well, he wasn't in fear of his life, but he was anxious to get home.) Point is, whatever sweetness he hath garnered for me from this debacle, I will not know until he has dug his office out from under piles of snow. Alas, cruel fate!
Tune in next week for an exciting update.
In the meantime, I am still in denial. Just yesterday someone asked me when the book was coming out (as they always do) and I told them September. People are going to think I am making this up. Just to give you a time-line to put all this in perspective. I signed a contract with my agent in July 2009. It wasn't for this book, but that's how long he has been trying to get me in print. I signed a contract with Simon and Schuster for this book in March 5, 2012. So it will be almost exactly two years before the book is published. As I pointed out to my agent, the contract says they are supposed to get the book out within eighteen months, but, as he pointed out, the clock doesn't start until my final manuscript is actually "accepted." This means the point in time when my editor handed my manuscript off to "production," which was October of this year. This is all news to me.
All I am saying is that things had better start moving a bit faster soon. All I am saying is that this business is not for the faint of heart. Writing your book is the easy part. You have to hope there is a bigger plan at play here. That's all you can do.