Saturday, June 29, 2013

It's official (almost!)

OK, backstory. I've been saving this title card from Girl Shy for a long time now. Like, about three years. That's how long I've been trying to get a deal for my novel about Harold Lloyd, The Glass Character.

Three years, when it took me a year and a half to write.

The trudge through this wilderness of hopeless hope was in stark contrast to the unmitigated pleasure of writing about him. The Glass Character isn't a Lloyd bio, nor is it even written in HL's voice (which would have been impossible, I think). Third person was too impersonal. So I found myself writing in the voice of Muriel Ashford, a young Hollywood hopeful completely obsessed with the idea of meeting her idol, Harold Lloyd.

The two intertwine, smack together and pull apart. Their lives bisect, then whirl in opposite directions. Some editors felt a little cheated. "Hey, I thought this book was about Harold Lloyd!" So who's this chick? But there was no other way for me to write ABOUT him than to write AROUND him, through the eyes of the obsessed and adoring.

So! At long last, Thistledown Press, a respected Canadian literary publisher, said YES to The Glass Character, and now comes another challenge (or series of challenges): to prepare the book for publication in the spring of 2014.

You'd be thinking I'd be jumping up and down by now, but I'm mostly tired and relieved. The next part will be a lot of hard work. I've done this twice already, and though the first experience was enjoyable and fulfilling, the second one was pure hell, a nightmare of miscommunication (when there was any communication at all) and abandonment by those who were supposed to be on my side.

I already have scads of ideas, and will have to come up with a lot more, as to how to get word out on this one. The old-fashioned book tour has become something of an anachronism, and it's not hard to see why. I used to wonder why it was worth it to fly five hours to Toronto on your own dime, stay in a hotel on your own dime, go to a 45-minute reading at a book store that you had to arrange yourself, and then sell maybe ten copies (before flying home on your own dime). Every writer has a heartbreak story about giving a reading and having practically no one show up (as if our egos need to be assaulted any further: and why are writers always described as having "fragile" egos, when enduring such humiliation takes so much strength of character?).

So I will have to use the internet in all sorts of ways, to try to contact all sorts of people It vexes me, always has vexed me, that people incessantly say "it's who you know" and "you need to make the right contacts", when all the contacts I've ever made, no matter how spectacular, always end up saying to me, "Well, best of luck with this!" before showing me to the door.

Maybe I don't wag my ass enough, maybe I'm not bold enough, but being treated like a pest is humiliating and yet another assault to the ego. 

Never mind, it's a YES!, the other side of rejection. For a long time I had these two title cards printed out and kept them back-to-back in a page protector, keeping the "do you call that thing a book?" side facing outwards and hoping that some day I could flip it over to the glorious "YES!"

So I finally flipped! Wish me luck. (And the "almost" refers to details still being worked out. Watch this space for more.)