s o me b o d y h a s s e e n i t.
and we just Happened to have called them (such are the mysterious and delicious ways of Serendipity) and they whispered that they had a copy on their desk.
(they were near the Warehouse when the Shipment came in, ready to be sent, in large boxes we hope – apart from the kindle editions which will go wrapped in virtual-tissue-paper-with-japanese-sequins we are convinced)
and this is what they said.
“it’s really beautiful.”
did you hear that?
we were meant to be a grown-up at that point in the Telephone call but we had to pause as If we were thinking about something Useful for a future Point to be Made but actually we had to put a hand over the receiver (yes, it was the Princess Phone) and make sure our tears did not tumble over eyelashes and onto the laptop.
“it’s really beautiful.”
so it’s Real.
it now exists.
it has been an idea, a manuscript, a annotated mock-up, a pitch copy, a word doc with different iterations of edit notes from our Publisher in Manhattan (such a lovely phrase) and a package-to-be-sold (elegantly) by our Agent and now, well, now, it’s Real.
which means we are Almost an Author.
and there have been various reactions to this imminent event.
those have made us cross.
but (said Very Brightly) all is not lost.
because we can Write about it Here.
let’s go back a tiny bit.
it’s one of our Most popular (and shared widely on the “social graph” as the MBAs opine which just means “a lot of people liked it and sent the link to their nice friends via tweets, facebook wall-thingies and old-fashioned-but-still-very-effective-Email and also through Google+ – especially if they live in Berlin or San Francisco and perhaps even an emoticon-over-the-top dashed off Instant Message or two – it has happened)
so we thought we’d do a Follow-Up and see if this amuses/helps too.
What Not To Say When Someone You Know Has A Book Deal (our answers interspersed so when this happens to you, you’ll have a riposte or two)
1. oh! really? (confused slightly angry pained stomach look) – I had no idea you wrote.
[this means, “I write. You were a Suit.”]
2. oh! really? how did YOU get a book deal?
[depending on the time you want to spend with this person, you could do the short version: “I wrote one.” or the longer exposition: “I blogged everyday, had a story to tell, took all the photographs, went through the surgery, and medical leave, kept writing, mocked up a book using blurb.com, sent out MANY letters to agents, had lunch, took people to lunch, was taken to lunch, accepted all introductions humbly and showed up with hair brushed and chapstick applied, sent thank you notes, finished it, polished it, started a blog to promote it, found an audience, had it nicely typed with double spacing and a cover letter with marketing materials and plot lines and prospective audience segments and competitive set and requisite sales figures of similar books, kept writing, got signed by an agent, did ALL the revisions she suggested without complaining, kept writing, more revisions, let my agent do her job and didn’t pester her during the sales process, squealed on the street in manhattan when she left a darling message saying I had a book deal, sent her white roses to say thank you, met with the Publisher again, did LOTS of revisions, took more photographs as requested, more revisions and fact checking, kept writing, was patient, sent out 500 – yes – 500 – personal notes to people on a postcard with a cover of the book to ask them if they’d like to see a press copy or just to say thank you to them for inspiring me – including ALL Librarians who have helped us to a great education, kept writing, did more revisions, final fact checking, showed up whenever asked for press meetings, wrote articles to promote the book, didn’t complain, ever, kept writing, more thank you notes – that’s it, basically, that’s how we did it. Any questions?”]
3. will it be available in the shops?
[translation: did you really find a Real Publisher who ships to actual stores?]
4. when is it coming out? (we liked this one particularly when they professed to have enjoyed our 60 second promo video which clearly states the launch date but at the end so perhaps they never got that far)
[as much as we were DYING to bust them on not having watched the promo, we didn’t. “Feb 18th” was our only answer and “Yes, very excited.” *sighs*]
5. I have a manuscript. Well, not really a manuscript. I mean it’s not Finished. But I’ve sketched out a few ideas for a chapter or two. Just the final chapter really. I mean I know how it ends but not, you know, the Actual story………………..would you read it/send it to your agent/edit it for free?
[I’m not a literary agent. Or a publisher. And definitely not an Editor. So – When you’ve finished it, polished it, started a blog to promote it, found an audience, have it nicely typed with double spacing and a cover letter with marketing materials and plot lines and prospective audience segments and competitive set and requisite sales figures of similar books – sure, I’ll ask my agent if she wants to read it.]
6. I thought you had a proper job.
[translation: I’d love to leave my job but I’m terrified. How dare you do it and prove it’s possible.]
7. Bet you miss that salary in Manhattan. It’s not like anyone can actually make a living from writing anymore.
[actually we are.]
8. Oh. Yeah, I heard that you had a book or something. Send us a copy.
[translation: I’m not going to spend money buying your book. I’m far too important.]
9. But you’re still consulting, right? Just to be safe?
[translation: I hate my job. I hate that you love your life. How dare you.]
10. are you still writing that little blog? you did seem to enjoy writing it.
[no response. d e l e t e.]
11. Oh. is it only in American? I suppose it won’t get translated into other languages unless it really is something that sells extremely well.
[no response. but last time we checked the American domestic market with international sales was pretty healthy.]
Oh that felt SO GOOD!
wish we’d been honest years ago.
but there again we might not have needed a 5 and a half hour surgery to remove tumo(u)rs from our throat if we had been, like, Totally Honest all these years.
in other news.
while we wait for a preview copy of our own book *blush*, we sit in wonderment with Ms. Janet Flanner who makes for Extremely Entertaining company.
also reading the Tales of another extraordinarily Adventurous writer. more on Annemarie Schwarzenbach soon’ish.
talking of PARIS (which we always are when we mention Madame Spanier), we’ve been trying to Track people that we used to know whom we spent time with in Paris but to no avail, as yet.
we can hear their voice as a clear as a bell when somehow, someone tells them, that who-we-are-in-RL has a Book coming Out.
much twinkling will ensue.
and we think of our adventures that have taken us to other Continents and worlds beyond our knowledge thanks to that fancy job in Manhattan (and our own strangely compelling personality that Likes to Explore and Ask Lots of Questions).
a question we’ve been getting lately is: “are you having a book launch?”
and the answer is No.
for several reasons:
1. book launches are from the days before the Interweb when you needed a “Splash” in the Papers from all the book reviewers lurking in the dark corners of your Party with the cheap plonk and dodgy appetizers.
2. book launches are for photographs (and you know we’re not Awfully keen on being photographed).
we take a little time to admire our prior personality with the much-longer-name which used to appear in magazines in the *gulps* mid-90s (this is the cover story of Punch if you were peering closely and wondered).
and we’ve met many a shy talented person to interview them in our former life (this is the wonderful Mr. David Sims)
and then there’s You.
which is why we have a book at all.
because if we hadn’t stayed here – especially with our Throat bound post-surgery when we could-not-talk – and Told You what it was like to go through it all and come out the other side – we might have Put it Behind Us (which it what an Awful lot of people told us to do) and then, well, then, we’d never have had the confidence to keep going and Write a Book.
so we’ll keep writing.
because you are here.
and we can have a launch party of our very own.
thank you for listening.