I GOT A HUGE LUCRATIVE BOOK DEAL WITH A GREAT PUBLISHING HOUSE! WOOHOO!
No, I didn’t. April Fool’s. Arrrgh.
As some of you may know, I’ve been laboring on a book proposal for about the last eight months. It was a huge project for me and I put everything else in my life on hold. There was interest from several big publishing houses so it was a pretty exciting time. We sent it out for auction in February. I was looking forward to being romanced by the editors from the various publishers: you know, the steak dinners, the sunset massages on a helicopter, being bathed in cocaine in the VIP room of the best strip clubs in New York City, etc.
I got word back from my agent a couple of weeks ago that no one was interested. I didn’t even get one crappy, lowball offer. My old pal Zack happened to be over. I flung myself dramatically down on my bed—“I can’t go on!” Zack poked me a couple of times and then said “Mishka, I still have the same amount of pity for you that I’ve always had. Which is to say, very little.” What a jerk.
And he’s right. It’s been an amazing couple of years. Nearly everything I’ve done has succeeded beyond my wildest expectations. It may be the right time for me to encounter a little adversity just to keep my feet on the ground and my head small enough to fit in my hat that is so old that it’s starting to smell like an old shoe.
What went wrong? Well, I’m my worst critic so when I got the news, I just said to myself “People are finally waking up to the fact that the Emperor has no clothes, that I can’t write at all, that I’m a talentless hack who should have stuck to pouring drinks and checking IDs. I’ll call Beauty Bar and see if I can get my old job back.” My friends, being my friends, said “Fuck the entire publishing industry, they don’t know anything about writing, they’re relics from a bygone era, you’re unstoppable, you’re the future, no wonder they didn’t get it!”
Having had a little time to think about it, I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I do think that the paper publishing industry may perceive me as exclusively an Internet phenom and they’re unsure of how my success via Amazon will translate to sales of paper books. I think that’s dumb. I think they’re showing the same insight, perception and creativity that the record industry displayed thirteen years ago when music started going digital, which is why a lot of folks who used to work in the music industry are living in their Moms’ basements and walking dogs for a living now. And also: you don’t get to be an editor at a big publisher without knowing your shit. I strongly believe that the editors who read my proposal passed on it because they saw something I missed. If they passed on it, it’s because the proposal is flawed. So I need to go back and take another good hard look at the proposal—over two hundred pages, the longest thing I’ve ever written, ever!—and fix it.
It sucks. It’s embarrassing and it’s a well-placed kick in the balls of my confidence. But hey, it ain’t cancer. I think I’m gonna leave it alone for six months and then return to it with fresh eyes. In the meantime, I wrote words and tracked vocals for a song composed and arranged by the super-talented Erik Nickerson, I’m working on some new music with fellow violence enthusiast Ben Lebovitz, I wrote a little vignette for a horror movie for Damien Paris, I’m doing a comic book with Jed Collins and another with the guy who had the misfortune to live with me when I was twenty, I’m working to get audio versions of my Kindle Singles up for sale, I’m working on a couple of pieces of short fiction… and I’m starting work on another Kindle Single for Amazon. Huh, maybe it’s good that no one wanted the book…
Lots of folks have been incredibly supportive both while I’ve been blowing off personal engagements while I was writing long hours and in the last couple of weeks when I’ve been depressed about not getting a Benz. 1) THANK YOU and 2) enough is enough. Time for me to get back to work. Please forgive me again as I resume failing to respond to your emails/ texts/ calls, etc.
To purse employment in a creative field is to sign up for a life as a professional failure. As writers, actors, painters, musicians and so on, we fail more often than we succeed. It only makes the success that much sweeter when it comes. So I accept this unsold book proposal as a necessary step in writing a good book. Onward!