Jones Meet Jonze, And…Uh…Penguin–Indie Darling Light Boxes Picked up by Spike Jonze and Penguin
If you happened to get your hands on a copy of Shane Jones’s Light Boxes when it was first published, and reviewed by me for The Rumpus, get your hands off it–that is, and put it in a vinyl sleeve. The first printing by Publishing Genius Press is sold out. It was also the first novel published by PGP.
Spike Jonze has bought up the film rights, as confirmed by Jones via g-chat, “does no one believe this? ha.” Jonze’s Director of Development stumbled upon it online, “some reviews, interviews, etc.”
But while things are “great and crazy,” and “about to get crazier,” Jones has his two feet on the ground, realizes the fragility of such a proposition, and that it could fall away as easily as it has come. He’s trying not to think about it. And now that he’s represented by Bill Clegg at William Morris–a practical necessity, because he “was getting really technical questions from publishers and book buyers, etc.”–it seems more good things will come his way. Does the fact that his book is going celluloid risk muddying his indie cred? With Spike Jonze at the helm, and Ray Tintori slated to direct, we think Light Boxes and Jones are safe.
And things just got headier. When Jones said things were “about to get crazier” a few days ago, what he meant, and what he couldn’t publicly talk about at the time, was that his book was being considered by Penguin. And as of today, August 12, Jones is with Penguin. Light Boxes will most likely be reprinted by Penguin in June 2010. While Jones realizes some will say he sold out, he has this to say, “I just want people to read the book.” And in the independent publishing market, one of the most difficult obstacles a writer must overcome is getting people just to know about his book, much less read it. So this appears to be a boon that won’t mire his credibility. Don’t worry Shane. We’re behind you.
So what happened? On his blog, Jones relays the unfolding of his literary tornado as follows:
After the first printing of Light Boxes sold out (some copies do remain and will pop up at SPD and Barnes and Noble) I had a talk with Adam at PGP, who agreed that demand for the book had outgrown PGP. There were various levels of interest from other publishers and stress and questions on what to do next and we agreed to explore the “bigger publishing house” option. My agent then shopped the book around to major NY presses. This went on for about a week or so. I then made the choice to go with Penguin. I seriously can’t think of a better place, a press with a more rich literary tradition than the Penguin. Everyone there is really excited about the book, lots of energy, it feels like a right fit. I’m excited to see the book nationally distributed. I’m excited to have a press like Penguin behind me. Also, Penguin will get a first look at the next book I write which when asked when it will be finished, I said I had no idea. Adam at PGP is happy. PGP gets best indie press of the year award. I feel like Light Boxes was built on word of mouth and the entire online/indie scene and I have about 200 people to thank. Things are good and crazy.
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