Early this morning, I received comments from the Dutch translator of The Beggar’s Opera via my UK agent’s foreign rights office. The translator had a long list of questions about the plot and my wording. Right after I’d addressed those, I received an email from the production editor at Penguin Canada. They had retained a freelance editor to look at the revised and formatted manuscript, and had another twenty or thirty suggested changes.
I ran over to my office to get the hard copy of the formatted version and went through the various changes, either accepting them, rejecting them, or making slightly different word changes, and emailed her back.
This book goes to print in mid-November and we want to have some comments/reviews on it by notables. My agents are contacting some authors they represent; Penguin, others.
I decided to try reaching out to some of the people on my A-list myself. These are the kinds of writers that you can only dream about having contact with, which makes it a long shot, but also kind of fun.
I had a great exchange with Lee Child’s assistant (or one of them. Webmaven, I think she calls herself). She’s terrific — I guess when you’re as famous as he is, you can afford to have “people” and good ones at that. She declined on Lee’s behalf, saying that he’s done so many, his publisher has asked him to take a hiatus, but she rejected me so nicely and in such a flattering manner that it took me a while before I realized she’d said no.
She mentioned a discussion she’ d had with another famous American author (I won’t name him) who complained he’d done so many that he’d become a “blurb whore.” And this is the problem in trying to get comments — the well-known writers are inundated with requests like this from people like me, who are strangers.
Sometimes, the request is downright intrusive. For example, a few weeks ago, one of my FB friends approached a Canadian author he knows well to ask if the author would consider doing a blurb for me. The author said he rarely does them because he gets so many requests. But he mentioned that one editor left her client’s gift wrapped manuscript on the bed in his hotel room at a writer’s conference, hoping he’d blurb it. (I thought that was more than a little creepy.)
Anyway, after you’ve been rejected as many times as I was in the query process, it takes more than a few ‘no’s’ to be deterred.
I sent some note cards (my own artwork) to the other authors on my A-list, explaining how they had inspired me to write and how I hoped they’d consider it. And then I went for a jog (my second in six years; the first was yesterday. Six years ago, these legs were a lot younger, trust me. I’m feeling it.)
When I got back home, my office had emailed me to say there was a FedEx package waiting. I ran back (figuratively — I was still in shorts but limping, so I took the car) to see what it was.
The package contained two jacket covers: the one you see on the sidebar to this blog and a second one that tweaks it. The new cover has a slighter muddier red font and the photograph has a sepia tone to it. My colleagues at work all agreed they liked that one better, so that’s the one we’re going with. The plan is to do the outline around the letters in embossed gold.
After all of that, I came back home to change and instead, ended up in some back and forth with my website designer (he’s in Germany) about the author’s website we’re starting to talk about.
He said the most important thing he needs to know upfront is what information I want to present to my readers, as this establishes the structure of the website. Things like: About the Author, Books, Events, Blog, Podcasts, Reviews, Press and Contact. He also said I should keep in mind the purposes I want the website to serve, for example, to promote the sale of the book, built up readership, allow people to contact me, encourage press coverage, etc.
I’ll have to start thinking about those things and start mapping out what I’d like to do. I know that one thing I want to include on the site is a serialized podcast of the prequel to The Beggar’s Opera, which is a 40 page short story called Angel’s Share. I’ve already been in touch with my friend, voice-over actor Thelma Farmer, who will think about how to do that this weekend.
Along with emailing some listings to clients and checking real estate news, posting on Twitter and FB, and the usual stuff that forms my daily routine. that’s been my day so far.
I’ll be duty agent at my office until 8:30 PM and will spend the rest of the day answering questions and finding real estate listings for prospective buyers and sellers. (And by the way, I’m never too busy for your referrals!)