squeaky wheel. . .
Right now, a certain published author has my manuscript. He’s a busy guy–his latest novel came out two days ago and he’s just started a book-signing tour. He sent me an email the other day apologizing for the delay in reading the thing. Life’s been insane but he’ll read it. Should have plenty of time on the road. . .
The guy’s plate is full. Just the thought that he’s willing to read something I wrote. . . did I mention he’s won the Edgar award?
He’s in damn fine company, too. Dennis LeHane, Michael Connelly, Patricia Cornwell, Harlan Coben. Elmore Leonard. Mickey Spillane. Honest to God. Obviously, the man can write. His stuff sells. He’s a bonafide NYT best-selling author and here he is, reading my damn book. How the hell did that happen?
I asked him.
Sometimes I don’t believe how ballsy I am. I thank my mom for that. She always told us: Squeaky wheel gets the grease. So when I read on this writer’s website that he answers all emails, I thought, You know what? I’m gonna ask him to read my book. So I did, I asked him.
The novel was TWINK. I attached the first chapter, hit ‘send’ and immediately regretted it. I mean, really? What the hell was I thinking? But he wrote back. Very nice guy. He told me he read the first chapter and yeah, I can write. BUT, he said, people don’t generally want to hear what he has to say. He doesn’t mince words. He’s been on the receiving end of harsh critiques; as a matter of fact, he has a couple of guys who regularly rip his manuscript a new one. They are relentless. They don’t hold back. He asked me if I was ready for that, if I could handle that.
Yep, I said.
He was spot on, my God. I wept, then I shoved emotion to the side and started revising the thing. It’s a much better novel, thanks to him. I really can’t thank him enough.
But I’m incorrigible. When I finished writing CHERRY, I thought, I wonder if he’d read it. What the hell, I’ll ask. So I did. And damned if the guy didn’t say, “Send it.”
So I’m waiting. Which isn’t one of my strong suits but I’m doing it, knowing full well how lucky I am to have a writer of this man’s caliber reading something I wrote. When I think about it, I’m thrilled and humbled.
You know what else I am? Proud. Because I started the ball rolling, took a chance. Sometimes you need to do that: step out of your comfort zone, make a little noise. It’s a crap shoot, no guarantees.
But sometimes you get lucky. . .