Sunday, April 01, 2007

Hot Child in the Country

There is NOTHING - I repeat, NOTHING - like cruising around in a '78 t-top Trans Am along backroads, stopping for a soda at a gas station that blares country music at the pumps, stopping at a "town" that is not much longer than a city block to go to the General Store, and then having dinner and stopping for an ice cream cone before being chauffered home.

(That said, I think that Trans Am is not for me. I'm going to give it one more date, and then if I'm still feeling the same I'm going to try to friend him. It's not fair to string him along for love of being driven around in a hot car and for love of being bought meals. I like him well enough, but, well, like is not "in like," and I don't want to be the sort of person who uses somebody for rides in a Trans Am. Even if the Trans Am is REALLY bitchin.' All THAT being said, I'll totally be friends with somebody - whom I really do genuinely like - if I get to keep riding in that car. But I need to be up front about what I think of the situation.... I can't be a person who whores herself for car rides and dinners.)

But so the above means that I didn't do ANY work today.

Prior to the date, I did clean my toilet and clear off the Dining Room Table of Anxiety and the Coffee Table of Despair. I also vaccuumed. And I took out the trash. All worthy accomplishments.

But the grading looms, as does the MLA panel, as does prep for my classes, as do a lot of other things.

Somebody (I'm sorry I don't remember who) in the comments to one of my previous posts asked me to talk about the book manuscript process, and I will do so at length at some point, but I should note that "really done" means I've got a good beginning, middle, and end, and that this is the first time the publisher is seeing the entire manuscript (advance contract). The FINAL version goes to them in december, so there are miles to go before I sleep. This does not make me feel any less happy about what I've accomplished thus far, though I'll admit to some anxiety that the whole thing will fall through.

But so now, The Tudors. (And to think I was thinking I'd be able to cancel Showtime until the next season of the L Word. Damn.)


Karen said...

I'm also interested in your manuscript process, as I'm at a similar phase in my career. Why did you go with the advance contract? I can't seem to figure out what the advantage is, but maybe I'm missing something (can't they still turn down the manuscript when the reader reports come in?) Was it your #1 choice of publisher? Did you send out a proposal to a bunch of publishers? (sorry if you've addressed these questions elsewhere -- I'm a new reader). You seem very savvy about all this -- it's useful to hear stories from other people.

Dr. Crazy said...

Hi Karen, and welcome! A short answer (with a longer answer to follow probably at some point): There's not necessarily an advantage to an advance contract, because yes they can back out when the reader reports come in, BUT, at least as far as I can tell, the offer of an advance contract expresses support in the project, which you don't really get when your manuscript is locked up under review with a publisher without a contract (and yet it would still be bad form to have it circulating elsewhere). To be honest, I didn't really have a number one publisher - I started circulating the proposal as a way to motivate myself to finish the manuscript, and the contract so early in the process was a total surprise. I sent the proposal out to three places in the fall, two of which were probably totally inappropriate. I was rejected by those two and never heard a peep from the third. Just when I was about to send it out to a second batch of three, I got interest from a small house trying to expand its list for another potential project. While I didn't have anything to show them with that, I did have my proposal for my monograph. I asked whether they'd like to see it, they said yes, and the rest is history. It's not the best or most prestigious publisher, but they're not terrible, and since I don't even need a book for tenure at my institution, I wasn't terribly concerned, when I accepted, that they're not the best (though certainly not the worst). Also, since I don't need a book for tenure, if (god forbid) it fell through, it won't really make a difference for me. (In other words, the book itself is a positive in any case, but I won't be any worse off if something goes wrong, at least not at my current job. If all goes well, because they're fairly reputable it will help me - and will help me much more - should I decide to go on the market again, say - to have the contract then it would to have the manuscript under review at a more fantastic press. Example: I've got a friend who had a book under review at an Oxbridge press for two years, put it through revisions, etc., only to have them reject it. All the while, she couldn't submit it anywhere else. That's worse, to my mind, than having it under contract someplace who wants to put it out next year. If they reject me, it will be - most likely - very soon, so I'm not losing time in the process even if they back out, as without the contract I'd not have motivated myself to finish the manuscript before August anyway.)

So that's my situation. It would, I suspect, be considerably different were I at an institution that had more stringent tenure requirements.

Karet said...

Thanks for your response (and please excuse the name change)! I've heard the same thing about the Oxbridge folks and am trying to figure out if I have enough time to send one of those presses my book at the end of the summer (I sent out a proposal to a few presses in Sept and they did request the whole thing when it's done). I'm in my 4th year now and I DO need a bk for tenure, but I added a year to my clock after I had a baby last year (so I'm really in my 3rd yr). I suppose I can just keep having babies if I need more time!!