Monday, June 3, 2013

The Penultimate Moment or Celebratory Angst


I'm Brandon S. Graham and over the past two and a half years I have written 80 posts for this blog, the premise of which was to document my process of writing a novel, my agent search, finding an agent, and the theoretical eventual publication of my first novel, Good For Nothing. The blog has also been a record of the mind games I've played in order to cope with (and avoid) the emotional ups and downs of the long spans of painful waiting. In some ways, all of that time and effort was channeled toward this post; because I can formally declare I HAVE A PUBLISHER, with a novel to follow in eight months or so (now would be an appropriate time to listen to a hallelujah chorus by clicking here).

I know many of you who read this blog have already taken the time to congratulate me, support me, and celebrate with me. I thank you. Truly, no accomplishment holds meaning without people to share it with. Thank you. So below I will share some details about the process to this point that you may not have heard elsewhere.

But first, a self-critique and a confession: Over the past six months I have dropped the ball related to this blog. There's a reason. Although I've had some happy distractions to share, such as the great children's book in which I have a story, the ROOM project, and my book dealers continued skill at placing my artist's books, the grinding doubt and building disappointment about placing my novel made me a sad fellow. I couldn't often muster the correct attitude in order to create a post that was more than just whiny complaint. I have continued working on other articles, artist's book reviews, an exhibition, and even made slow progress on a second novel. Even so, it was all done in fitful lurches rather than a stable and pleasant kind of creative practice. While I had potential readers' feelings in mind, (you're welcome) I shirked my commitment to be honest about the process. So I'm sorry.

You may have read the previous post in which I highlighted independent book publisher and shared my belief that a smaller press might be the best fit for my manuscript. My publisher, Skyscraper Publications is a London based, independent publisher with a curatorial prerogative skewed toward high quality writing that is not necessarily main stream. It couldn't be a more perfect fit. And while the imprint is young, the owner/editor, Karl Sabbagh, has a strong track record and I already feel at ease in the knowledge that he is caring for my manuscript. The lion's share of the the credit for this marriage has to go to Patricia Sanchez of Pontas Literature and Film. She, as well as the Pontas team, worked long and hard to make this connection.

Where things stand: My agents negotiated terms and produced a contract, which I have signed. Soon the other parties will sign too, and then it is as legal as it gets. Karl and I have corresponded about edits, and he is busily making needed improvements to my writing. The basic message has been, the manuscript is in pretty good shape but that doesn't mean there aren't a million tiny tweaks to be made. That sounds about right to me. There has been some discussion of the timing of steps in the process, and a publication date. For now, it looks like hardbound books will be available in stores across the UK early next year. It will also be available via Amazon and in digital format worldwide. The paperback version will be available a year from now. I always imagined having a publisher would be The Moment when I felt I was an author. Now I think it could come when I get to heft a book in my hands. Or maybe I will never really feel like I am there (wherever there lies in my internal emotional landscape).

Because the image is used with early press releases and publicity, cover design is one of the first projects to be accomplished. Good For Nothing very closely follows the exploits of one character and I believe a strong image can help set the tone for characterization. When I thought about artist's I admire for their capacity to evoke strong emotion through figurative work, I immediately thought of the very talented artist Joseph Lappie. Thankfully he has agreed to work on cover illustration for the dust jacket. I have already seen a set of thumbnail sketches, and he is moving forward full steam. I can't wait to see what he comes up with. Until then, here's a little Lappie to hold you over.




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