Saturday, February 12, 2011

Standing My Ground?

Alright, so, explanation fully deserved. Long story short, when the original proposal went out to editors, pre-blog and blog hype back in the beginning of November, it sucked. It was stiff, not funny, and had no platform whatsoever because this whole thing hadn't been created yet. I also didn't know how far I could push the boundaries so I was timid in the writing and the humor and the voice. So I admit it, it wasn't the best representation of my whole idea for the book.

The blog and Brobible article went up, and the whole face of the proposal had to change, but it was tough, seeing as the original had gone out already.

An editor with a notorious author rejected the book saying it sounded desperate and that he thought there was no audience for the book. I was pissed but whatever, I had Kensington on the books for a luncheon.

I was bummed, because I felt like I had just fucked up the order of how shit should have been done - the blog obviously should have been done before the proposal but it just didn't happen that way. Had I done it the correct way, would there be more interest from this guy who, in reality, would in theory be the perfect editor for my book? Who knows.

Two days ago, this editor who blew me off originally, e-mailed my literary agent to ask if it (the book) was still available. He set up a meeting, and we hiked our asses into the city (I had to work at 4 so I came in 3 hours earlier) yesterday afternoon.

I'm not gonna lie, this editor and his authors are definite peas in a pod, not surprised they work together at all. I'm not going to say why, but...yeah, fucking peas in a pod. I went in under the impression that he maybe got wind of the hype of the blog, or had heard about it, or had managed to snag a copy of the revised proposal and saw the major difference. He had also asked my literary agent about a potential title change, which he said would be the "hook" for him. While I wasn't totally thrilled with the title change, I agreed to negotiate it. After all, who gives a shit about the name? If the book goes out, it goes out and the subject and content is just the same.

So here I am, sitting in this dude's office with my literary agent, totally pumped about talking about the changes and the voice of the book, much like I had at my lunch meeting with the Kensington editor. Putting myself and the book out there and showing our potential.

Dude starts off with asking me if I knew what a lacrosstitute was. Obviously I do. He says he wants to change the title to The Lacrosstitute.

I mean, okay. I can I guess go with it. Maybe a little bit of tweeking? I mean...okay, let's talk.

Then he drops that he wants to book to be fiction. He's not interested in memoir at all. He wants to change the whole book.

Hold up. The whole book's marketing and hype has been on the fact that it's non-fiction, true stories, real guys, real embarrassment and humor. You want to turn it into a piece of chick lit fiction? Nah, don't think so. This isn't Confessions of a Shopaholic, dickhead.

I voice my main concern - The chick that wrote the Washingtonienne. Her book tanked because she went from real life to non-fiction. She had a blog, like mine, and people loved it. It detailed real life, real people, real affairs, real shady business. And all of a sudden, her book is fiction, with made up characters and situations and a plot, with a beginning and an end. Her book tanked. And this is why. Ever read Tucker Max's website (and I'd put my life savings on the fact that this editor has read said site)? He calls it the same way I do - her book failed because no one gives a shit about fake stories about this kind of thing, particularly when the main marketing platform and target audience has been revolving around the actuality of the situations she was writing about. Tucker Max has it right. So do I.

People don't want to read made up bullshit about sex. That's what those lame romance novels you buy in CVS with pictures of Fabio are for. Women who can't get laid who want to pretend. Anyone can make up a story about fucking 10 guys in the back of a cab (ps I never did this, this is an example ha) and then flying to Paris to have sex with another guy and then having something strange and funny happen to them on the way home while trying to make it to her boyfriend's big game. Ok, being a writer, it's not that fucking hard. Ask Stephenie Meyer. Bitch made up the dumbest story ever and got millions for it. There is no draw to shit that isn't real, when it concerns humor and sex. People want to relate to it. The draw to this blog and my stories and the book idea, in my humble opinion, has always been the fact that I'm a real fucking person, sitting behind a real Mac, chronicling my real experiences with these real guys. Guys that exist. Stories that really happened. WTF moments that are entirely true. This is the market and the interest - I'm talking about MY sex life, MY situations, my opinions in my life and my voice. Turning into fiction takes all of that away, even if it's "fiction based on true events". Suddenly, it's a made up story anyone could put together. It loses its appeal.

"Well, I don't think anyone will care about a no-name sleeping with minor athletes".

This is his response. Really? Tucker Max (and I HATE drawing on him for this comparison) was a no-name dude who fucked random chicks no one knows. And his book did pretty well, as you may or may not recall. The stories are there, the humor is there, the reality is there. Alyssa Milano was "famous", and a "name". Her book SUCKED. Fame and notoriety have jack shit to do with it. Ask Snooki. It's the content that's important, and this guy totally ignored this, which shocked me. If you knew who his authors are, you'd be like "what the fuck is this guy doing, this is a perfect opportunity for him?". As for the minor athletes thing, fuck off, I'm not writing about badminton players or professional extreme frisbie guys for christ's sake! These guys all have a draw, largely in part because while they all have names, they are also relatable!

He tells me to go buy the book "Prep" and read it. And then copy it, but with sports stories. He tells me everyone copies everyone else in the writing world, so try to copy this, or something like it, but make it better. Make it the slutty dark twin sister of the book Prep.

He will not publish a memoir. End of story.

This all takes place in a matter of 15 minutes. Dude could have easily e-mailed these "opinions" instead of dragging both my LA and my ass into the city early on a day I had to work. I leave totally annoyed. My literary agent is so confused, he had no idea that was what the "meeting" would be about. He thought there was a legit interest in the book itself, as it stands now.

I humor the fucker and go check out the book Prep in Barnes and Noble after. And I decide I'm not doing fiction. And I ain't working with this dude with little man syndrome.

Look, I'm a first time author. In reality, I have no fucking business being such a bitch about what people think about the book, particularly people like this guy who has had major success in the industry. But at the same time, I'm not fucking writing a book just to write a god damn book. I'm writing THIS book, at this moment, because I want to, and because I think some people would want to read it. I want it to be non-fiction because I feel like that's what you guys expect - the truth, the real shit, the real stories. I mean, do you really give a shit about stories I make up? Or do you want to buy the book I've been promising you fuckers for months now?

Go read a book like Confessions of a Shopoholic, or Prep. And take in the tone of those books. There is a rigid, feminine, almost stiff formula to novel writing. My voice would never come through or translate in that formula. And that in and of itself is a huge loss the the quality of the book, because it's my voice that at times makes the shit I write about funny. You lose it in the "he said" and the "she said" and the random environmental descriptions and the background thought. I'm not that creative. My life, my real life, is way better.

And you lose the connection. Yeah, you may wonder if the major league pitcher with the brown hair and green eyes who plays for the Mets in my fiction book is based on someone real, but there's the risk there that he isn't. And while I never want to give away the names of these guys I write about, I also don't want to lose the honesty and the reality they bring as my "characters". I don't want to have to replace them with guys I make up in my head who never mattered to me or my stories. I love the intrigue. I love reading people's guesses, I love when an entire website is devoted to guessing, or people are 100% sure this guy I mentioned is definitely this player, and I sit there going "how the fuck did you come up with that one? It's not even CLOSE". Maybe it's selfish, but for me, that's been a huge and fun part of this whole thing.

So yeah, it was a blow but not really. I mean, he blew me off to begin with, so it's not like this was a guy I was fully expecting to publish the book and then suddenly he was like "no". It would have been a really nice surprise had he had actual interest like I thought on Thursday, but he didn't, and I move on. I'm not cow towing to him, regardless of who he is or what he's accomplished or who he represents. I'd rather not get published at all than cave to writing a piece of shit chick lit book that sells 7 copies, all of which will probably be bought by my mother.

Kensington and St. Martin's Press still have the proposal. St. Martin's actually only just got it on Wednesday of this week, so it's still new to them and according to my literary agent, he had the editor laughing pretty hard when giving him minor details about it and the proposal. As for Kensington, like I said, the lunch back in the beginning on January went, in my opinion, beyond extremely well. I did everything, I fucking mean EVERYTHING I could to put the book and myself as an author and representative of said book in the best light possible, and from the guy's response, he seemed to agree. He got the proposal a week and a half ago, and also passed it on to another editor in a different department to read too, which I'm hoping, means maybe they are trying to just figure out who would be best to represent it in terms of genre/division. Also, Kensington has no editorial assistants, so this is a lot of work for these two editors alone. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and give them the time. I'm not overly concerned about it at all just yet.

So that was the situation. I'm sorry for hyping you guys up and getting your hopes up, but trust me, I felt just as fucking duped by the editor, so I'm right there with you on the disappointment level. but for now, let's just keep our fingers crossed about the other two publishers and say a prayer I get the chance to tell this editor to fuck off.

5 comments:

  1. I read Prep, and I did not enjoy it. You are 100% right not to change your book or your writing style!

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  2. Couple of thoughts. (1) "Lacroissitute (sp?) is trashy and implies you're (or your fake heroine) a hooker. You're not, so fuck him. (2) The editor sounds like a dick and no one you want to work with (which I'm sure as your LA has explained, once the contract is signed, you spend TONS of time on the phone, doing line edits, etc. with). You need to have a good relationship with whatever editor you finally work with. Trust me on this. (3) Funny, smart memoirs sell because the authors have distinctive voices-Chelsea Handler and Jen Lancaster (JL's written 5 memoirs about her life-losing her job, weight loss, living in the city, reality tv watching, etc.). (4) Recycled fiction is boring. (5) Prep sucked. (6) I like romance novels, but the Fabio covers are totally 1993. Hang in there. It doesn't matter how many rejections you receive-all you need is one offer, which will be the right one, to erase everything else. xoxo

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  3. Court- my best friend and I both agreed with you about the title. It's totally derogatory and while I totally cop to the persona, I've done a lot to work away from the "slut", "whore" and other male enduced words that imply there's something wrong with a woman who likes sex with a lot of guys. I also am right there with you regrding having to work with him. The post doesn't even do his asshole persona justice, I mean, my face through that whole thing was basically screaming "what the fuck?". He was so...unenthusiastic, even about his own ideas. Next, absolutely about memoirs and that's the point. My voice I think is pretty unique, and doin a novel would strip the book of that in a lot of ways. Prep looks awful. And thank you for the support chickie :)

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  4. The right editor will say, "I love your work and I can't wait to publish it."

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