Square Peg…No Hole?

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Sans round hole?

“Not a great fit for us…”

“Doesn’t really fit our list…”

“You’ll find a better fit elsewhere…”

Any author who’s ever had work rejected is familiar with these statements. Over 20 years and eight novels, I’ve had my fair share of ‘fitness’ fails and I’ve come to understand it’s sometimes literal, more often publisher shorthand for ‘We don’t think it will sell’ or ‘We don’t love it’ or ‘We don’t love it enough’. Typically, I would shake it off and saddle up for the next response, hope springing eternal from decisions not yet made.

The eighteen months of contractual futility that haunted my upcoming 2022 novel, Boy in the Blue Hammock, though? It was different. The parade of passes based on fit seemed to be communicating a new shorthand, not so much a situation of square peg / round hole.

It felt like square peg…no hole?

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How To Explain A Book Deal

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Watchu Talkin Bout

I recently signed a paperback deal with Random House Australia for my novel, Are You Seeing Me?. It was exciting, especially after waiting for it longer than I cared to. Of course, I wanted to share the great news with friends and loved ones asap. But with the delivery of said news comes a challenge in helping people understand exactly what it is. Folks who don’t write novels and don’t receive publishing contracts and don’t read novels that have received publishing contracts generally have no real clue as to the true and appropriate level of significance to your achievement.

If you have good friends and you get on with your family, they’re instinctively happy for you. Oftentimes, they assume the deal is the ultimate life-changer; you’re quitting your job, moving to New York, buying a small island in the Pacific, rubbing elbows with Stephen King and JK Rowling and that raunchy bloke who wrote 50 Shades of Grey. Others have congratulations, but figure it can’t be too hard – look at how many books there are in the store we walk past at the mall! A few just smile and nod politely, wondering what the hell would possess anyone to want to write anything after the mandatory creative writing torture in Year 8. All need a little guidance in getting a proper handle on your modest ‘T’ triumph.

So, for authors perched on a similar rung of the publishing ladder as I, here’s three solid  pointers to explaining your new book deal:

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