Friends, I cannot tell you how long I have been waiting to write this column.
But first, a warning: As opposed to every other column I write, which generally run from approximately 30 percent about me to 80 percent about me--this one is all about me.
Now, if you will kindly look to the bottom of this page, you will see a brightly-colored panel with the words Artists Save the Galaxy! in rather lurid print, then below that, in a more austere font, "A Novel by Bill Cope."
At this point, should you be wondering if the "Bill Cope" referred to in that ad is me? ... Yes, it is. It is me. Me me me me me me! And the "novel" mentioned is mine. Mine mine mine all mine!
All this time you thought I wrote stuff for no other reason than to piss off Republicans and call conservatives stupid, I can now disclose that whenever I feel I have pissed off enough Republicans and called enough conservatives stupid for one day, I turn my writerly attentions to other things. One of those other things to which my attention got turned was a novel. I finished it about three years ago, then sent it off to my literary agent.
Oh, did I not tell you I had a literary agent?
Yes, I had a literary agent. He took me on as a client several years before I even began to write the novel mentioned above, because he was impressed with another novel I had written and was convinced he could sell it to a publishing house.
Oh! Did I not tell you I wrote another novel?
Yes, I did. In fact, I wrote that other novel before I ever started writing columns for Boise Weekly. At another time, hopefully soon, I will tell you good news about that first novel. But for now, I'd rather focus on the novel at hand if you don't mind, because I paid to have that colorful picture with my name on it printed in today's paper, and I want to get my money's worth, if you don't mind.
For my purposes here, all that's important about that first novel was that it attracted an agent--a genteel gentleman who did his literary agenting out of Philadelphia--and that it served as an incentive for him to try to sell the second novel, too.
I won't go into the endless query letters I had sent out, trying to snag a literary agent in the first place. Just let me tell you something: Those suckers are hard to snag. And picky! It's like they want you to write a book about what your book is about before they'll agree to read it. Not so much, though, with the gentleman from Philadelphia. He loved that first novel from the first reading and was convinced he could, as he put it, "find a place for it."
He couldn't, but not for lack of trying. And he was doing it the old-fashioned way, sending it to one publisher at a time along with a hand-typed letter--he had never gotten around to buying a computer, it seems--because he was a fine, old-fashioned fellow. In fact, he was just plain old. He had led a life in publishing and editing, then another life in agenting, then retired--partially. Trying to place my book was part of the partial part of his partial retirement.
In the meantime, he agreed to take on my second novel, but insisted on selling that first book first. And then he had some sort of accident he wouldn't give me details about, and he was forced to drop the partial part of his partial retirement. I was disappointed but by then, I had learned he was in his mid-90s, so I could hardly blame him.
Striking out on my own again, I decided against trying to snag another agent or to approach a publishing house directly. I am sad to say, literary agents and publishing houses are the polar bears of the book world. They are still around, but their habitat is some mighty thin ice.
I went the self-publishing path with this one. And today, I am here to announce I've reached the end of that path. As you can see, I titled the book Artists Save the Galaxy!, and I wish like crazy you would buy it. If you do, I will have more money. And I am not ashamed to admit I would enjoy having some more money.
All I ask is that if you are one of those Republicans I have pissed off, or those conservatives I have called stupid, go ahead and buy Artists Save the Galaxy! anyway. The book is 100 percent fiction--science fiction, in fact--and bears little resemblance to my column writing. Plus, it's got some spectacular illustrations by my friend Mike Flinn, one of the more talented cats I've met in this incarnation, and it was expertly formatted by his equally talented wife, Cheryl. I would also brag that it's full of funny stuff--"alien abduction humor," I call the genre--but you'll have to buy it and see for yourself what I think is so damn funny.
Oh, and for those who actually enjoy my columns and who I haven't pissed off or called stupid, buy it and then tell 10 other people how much you loved it and believe they, too, should buy it. If they ask to borrow your copy, tell them no. Tell them you simply can't bear to part with it. It's available immediately at the CreateSpace.com e-store and Amazon, and soon, hopefully, at a local bookstore or two. Also, this very evening, it is available at a book signing at Boise Brewing (from 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.).
This is the one and only time I will occupy this column space with plugging this book, I promise. I've seen columnists and television pundits plug their books for months on end, but I won't do that. It's unseemly, if you ask me. So I will absolutely not say another word about my book. Absolutely.
At least, not until that other novel is ready.