Life news: I’ve got a book deal!
I can now share the *official news* that I am writing a REAL LIFE BOOK with my dream publishers Ebury Publishing, the imprint of Penguin Random House that publishes Caitlin Moran and Mindy Kaling (OMGZ). It’s called Ctrl; Alt; Delete, and it’s a memoir for young adults about my life growing up with the Internet from the nineties up to now. I cover all sorts of topics very close to my heart, from online dating, to learning how to Photoshop my prepubescent body, to teenage self-esteem issues to cyber-bullying to blogging and working in online journalism, all told through personal experiences.
You can read all about it on the Bookseller website here.
I’ve had the best fun writing it (digging up old diary entries and cringing at episodes from the past). Anyone who knows me or even just follows me on Twitter knows that I am a total bookworm and the idea that I will have my own book to hold and place on my bookshelf is a total dream come true. I can’t wait to start working on what the cover is going to look like with my incredible editor at Ebury called Sara. We already have some very fun ideas.
I have my agent Robyn at Diane Banks Literary Agency to give a huge huge thanks to. Once I had the idea I felt like I had to get it out to people as soon as possible. I suppose my inkling was “what are you waiting for?” because it felt quite timely. But I needed to work with someone who totally understood the idea. Back at the beginning of the year I was speaking to a few agents, testing the water and getting to know some people in the industry because I had no idea how it all worked. I even met up with people who didn’t necessarily work in the right department to be able to directly help but they would still chat through my proposal and give me some feedback which I couldn’t have been more grateful to them for. So many people were lovely to me and we went for coffees and chatted and I spoke about my vision for the book.
I had the book all planned out in my head and I knew exactly what each chapter would consist of from start to finish. The idea for the book came to me on a plane journey to Australia fully-formed, and I had to immediately write it all down in chronological order before I forgot any of it. I’d had ideas for books before (I had lots of half-formed ideas that would frustratingly sort of just evaporate over time) but this one just felt really right. I emailed a few friends about it and the response was different to usual, instead of a politely supportive “that sounds cool” it was more like “Emma, you have to write this. This is the book.” I have so many other writers to thank for publishing their stories and giving me the courage to tell mine. It was like I was almost waiting for permission to write it.
When I met up with a few different agents I felt it was almost like going on a series of blind-dates. It wasn’t just about them liking you (even though I hoped they would) but it was my chance to ask myself who I liked the best. When I met Robyn for the first time I knew almost immediately that I wanted her to be my agent. I’d met with a few others before hand who were lovely but I didn’t come away excited, I came away feeling anxious, because even though many of them did want to work with me they were already pulling it apart and suggesting huge changes. I didn’t mind the feedback of course, but it unsettled me.
But with Robyn I could just be myself. I actually felt it from our initial emails, it sounds cheesy to say we “clicked” but we genuinely did, and I felt really relaxed in her presence and that she ‘got it’ right from the start, plus I just really really liked her. I came away from our meeting feeling so excited I could burst. I think one of the important parts of the agent/author relationship is trust. I knew I could trust Robyn to be supportive but also she totally knew her stuff and would give me her honest opinion if she thought a sentence sounded a bit weird or it wasn’t quite clear enough what I was trying to say. I never felt like anything was being pushed on to me, and she never made me felt like we had to change something if I didn’t want to. She made me feel like I was in control of the book, but she worked her absolute magic on making the proposal into what it was. The stuff I was oblivious to: the selling; the formatting and advice to add in or take out certain bits here and there and explain exactly why. I could not have got this book deal without her.
I’ve been working on the book with Robyn since March and it feels surreal writing it all down on this blog now that it’s properly happening. I feel like the past five years of non-stop writing has led up to this point, and it’s all very exciting indeed.
It’s always been my dream to write a book. My house is full of them. I’m obsessed with reading. But writing something that is much longer than an article or blog post has been a brilliant experience for me. I’ve enjoyed the feeling of holding back pieces of writing as I’m so used to the immediacy of online publishing, having the time to finesse, being able to mull over an idea for longer and having a much bigger word count. In a world with very tight deadlines and short word counts it’s been amazing to be able to write something I can really take my time over and edit edit edit (with Sara’s wonderful help, of course) to create something I’m going to be proud of.
I can’t wait for it to be out there in the world (Spring 2016), and thanks to everyone who’s supported me. I have a lot of people who I am so incredibly grateful to know and I really really hope you like it.
“In love with Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete. So funny & smart, and reminding me of some of my own cringe teen Internet exploits!”– Anna James, former literary editor of ELLE
"Funny, honest, and nostalgic!"– The Debrief
“Emma Gannon is a bright spark of light in the world. I seriously dig everything she makes”– Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Big Magic