I’m reading a book by a comedian and he starts the book by talking about the book proposal process. He sends in the proposal to his editor, who hates it, thinks it’s a terrible idea. But the editor doesn’t say that. Instead, his reply is like, “this is SUPER interesting, but maybe it could be slightly less suicidal sounding? You know because people will think they’re buying a humor book? But don’t want to stifle your creative vision. Just a suggestion!”
And then his manuscript is incredibly late, years late practically. And his editor says, “it would be great to get that manuscript. Just whenever you can. Don’t want to rush you. But you know, it was due in 1997. So, maybe soon.”
And you read that and you think ha ha. Funny. But actually, no. This is exactly what the book writing process is like. Seriously, anyone with low self esteem should just become a writer.
My editor wants me to write another book and I’m gathering together my notes to put together an outline and a proposal. Even when the publisher asks you to write the book, you still have to submit a proposal and they have to approve it. It makes you wonder how in the world anyone who submits an unsolicited proposal can possibly ever get a book published when much of the time they reject your proposal even when it was their idea.
But anyway, looking over the email discussions with my editor about this book proposal, I apparently told him I would get it to him in February. As in it’s now June. And the proposal is only one page long. The mind-boggling thing is that they want me to write the book at all if a single page is already four months late.
You would expect my editor to be irritated. Maybe say “fuck you; you get no book deal”. (Yes, he would probably use a semicolon after the “fuck you”. He’s a senior editor at a huge publishing company!) But no. His emails say things like “what obstacles can I help you overcome to finish this proposal?” I figure if I tell him the obstacles are cute kitten pictures on the internet and new episodes of Cougar Town, I wouldn’t seem very professional.
He really hated my original idea for the book. I can tell this because his email in reply to my pitch started out exactly the same way the comedian described his editor’s response (maybe we have the same editor? probably not): “can you tweak that idea to…” and then ends with “Your idea sounds very interesting! I don’t want to come across as too negative!”
So, I’m sitting here in my pajamas. Trying to remember that great idea I thought I had for a book everyone would buy. And I’m writing this instead. The worst part is that I don’t even feel bad or like I’m procrastinating because this entry is book related. My brain uses any trick it can. Well, my editor’s been waiting since February. What’s a few more days after all.