And this person comes in with postcards for a new book he's published and we start chatting about books and publishing and I point out my self-published book, The Pain Companion, and he politely takes a look. I wander off.
He's still looking at it when I return.
This book is really well done, he says, and I thank him. He introduces himself as Patrick Miller of Fearless Literary Agency and he says he'd like to represent me. I am flattered, of course, but hey, I say, I don't have a platform - you know, thousands of fans on social media, the workshop circuit, a name, and a following. It's what publishers want these days, right?
He says, right, but I think it won't matter with this book. I think this book is worth publishing without that, he says. I'm dubious. Not about the book's value, but about any publisher picking up an unknown author like me. I mean, do I really want a traditional publisher anyway? I've heard tales of how they take your book and change it and then drop it if you don't become a bestselling author in like, 3 months.
I don't say anything because I've already decided that the only publisher I really want to work with is New World Library. They did a great job with The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and they seem interested in the longevity of books and long-term relationships with authors. I would like to work with them if I could get in the door, but, of course, I can't get in the door because I don't have a platform.
Patrick says there is someone at New World Library he'd like to show my book to.
So I sign with Fearless and we create a book proposal together and Patrick presents it to New World Library.
They buy the book.
It's coming out June 15th.
Okay, these things don't happen in real life, right? Like, you hear tales like this now and then, but you don't believe them. Well, this one's true. Yes, there's still room for magic in the book publishing world.
Sarah Anne Shockley believes that writing can be a deeply transformative process for both author and reader. She has published books on travel and living with chronic pain. Her latest book, The Pain Companion, will be released by New World Library June 2018. She is currently working on a YA magical realism novel set in Guatemala.