A Twist of Fate

HemingwayOkay, things like this never, ever happen to me. I never have the winning raffle ticket; never walk out of a poker game with more than I came with; never have the pleasure of yelling, “Bingo!”; never pick the winning teams in a football pool; and never win the stuffed animal at the carnival ring toss. 

You might think that I’m just being negative, but I tell you truly, with few exceptions I rarely grasp the brass ring. Now a Las Vegas odds maker might conclude that one who always misses the mark will eventually hit pay dirt. The law of averages might suggest that anyone on a bad streak will eventually be a winner. Even the unluckiest guy on the planet gets a payoff once in a while. Any good commissioned salesman knows that every “NO” gets you closer to that “YES”. Well, yesterday was a monster “YES”. 

A couple of posts ago I mentioned that my literary agent and editor from Amazon Encore were working on a foreign deal. Remember? I had no lofty expectations about this deal. In fact, based on what I’d heard from the experts, the best I could hope for was a very modest offer with no up-front advance. And believe me, just to find any foreign publisher interested in my novel was beyond anything I could imagine. 

Well, yesterday I got an e-mail from my editor and the subject line read: “Exciting Developments”. He went on to say that he wanted to arrange a conference call with my agent and me. We exchanged a few e-mails, coordinated an agreeable time, and in his last e-mail to me, he wrote: “Your life is going to change today.” Can you even begin to imagine what frenzied thoughts were crashing through my brain? 

I had two hours to agonize before the call, so I, of course, did what any insane person would do and tortured myself with the “what-if-game”. Was it an offer from a foreign publisher? Maybe a filmmaker was interested? Did I get a great review from the New York Times? I thought of every possible scenario—or so I thought—but not in my wildest dreams was I prepared for what my editor would tell me. 

When I telephoned in to the conference call, my editor didn’t waste any time with small talk or segue slowly into the crux of what had developed. Without skipping a beat, he said, “A foreign publisher (not free to reveal the country or publisher’s name at this time), has made you an offer. It’s a two-book deal with an advance of (I can’t tell you this either, but let me just say that I needed a nitroglycerin pill). You get ¼ when you sign the contract, ¼ when they publish the first novel, ¼ when you produce the second manuscript and ¼ when it’s published.” 

Originally, when we first heard of their interest in my novel, they hinted of a sequel, but I never really expected it would be part of the deal. Nor did I expect the advance to be more than a pittance. When I hung up the telephone, the only words I could muster were, “Oh my God!” I haven’t written even a single word of the sequel; it only lives in my head. And it’s merely a loosely sketched outline. What if they don’t like it? What if it’s not as good as the first novel? What if I get a case of chronic writer’s block? The psychobabble has begun. Needless to say, I need to get my act together and get to work. For years I’ve dreamed about a successful writing career, but never thought I’d be writing against the clock. Holy crap. What have I gotten myself into?

10 Comments

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10 responses to “A Twist of Fate

  1. Ken

    AWESOME…some day I will be telling my grandkids ”Did I ever tell you about the time I met Dan Annechino on a plane”… and their response will be “yes grandpa only about a million times” 🙂

    Congrats to you man its so cool to witness the moment when someone turns a major corner! I would expect that celebrations are in order this weekend

    • dmannechino

      Thanks, Ken. After stuggling since 1992 (this is my fourth novel) it seems like a dream. I keep asking myself, “Is this really happening?” I guess there is some truth to notion that one should never give up on their dreams. If you keep bouncing back, picking yourself up, and brushing off the dirt, eventually it pays off.

      Yes, it was quite a weekend!

  2. YOUR SIS, RO

    That is FANTASTIC news!! Take some vacation time from work and get writing. I’m very happy for you, you definately deserve a break. Only wish ma was here, she’d be very excited.

  3. poolagirl

    Amazing news, my friend! I can say “I knew him when….” Dang! You rock!

  4. Lighthouse

    I have said it many times and I say it again: I knew it would happen! I had no doubts in my mind. However, now when it is happening, nobody is happier than me…except you of course. I am going to bask in your glory.

  5. Roomie

    Wowza!! Congrats…………….my shiney new (used) car awaits. ha ha

    Seriously, this is no surprise to me. I have pictured this in my prayers for you since the beginning. Oh, by the way. They will want a third also. Um, don’t think you will be retiring for quite some time. Get used to it, this is your new life. And yes, many authors must work under the pressure of the clock. You can do this.

  6. dmannechino

    Just keep praying!!!

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