Friday, May 09, 2008

...waiting for the copy edits...

So, I'm learning that publishers run on that other time too. The date for my copy edits for Tail of The Blue Bird, has been pushed back twice, and it's very frustrating because I set time aside to go through the edits and get them back so that work can begin on the advance copies of the book. Now, some of you might be wondering what advance copies are or do exactly in publishing. In short they are the first blast of real excitement a writer gets after the book deal - essentially a finished version of your book, complete with a cover design and the final layout is printed almost a year in advance and sent out to the media, famous writers etc. etc. so that radios, newspapers and magazines can start scheduling you for interviews (if they think you/your work are interesting), writers can give you endorsements, and bookstores can make orders - all the things that trigger those quotes that appear on books that make everyone wonder - 'how come the book's only been out two days and they already have that printed on it?' In my case, the struggle to find a publisher because of the unusual (not my word) nature of the book means that luckily (or unluckily) I already have quotes from authors who endorsed the work so that potential publishers would realise that the book was considered good by my peers - I am proudest of my endorsements from Helon Habila, whose work I've been a long-time admirer of, and Courttia Newland, who was one of my early mentors in prose...

Anyway, back to the delay on my copy edits, very frustrating etc etc, but I have been making good use of the time; last week I recorded an excerpt for a fairly new BBC World Service programme called The Forum, and took part in a panel discussion of some of the ideas in the book, and stuff like whether or not Islamic Law is ethical and whether Plato had the right ideas about erotic love in his 'Symposium'. It was supremely interesting (I'll let you know when THEY let me know when it will be broadcast), but the publicity department at my publishers said - oh, couldn't it have been next year? everyone would have forgotten by the time the book comes out! Ah, YE publishers of little faith; haven't you heard about gossip, the bush fire media, alata wire tap, abusua radio, or, for the wine drinkers, the grapevine...? [BTW I welcome comments from my West African readers for any more phrases that exist to describe gossip - it's funny how the mind goes blank sometimes...]

Bottom line is, I'm not completely bored. I even had occasion to celebrate the fact that one of the books I edited last year - 29 Ways to Drown by Niki Aguirre - made it to the longlist of the Frank O'Connor Short Story Prize and was reviewed in today's SUN newspaper (the UK crew will understand the significance of this - it has a circulation of 3 million and pictures of half naked women on Page 3 i.e. West-European-naked, just breasts, which is fully clothed at some of the markets I went to in Cape Coast - over here people get excited when a woman breast feeds in public - as my Naija crew would say, ah ah!)

On that half-clothed note, I bid you adieu, or rather au revoir...


what i'm reading/listening to

listening:
Smokey Robinson & D'Angelo - I have entire folders of their work on my laptop and I have them on loop - I'm in a chilled summer mood...


reading:
Rose by Li Young Lee (something to relax) and Land of our Birth by Ainsley Burrows (something I'm editing)

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