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How I Found Out About My Book Deal

Okay, so I’m a bit more composed today.

I want to tell you a little bit about the day that I actually got my book deal. October 20, 2011.

I entered a conference call with three people from Gotham Books at 8:30 AM. Bill Shinker, Megan Newman (my editor), and Lisa Johnson from publicity at Gotham Books. I had heard that Bill was an “industry legend” and I was a bit nervous. I asked “Is he a legend of niceness?”

My agent, Lisa Dimona, was on the call as well.

At this point they had read the 200 page + proposal I had submitted. The proposal, which I’ll write about vaguely later, contained five full chapters from the book and a whole bunch of other stuff. But the sample chapters were the most important.

They all said they had loved the proposal, particularly the writing. As a writer, there is nothing nicer to hear. We talked about this blog, marketing opportunities, who I thought the book was for, who they thought the book was for,etc. I was relieved at how casual it all was.

But if there is anything I excel at, it is getting my hopes up. So when then call ended I was determined to go log in at work, do my job, and think about other things, despite their assurances that the call had been “wonderful.” That’s what I did.

But 90 minutes later I noticed that I had a voicemail from my agent. “Call me.”

She started by saying, “Are you sitting down?”

And the world spun, but I managed to find a chair before falling out the window. I won’t go into specifics, but she needed to tell me what the offer was, and did I want it? After talking with them and having such a great time, hearing that their vision of the book closely matched my own, and hearing the offer itself, I couldn’t say no.

I could barely say yes, for that matter. As soon as I realized what Lisa was telling me I was a mess. I didn’t even know I was crying until I noticed how wet the floor was getting. I’ve never indulged in phone sex, but I imagine it pales in comparison to that phone call. For years I had been reading about the experience of getting The Call. Now I had gotten it. It didn’t disappoint.

Then I called my wife. I cried. She shrieked.

Then I called my mom. She didn’t answer.

Neither did my dad, my brother, or my two sisters.

Then I called Betsy Rap0port, who had helped me edit the chapters I had written.  She was almost as happy as I was.

I called Adam Glass. He responded with exactly zero emotion, because that is what he does. It was still fun to tell him, though.

By then coworkers could see that something was going on so, rather than have them suspect, based on evidence, that someone had died, I told them “I sold my book” but didn’t know when I could give more details.

Then I went for a walk. I told a stranger in the crosswalk.

I told the cashier at 7-11.

I told a bird. The bird seemed delighted for me.

By 1 PM the high had worn off and I was more tired than I had ever been. It was like having a three hour orgasm. Now I was an exhausted wreck. But it had been worth it.

I took a few hours off and went home to celebrate. By the end of the day I did talk to everyone in my family.

And that was that. A day I had been dreaming about had come and gone. It was as perfect as I had always hoped.

If you guys are interested, I’m going to be writing about the actual process of a book deal and the road to the actual publication date. I want be talking in terms of “And here’s what we’re doing with my book,” but I’ll be able to explain how contracts work, the sorts of things that actually get negotiated, the realities of royalties and advances, what the relationship between an author and an editor is like, book rights FAQs, stuff like that.

I’ll dumb it all down in the way that is being done for me, and try to keep it entertaining and useful.

If you’d like to hear about it, let me know. I think it could be a fun series.




Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sadie October 28, 2011, 10:00 am

    Excellent! I’m excited to hear your insights into the writing and publishing process.

  • Todd October 28, 2011, 10:18 am

    As a budding writer, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Then again, if I meet you when you go to Austin in December, I plan on picking your brain some more. 🙂

    Congrats again. You deserve it.

  • Buck Lynch October 29, 2011, 5:47 am

    CONGRATULATIONS! From the very first entry I read, I knew it was just a matter of time. I would love to hear a blow by blow of the entire process.

  • Gustavo | Frugal Science October 29, 2011, 10:11 am

    Bravo, Josh! Felicitaciones!

    Yes, I would be very interested in reading about the publishing process. I also would like to read about the proposal you mentioned (if it’s not to private and does not involve sex offerings).

    I have always daydreamed about publishing (my cartoons) so, this could be an inspiration.

  • Gordon McLachlan October 30, 2011, 5:08 am

    Hey Josh!

    I know I don’t comment much these days but I’m still an avid and dedicated reader so I just wanted to take the opportunity to give you a huge and well deserved congratulations on your book deal! It truly is awesome and I can’t wait to read it 🙂

    I’d also love to read about your exploits and journey as you go through the publishing process so please keep posting all of the juicy details on your blog! 🙂

    All the best and congrats again!!

  • Heather October 30, 2011, 11:25 am

    Congrats on the book deal AND the 3hour orgasm! So how was the nap? CONGRATS! THAT ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jeroen October 31, 2011, 12:44 am

    Congrats. I’ll be buying it. And I’m very interested in the process.
    Have fun.

  • Sarah October 31, 2011, 9:51 am

    First of all, I want to say again that it’s SUPER EFFING AWESOME that you sold your book. I’ve never met you and have only been reading this blog for a few months or so, but I’m still very happy for you. Probably because I’ve gotten so much entertainment from your blog, it’s nice to see that you’re getting the “payment” due for all your hard work.

    About the publishing series, I would absolutely LOVE to hear all about the process. It’s NaNo time again, so I’m in full writer mode. At the kick-off party I went to a bunch of people were discussing their “credentials”…aka, how many times they’ve been published. It just reminded me that while I promised last year that I’d edit my story and do all the other things you’re supposed to do to a novel so it wasn’t a waste of time…I never actually did it. Maybe reading all about it will be a further kick in the ass 😛