I haven’t written about something I got really excited about towards the end of 2009, mostly because it felt more like a 2010 event. Now that we’ve begun the new year, I thought it would be a good time to start writing about it here: in fall 2010, Invisible Publishing will be publishing my first book, a collection of short stories. I’m really excited about this, grateful to be able to share some of my writing with the world in a format that I love so dearly: a book.
The process of publishing a book is kind of mysterious to me. Despite my love of books, I’ve never bothered to learn more about the industry, although I have gathered some peripheral knowledge here and there with the advent of publishing blogs. I mean, I cut my writing teeth with zines, so when I think about things like layout and printing, I think first of gluesticks and photocopiers. Publishing a book with a press is new territory for me. I’ve worked with editors before, but never for anything over 30,000 words, so I’m curious to experience that relationship. I’m looking forward to seeing how cover art and book design is chosen, how books are sold to stores, how one goes about promoting a book. And I thought some of you may be interested in this as well, or at least interested in this process filtered through my perspective. This is also for my own benefit: I’ve been a compulsive self-documenter since I started my first diary in the third grade.
So, I’ll start at the beginning.
Invisible is a small Canadian press. The mandate on their website is simple and good, and something I can stand firmly behind: “Invisible Publishing is committed to working with writers who might not ordinarily be published and distributed commercially. We work exclusively with emerging and under-published authors to produce entertaining, affordable, print-based art. We believe that books are meant to be enjoyed by everyone and that sharing our stories is important. In an effort to ensure that books never become a luxury, we do all that we can to make our books more accessible.” Books they’ve published that I’ve enjoyed include Anna Quon’s Migration Songs and Stacey May Fowles’ Fear of Fighting and in the spring they’re publishing an anthology of Jeff Miller’s Ghost Pine, and you may recall that I had an essay included in The Art of Trespassing, which was edited by Anna Leventhal and published by Invisible.
When asked about writing, I will give the typical answer and say that I’ve been writing my whole life (i.e. that Nancy Drew ripoff I wrote in Grade 5 about a girl detective named Tracy Maguire, the weird “novel” I wrote in the eighth grade where one of the characters is HIV positive and, I don’t know, someone murdered someone somewhere, maybe the HIV positive character did it?, the time I tried to recreate the entire script for Clue, ignoring the fact that for the movie to have been made, a script was probably written for it, etc.). But I began seriously writing in 2005, and since then I have amassed quite a few stories, most of them embarrassing and not at all as funny to tell you about as that novel I wrote in the eighth grade. But in the past 2 years I had pared my writing down, felt more confident about my “voice” and wrote newer, better (to me) stories. I felt I had enough to create a cohesive collection. Because of the previous relationship I had had with Invisible from the anthology, at the beginning of 2009 I emailed them some of my stories, a CV, and asked if they would be interested in doing a book.
As things in the writing world go, time passes. La la la. You keep writing, you get rejection letters and emails, sometimes you get acceptances, you waste a lot of time on Twitter instead of writing, you plan a wedding. You know, life goes on. I heard from Invisible again in July saying that they were interested and that if I had more to show them, as well as any other information that they thought would be useful, to send it to them. I did, and then more time passed, and we spoke again in October and then in November and they confirmed that they were indeed interested in publishing a collection of short stories. This past December while I was on the East Coast, I met up with Robbie MacGregor of Invisible for lunch in Halifax and officially signed the contract.
My manuscript is due on March 1st, and I’m still working on it. I’ll write more about the writing process and the work I have to do until then in subsequent posts, but if you have any questions or are curious about anything relating to this, by all means let me know.
So, um, yay! A book!