On The Metropolis Case
In which Matthew Gallaway aka your local gay recluse gets a book deal.
Eight or nine years ago, we decided to write a novel.
It was actually our second attempt; the first one — a satirical look at internet start-up culture in the late 90s — we had retired to the desk drawer after sending it around without much luck.
This new one was more ambitious: it was rooted in Wagnerian opera, Lou Reedian post-punk, the philosophy of Schopenhauer, Jungian psychology, the life and death of cities, French aestheticism, the magic of memory, gay identity and — most importantly? — cats. It srsly took forever to write!
And when it was done, it was literally 1000 pages long.
We sent out some queries and a few people expressed interest. But everyone was like: “Hey, what century do you think you’re living in? Good luck selling a 1000-page novel about opera and philosophy and French aestheticism!”
Whatevs. We started this blog and tried not to think about it too much until someone kindly suggested we send a blind query to a “big-concept” agent, which we did.
And he wrote back! And not only that, he helped us streamline the story, so that it actually held together (or so we hope) instead of drifting off into so many theoretical tangentzzzzzz.
These revisions took the better part of a year, but the resulting novel was at least 1,000,000 (one million) times better than the original version.
And then — just like that — he sold it!
Given the choice between a few smaller “literary” houses and a gigantic, multinational conglomerate, we went for the latter. Ha — we sold out!
But not really, because the editor really loves the book, and so does the publisher. Here’s how cool our editor is: she just bought a memoir by Belinda Carlisle (yes, of the Go-Gos!) and she also acquired the NA rights for Girl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold, which was nominated for the 2008 Man Booker Prize. (So take that, literary cred!)
Of course there will be more revisions and editing, but we’re looking forward to it. We’ll obvs keep you posted as things progress.
But right now it feels like more of a dream. We ask how this could be happening, when the odds were so long.
There’s also an irrational fear that it will all fall apart.
But for now, it’s on.
We read about it this morning in Publisher’s Marketplace, as if we were reading about someone else.
Oxford University Press editor Matthew Gallaway’s THE METROPOLIS CASE, the sweeping tale of an unlikely quartet, bound together by the strange, spectacular history of Richard Wagner’s masterpiece opera, Tristan and Isolde, to Suzanne O’Neill at Crown, by Bill Clegg at William Morris Agency (NA).
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Tags: Agents, Book Deals, Editors, Matt Gallaway, Matthew Gallaway, The Metropolis Case