A batch of paperbacks for Monkey’s Wedding arrived today!
Now I can finally send the book to my brother, Garth, who lives back home in South Africa. He’s been waiting for a copy for twenty-two years, ever since I told him I was writing a book about us. A book that started out as a memoir (and ended up as a mystical, political, historical, family story, with him as a fictional character). You can read about it here.
“Where is your book,” he’d ask in every letter over the years. You could almost hear his slow deliberate way of talking coming through his barely legible text. The couple of years he spent in that small classroom at Frederick Knapp School with all the other “slow” kids in Nkana, Zambia, where we were raised, hadn’t taught him much beyond his letters, which in his dotage has regressed to mostly scribbles. Soon, I would tell him.
It wouldn’t have helped to tell him about all the near misses Monkey’s Wedding had gone through on its way to publication. From being picked up by an agent to a near miss with Time Warner Publishing, to enthusiastic interest from the editor of Harper Collins (until she had to get smart and back off from this niche title that didn’t promise a big payoff). Nor could I have told him how I’d relegated Monkey’s Wedding to a fantasy of being a #1 NYT bestseller (the newspaper clipping I pinned to the wall with Monkey’s Wedding’s blurb pasted over the top bestseller at the time now brittle and yellowed).
“Maybe they will never publish your book,” he finally wrote a year ago.
I’d come to the same conclusion. His health was deteriorating. This was the guy who wasn’t supposed to live past twenty anyway. It was time to fulfill my promise to my brother. I would self-publish. I had the book professionally edited and set about researching the whole self-publishing route. But it was hard giving up my dream of having the book published by an agency. I made one last mad dash and submitted Monkey’s Wedding to Kindle Scout–the American Idol of publishing–with hope in my heart, yet believing that there was no chance in hell my novel would get selected.
Against all odds, Monkey’s Wedding was selected by Kindle Press for publication (of the Kindle), along with more popular titles like Necrospect, Cowboy Sanctuary, Devil’s Glen, Trapped in Love, Eternity Prophesy. Books so unlike Monkey’s Wedding it’s laughable. And wonderful.
With the might of Kindle Press/Amazon Publishing behind me, I went ahead and self-published the paperback. Garth will finally get his book.