Sunday, July 6, 2008

Into the jungle

So here I am, up with the birdies, getting ready to go to church, and guess what's filling my head? Inappropriate thoughts. Commercial thoughts!

I keep thinking these days about what to do with my book.

This is my first book, as Howard was nice enough to write on my blog banner overhead. (We call the main headline the banner in the newspaper business. I am not sure what to call it in the blog business.) I am sure of my ability to write a good biography. That is no problem. I have read enough biographies and I know what separates the good ones from the bad ones and besides I am as smart as the next guy. All the same it has been an adventure from the word go. Getting involved with Leonard Pennario, this complicated, brilliant old man, then getting through losing him -- there are no words, really. Well, yes there are! What am I saying? I am a writer and it will be up to me to find those words. Don't worry, I will do it.

Anyway, none of those challenges is as murky as the overriding concern: what to do with the book when it is done.

Last week, when Pennario died, the reporters who called me were all asking me if I had a publisher. Answer: no.

I have not actually gotten around to working on that yet. Last winter I picked up a copy of "Writer's Market" and I started looking through it but then decided that straightening that out would eat up too much of my time, and that I would be better off concentrating on Pennario and writing the book, seeing that I was in California with him for only three months.

Also I admit, I find dealing with the publishing aspects annoying and irritating. I think it is assumed that if you are a professional, as I am, you will know someone. Which I don't. So I am stuck reading all this loser advice that assumes that you have never been published and don't have a clue. Plus they throw all this stuff at you about how to butter up agents and editors. And they tell you many of them are these kids right out of college, so you'll have to talk fast to grab their attention, because they have short attention spans.

When there are whole books written on "How To Find An Agent" and "How To Write a Book Proposal" you know there is something wrong with the system. I am not going to spend six months writing a book proposal. I would rather spend that six months writing the book.

I have confidence this is all going to work out. I am just not sure how.

For a few days after Leonard left us and my name was all over the Internet as his biographer, I kept expecting someone was going to appear out of the ether. I mean, I didn't see it as farfetched that a sharp-eyed agent or publisher would think: "Aha, here's this gal who turned her life upside-down and risked her job to spend three months with this glamorous old Sicilian concert pianist. She must really have something there. I'd better give her a call." That didn't happen. I was surprised. Aren't there all these agents our there and aren't they all looking for ways to make money? Get on the stick, people!

Oh well. Speaking of getting on the stick I have to get in gear and get to church.

I think I know what I will be praying about today!

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