Over the last few weeks, In the Key of Dale has started to appear in more and more places online. Although it won’t be out until mid-October, it can now be pre-ordered directly from the publisher, Arsenal Pulp Press, or directly from the distributor, University of Toronto Press Distribution, or from numerous chain and independent bookstores located all over the world. I’ve started author accounts on Facebook and on Instagram (in addition to my existing account on Twitter) and would certainly encourage you to follow me there. And I recently had an energizing marketing meeting with three of my wonderful colleagues at Arsenal Pulp Press. All of these developments are helping me realize that my long-term ambition to publish a novel is finally about to become a reality.
Another clear milestone for this book involved correcting the page proofs, which involves reading a PDF of the novel the way the text will be laid out on the page in the printed book and marking up final corrections and adjustments. Because I tend to change my mind a lot when it comes to my own writing, my work typically goes through an unusual amount of revising and tinkering before (and sometimes even after) I’m ready to show it to anyone else. That’s both a blessing and a curse, because after a while this focus on small details can get in the way of me being able to see the big picture—or to work on something else. So when my editor emailed me the proofs as an attachment, I approached the task of reading them with some trepidation. What would I do if the temptation to keep revising proved irresistible, knowing that at this stage the only changes that should be made involve correcting typos, other errors, and formatting problems?
I read through the whole novel twice, and I was relieved to discover that for the most part, I was happy with my writing the way it was. I’m taking that as a sign that I’m finally ready to let go of this project, both in the sense of putting down my proverbial red pen and in the sense of releasing it to the world and seeing what happens. And what I’m discovering is that the best part of letting go of one writing project is that it frees your mind to start thinking of new ones—including, possibly, a follow-up to this one at some point in the future. And that’s definitely something to look forward to.