The early manuscript

Early copy

Early copy

My agent called me a while ago to say, to my great delight, that he had re-read my manuscript over the weekend and loved it even more than the first time. Also to my delight, he said that my publisher, Riverhead, is doing fantastic (even in this economy). And then–this made me laugh–he said that the reason they haven’t got around to processing my manuscript yet may be that I’ve done something unheard of, something shocking.

Apparently, in the entire history of book publishing, going back to Sumer, if not earlier, no author has ever handed in a manuscript on time.

I, however, delivered my manuscript several months before the contractual deadline. The entire management of my publishing house, we are speculating, is temporarily stunned, incapacitated, by the cognitive dissonance.

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9 thoughts on “The early manuscript

  1. That is astonishing (=’enough to cure hiccups’ in Latin American Spanish – originally meant – to be struck by lightening)

    Dan Baum – on why you shouldn’t file magazine pieces early

    Also a good piece on ‘strangling your own babies in their cradles’.
    Includes the great line – on writing – “of course, it helps to have an editor willing to perform a radical egoectomy without anaesthesia.”

  2. OK, I answer my own question: turning in your manuscript early means the following:

    1. You knew where you were going and how to get there.
    2. You understand deadlines well ( as you have operated under one big deadline every week ).
    3. You loved what you were doing.
    4. You weren’t afraid.

    How am I doing with these guesses?

    • Cheri – that is very impressive!
      You should set up shop offering online psych evaluations, using only people’s blog entries… they are revealing, though in an extremely self consciously selective, self edited way… reminds me of a quote about biography – which is ‘wart preening’.

      Andreas – to be terrified in Chinese is ‘to tremble though not cold’.
      I too am warmly trembling as my pub date rapidly approaches.

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