Tuesday, April 3, 2012

why you will still be insane after the book deal

1. If your forthcoming novel has a scene in which the characters go skinny dipping in a hail storm, you will immediately stumble upon twenty already-published novels with a scene in which characters skinny dip in a hail storm.

2. You had no idea skinny dipping in a hail storm was such a cliché. Are you that unoriginal?

3. *picks up scourge* *self-flagellates*

4. You will start to fret that people will think you ripped off the skinny dipping hail storm idea from one of those other novels, despite the fact that those novels didn't even come out until your own novel was in galleys.

5. Will people think you're some kind of pathetic, scheming, copycat? Should you write a post on your newly-minted Author Blog explaining about how you didn't know about those other books and promising to change the scene in future print runs so the characters are waltzing under a volcano instead?

6. If your forthcoming novel has a title you're totally in love with, you will realize—far too late—that said title is ALSO the title of a notoriously cheesy soft-porn movie from the 1980's.

7. You did not think to Google movies when titling your book. Just other books.

8. It turns out there's a REASON no other authors have claimed the title NIGHTS OF SWEATY ENTANGLEMENT.

9. And you were sooooo pleased with yourself for coming up with it. You thought it sounded soooooo literary.

10. *picks up scourge* *self-flagellates*

11. Why did your publisher agree to this title? Aren't they supposed to catch that stuff?

12. Wait, is somebody there trying to sabotage your career? Wasn't NIGHTS OF SWEATY ENTANGLEMENT the intern's idea?

13. Your significant other will remind you that calling the book NIGHTS OF SWEATY ENTANGLEMENT was, indeed, your idea.

14. If you managed to avoid titling your book N.O.S.E, you will nevertheless discover that your book title lends itself to some kind of crude joke you can't believe you never spotted before and which will haunt you forever.

15. For example, if your forthcoming book is titled THE ORGAN DONOR, you can look forward to hearing those snarky kids at the bookstore referring to it as THE ORGAN BONER.

16. In fact, you are pretty sure that mean intern who is trying to sabotage your career is ALREADY calling it THE ORGAN BONER.

17. Your significant other will remind you, again, that this malevolent intern you keep referring to does not, in fact, exist.

18. Should you write a post on your newly-minted Author Blog explaining about the title and promising that in forthcoming print runs, your novel will be re-titled simply THE ORGAN?

19. No, wait. Shit. No. Just THE. You can't mess with THE.

20. If you somehow manage to avoid both titling your novel N.O.S.E or something that rhymes with a crude joke, you will nevertheless discover—far too late—that, when anagrammed, the title of your forthcoming novel spells HAIL SATAN.

21. You will start to fret that your novel will be banned from public schools and in libraries throughout the Bible Belt for its satanic undertones, even though you swear—SWEAR—you weren't trying to insert any subliminal messages into the title.

22. You realize that, in addition to HAIL SATAN, your book titles also anagrams to A NASAL HIT. Schools are going to think you're promoting drug use. Drug use and satanism.

23. Shit. Shitshitshit.

24. Should you write a post on...etc. etc...explaining to readers that you endorse neither drug use nor Beezlebub?

25. You realize your newly-minted Author Blog consists solely of apologies, disclaimers, and paranoid screeds.

26. Your agent and editor will start asking about your next novel.

27. You will try to play it cool, when in fact you are so freaked out from that skinny dipping in a hailstorm thing that you have resolved to write your next novel using only the letters K and U, because that's the only way you can ever be sure that it hasn't been "done" before.

28. Just try finding a scene like THIS in any other novel: KU. UUUUUUUK. KUUUUUUU. uKuKuK. "uuuUUUUUU!!!'

29. Your editor will gently suggest that the K and U thing isn't the best project to fulfill this particular book contract, but you should totally keep at it on the side.

30. You will drop the UUK thing and instead set out to write the most blockbustery, commercial, straight-to-movie-deal book that's humanly possible. You have recently developed a vague but pressing anxiety that your next novel will be invalid if it does not turn into a blockbuster starring Justin Bieber, despite the fact that the sort of novels you love most are the sort that never get turned into blockbusters starring Justin Bieber.

31. You will drop the Justin Bieber thing, and a week later, you will catch yourself starting a new novel that is neither an unreadable experiment nor a glorified screenplay to a mega-mega-blockbuster about, like, a highschool dance-off where every character is really, really, sexy but also a total underdog with Universally Relatable Issues.

32. You will kill your newly-minted Author Blog and dance on its grave, thanking Jah that nobody had actually discovered it yet.

33. You will send the malevolent intern eleven pounds of marijuana through the mail in an attempt to get her fired, in the slight chance that she actually exists.

34. You will pace up and down your apartment in a bathrobe you bought at Goodwill and never washed.

35. You will tell all your friends how faaaaabulous life has been since the book deal.


  1. Thank you, I needed to see this right now because of a similar problem. I feel saner now.

  2. Kuukk kkuu uuukk uk ku kkuk uuuku ku kuk. *u*k!

  3. Likewise. I've just signed, and ten people have told me since how the setup of my novel reminds them of a 1970s B-movie with an apparently identical setup. AND I DIDN'T EVEN SEE IT!!!! :)

    Insane, insane.


  4. Wait, so a book deal doesn't just fix all your problems like magic? Oh. Oh. Well, that's disappointing.


  5. Genius. So...it's been a great year then?

  6. OMG. I wrote something that I loved and someone read it and said "oh yeah, your voice kind of reminds me of [newly super-popular so cute and everyone loves her to pieces author.]" I was like *WIN* And then I went and read her books and found five eerie similarities between my one manuscript and her two already published books and was like *must die now*

    This is also why when you get close to finishing your MS about vegetable time travel, I don't recommend reading Pub Lunch. Because you will inevitably see:

    Dream Editor at Mega-Publisher has acquired the rights to NYT Best-selling author Supercute's fifteen book series about sentient vegetables who travel through time by way of a microwave, in a seven-figure deal at auction, by Agent Who Form-Rejected You. Movie rights to Dreamworks for a planned full-length animated film.

    Seriously. It happens. *goes off to write blog post...*

  7. Regarding the title of your novel. That also applies to babies. Ours was 10 days old when it dawned on us that First Name, Middle Initial, Last Name produced an horrific sex pun. Poor little bit. She is going to be tortured. Mercilessly.

  8. Beloved and complete stranger INTERN,

    Things are slow in the dance cult this day, so we have time to sit you down, slip you a tranq, and urge you - nay, BEG you to relax!

    We still know next to nothing about publishing out here in Nowhereland, but we've also learned via blog investigations, that our writing savvy is fueled by way too much faith in pure imagination. We have learned that according to Booker there are only seven basic plots. "Tender is the Night;" borrowed is the plot. So why not the same concept for both nude scenes and titles? There cannot be more than a handful of truly unique places to be naked. 'Inside, outside, USA' covers them all categorically. Similarly, there is only so much Shakespeare to go around for titles. "The Sound and the Fury" is only one space in the soliloquy from "Signifying Nothing."

    If you don't chill, we have serious concerns that you might implode before you fire off your next novelistic salvo. And don't forget to send some peace and love over to your friend the Rejectionist. She's yanked off her mask and is sure to be suffering from a similar bout of panic.


    PS: If you need to pick just two letters, perhaps YA would serve. It works in either direction, and is capable of pulling so much traffic on Google that you really could let it be title, plot, and genre all in one. AY-YA.

  9. Love it! Great post - especially the bit about the title! That really made me laugh.

  10. Weirdly, something similar to that KU thing has been done. A guy in France wrote an ENTIRE book called "Gasby" w/o the letter e. And then someone translated it into English w/o using the letter e.

    Clearly, all the good ideas are taken. *bites nervously at finger nubs*

  11. Oh, YES to all of this^. A book deal is not a picnic in the meadows by a glistening stream. It's more like a roller-coaster ride. (Thrilling too, if you like roller-coasters.) Take a lot of showers, dear.

  12. I have been having some of these problems already, and my book isn't even finished yet. (Head down, keep working; head down, keep working...)

  13. Dying. Love this.