Pride & Prejudice

“No, no,” she said. “You’ll never get New York’s attention. You’re going to have to grassroots this thing.”

It was my publisher, my editor, my wedded partner and me sitting in a booth on Boxing Day last. Tiny presents lined the windowsill in front of a landscape vacant and exhausted from Christmas’s eager anticipation. My book was only a promising manuscript.

Five months later, River Queens goes into production. I turn my attention to promotion, querying book reviewers.

My first attempts are poor; overly long waxations of an expectant father. Paltry few responses disturb my dusty inbox. But the more submission guidelines I read, and the tireder my fingers get; the briefer my queries become. My response rate improves. I gain confidence enough to jump genres.

“Fiction. Romance,” her profile says.

A very long shot, I think to myself. A Hail, Mary pass.

Her polite response is predictable: “Dear Mr. Watson, Unfortunately…”

But before I scan to the bottom of what I know is coming, my computer pings. A follow-up from the same reviewer arrives on the heels of the first.

“Sorry…clicked your link…Intriguing…please…your earliest convenience. Regards,”

In an industry genetically conditioned to say no, there remains the grace and aplomb to reconsider. What a marvelous time to attempt the impossible.

Alexander Watson