“How I Got a Book Deal (Or How to Succeed in Shameless Self-Promotion Without Really Trying)” by Andrew Farago, page 3
“You’ll have to capture each character’s unique personality and voice. If you do it well, it’s going to be a really fun book,” my editor said. “Of course, if you don’t do it well, this book could be really, really awful.”
Which is exactly the motivation that a first-time author needs going into the biggest project that he’s ever tackled. I agreed with him 100%, and spent the next two months watching cartoons and taking copious notes on Foghorn Leghorn’s dialect and transcribing my favorite Daffy Duck rants.
For the next two months following that, I spent one to four hours writing each night after work, sometimes up to eight hours on weekends and holidays. Finding a quiet space to write on Christmas in a house full of 20 relatives (and explaining to people that you need time alone to collect your thoughts on Porky Pig’s early years) may have been the most difficult part of the whole process.
My editor, Kevin, received weekly updates and offered feedback along the way, rather than wait for the entire manuscript. We had a few disagreements (mostly on whether or not Porky Pig would stutter when he typed and if Elmer would replace his ‘r’s with ‘w’s when he wrote his chapter), but he was very easy to work with, and the give and take during the editing process resulted in a much better book.
After months of back and forth, we were all satisfied with the writing, and then it was off to the Warner Brothers legal department, which asked for rewrites and revisions. Accounts vary between whether they required “a few slight changes” or they made me despair, “OhgoodLordtheywantmetorewritetheentirebook.” This led to more discussion and debate, but within a few edits, we came up with something that we all liked.
In the meantime, the Insight Editions design team and a crew called theBookDesigners had gathered loads of original artwork, official WB images, vintage artifacts, new illustrations, and some special pieces to be bound into the pages of the book. When everything was ready, I started receiving digital files of the book. Then it was my job to combine the text and illustrations and begin seriously nitpicking.
Once we’d all come to agreement on that, the book was sent overseas to a printer, who took months and months of writing and editing efforts and knocked out a complete book with special inserts and other complex printing concerns within a few short weeks. Almost a year after I’d started writing, an advance copy arrived at my house. I think the cost of rush shipping a copy in from overseas may have been as much as I earned for writing the book, but hey, that’s showbiz. A month after that arrived, the book showed up in stores and online. So far, reaction’s been pretty positive. And, since I followed my own advice about not being a big jerk when you meet writers and helping them out when you can, I managed to get this assignment to write 2,000 words plugging my new book, The Looney Tunes Treasury .
So much for that jerk thing, hunh?
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