11th October, 2013
Lots of excitement this week! I got back from that dog walk with which I ended last week's blog to find a box of bound galleys of Veil Of Time waiting at my doorstep. I wasn't expecting them, and I haven't got teary yet about the whole publishing deal, but I have to say that as I lifted the first of sixteen of my books out of the cardboard box, my adam's apple did seem all of a sudden awfully large. The book runs to about 395 pages, and seems quite thick, but then the font isn't small. It's a classy looking book, for all that it is not a hardcover, with the stark black background and the scene of the wilds across the naked back of the girl.
There is nothing like holding in your hand the first copy of your book. As long as you are passing computer files back and forth with your agent and then your editor, and even after you have seen a printed copy, the process still feels a bit like one of those polaraoid instant pictures waiting to take shape in your hand. There is something magical about holding any book you are about to read for the first time, like having a ticket to a fantastical destination in your pocket. But it is all the more sweet when you are the creator. It's a moment of feeling like God. Just a moment. Just a nano second.
The bound galley version is what gets sent out to possible reviewers. It was taken from the script before I made the last editing pass (so not much will change.) I have sent a copy off to Anthony Peake in England because of his interest in the connection between epilepsy and time travel (from a theoretical physicist's point of view) and to local writer Scott Lasser (who has four books by Norton to his name.)
I sat across a table with Scott in the Main St. Bakery a couple of days ago, just as twenty years ago we sat across the table from each other in the local writer's group. We had differences in our literary taste back then and still do, but it was a poignant moment that found two would-be writers transported forward twenty years into their active literary careers. He makes money writing for Hollywood these days. He seems a tad jaded by the publishing business, and maybe I'll feel that way, too, after four books. For now, I'm still cheerfully optimistic and that is my prerogative as a bushy-tailed writer pulling her first bound galley out of its casing. At any rate, I handed Scott my book across the table - he looked through it and went "mmm," and "mmm." He said, "Impressive." His last book was titled, "Say Nice Things About Detroit." I asked him to say nice things about me.
My editor, Abby, is busy on the marketing trail selecting would-be reviewers (or "blurbers" as they say in the industry) mainly from the kind of genres that she thinks the audience is most likely to appreciate - mainly romance or historical fiction. I have taken my hands off that particular juggernaut because I don't have a heavy vehicle license and wouldn't know how to drive one anyway. Meanwhile, my agent is busy finding me blurbers from his agency's stable.
I have to say that this is where traditional publishing really comes into its own from a writer's point of view - I wouldn't know where to start if I were at this stage in self-publishing and needed some endorsements. But then I'm not that enterprising. Like Scott, I will undoubtedly get to the point of complaining about the small revenues a writer manages to squeeze out of a book's profits. But is Hollywood any better? It's not, when you think of the salary of those who write film scripts against those who star in them. This is not a culture that honours creative genius like it does a good song and dance routine. Greece had its sportsmen and we have our pretty faces. Go put on your make-up. Go figure.