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.