I’ve been meaning to write this post for some time now. One of the purposes of this blog was to keep everyone up to date with what’s going on with the new book and the publishing process. Regular readers will have noticed a conspicuous absence of anything to do with the novel of late.
So what’s up? This should bring you up to date with developments over the past few months.
In August my US Agent, Emma Sweeney, submitted the manuscript for Paradise (as it was then called) to a handful of top-tier US publishers. Here are some edited highlights of how the editors responded:
- “I read the whole thing, thinking the whole time, I am reading a real writer, this is a wonderful story, it’s just so good, this is the real deal. And it is… All of the lore, the tone of the narration, it was all wonderful.”
- “Marvelous…careful, fluid prose…I’d love to send the finished book to my remaining uncle in Augusta, Missouri”
- “Enchanting…very well written, reminiscent at times of John Irving… quite excellent in its genre.”
- “The writing about music is gorgeous… this is a wonderful book.”
- “Beautifully written and moving.”
- “Beautifully written with an amazing cast of characters and such a huge sweep of history.”
You can probably guess what’s coming next.
Yup, not one of these people actually made an offer for the book. Each of the foregoing nuggets of praise was followed by a predictable “but”, followed by a vague reason why it “probably wasn’t for them”.
It was all a bit depressing, unsurprisingly, but there’s no point moping about feeling sorry for yourself (not too much, anyway.) Emma and UK agent Bruce were all for submitting to a fresh round of publishers – we have barely scratched the surface yet – but I decided to call a halt to things for a while and perform a little surgery on the story. As is so often the case once you’ve finished something, after I had sent it to Bruce and Emma for submission earlier in the summer I began to think about what I might change, and so I am using this admittedly unwelcome hiatus as an opportunity to make a few (OK, maybe more than a few) modifications.
That’s why I haven’t been posting much of late. I’m back at the usual five o’clock starts, rewriting like a man possessed. I’ve been working on this book for five years already; what’s another six months here or there?
The good news, though, is that I’m really excited with how it’s turning out. It is definitely a stronger book as a result of the re-write. So it’s all good.