Thursday, 20 December 2007

photograph of small inaccurate article from today's Metro, next to legs of plastic horse

my friend Socrates 'tipped me off' about this thing from today's Metro. click the picture to see a bigger version that is less difficult to read. thank you, Socrates. (his blog is good. you should read it.)

"Chris Killen's blog, Day of Moustaches, recently landed him a deal for his first novel with Canongate."

this is untrue. people writing small articles seem to be unable to get facts right. this happened a while ago, too, in this thing from the bbc website about the blog awards, where it says i signed a 'writing deal' with The Friday Project.

this blog had nothing to do with my book deal. maybe i am just being pedantic. maybe it doesn't matter. maybe 'all publicity is good publicity'.

anyway, if anyone is interested, here is an excerpt from an interview i did with Open Wide Magazine, about how i got the book deal, which is going to be in their next issue:

Congratulations on your recent deal with Canongate. Can you tell us a bit about the process of submitting and getting your novel read?

Thank you. I’m very excited.

My novel didn’t go through the ‘usual’ submitting-and-getting-read procedure, I don’t think. Or rather, I tried that – for about a year – and nothing happened, and then some good luck came along. I will elaborate.

I finished a draft of The Bird Room about a year ago. I wrote it during my creative writing MA at Manchester University. I bought a copy of the Writers and Artists Handbook, and picked out agents based on the writers they already represented. There’s a website ( where you can type in a writer and at the bottom it usually tells you who ‘represents’ them. I used that, and sent off lots of copies of the first few chapters. I waited about a month. I received lots of form-letter rejections; stock letters, with my name penned in. I think I sent it out to about ten or twelve agencies in total.

I was, at this point, working full-time in a bookshop (the Manchester Deansgate branch of Waterstone’s). It was a good opportunity to meet writers who were coming in to do signings, readings, etc. One event was for The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall. I signed up to work it, and Steven arrived a bit early, so I chatted to him for a while before he went on.

A few months later, I spotted him in the shop again. It was a Saturday afternoon, I think. He came to the counter with Bed and Eeeee Eee Eeee by Tao Lin (which we’d ordered on import and done a little display of). I said hello, and we chatted a bit more, talked about Tao Lin, and I mentioned how I had approached Tao to read my novel and how he said he liked it … Steven asked if I would email it to him, too, and wrote me down his email address.

A couple of weeks later, I received an email from him, telling me he’d read the draft and liked it and passed the first chapter along to his editor, Francis, at Canongate.

A few days or a week or something after this, I got an email from Francis, asking if he could read the rest. I sent Francis the rest of the novel. He replied, asking if I could come up to Edinburgh for the day to talk about it some more. I took the train up. I was incredibly nervous. We went for lunch at a sushi place. It was a nice day. I wore my only piece of ‘smart clothing’: a black velvet blazer jacket. We sat outdoors. We talked about the novel and how I was thinking of expanding/redrafting it, and eventually I managed to relax a bit, and I took off the blazer, and also sort of informally ‘pitched’ the idea I had for my second novel (which I currently have about 1/5th of written).

Then I heard nothing for about three days.

One morning, I got a call from Francis, 15 minutes before I was supposed to start a late shift at work, offering me the two-book deal.

also, nothing to do with being pedantic, i am interested to see how many people (if any) have come here after reading the small inaccurate Metro article. if you are one of those people, please write something like 'i read the small inaccurate Metro article' in the comments section below. thanks.


Ani said...

I read the small inaccurate Metro article.

Okay, no I didn't. I've been quietly enjoying you for months! Mwahahaha!


marsup said...

I am leaving this comment in the hope that I inaccurately sell the film rights of said comment to a big, big Hollywood studio. Is that how things are done these days? Good. Get me Will Smith on the phone.


cool way to 'get found.' congrats. i look forward to reading the book

chris killen said...