Originally posted: Friday, 18 May 2007
The Saga Continues…
So… where were we? When we last saw our intrepid girl writer, she was about to save the world from cynicism with her sweet romance novel about… no wait, this really is just me, continuing the tale of my own personal road to publication.
I had a publisher who wanted to publish my first novel, a romance entitled The Absentee Heart. They offered me a contract, but I knew nothing about contracts, but to sign on the dotted line. (Actually, there is no dotted line, so I don’t know where that came from – on every contract I’ve seen it is a solid line.)
I knew enough to know that that is what an agent is for, to negotiate contracts. Of course, they do SO much more, as I know now, (I’ll tell you what a really great agent does another day) but THEN I thought that’s all they did.
I found an agent who was willing (read: eager… I had a contract offer, after all) to take me on as a client. She was not located in New York, but claimed to make several trips a year to Manhattan to consult with editors. Even then, as raw and stupid as I was, I knew the object was to use this contract with a small publisher as a springboard to get me in to a larger publishing house, and that was what I planned to use my small house contract for.
So, the negotiations began between my ‘agent’ (read: wannabe faux-agent who sucked me in) and the publisher (read: really nice woman who didn’t have a clue about business). After a while of not hearing from anyone, agent or publisher, I contacted my agent and asked her what was going on. The publisher, she said, was very slow in answering, but things were moving along. Ultimately, the offer was no advance – small publishers usually can’t afford one, and I was so glad just to have a contract, I was over the moon – and a contract that wasn’t terribly restrictive. I was fine with that, and said yes, and received the contract, signed and sent it back.
And I waited. And waited! The publisher was slooooooow. Really, really slow.
And I waited some more!!!!
Eventually, I did get the books. They were coil bound… I know I know – OMG, coil bound???? – and pretty hideous, all in all, but you know what… even your plug-ugliest child is your child. I was over the moon. Until I looked inside.
Well. In some of them, about halfway through, the pages were bound upside down! Yes, upside down. And in others… okay, this is just on the edge of being pathetic but… about halfway through many of them, the book stopped being my book and started being someone else’s! (Okay, who am I kidding, it’s way over the edge of pathetic into laughably sad)
And no, I’m not talking about my style changing, I’m talking about an actual change in whose book was bound in!!! It was one of the other writer’s books. BTW, I’ve always suspected that the ‘other authors’ were incarnations of the publisher, or perhaps her best friends. I think I was it as far as other writers went.
But in truth, it was an experience, and it led somewhere. So, I still consider that company a good time and a fond memory, and I wish the publisher all the best. The owner was – and is – a very nice woman with, and this is in her own estimation, very little business sense.
Next time, how to win friends and influence people in the New York publishing world and become a big, mega star to rival all mega-stars.
Nah, I’m kidding… just more of my story next time.