Nine Years Ago Today

The announcement on a well used blackboard nine years ago…

I launched my previous novel at Montreal’s venerable Librairie Drawn & Quarterly, which just happens to be my neighborhood bookstore (lucky me — it’s truly a great place, one of this city’s treasures). I remember there was a lot of beer. My publishers indulged me. So much beer that there was a lot left over and I told the bookstore employees to keep them. They weren’t sure what to do — but I hope they partied a bit.

I did a reading but as a very bad PowerPoint presentation, which was thematically adjacent to the story but worked. That PPT was also posted to places like Slideshare (it’s still there) and as a video, again badly done on purpose (and the video is still up on YouTube).

A few weeks later I would repeat the process (more or less) in Toronto. Then I went to New York to hand out pizza on the sidewalk outside the Javits Center to bewildered passersby. Book Expo! Our booth at the convention was around the corner of a very big publisher and they had Angelica Huston signing autographs and, well, I’m no Angelica Huston. I’ve never even met Jack Nicholson let alone sleep with him.

I did not think back then that it would be a decade before my next novel was published. But here we are. My next one, The Reeds, will be published next spring. Ten years after the last one. Luckily, there will be no PowerPoint. I mean, I was sick of it then. Also: I am not a big fan of readings. But you do what you have to do to sell a few copies of a book. Emphasis on the word “few.”

I don’t know what we’ll do this time around. We have a year to think about it! I’m publishing it with the same people — the only ones who will put up with me apparently. I have two or three (my confusion here is not accidental, but two of them are one story divided in to two books; a duology) and they are searching for a home (because, alas, I tested the limits of how much my publisher might put up with me…) The road is long. It always is. But that just makes the destination that much more astonishing. And meaningful.

A writer, a screen, a bad PowerPoint presentation



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