From the Manuscript’s Mouth
I can barely breathe with all these guys and gals sitting on top of me. Together they must weight a ton. I heard two women the other day chatting over Lattes, and if my memory serves me well, the one at the top’s almost five hundred pages long. Shoot, that’s almost a ream. The taller of the two women said it was really too long and that she’d only agreed to read it because someone called Senior Editor asked her to. She’s gonna be a senior by the time she gets through readin’ that tome. I’d wish she’d go ahead and pull him, because I don’t think I’m going to survive the night.
Well at least I’m not in that pile by the window. It’s gotta be ten feet tall and rumor has it, that bunch’s called the slush pile. From what I gather, they crashed the joint. Nobody invited them and from the looks of things, nobody wants them either. Poor things. Lucky me, I’m in what’s called the agented pile. We’re the elite. We were requested. Yep! The people at this here publishing house got wind of our greatness via a one page letter that’s called a query and asked us to be sent right over. We didn’t come in this form. Originally we were sent via email and then a bunch of interns printed us out. I’m about 300 pages. The gal directly on top of me feels like she’s weighs about 280 pages. Hmm, I’m not used to being on the bottom, if you get my drift. If truth be told, I’m just glad to be here. It’s been a long journey. I started out as a wee thought and then that mushroomed into a chapter, and then more chapters, and finally a first draft, and then after months and months of blood sweat and ink, I became a polished manuscript.
Over there against the wall in that glass case are books. That’s my dream—to have a cover and a spine—to be a genuine book. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that’s gonna happen. I have to get past the woman who sits in this office. She’s called an Acquisitions Editor. Not only does she have to finally read me, but once she does, she has to fall madly in love with me. That’s a lot of pressure on a guy. And even if she does, she may second guess herself and ask someone else to check out my wares and they may not think I’m as captivating. If I do make it through round two, than I hear there’s a bunch of other folk that have to put their two cents in. Sales and marketing and a scary group called THE BOARD. It’s like death row, man. I’ve heard some horror stories about that bunch. Talk about leading a guy on.
There was this one fella everyone was talking about. His name was ringing through the hallowed halls of this joint. “Potential Bestseller!” Yeah, that’s what they were calling him. I’ll never forget the big smile plastered on the acquisition editor’s face when she came to work on that Monday. I knew she was sprung. I saw her put “Potential Bestseller” in her duffel bag along with three other guys on the previous Friday night. Oh she got whipped that weekend. She was on the phone Monday morning bragging about this dude. Said he made her cry and everything. When you can make them shed tears, you definitely have skills.
Anyway, she got all the way to THE BOARD and those blowhards kicked them both to the publishing curb. Ouch! According to the sales department the numbers weren’t adding up. Last I heard, “Potential Best Seller,” aka “Pretty Boy Floyd,” fell into a depression, got on the sauce, and ended up in a twelve-step program. Now clean and sober, he’s makin’ a killin’ as an Ebook on the Internet. Go figure.
Sshh! Here she comes. I better be quiet. Boy, she looks mighty spiffy today. I sit here quietly well she flops down in her leather chair and peers at her Blackberry. The phone rings. She answers it. “Talk to me!” Boy she’s sexy. “Yeah, I got it. It’s right here on my desk..I’m taking it home tonight…Hold on a minute.” Wow, some lucky devil from the agented pile is finally gonna get read. She rifles through the stack and I stifle a giggle when she touches me. “There you are. What are you doing hiding under there?” Oh my goodness, I’m the lucky devil! She gets back on her phone and says, “I got it. It’s done…I believe you. Let me read it for myself. Every book you send over is a bestseller, Hal.” Hmm, bestseller…Wow, look at me!