Thursday, 30 August 2007

Those camel couriers!


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.

15 comments:

KeVin K. said...

Anyone ever tell you how silly you are?

And where did you find that graphic?

You're a treat, kid. Hang in there.

aka_lol said...

There is another possibility which most authors ignore because it is too horrid to contemplate even in blog form but since I am not an author I will try: The manuscript was stolen, edited just enough and published in China under the unusual pseudonym Ling.

Of course I am joking - how else could sanity be maintained :)

Maybe it's simply that the first wait seems the longest.

Matt said...

The camels are actually an upgrade. They used to use rabid howler monkeys for delivery.

Matt said...

Hence the common phrase, "Christ, man! Shoot the messenger! For the love of... bluuuuuugh..."

wordtryst said...

Kevin, they tell me all the time. **shakes head sadly**

And the graphic is courtesy Google image search.

aka_lol, the horror! The horror! My pedestrian masterpiece, my boy-meets-girl opus, stolen by the Chinese! Smelling salts, somebody...

Matt, rabid monkeys? Now I know I should just stop complaining and start counting my blessings now that we've progressed from shooting the messengers to drowning them. :)

You guys crack me up.

Cynthia E. Bagley said...

Good luck. You need to get another book on another arthritic camel.

:-)

Kaz Augustin said...

I'd nag your agent occasionally. That's what they're there for. If they get 15% of everything, they should get 15% of your angst too, right? :)

And you have my sympathies. I'd be going bat-s**t by now.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

good luck wordtrysrt. hopefully you will hear back soon.

jason evans said...

Ack. Waiting is agonizing.

It will all come through in the end. :)

Chennette said...

Ah waiting is awful. Especially when you have an imagination that is torturing you further. On good days, that imagination is your stock in trade, but now... :-) The camels are faithful creatures, they're probably just enjoying the time away from the desert and the humidity in the region.

Manic Mom said...

OMG!!! Hearing this almost makes me glad my book hasn't been picked up by an editor yet!!! That's gotta be so stressful!!

OK, I'd take that stress over my current situation, maybe!

Hang in there. The camels need to stop for water SOMETIME!!

Matt said...

This is random, but I noticed "Illusions: Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah" in your random library. Great book!

The Anti-Wife said...

Any word yet? We're all thinking of you!

kim said...

I hope you are writing like mad -- creative genius spilling forth, no time to blog.

-- Kim

wordtryst said...

Hi, Cynthia! Welcome to my blog. Thanks for the good wishes - they're always welcome. And now that I'm computer-less, those ideas just keep on comin'...

Kaz, I do nag, but not more than once a month. What can I say? She doesn't seem worried. Now if only I can take my cue from her... And bat-s**it doesn't even come close...

nyc/caribbean, I'm hanging in there.

Thank you, Jason. The more I hear it, the more I believe it.

Chennette, you're so right. That imagination is a blessing, and it's a curse.

Manic, they say that the stress increases as you travel the road to publishing, but do I want to believe that? Naw. I suppose I need to learn the hard way. Experience! As for those camels, I'n my current mood I'd probably try to strangle them with my bare hands - then I'd look at the sodden shreds of that contract and forgive all...

Matt, Illusions is one of my faves. And I collect everything Richard Bach.

Anti-wife, that makes me feel a warm glow inside. I'm not alone in this! Thank dog (expression lifted shamelessly from Miss Snark) for Blogger!

Ah, Kim. I wish. But the ideas are flowing now that I'm forced to spend all these hours in bed guzzling cough medicine, accumulating mountains of nose tissue, and hacking up unmentionable stuff. Not that you needed to know the gory details...

Thanks, everyone!