Post No. 1: Moment of Truth
This blog is about getting published. It’s not a set of instructions about how to get published. It’s the story of how one person actually did get published. Me. And like my novel, Fortuna (OceanView Publishing, May 3, 2010), I’m going to start in the middle of the story. My future posts will be in chronological order, from the moment of inspiration (there was one) to the launch party and beyond.
Picture a large ballroom in a relatively elegant San Francisco hotel filled with aspiring authors. They are seated at large, round tables, eight to a table, and they look good, some conventional but stylish, some hip but not scraggly. I have chatted with many of them and they are, by and large, pretty interesting people, with impressive ideas for books. The age range is from college to seventy-something.
At the moment, their attention is directed towards a stage where about a dozen literary agents are explaining what sorts of manuscripts they are interested in seeing. All but one are women, all but two from New York. They are, judging from their presentations, a collection of hard-edged, arrogant, caustic individuals who are reveling in their position of power as gatekeepers to The Land of the Published. I keep telling myself that they have very hard jobs, suffer constant rejection, probably have trouble making their rent some months… but all of this does not maker them less odious.
I say to myself, I cannot play this game. But then the inner dialog continues. I remind myself that I paid $550 dollars to attend the 2007 San Francisco Writers Conference, that I knew going in there would be a moment when I had to confront the incredibly competitive nature of the publishing industry, that perseverance was part of the process. But the only part of the dialog I can really hear was “f**k this.”
The presentations are half over. I am assiduously trying to take notes, but it is difficult to keep the names straight, connect their faces with the photographs in the conference program, scribble things like “thrillers,” or “no sci-fi” in the margins, all the while fighting the urge to get up and walk out. And then, Kimberley Cameron, the woman who will eventually become my agent and through amazing persistence sell my book, comes to the podium.
To be continued…