Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Book Deal Game

Here’s how you play:

1. Imagine that you have a book deal

2. Role play The Call from your agent/editor

3. Brainstorm the terms of your contract

4. Daydream the inevitable book-signings/school visits/conference presentations

5. Spend the Advance

Today my game piece is presently parked out on Number Five. I’m a tad embarrassed to say that I’ve landed on this square many times over the years. I remember vividly taking a walk with my husband when I was pregnant with child number two. (To give you a hint about how long ago this was, said child is now in high school.) My husband and I were trying to figure out if we could afford to live on one salary after the baby was born. I drew the card for Spend the Advance and read my line: “Well, if I get a book deal….”

The hitch was I hadn’t exactly written a book at that point. In my defense I think I had started one. Didn’t matter. The game box was open. My piece was on the board. The dice were clicking together in my hand. (How long can I keep this inane metaphor going?)

Flash forward through the years:

Should we splurge on a cruise for our anniversary?

Send a child to an expensive summer program?

Buy a new car?

A house?


Say it with me: "Well, if I get a book deal…"

Here are some funny things about this game (and by funny, I mean kind of sad):

1. I have spent the pretend book deal $$$ many times over

2. Advances for YA authors are small. (think used car)

The truth is the game, while occasionally fun to play, has absolutely nothing to do with the day-to-day life of being a writer. I know that. You know that.

But still, here I sit this morning fighting the urge to go out with my husband and buy a flat screen TV. Our present one just went kaput. (And here’s a nice little aside: I bought that one many years ago with the money I earned from a short story.) Also, my car needs a tune-up, the microwave is broken, our twenty-year old washer only works on one cycle, my laptop has several band-aids pasted on the knobby protruding busted keys, and the paint is peeling on the side of our house. If I got a book deal, we could….

Daughter from the other room: Don’t forget the toaster!

Yes, my whole family plays the Book Deal Game now.

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