Saturday, September 06, 2014

How To Come Up With An Idea, Turn It Into A Novel, Find A Publisher, And End Up With A Bestseller, in 437 Easy Steps.

So I have a publisher.

My publisher is Golden Fleece Press, home of exemplary, amazing stories, and apparently I have written a story that is exemplary, or amazing, or perhaps both.

Golden Fleece has only just accepted the book I wrote for publication; so far I've signed my name twice and that is the full extent of my venturing into the life of an author working with an actual publisher rather than indie authoring, but that is a pretty big step for a guy like me, who has been writing stuff for 10+ years now and had given up on sending things to publishers until I wrote this exemplary, amazing story, and decided that I would send it to some other people -- publishers are people, right? -- before I published it myself.

How I came up with the story, and why I sent it out that way, and why Golden Fleece accepted it, and what happens now are, I think, suitable for their own story, and so I decided to tell that story, too, and I will do so as I go along, beginning at the beginning and eventually getting caught up to wherever I am in the story when I get caught up to where I will be in the story at that point.

My book, the one Golden Fleece somehow was conned into deciding to publish, is called (right now, maybe they'll change the title, I wonder if they'll change the title?) Find Out Who You Are.  It is a stunning work of science fiction in the manner of Philip K. Dick, or so my email to various publishers and agents claimed, and you can tell that I am someone who loves Philip K. Dick stories because I am never quite sure how to spell his name and always have to google it to remind myself whether there is one l or two in "Philip."  (There's one.)(In case you didn't go back and count.)  That is why America, which would do well to listen to all my ideas, should listen to one particular idea, the idea that people can name themselves whatever they want but there has to be only one way to spell any given name.  People (me) shouldn't have to double-check how to spell the names of the author's whose coattails they are trying to ride.

Although, to be fair, apparently Philip K. Dick spells his name the way most people named Philip spell their names, as I just went and googled "Phillip" with two ls and it turns out that not many people spell their first name that way, judging by the three or four results I viewed on the first page of google results. There was a guy named "Philip Phillips" whose Twitter account showed up there but I kind of figure that's a fake name and in fact it seemed so fake to me, so ridiculously fake, that I decided I instantly disliked not only "Philip Phillips" but anyone who's ever run into him.

I first wrote Find Out Who You Are back in January, of this year -- 2014, I should note, in case I leave this post up for a couple of years and you are just finding it now, which, if that is the case, how is the future?  Have I kept most of my hair? Are they still coming up with ways to make pizza better? -- and it only just got accepted for publishing in August (2014, again, future people.  We are ancient history to you, aren't we? Do you look kindly on us? Was Episode VII any good?)  which isn't actually all that long and doesn't give me any good stories to put on HuffPo about how I worked on my novel for 10 long years and destroyed my marriage and left behind the shambles of a professional career but finally it was done and it turned out all I wanted, all along, was the respect of my children, so we all learned something today.

I was deprived of that kind of heartwarming junk because it took a scant 7 months to interest a publisher in my book, and only seven minutes after that for Sweetie, my beloved wife, to up the ante and take away even that limited amount of success, because we had this exchange that day:

Me:  Guess what? A publisher is offering me a contract for that book I wrote.
Sweetie:  Are they going to make it into a movie?
About which, I assume so.  I mean I didn't read the fine print on the contract (or any of it; hopefully I still own my house/car/kids) but I assume that my book will also be made into a movie, a television series, a Broadway play, and a series of pajamas available at Kohls.  That's what happens, right?  RIGHT, says the guy wearing Kay Scarpetta PJs.

But the fact that it (only?) took 7 months to get someone to decide to publish my book doesn't mean that I didn't pour blood and sweat and tears and greasy fingers from leftover pizza for breakfast and, once, about 1/2 a can of lemonade which I started drinking when I found out I had a kidney stone -- onto my computer and into my book, as well.  I did all that, minus the blood and sweat and tears, and plus a lot more pizza than I'll admit to anyone.

And I'm not done yet!  Apparently that contract I signed requires me to do things like editing the book in conjunction with my publisher.  I am not 100% sure what editing is, but I think it has something to do with spellchecking the work at least once, with that grammar-box clicked on.  And I have to work with them on other things, like having the story actually make sense (not my strong suit) and not ramble (I'm pretty good at sticking to the point, as I was telling someone just the other day while I was in the kitchen at the office, although I had only gone to the kitchen to see if there were any of those small bags of Cheetos (TM) left there, but don't look at me like that because they weren't for me, I was bringing them home for Sweetie, who likes Cheetos (TM) and yes, fine, I did have some of them today but the deal in a marriage is that if you bring home a snack for someone and 48 hours later they haven't eaten it, that snack is fair game.  It's right there in the wedding vows.  In anagram form)

Where was I?

Ah, well, it's late.  So stick around as periodically I add to this series of posts and tell you, as promised, how to go from sitting around sneaking pizza and Cheetos and acting baffled when doctors ask why your cholesterol is measured in scientific notation to being a published author, in 437 easy steps.

Next time, I hope to actually get to Step One, which is Steal An Idea From Someone Else.

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