Thursday, October 02, 2008


Sometimes I think I am cursed, you know. Things almost go right for me loads of times, but right at the last moment it all turns pear shaped.

Earlier this year, my second Inspector McLean novel, The Book of Souls, was shortlisted for the Debut Dagger. I was surprised, and delighted, and not at all disappointed when I didn't win. I couldn't spare the time or money to go to the awards ceremony anyway.

Still, out of the publicity I was approached by an editor at a major UK publishers wondering if she might see the whole book. Various unfortunate incidents delayed my sending it to her, but she got it in the end. Then, a few weeks later, she contacted me to say that she loved it, had been singing its praises to any who would listen, and had recommended it to the buying committee for serious consideration.

I'm a battle-hardened cynic, so took this news with wary caution. But I couldn't help being excited at the prospect. I've been trying to get published for long enough, after all.

True to form though, about ten days later, the call came through saying that the buying committee didn't share the editor's enthusiasm. The major publishing house didn't want to buy the book and make me famous.


I think it would have been easier if I'd not known someone was rooting for me. If I'd only had a pfo* after a few weeks, it would have been just like every other submission I've made; another notch on the belt of disillusionment. But knowing how close I came to my goal makes the whole thing ten times worse.

* please fuck off.

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Blogger Vincent said...

Yeah, I just don't know the best way of handling the whole expectations thing. I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that it's actually not a bad thing to go getting your hopes up in the situation you mentioned. At least that way you get to spend a few weeks or months experiencing hopeful enthusiasm. Okay, so the crushing blows turn out to be crushinger than if you tried to be blasé about the whole thing, but on balance I'd say those weeks of optimism probably outweigh a few hours of days of glum despondancy.

All that said, it sounds like you are progressing inexorably toward being published, even if the process keeps throwing up obstacle after obstacle to slow things up.

October 02, 2008 12:33 pm  
Blogger Jo said...

Ah, the inevitable two steps forward, one step back.


October 02, 2008 4:19 pm  
Anonymous norby said...

Fingers crossed for you James!!

October 02, 2008 7:28 pm  
Blogger Gabriele C. said...

Sorry to hear. But I'm sure you'll make it one day.

At least, you have finished books. I keep adding an equal amount of words to five projects, but none of them is close to finishing. ;)

October 03, 2008 4:35 pm  
Blogger Chaser said...

I believe in you, 100 percent--period.

October 07, 2008 2:51 pm  

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