Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Building of LeMoyne House



I have felt for some time now that people who blog have way too much time on their hands. I have also felt that they must be somewhat egotistical, not to mention foolhardy, to post their inner ramblings on-line where anyone could read them, and then assume there are people out there who would actually want to read them.

Well, I guess I’m a narcissistic fool with nothing better to do because here it is, my first blog entry.

I decided in January to begin my own publishing business, not realizing the magnitude of the project I’d undertaken. My first book, INCOGNITO, was published by a division of Time Warner, now known as Hachette books. (That is not pronounced the same way as “hatchet”, by the way. I learned this when I called them up to question them about my royalty payments and they treated me even worse than they had when they were known simply as AOL Time Warner. Apparently you pronounce Hachette in the French way, with your nose up in the air and with a feeling of superiority toward whomever you’re speaking. It sounds something like “Hay–shette” but if you were to say it that way I’m sure they’d correct you.)

Since I’ve already admitted to being a bit of an egotist, it may not surprise you to learn that I thought I could do a much better job publishing my second book, MR. MALCOLM’S LIST, than a publishing company that’s been around for dozens of years. (Actually, I’m not sure how long they’ve been around and am too lazy to look it up. I’m not getting paid to write this, after all, and it’s common knowledge that all information on the internet is of questionable accuracy.) So I went through the many steps involved in self-publishing, and found it tedious, complicated, and incredibly frustrating.

I neglected to consider that a publishing house is usually not a one-person show. They have designers, editors, proof-readers and myriad other employees on staff who specialize in only one aspect of the publishing process. But I am not easily deterred. So I applied for my ISBN numbers, signed up with a printer, designed a cover, learned the ins-and-outs of Adobe Distiller (or enough to get by) and spent hours verifying highly controversial grammatical portions of my manuscript were correct, such as whether or not a comma goes inside a quote that is inside another quote. (I’m still not entirely sure I know the answer to that one. Apparently it depends on whether you’re British or American. Since my novel is set in Britain but I’m American, I was faced with quite the conundrum.) I said to myself, “This is a quote, but if I were to recite some bit of poetry here, like ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud,’ I’d have another quote inside my first quote and then I’d have to figure out if I put the comma inside the inside quote or whether or not I should even use a comma.” It’s quite the exciting life I lead as a publisher/editor/designer/grammarian.

Surprisingly enough, one of the hardest parts of this whole process has been the writing of one little paragraph, called the author’s bio. I hate the bio. I know it’s not strictly necessary, but if my little book doesn’t have a photo and bio paragraph on the inside back page I’ll feel like it’s not quite the equal of all the other books out there and it may be sneered at. I wouldn’t want that for my little book. But every time I think of the bio, this anti-authoritarian, rebellious feeling wells up inside me, like society wants to define me by what school I went to, where I’ve worked and whether I’m single or childless. Who cares? Does that kind of list really describe my soul, my heart, who I am, really? How can society want such a sterile, pretentious, dried-up thing as an author’s bio? So this is what I came up with instead:

Suzanne Allain is a philosopher, a poet, a sage, and a jester. She is the embodiment of everything and the substance of nothing. She is every woman you know and yet you’ve never met anyone like her. She is self-effacing, modest, and above all else, absolutely ridiculous.

What do you think?

7 comments:

  1. The thing that I found most difficult to believe is that you posted this at 8:50 am. Welcome to world of sunshine, Suzanne Allain.

    ps - I take umbrage at your attempts to 'out-jester' me.

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  2. My favorite part of the whole blog was not the text but the little IMG_7136 in the corner.You are SO CUTE in that shot! Is your husband by any chance a photographer and available for my daughters wedding? [just kidding-I dont even have a daughter]- signed: author wannabe

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  3. Thanks, wannabe! I'm so glad I finally have a follower. At first I wasn't sure I wanted any followers, (I'm not Jim Jones after all) but I was starting to feel a little unloved.

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  4. just one question. when and where can I purchase this book
    signed a huge fan
    (although I am loosing weight)

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  5. Wow, an anonymous fan! How exciting.

    MR. MALCOLM'S LIST will be released this month. (It is at the printer and I'm waiting for them to distribute it to the book sellers and for them to add it to their catalog.) So it could be next week, or it might be the end of March. I'll update the blog with an announcement when it is available for purchase. Thank you for your interest.

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  6. I love your bio and hope to be able to buy at least one if not both of your books soon. I feel like I completely wasted 4 years there in T-town since it took me moving away for 2 years, looking at Disney's blog, and clicking on your link to find out you were an author as opposed to having gotten to know you better when I was there...what was I doing? Oh wait I remember now...

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  7. Hello Marie,

    Thanks for checking out my blog and posting a comment. We were out of town for two weeks and I only had sporadic access to the internet so I wasn't able to reply to your post. It's great to hear from you.

    Suzy

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