Gary's status update

Major revision #8 of the second book in the series went to my agent-genius Janet last night.

I'm not quite so deluded as to think my life is fascinating, but I suspect the writer-types reading this are interested in what really happens to a debut author, so here's where we're at:

My life for the last 6 weeks has revolved around book 2. I received superb editorial comments from Joanna Volpe and some fascinating insight from the interns at FinePrint (thanks guys), on the basis of which I did some serious revision. More on book 2 later after I finish with my status.

Book 1 is in production at St Martins, which means they're turning it into something which fits on a bookshelf. Over the coming months, in no particular order, everyone will agree a final title and the art department will work out a cover and I will receive galleys to check. What happens inside the publisher is pretty much a black box to me. I responded to Editor Kathleen's editorial letter months ago, and sent in a character list, author note and acknowledgements, which ended my direct contribution, so now I'm an error correction device when the galleys arrive. Kathleen has been superb about asking my opinion on covers and titles, way beyond the contractual requirement, which I very much appreciate.

Sarah the Publicist, whom I met at Bouchercon, told me that at some point I'll receive a questionnaire about marketing. I look forward to it with amusement and trepidation.

The third book is begun and the opening scenes are flowing nicely. It's set at the Olympics of 460BC and I'm feeling good about it already. There's lots of material I can use, some of it quite bizarre. Bizarre is good.

Book 2 has come out of its revision feeling strong. I can't explain the feeling, but I know when something I've written has crossed the line from merely okay to publishable. I felt book 2 fall into place beneath my hands 4 weeks ago. If you picked it off a shelf in your local bookstore and read some, it would not feel out of place. I had the same feeling with the first book, when at some point I realized what I had was good. If it's of any help to those of you editing your own ms, I got the feeling in both cases while cutting large swathes of perfectly good text to get to the core of the story.

The coming year is going to be huge. I have book 1 coming out, which means after title/cover/galleys I have a book on the shelves and a book tour and Bouchercon. That'll soak up months. In between that Kathleen will probably send the editorial letter for book 2, which means revising book 2. In between that I need to write the third, and I need to get the core of it done in the first half of the year, because the second half is going to be absolute chaos. So as of now I have three books in the air, and I'll be juggling 3 for so long as the series runs.

It's a good problem to have.

18 comments:

pierre l said...

As London prepares for the 2012 Olympics, I shall look forward to reading about the Olympics of 460BC.
I shall, of course, buy books 1 and 2 as the are published.

Gary Corby said...

Hi Pierre!

Thanks for dropping in. If you cast the schedule forward you'll find my Olympics mystery is scheduled for release in 2012. This is a coincidence (I swear it's true!) but one I'm happy about.

Amalia T. said...

I'm glad you posted about this--it's nice to have an insider's look. I'm having a terrible time with my revisions this month--mostly I think because December destroyed me with illness and holiday business. I'm getting pretty frustrated with it though.

Someday, I hope I'll have your problem too :)

Does that mean you're contracted to put out a book a year? (Am I allowed to ask that?)

Loretta Ross said...

What Amalia said, almost word for word! Isn't it funny how the holidays always seem to bring stress, poverty, lousy weather (for those of us not in Australia :P ) depression, weight gain and flu season, and yet we persistently refer to them as "the most wonderful time of the year"?

I have a print of Van Gogh's Les Irises above my computer. Personally, I think the most wonderful time of the year will be when the painted flowers have real live counterparts outside the window!

Carrie said...

Thanks for the blog post, and they are always so interesting. I appreciate your little pauses to let your readers know what the story is. Where will you be next year? Hoping for a Texas stop. Happy New Year Gary. It's going to be awesome.

Matthew Delman said...

My plan is, of course, to beat Pierre to purchasing your books. Mwahahaha!

Great to hear where you are with books 2/3 in the series. I'm sure it's going to be a long-running one.

Yamile said...

Thanks for sharing what's going on with your books. I do think the whole writing process, from idea to manuscript to submission to publishing, is just fascinating and exciting. I'm so looking forward to reading your books!
Have a wonderful holiday season. How I miss the warm weather for Christmas!!!

Gary Corby said...

Thanks guys!

To answer Amalia's question: The ideal which the publisher, the agent and I want is to produce a book a year in an ongoing popular series. I have contracts for 2 books with an option on a third. I'm theoretically out of contracts when I finish the editorial letter for #2, but before that happens Janet will be negotiating on #3.

If I waited to sign for #3 before starting it then I'd be denying myself valuable write time. St Martins will keep contracting books as long as people keep buying them, I'm confident the series is going to be popular and I'm totally backing myself.

This is the same situation we all face when we sit down to face a blank page. Every one of us is an optimist confident in our own ability, or we wouldn't be in this ridiculous situation.

Contracted books seem to vary wildly per author, btw. I know of one debut author who sold four on the spot, three of them unwritten when they sold, and other writers who sell one at a time. If you want to know the average situation you better ask Janet on her blog.

M. Gray said...

Hey! This series sounds awesome! Another author who's entranced by all things Greek!

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Gary,

I popped in to wish you a happy new year - and it sounds like it'll be a busy one! And a book tour!!! Yay! Will you be anywhere close to Chicago? I'd definitely come for a signing if you promise not to bring any food :-)

Anita said...

Bizarre IS good! I knew there was a reason I liked this blog.

Sophie Littlefield said...

Gary! We have the same publicist now. Awwww..... here's to '10, glad i'll see you in the new year!

Gary Corby said...

Hi M. Gray, welcome to the blog, especially welcome since you're into things Ancient Greek, which I see on your web page you are!

Gary Corby said...

Merry, it would be a joy and pleasure to meet you. I promise not to feed you. :-)

I have little idea where the tour's going at this stage. I'd love to cover every place my net friends are.

Using perfect hindsight, I should have stayed overnight in Chicago on my way to Indianapolis this year. I could have met you then, and it turns out Tasha and Andrew were in Chicago too.

Gary Corby said...

Hi Sophie! Same publisher, same imprint and same publicist. Yet another reason why we're twins.

Yep, I'm really looking forward to meeting all the BoucherAuthors again. I miss everyone.

Gary Corby said...

Hi Anita, welcome, and thanks for speaking up!

Here's an example of bizarre: the 460BC Olympics had a chariot race pulled by goats. Also the world's first recorded animal activism protest.

Bill Kirton said...

Exciting news Gary. What a year in prospect. Although you speak as a 'debut writer' it's clear that your whole approach has been and continues to be totally professional. You deserve the success and I look forward to the 'book(s) on the shelf' reality of Nico and the rest. Best wishes for more success in 2010 and beyond.

Gary Corby said...

Thanks Bill. *blush*