“Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay.”
~ Flannery O’Connor
There’s nothing quite like sending off a manuscript to publishers. It’s the culmination of a long process which begins with an idea germinating into a story, and with a lot of hard and often exhilarating and sometimes tedious work, over time that story becomes a lousy first draft. Then come the months and sometimes years of revising and tweaking, which involves monumental bouts of indecision and self-doubt until finally you screw up the courage to send the manuscript to make the rounds of publishers.
And then you wait.
And you decide you were an idiot to have sent it; it couldn’t possibly be have been ready. So you read through it again, which is a big mistake because you decide immediately that it’s the worst thing that was ever written and you’d like to find the nearest bridge and throw the manuscript off the bridge and watch its pages scatter over the sea like two hundred hungry seagulls.
But you don’t. You wait some more.
And while you’re waiting, you drive your family crazy with all the gnashing, wailing, and self-recrimination.
Then, just when you’ve convinced yourself that the manuscript has somehow slipped off the slush pile and into the recycling bin of its own accord, word arrives from the publisher:
“I like this book a great deal. I think it’s a fine piece, and I would like to publish it.”
You draw a sharp breath and back up and read that part again, and then again once more until the words sink in, at which point you open your mouth to exhale and instead there emerges a sound you’ve never heard yourself make before, at a decibel level you never thought possible. (It’s best if the word from the publisher has arrived by email. This newfound sound would never do over the phone.)
You sit there staring at the email and hoping the sound will subside soon because the window is wide open and if this carrying-on goes on much longer, your neighbour will be entirely justified in calling the cops. So you slap your hand over your mouth to shut it up, and you re-read the email.
And then your eyes fill with stinging tears of relief, and you open your mouth wide and push yourself away from the desk and the opened window and bawl like a baby for ten solid minutes.
At times like this a splash of cold water on the face really works.
Having gotten some sort of grip on yourself, next come the phone calls which no-one answers because it’s the middle of the day and everyone is in meetings. Except for your mother, who is so alarmed at the hoarse wobble of your voice, she thinks something terrible has happened. So you remember to breathe before speaking, and you try again, and when you finally get the garbled-up words out, the jubilation in your mother’s voice is one of the best things you’ve ever heard in your life.
Then you pinch yourself to see if it was all a dream.
Eleven months later, I’m still pinching myself. In September, just over a year after I received my acceptance email from Gaspereau Press, Like Any Other Monday will be ready. The final edits have been done, the proofreader has been going over it, and the cover design is under way. Soon the guts of the book will be rolling off the printing press in the Gaspereau shop, and then the cover will be pressed and the book stitched together.
And then it will be a book.
Launch details to follow.