many sunny, very mild, temps 16
Wow - very mild. We're finding the seasons seem to have been shifted by a month. November is like October...Sept like August used to be...
We're in Montreal - stopped by Nespresso to get a new machine...tired of fighting with the old one - though it owed us nothing. We'd used it many times a day, everyday, for years. And it still works - sort of. Trying to decide what to do with it. Give it to someone handy, I think.
The fun news is that I heard from the publisher himself yesterday. He called twice...once I was out doing errands and he (Andy) spoke to Michael....and the second time I was in. He called to say he'd just read THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY, the eighth Gamache novel - and loved it. Indeed, he said he was trembling at the end and actually stayed home Monday morning to finish the book. Then had to call to tell me it was his favorite.
It was one of those calls an author (or at least this author) dreams of getting. Not only because it says something about the book - but it speaks so beautifully of Minotaur Books, my US publisher....that the head of the imprint himself would call. I've heard, of course, from my wonderful editor- and we worked on the editorial notes together....but to actually hear from the publisher is amazing. Incredibly passionate about books, and publishing - and so supportive. Wow.
I'm so excited to get THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY into your hands. We don't have a set publishing date yet, but it will probably be sometime next fall.
Someone asked a very good question on my Facebook page today about why it won't be out for 10 months when the book seems finished.
One of the great discoveries for me about the publishing industry is how very many decisions need to be made - and all the care that goes in to getting a book out. For instance, while the editorial decisions have been made - those to do with content and continuity and character and those sorts of things....the book still needs to be given to someone who specializes in doing the 'line edits'....that's for the most part spelling and grammar and some issues of continuity we haven't yet caught...if someones eyes are blue in one scene and brown in another...or if Gamache and Beauvoir are on their third lunch of the day. For those of you with an eye for this sort of thing, you'll know that even with all this scrutiny and very hard work, mistakes still sneak through.
She'll finish those notes in January and send them to me....I'll then go over the manuscript again. This actually happens a couple of times before we're happy and feel it's ready for you.
There is just an incredible amount of work that goes in to a book, long after the actual content is decided. Basically the process is:
I write five or six drafts of the book, until I'm pleased with it. Then I send it to my agent in London (Teresa Chris) - if she's happy, she'll send it to my UK editor (Dan Mallory at Little, Brown) and my US editor (Hope Dellon at Minotaur Books). They read it and get back with their notes....which are pretty much wanting to make sure the characters are consistent with their personalities, time-lines make sense - the structure and pacing and flow are good....there are no plot holes. They act as sophisticated, knowledgeable, rational 'readers'....since by then it's often very difficult for me to be able to stand far enough back to appreciate things like structure and pacing.
They'll give me their suggestions (and they are just suggestions....they never insist and never, ever make the changes themselves, but leave it up to me). I read their notes and think about them for a while - then do another draft - making the changes I think are appropriate. We can sometimes go back and forth a few times, fine-tuning as we go.
It's an amazing, quite intimate, process. On the one hand it's highly solitary. I conceive of the story, the tone, the plot and character development. Then they come on board...and as the process progresses it becomes a team effort. Not a committee - but a team. Each member has their expertise. Editing, grammar, marketing, publicity, strategy, cover design.
It's very satisfying and very powerful when everyone respects and appreciates the contribution of the other....and no one becomes a bully. We all have a place at the table, and have earned that place and earned the right to be heard.
I have a lot invested in it - emotionally, creatively - with my time and efforts. But so do the publishers - with their time and effort - and money. It all needs to be respected and valued.
Once the editing is done then the Advance Readers Copies - or ARCs - are printed. These are mostly for bookstore owners, libraries, critics...opinion makers. People who will read the book and pass judgement.
It's pretty nauseating, for a writer - for this writer. Ugh. I literally feel sick. I know it shouldn't matter - and when I wake up at 3am, anxious, I repeat that I've done my best...as long as I've done my best, that's all that I can ask of myself. The rest is up to others, and the Universe.
That helps. A lot. Until the next night. I suppose if I didn't care so much, I wouldn't worry so much. If I didn't put so much into the books, and genuinely care about the characters and you, the reader....then I might be more cavalier. but I think the person capable of writing the books is also the person who is vulnerable. It's the full package. I get the joy when things go well, and the heartache when they don't. That's the adult reality...can't have one without accepting the other.
Which is why, when the publisher himself calls, raving about THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY, I subside into a chair, my legs weak but my heart strong and soaring. Phew.
Then - decisions about cover design start. And strategies of which week is best to put it out...what other books might come out then - when is it best to tour? Where should I go?
I'll be going to NYC in early December to meet with the publisher and discuss these things.
What a very long answer to a single question! I dare you to ask another!
Thanks for sticking with me - presuming you're still reading. Hope you're enjoying this late autumn day. We're off to lunch at the Tavern on the Square.