Day 3 at LBF

image

Day 3 at #LBF was just as intimidating as day one. I tried approaching big publishing houses to get email addresses from them. I tried getting small publishing houses curious. And I ventured into a big hall filled entirely with literary agencies. There especially, the fair felt like an old-fashioned movie scene of the New York stock market, with frantic stock brokers hurrying to and fro. I gave up talking to any agents after the first three I approached looked at me as if I had just murdered their mother.
I did have some good experiences though. One receptionist handed me email addresses he shouldn’t have, a lady from the esteemed UK self-publishing hybrid Matador showed interest in my book, two publishers responded with “yes, we do accept unsolicited manuscripts”, and a lovely lady gave me invaluable tips.
Then, at around 3 p.m. my Pericardia flared up in earnest and I said goodbye to the book fair to get some rest.
The evening was spent with good old friends from the Maldives, enjoying their good company and a juicy steak at the river, in close proximity to Tower Bridge.
Overall, my three days in London have been far more adventurous than I had bargained for, but I persevered, made some connections and fell in love with this vibrant, beautiful city.
Now, I am off to the airport. Once back in Malta, I will start another wave of proposal letters to all the addresses I was able to acquire. As always, keep fingers crossed my dear friends xxx

At LBF… or not

image

The first day at #LBF was slightly intimidating. Frantic business activity all around me, everyone with a fully planned schedule… except little underdressed me who carried his dreams and heart on his sleeve.
Then, in the evening of this first day at my first-ever book show, my chest began to hurt as if thousands of little paper cuts were slicing into my heart. After a while I got scared enough to pack my bag and move from the hotel to the emergency room of Charing Cross hospital. The night and the entire second Book Fair day were thus spent undergoing countless tests, meeting cardiac specialists and swallowing pills in myriad shapes and colors.
Thankfully, my heart turns out to be just fine. Instead, due to several flus contracted in Malta’s cold, humid winter, the tissue surrounding my heart has become inflamed, which is essentially harmless and easy to treat but hurts like hell.
Just a few hours ago the doctors sent me on my way after handing me a bagful of anti-inflammatory drugs.
Tomorrow is another day and also the last day at LBF. Pain or not, I’ll be there!

On my way to LBF

At Luqa Airport

It’s 5 a.m. … and here I am, at Luqa International airport in Malta. In just an hour I’ll be heading to Heathrow and on to the London Book Fair.
I must admit I have no concrete plans. So far, all info is quite disheartening. Agents and publishers are not interested in spontaneous talks with aspiring authors and any interviews need to be booked months in advance. I love the world of books, so I’ll be quite happy strolling through the holy halls of modern day book publishing though.
Of course, I have dreams of running into my favorite authors, like for example J.K. Rowlings and casually asking her, “hey, wanna grab a coffee?”
To which she will reply, “Sure, I’d love to!”
Or chatting with an agent in between booths and him saying, “I need to hear more about that book of yours. I am veeery interested.”
Whatever happens or doesn’t happen though, I’ll enjoy the adventure and try to get at least a little taste of London.
For now, I am having a delicious chocolate croissant and am sitting next to a charming family from Liverpool whose little son is also called Liam. Looking at me with sparkling eyes and devouring his custard pie, I am sure little Liam agrees that our day isn’t off to a bad start.

Frozen

Pheeew, exciting times. Three days ago my laptop began to freeze continuously. I managed to reboot it one more time, copied all the latest files for my book onto a thumb drive and, five minutes later, the machine was as unresponsive as a brick wall.
With lots of coaxing I was finally able to reboot it in recovery mode and reformat the entire thing.
Now it’s all good. Adrenaline levels are back to normal and backups are transferred to the “all new” machine.
Has anything like this ever happened to you? I am still sweating and have been reminded once more to not trust my gadgets too blindly and to back up religiously!

Diving in Deep

2007 freediving at wreck

All my life, I have not done things by halves. For as long as I can remember, I have given my very heart and soul to every single work project, no matter who for, no matter how small or big. I latch on like a bulldog to a juicy bone and don’t let go until what I do is of a quality I can be proud of. I don’t do that for teachers, employers, or bosses. I simply do it, because it makes me feel happy and good about myself.
First writing and now publishing my book is another one of these challenges I have taken on with 100% intensity. I am pouring all of my passion and tenacity into ‘The Fortunate Nomad’. I am diving in deep, spending every free minute writing proposals and query letters (so far it’s been twenty-eight). And as I enter ever deeper into the unknown, I feel more alive than ever before. I feel positive. I feel whole. I am happy.

The Progress of “The Fortunate Nomad”

2014 boo bocelli and liam

Let me tell you a little about the progress of “The Fortunate Nomad”… my manuscript is, for the moment, as ready as it is going to get. After 14 months of intensive writing and two rounds of editing with the very talented, professional editor Monica Meneghetti, the 8th draft is finished. My story has 35 chapters. With a formatting of 12pt font and double spacing we are looking at 592 pages.
I have started the process of writing to literary agents and publishers. So far, I am targeting only companies in the UK. The London Book Fair is coming up and I am hoping to make some connections there. Unfortunately, with all the job hunting and moving to a new country, I seem to have missed my chance to sign up for personal meetings with agencies directly at the fair. This, of course, will not stop me from trying to talk with them anyways.
As for my letters and submissions, it’s a lot of hard work. Each agency has different submission guidelines, so I am spending most of my free time composing and rearranging submission after submission, then sending them out with hopes of getting some sort of feedback further down the line.
So far, I have received three rejections. The first was very encouraging, “we are unfortunately completely swamped, but I’m sure you’ll be snapped up”. The second was polite, “we don’t feel your story is right for our current list.” And the third was quite direct, “I’m afraid we’re going to pass”.
I’ll continue writing to every single agency and publisher I can find in the UK. After that, I will begin targeting the hundreds of companies in Canada and the USA.
Essentially, I am not going to stop. I will keep sending letters every day for as long as it will take to find someone who will be intrigued and care; someone who will believe in “The Fortunate Nomad” and see its great potential as much as I do.
So, keep fingers crossed my dear friends and readers. We will get there in the end! xxx

Truly Fortunate

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

On 23rd of January 2015 my incomparable lady and I got married. I have tried to write a longer text to go with this picture but, honestly, words are not enough right now. In time, I may write a whole book about us.
We have been through a lot together already and we will continue to believe in each other and be there for each other. I can’t think of anything more profound and beautiful than that.