The Endless Road to Publishing

I’m pleased to announce that my novel, Waiting for the Man, will be published by ECW in spring 2014.

How did we get here?

Well. It’s quite possible that there are sentences in this novel that are older than my son. Very few of them but I wouldn’t doubt it. My son is 12 years old. I started writing this book a long time ago, at least a decade ago and then after three drafts over a couple of years, I ditched it because it wasn’t working. And then a year later I reread it and took out half of it, a complete story line and a major character. There were two major characters. I took out one. And then I started work on it again. But I work full time too. At the time, I was editing a magazine. A big magazine. And then I wasn’t editing one magazine, I was looking after a stable of them. So I’d go through a draft a year about. And then I think I was happy with it. Relatively happy. Let’s face it, a writer is never happy, but I was comfortable enough with it to start showing it around.

Then the Twitter thing started. Meaning I dove into Twitter and kept diving deeper and deeper. What did that do? My insanity there got me some media attention. An agent in New York called. He wanted to do something with my twisters and I said, sure, and we tried to sell the concept and it didn’t work. He didn’t really do fiction so he was never interested in the novel. (He’s a great agent, by the way, a great old school New York agent and he specializes in pop culture and business and non-fiction). The publishers never really got what I was trying to do on Twitter. We had conversations with some big houses but nothing happened and so this agent and I parted ways. Amicably. I have to say that.

Then I went to Twitter and declared myself agent-free and found another agent. And she tried with the twisters (same reaction) but more importantly read the novel and liked it. She made some suggestions and I thought they were quite sharp and I wrote another draft (I think I was up to 9 by now) then she started sending it out to the big houses. They didn’t bite. I made some more changes. She said ok. Then I stopped hearing from her. Finally she responded to an email and called me “passive aggressive” and I left her alone. And then I really didn’t hear from her and about five months later she told me she’d struck out on her own and formed her own agency and I wasn’t one of her clients anymore. She said she’d informed me. It was the first I’d heard of it. She called me passive aggressive again. I’m a lot of things. But I’m definitely not passive aggressive. Only when I play hockey.

So I lost about five months there. Perhaps more. But I will say this: her editorial comments were very good. I did a little tinkering with the novel. A woman interviewed me for an online newsletter and she also introduced me to her agent. We spoke and he took me on and we went after the big houses again. Nothing. I was getting close to going the self-publishing route. I’m not a young kid. Not anymore. I appreciate that publishing is slow. But the industry had changed (a lot) in the lifetime of the novel. It had changed completely. There were options now. Then my agent started sending it out to publishers he had worked with before. Some of them smaller. One of them is ECW, based in Toronto. Given what’s been going on with the big houses, especially in the U.S, I’m actually grateful to have been taken on by an independent publisher in Canada, especially one that seems to be doing well on the digital front also.

And so, here we are. The book comes out in spring 2014. There’s another draft to write, for sure. Stuff to plan. But let’s face it. That’s a long ways away. At least the contract is signed. Time to get serious about the next book.

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10 Comments

  1. Posted November 16, 2012 at 2:27 am | Permalink

    Arjun,

    This really puts writing and getting a book published into perspective. It’s a long battle. Despite that, this piece you’ve written here has given me hope.

    I’m happy for you and can’t wait to pick up your book. Congratulations!

  2. Michael
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 2:32 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed reading this page. I’m an aspiring author. I have a bunch of stories on the go and I’m editing my first one. Do you have any advice for a starter writer?

    • Arjun Basu
      Posted November 16, 2012 at 3:13 am | Permalink

      Mike, I would just say one thing: keep at it. The best advice I could give is be persistent. It’s probably the only advice. The rest of it isn’t worth a damn.

  3. Posted November 16, 2012 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    This was a very good article for me to read right now, what with the current head-space I am in. I have started, thrown out, revised, re-started and re-thrown out several novels, always becoming frustrated and giving up when things just wouldn’t work the way I wanted them to. I even went so far as to “swear off writing for good!” numerous times, the last time leaving me in a horrible, writing-less depression that lasted about a year and a half. I was sure it just wasn’t in the cards for me, not anymore. Then, out of nowhere, it came back. Now I find myself learning to blog, learning to tweet, writing short fiction again, and even starting the planning stages for yet another novel, one that I hopefully will not abandon halfway through. It’s posts like yours here that remind me that being a writer means, more than anything, being unwilling to let your hopes and dreams die. Thank you!

    • Posted November 16, 2012 at 3:11 am | Permalink

      (also, my name is Kevin Guest, not Kevin Guesttint…. I don’t know how I let that happen.)

  4. Posted November 16, 2012 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Wow, congrats! I’m a long-time reader and fan. Glad things are working out for you. 🙂

  5. AJ
    Posted December 8, 2012 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Hey Arjun. I literally heard of you today and I have to say I am stupidly impressed with the idea of twisters. I have been thinking of a way to use twitter for a long time. I hope you wouldn’t mind if I stole the twister concept to use on twitter? What a unique and awesome way to practice while working. I hope to receive your blessings. All the best with your recent achievement!

    • Arjun Basu
      Posted December 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      I don’t own the concept. Knock yourself out.

  6. Evelyn Seligman
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    I always enjoy your twisters, Arjun. Good luck with the novel. I’m looking forward to reading it.

    Cousin Cookie

  7. BridgetteSteele
    Posted January 11, 2013 at 1:55 am | Permalink

    Arjun,

    Congratulations 🙂 I began following you on twitter after trolling through writer/author oriented suggestions and found your twisters quite funny and geniunely well written. I looke forward to the book.

    I also dream of being published (it’s been awhile since I’ve submitted anything for magazines and entering a new phase of my career where I want very much to get back to it) and have also found your long journey comforting.

    Again, congrats!

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