After much deliberation and a lengthy discussion with my agent (ok, yes, it was over lunch but we both drank water – honest!) I decided to go with Text Publishing.
In the end I was lucky enough to receive seven generous offers for the manuscript. I can’t imagine that will ever happen again so I was careful to enjoy every minute! And speaking at length with the wise, intelligent and enthusiastic editors from each of those houses has been a genuine privilege.
It was very much a line-ball decision – and I’m sure any of the publishers I spoke with would have been great – but I chose Text because Michael Heyward and the people there really ‘get it’. They asked smart questions and clearly want to take the manuscript in the same direction I want to go. Their deal includes a second version of the biography, rewritten for a Young Adult (YA) audience. Also and importantly, Text’s backlist is full of books I admire very much, that hit the sweet spot between intellectual depth and commercial readability. The fact that Text is home to authors like Helen Garner, Inga Clendinnen, Peter Temple, Kate Grenville, Clare Wright and Tim Flannery (to name a few) wasn’t a deciding factor but, once again, wow.
So yesterday I had a coffee with my editor at Text, the lovely Jane Pearson.
Jane introduced me, one at a time, to everyone in the office (they were all very friendly and kind) and then took me into a literary lollyshop – the Text Publishing storeroom. Heaven! Suffice to say that, with Jane’s blessing and encouragement, I walked out of heaven hefting a Text carry bag loaded with gorgeous new books. I like it here already…
Then we walked down the street to very hipster cafe and spent an hour or so in a wonderfully intense conversation about next steps, the editing process, deadlines, our children, contracts, and – best of all – the party held by Text for writers and industry people during next month’s Melbourne Writers Festival. To which I am invited. Yes, I know. Wow.
At this stage it looks like the book will be released in 2018. So if this blog goes quiet over the next little while, with less regular posts, it’s because I’m working hard on my manuscript – the biggest adventure in biography so far.