So the German edition of the book came out just a couple of weeks ago.
The book has serious heft. Good paper. Good binding. It is, in a word, gorgeous.
Holding this book in my hand made me realize that over in Germany, they consider my story fairly high-class. It make me realize that over there, I might even be considered literature.
There have been hints of this all through the publishing process. First, the publisher itself is very prestigious. (So they tell me.) Klett-Cotta carries very few fantasy authors, including luminaries like Tolkien and Peter S. Beagle. Klett-Cotta also assigned a very skilled translator to the job, which is always a good sign that they’re taking things seriously.
But that’s not what convinced me I might be thought of as literary over there.
Another big indicator was when someone from Germany came out to interview me. My first thought was, “Who did this poor guy piss off at work? How low on the totem pole in do you have to be before they send you to interview some newbie fantasy author in Middle-of-Nowhere Wisconsin?”
But it turns out the interviewer was Denis Scheck. I didn’t know it while the interview was taking place, but he’s actually a celebrity over in Germany. You know how Siskel and Ebert were celebrities because they reviewed movies? Well over in Germany, apparently, they care about books. Because of this, they also care about the people who read books.
Yeah, I know. Weird.
Anyway, while I didn’t know this guy was a celebrity, I figured out pretty quickly that he wasn’t there because he was getting punished. He was there because he was really, really good at his job. I’ve done a lot of interviews over the last year, and I’ll admit that by the time he showed up, I’d gotten a little blase about it.
But when he started talking, I realized he was playing the game at a whole different level. He was really clever, talking about things no interviewer had ever brought up before, asking questions I’d never been asked. Asking questions that I’d never even *considered *before. I remember at least one occasion where my answer was: “Wow. That’s a great question…. I have absolutely no idea how to answer it.”
If you’re interested (and can read German) his review is up over here. Or if you’re monolingual like me, you can click on the link *below* the interview to see a video clip of Denis talking about the book on his television show. Personally, I thought it was pretty cool even though I only know enough German to catch about a third of what he’s saying.
But back to my previous point. Even after I found out who Denis Scheck was, I didn’t realize that over there my book might be considered literary.
The fact that they converted my author photo black-and-white was a good indicator….
Why? Because black-and-white is classy. It’s arty. It’s posh. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fond of my blue photo. But you have to admit that it makes me look like a Muppet, or a character out of a Harry Potter movie. But in B&W I look, if not distinguished, then withing spitting distance of respectable.
Or within spitting distance of being the sort of person who would never use the term, “within spitting distance.”
Still, none of these things are what convinced me. This is what did it:
That’s right. One of those built-in ribbon bookmarks. So genteel. So suave. Nothing screams sophistication like a ribbon bookmark. It’s the textual equivalent of wearing a silk smoking jacket and speaking with an Oxford accent. It is, in fact, dead sexy.
Today, my friends, I join the ranks of the literati.