Wednesday, December 19, 2012
It's an odd feeling to send a novel you've been writing on and off for thirty years or so out into the cold cruel world. It's a little bit like finally making a ne-er-do-well son move out of the bedroom in the basement if he's moved home after college for a number of years. You should have probably kicked the kid out a long time ago.
Anyway, the miracle of the Internet now allows authors (or people who fancy themselves authors) to skip the step of finding an agent and enduring the humiliations of rejection, and simply publish the damn thing through Amazon, using their terrific self-publishing system called "CreateSpace." So that's what I've done. I think it's a good book; anyway, it's the best book I can write. If you're a friend, buy a copy. If you're a stranger, buy a copy. If you've accidentally happened on this blog to look at the Girls of the Day, buy a copy. Amortizing the time I spent on it, I expect to make something on the order of a penny an hour "all in."
If you're family, I'll be sending you a copy, but I'll save it until after Christmas, as showing your drawers like this doesn't make a decent present.
Some history that's not necessarily too interesting. An earlier version of the book was my senior thesis way back in 1981 at Princeton with Joyce Carol Oates as my "reader." Then it went into a drawer until I was ABD in Duke's Ph.D. program in English under Frank Lentricchia, when I wrote a second draft. Then it was back into the drawer for another decade or so, when I wrote another draft while I was an underemployed post-doc at Marquette. Then law school, law practice, partnership, marriage, children, home-ownership, dog-walking, etc., all intervened. It was originally titled "Mad River," right up to the point this year when John Sandford published a mystery bestseller with the same title. A moment the poignancy of which only I understand -- I actually got an email from Amazon publicizing the release of the Sandford book! That was probably God's way of telling me that life is short, and it prompted me to go ahead and get this thing out there.
Who knows, maybe it gets discovered and I sell a million copies. Or maybe it sits on a shelf until fifty years after I'm gone, like Moby Dick, before it gets discovered. Or maybe the only people who ever read it are a few friends and family. In the end what matters is that this is who I was, and what I thought, and I've made a record of it that exists outside of my own head, even if it's only out there in binary code somewhere on the Internet.
Cheers! And Merry Christmas!