According to my admittedly iffy calculations, in a week or so I'll have an anniversary to celebrate. Yup, it'll be five months since the news that my novel sold, five months of waiting for the contract from the publisher, five months of living in no-man's-land. Feels more like five years. To understate it as best I can, I've been going totally nuts waiting. I spend the time constructively, imagining the following possible scenarios:
- The editor at Dorchester had a change of heart and will get around to letting me know this, oh, whenever she gets around to it. (Sorry, Monica. It's not you. It's me.)
- The editor just got a new job at a different publisher, and her pending deals have fallen by the wayside.
- My agent invented the whole story about getting an offer. (Sorry, Sue. I only imagine this in my most schizzed out/unhinged/lunatic moments. No, don't ask me about the frequency of these 'moments'.)
- I've been going through some sort of psychotic episode and will wake up and find that I'm actually still working at my teaching job, my son is still in high school, and I've never written anything, far less submitted a novel to anyone, anywhere.
- I'm being punished by the Almighty for my sins. Like that one where... Oh, never mind that.
- It's a conspiracy. Some evil entity is using all the players in this deal to carve out an individually-tailored version of hell for me. This is the trial run.
The problem is, basically, that I knew nothing about what is normal in this situation. Then Kevin came to my rescue in the comments section after I had been bitching about the contract yet again, and he explained the whole thing.
It's the camels! Yup, you read that correctly. Taking six months, seven, or even longer to get the contract out is normal in publishing. And it's all because of the camels. Jeez, why didn't I think of this? It makes so much sense now - more sense, in fact, than many other aspects of the business of publishing. Here's Kevin's exposé of a previously well-guarded secret:
"Only four months on the contract? A rule of publishing is contracts can only be transported on arthritic camels. No doubt with you being on an island this involves a lot of drowned dromedaries. My personal record is seven months, but I've heard longer."
Ya publishers out there, you've been outed. And I hope you don't try to hold me liable for all the camel corpses floating around the Caribbean Sea.