May 12, 2015 § 3 Comments
So, my book came out today, which is great. I started writing it about a million years ago, and about 500,000 years ago I made the mistake of telling people I was writing it, which means for about the past 250,000 years I have been answering this question:
“So, when’s your book coming out?”
This is a very disappointing question to answer almost every day it is asked.
“Oh, that’s a long time from now,” I’d say, when people first started asking. I almost scoffed, not at them, but at the ridiculousness of the question and the improbabilities it brought to the fore of my hurting brain. The distance between the terrible thing that happens at the writing desk and the thing that happens when you are reading a book in a bathtub is immense and can generally only be traversed by gods and angels and the persistent few who’ve wrestled blessings from them. So I just laughed when they asked, which they considered rude, to which I didn’t disagree.
“So, when’s that book coming out?”
When I finally got an agent, about 100,000 years ago, it seemed like less a ridiculous question and more like impatience.
“Eventually,” I said, not wanting to explain the process of proposals and sample chapters and the cryptic, fleshy methods of good literary agents, which mine was, I believed, because these people, most of them, didn’t care. And why should they? But the word eventually felt hopeful. With an agent, the vastness between writing (in between thoughts of suicide and elation) and being read (in between two covers) collapsed into a seeable distance, as though God had granted me eyes that could see past the 14-mile horizon and around the curvature of the earth.
“A year? Two years? Fifty thousand?” I said, sheepishly admitting my ignorance of what happens next in the process of going to auction and signing a deal and agreeing to manuscript delivery dates, which seemed to confuse the askers of this question. How could I not know these things? Hadn’t I been writing it for nearly a million years? What was taking so long? Wasn’t I almost a billion years old?
“Leave me alone,” is what I wanted to say, but why be cruel to the few people who were kind enough to remember that I was a writer?
“So, when’s the book coming out?”
“As soon as I write it.”
This was about 25,000 years ago.
“Oh, it’s not finished?”
“Then how’d you sell it?”
“I have no idea.”
“That must be a lot of pressure.”
I delivered the manuscript about 10,000 years ago.
“Now what happens?” they asked.
“It’s not edited?”
“Not by an editor.”
About 5,000 years ago, when photographs of advance review copies started appearing on the internet, posted by funny editors and book reviewers and marketing interns who wanted to show people what early copies looked like, that’s when everybody really started asking.
“Is your book out yet?”
“When does it come out?”
“That’s like a thousand years away.”
They seemed angry at me for making them wait, and I didn’t blame them.
Now, a million years later, it’s May 12, 2015, and my first book is out, and now I don’t have to explain why it’s not, which makes this a day for celebration.
And now, if you would like to know a little bit more about how I actually wrote the book that is now out and available for sale—that is, if you care, and many of you don’t, and I get that, and I feel you, I do—but if you want to a little vantage into how one little social media platform actually not only allowed people to learn about my book, which was great, except for all the asking, but also how this platform actually aided in the writing of the book that I was being asked about, then you should read this thing I wrote for Brevity and published on Storify, called “The Soul of Twit.”
It’s about how I wrote the book, sort of.
And then you should consider buying the book. It’s called The World’s Largest Man.
I look forward to your questions about it.
Really, I do.
Find out more about Harrison Scott Key at www.HarrisonScottKey.com and on Twitter (@HarrisonKey).