Start again (and again)

Since 1994 I have been trying to publish books. Many different books. Any book? No. A good book. A book that explains what I feel to be true in the world. A good read. A compelling story. Something that will make people laugh, think, cry, stay up really late at night eating something fattening.

When Arsenal Pulp Press, in a moment of delusional weakness, said yes to Carry Tiger to Mountain a year and a half ago, it was a dream come true. I thought, this is it! Easy street, here I come! Don’t mistake me, I didn’t think I’d actually make money. I’m not so naive as to believe that a writer of the application of ancient Taoist proverbs to modern business and activism would actually pocket much of a pay-check. But I had hoped it might be a foot in the door in the publishing industry. I do, after-all, have a dozen or more book ideas on paper and in my head.

As William Faulkner once said (we have similar troubles), he could paper his walls with rejection letters. Me too. If you could use emails to do the deed. I long ago stopped saving the PFO letters. Now I’m amassing a pretty impressive file of no-thank-you’s for Blackwater.

What is the moral of this sad tale? Keep on. Start again. Back on the horse, etc.

So today I start the next round with Blackwater. Unsuspecting literary agents, publishers, be warned.


Waiting. In late August I submitted the manuscript for Blackwater to a small, Canadian press with a mystery/crime imprint. I asked that they get back to me by the end of September one way or another. After that, I said, I would start shopping the book around to other agents and publishers.

I followed up with them yesterday, and was told that they were giving it serious consideration, and would have an answer by Friday!

I’m trying not to get too invested in the answer. If they say no, there is always another. It took me three years to find a publisher for Carry Tiger to Mountain. More than a dozen if you count back to when I first started pitching book ideas (like a major league hurler warming up, just throwing everything I could get my hands on).

(Updated October 18, 2006)

Sigh. They said no. As a small publisher, they had a two year backlog of titles. They promised to send some notes about the book, which would be nice, but I’m not holding my breath.

So back to square one. I think I’m going to focus on finding an agent now.

I suppose I thought that once I had one book under my belt, the second one would be easier, but not so. I really shouldn’t have been surprised. Publishing in Canada is a really tough business, and I’m a really unknown writer. But letting this get me down won’t get me any closer to publishing Blackwater, so I’m just going to cowboy up and get busy.