Last week, I was sitting in Dr. Steve’s office while he was at lunch, wondering how someone with so much money could have such disgusting, tacky furniture on which to sit. I had my phone next to me on one of the cushion and it started ringing. Ideally the vibration would have scratched a hole into the couch’s fabric and pissed off Steve to high Hell, but no luck.
I looked at the screen. Jon Sternfeld, Secret Agent. He’s actually just my literary agent but I give him a cool title and a picture of masked man stabbing a Cyclops in the heart to make him seem more badass.
Jon and I communicate almost exclusively by email, so this call was unexpected. As I picked up the phone, it hit me:
He did it, he sold my book. That’s why he’s calling and not emailing. I’m going to be a published author. I’m going to be a published author!
Sure enough, the good, almost Cherub-like people at Lyons Press had made an offer to purchase and publish CRAZY (although they weren’t all that happy with the title and asked me to consider alternatives) and, a few days of negotiations later, the deal was done.
So that’s it. Four years of writing, nearly three on this site, hundreds of blog entries, countless essays and posts that were an abomination, literally hundreds of rejections from agents and publishing houses, interviews and conversations with anyone who would listen, all leading up to this moment:
I’m going to be a published author!
I finally caught the White Whale. Granted, one could argue – very cogently, no less – that publishing houses are purely about business and not art, that there is fantastic material on the internet versus a lot of shit in the bookstores, that some pathetic celebrity who is solely famous for her implants or for coming out of the closet is pushed to the front of the line while some talented yet unknown artist is shoved aside. And that sucks, there’s no doubt it’s true. But the reality is that everyone who has ever picked up a pen, or stroked the keys of Microsoft Word, or started a blog or journal, has secretly hoped and wanted for a book deal. That’s the landscape, it’s a validation – albeit a bogus one – from people in the industry that says “your work has merit.” Being on a book shelf isn’t real validation, but it does give people who might not stumble upon your website the opportunity to see what you bring to the table. And today, I thankfully, gratefully and humbly join those ranks.
Now, thank you thank you thank you (note the James Frey mimicry there):
Lyons Press, Jon, Mom, Dad, Jack, Ben, Tucker, PJ, Donika, Jenna, Gina, Becky, everyone at Rudius, Lidia, my “reading group,” Kevin, Paul, Chater, Christopher, the Writing Group, every professor who taught me anything, every client that has walked through the door, all of my friends who read countless blog posts and drafts that were so awful they will never be seen again, every reader who reached out to say hi, every colleague who told me that I would fail and had no business writing about our work, Dr. Gail for making me choose between my job and writing and, of course, you. Getting a non-fiction book published is a business that is based on “is there an established audience?,” so if you’ve read anything on this site (and hopefully wanted to read more), I can’t thank you enough.
For now, smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, and stayed tuned for plenty more, including more posts, sample pieces from the book, material that didn’t make the ‘final cut,’ and lots more. I’m going to get drunk now, so have a nice day.
By the way, does anyone know how to write a book?
P.S. Thank you, Robin. I would have quit years ago if you hadn’t said two very insightful words: don’t quit.