July 10, 2010Jorge and I on the day my first book was launched
Lately the posts on this blog have been about almost everything except my… a-hem … writing. Actually an email came in asking if I still planned to publish another book. If so, in what decade might that happen?
When I first began writing, I naively thought the idea was to tell a fascinating tale. That done, I would send a legible copy to the publisher of my choice. He would in turn read it and be suitably impressed… Et Voila! The book would be copyedited, designed, formated, printed, distributed and a book launch date would be set. I figured my role at that event would be to sit over to the side and write endearing dedications to my friends on the inside front covers. My final responsibility would be to laugh all the way to the bank!
Now let’s enter the real world… When I finished my first book, I couldn’t get an agent or a publisher to even look at it (or me for that matter). I wasn’t well-known, I had no platform, no track record. I was either too old to look like a sexy author or too young to look like a erudite one. In short, I did not have appeal and neither did my poor creation.
Not to be thwarted, I went the self-publishing route. I cannot begin to describe the amount of toil involved in that venture. I worked with printers not a publisher. Bless their hearts, they worked very hard but could not read, write or speak English and so if a word was dropped or out of place, they couldn’t see it. I had to check everything… over and over again. Although no one in the print shop could help me proof-read, a kid working somewhere in the back knew the lyrics to every single song “Queen” has ever composed. As I tried to catch the errors in my text, I’d hear him belting out… “We are the champions, we are the champions… No time for losers, ‘cause we are the champions… of the world!” I poured over those pages, as did my generous friends and still, in the printed copies there are 13 mistakes and umpteen excess commas and semicolons. I wanted my labor of love to be perfect but alas, “Tomando Agua de Pozo – A Guide for the Neophyte Yucatecan” was every bit as flawed as her maker.
But it didn’t matter too much. People seemed to like the book, flaws and all. The copies sold like hotcakes. I was thrilled – absolutely thrilled! Before long, all of them were gone and I was asked when I’d write a second edition. This past spring, I decided to do just that…
Since much water has flowed under the bridge in the past two years, I figured I needed to update the new version and because lots of my readers had trouble pronouncing the first half of the title, I re-named the second edition. The new book is called “Magic Made in Mexico.” It is all done but… as I said at the start of this posting, the publishers of the world are not pushing and shoving one another out of the way, desperately trying to get their dukes on my literary pearl.
The other book I want to publish is my first novel, “If You Only Knew”. I think it is a great story with lots of action and wonderful characters. I have meekly put it into the hands of a few agents but it has been deemed “not ready”. I have been told to write in a different tense… use a more active voice… provide more detail… slow down the pace… No one has told me what’s good about the book but the suggestions for improving it are many. I don’t mind the unending revisions but there’s absolutely no assurance that the book will get published, no matter how good it is.
I have my blog which gives me a platform… I have a track record… I’m two years older yet not quite erudite… Maybe that’s the problem?
Whatever… I will keep trying. Why? I am not a masochist but I adore writing. I will keep tweaking the text, building my platform and sending enquiries. Perhaps… just maybe… if I’m really lucky… when I actually achieve that erudite look, I will get a book published!