Friday, February 03, 2006

Back to the Books

Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik.
One Woman's something or other blah blah Africa.

That's it. The title of my book. (Although I forget the subtitle.) My No Hurry In Africa one got bounced. Which is fine because somehow they accepted my earliest first suggestion from last spring: Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik. I had to sulk for a long time before they took it. They weren't real keen on Curse of the Hippo, which is also fine because that would take me into places I'm not sure if I want to go yet since I'm still struggling with Mr. Hippo and the issues that were alongside his chasing me. He's a metaphor for a dark time in my life. (Kuwait turns out to be a good recovery station.)

The dik-dik is a cute little antelope thing, the size of a chihuahua. Anyone who read MariesWorldTour knows that my Africa struggles in 2001 were with the dik-dik, not the hippo. Which admittedly doesn't sound as scary now that I've revealed it's the size of a chihuahua. Anyway, he terrorized me outside my tent one night when I assumed he was a lion.

The title may horrify some or interest others. It is not one that will be overlooked. To me, it's an inside joke that the readers will be let in on slowly.

My editor has passed me off onto another editor, some kind of specialist. She thinks I'm working in a bubble and afraid to show her stuff. Which is very kind of her. If I were my editor, I would assume my lazy good-for-nothing freelancer was putting everyone else's work ahead of mine. But you know, a girl's gotta eat. The thing due tomorrow gets done first. I did turn in three chapters. I have another 10 that I hate and need to rework but haven't touched in ages. (She doesn't read this blog very often, although the new editor may check it immediately. But she'll probably be onto me in a flash anyway. If I were, uh, me, and the writer was, oh, I don't know, Warren E, and we were making comics and he didn't keep in touch for a while, I would not assume he was diligently working on my stuff. I'd assume he was doing everyone else's. And I'd be right.)

One thing that has horrified me about the book is reading the reader reviews on Amazon. I had read a funny book from my publisher and checked out the responses.

Rarely have I read any kind of book where the author is more self-absorbed and impressed with him/herself. I got SO tired of page after page of putting other people down while describing how cool she was.


The author is incredibly whiny and self-important yet hypocritical. There are glimpses of her humanity, but for the most part she puts herself on a pedestal above everyone she encounters - traveling companions included.

"Just don't look, Marie." My former boss used to say that. "Don't look at what they are saying about you on the internet. It will drive you crazy."

It will. I don't have the thick skin for this kind of criticism.

Just don't look. But you know I will.


scarfalonius said...

Probably it's kind of late in the game for this, but you could approach the whiny, self-absorbed criticism with irony (I know, how original). Pretend the book is theater, you're an actress playing a part, and the part is - whiny, self-important etc. It could work.

But since you're in the endgame on the book now, you should just barrel on through and don't look at reader crits. The internet is the place where everybody unloads. Put your blinders on and keep at it.

Anyway, the next book will be great.

Sara Kocher said...

Nah, I plan to use words like "bemused," "observant," "self-deprecating," and "adventuresome" when I write my "pretending-I've-never-met-her-before" Amazon review of your book.

Your Best in Tent Camping: New Jersey reviews look pretty good on Amazon. One reviewer said it "even has some enjoyable humor." Okay, faint praise, but not so bad for a camping guide.

I'm not in love with "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik," though, but that's probably because the first image that comes to mind is pretty far from a chihuahua-antelope-thing.