Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Coming out of the closet (not that one)
I have been, for the past couple of weeks, a basket case, a bundle of frayed nerves. A month ago, I sent my young Adult novel off to be considered for publication. I knew nothing would happen before the holidays were all gotten through. But once New Year's day had passed, I knew I could hear from them any time - could be this week, could be next month - and as each day passes I become more of a wreck.
Publishing anything anytime is a crapshoot. Your little book, that you've poured all your heart and soul into, has to run a daunting gauntlet. If it makes it past the first hurdle of the editor's personal taste, then it has to fit with their "list." Then it also has to be reviewed by marketing (and everyone knows marketing is all about publishing great literature! Screw the bottom line.), and it can fail at any of those points for any number of reasons. And just because I'm me, I have added some extra hurdles. My book is Young Adult history/fantasy hybrid. It's set in San Francisco in 1978 and is about a 14 year-old girl who runs away from home and washes up on the shores of the pre-AIDS Castro. She's taken in by a gay man. Adventures ensue. I lived and worked in the Castro, and the book is, in large part, a love letter to the innocent exuberance of that time and place, and of the men I knew. I know my book is well-written, heartfelt, funny, and exciting. And I also know that, because of the subject matter, it's going to be much, much harder to publish.
I haven't been writing about it on the blog because I thought it would be easier for me to keep it under wraps. I didn't want people asking, "have you heard yet?" And if the publisher passes on it, I thought it would be easier for me to handle if it was private. But, in case you haven't noticed, when it comes to myself, I have absolutely no sense of privacy. And the fate of my book is practically all I've been able to think about lately; it's been hard to write about anything real here, when I couldn't write about the thing that is most real to me now. Anyway, I decided to share this with you, because I have come to know many of you a bit, and you are all such thoughtful, lovely people. So I decided it would be safe.
There. it's out and I feel much better. ( I'm great at keeping other people's secrets, but I suck at keeping my own.) So wish me luck, but don't ask me if I've heard yet. I'll let you know.