100,000 and counting

September 14, 2008

This weekend has seen a milestone that I’ve been watching approach for some while. We finally made it on Friday night – 100,000 page hits on the Greenhouse website.
Even allowing for the fact that 10,000 of those are probably my own (well, I LIKE looking at the site. I’m proud, OK?), that does suggest that quite a lot of people – from all over the world – have been dropping in to see what’s going on. In fact, I can almost watch the numbers going up as I sit at mission control; we’re currently at 100,969, so that’s a whole lot more who’ve popped in today!

I guess this is therefore a good moment to declare today the end of the beginning (most definitely not the beginning of the end). The end of that sense of being the new kid on the block who was constantly having to say, ‘Hi, pleased to meet you. This is what I have to offer’ time and time again. Yes, the certificate on the wall behind my head that says the Greenhouse became a Virginia corporation on January 24, 2008 now makes me feel positively venerable.

So it’s time to think about making some changes – not least to my submission policy, which is currently under discussion. One thing I can tell you is that I’ll be saying goodbye to hard-copy submissions in favour of electronic (so if you’re about to submit something, PLEASE, PLEASE send it electronically and, for the moment, according to the existing site guidelines). With a business called Greenhouse it makes absolute sense to be as paper-free as possible.

But the magic 100K figure has made me think about other numbers of achievements that have taken place since Greenhouse’s start date. I share them with you now. Please note, some of these are highly accurate and some are . . . well, a little more creative. I leave you to guess which are which. Ladies and gentleman, I give you the Greenhouse’s post-1/24 mathematical blog!

Number of queries received and perused: about 3,000-3,500

Number of authors launched into book deals: 5

Number of blueberry muffins Sarah has consumed in the interests of ‘easing her into reading’: 60

Number of postmen collapsed under the weight of mail and now requiring hip replacements: 3

Number of mind-bendingly slow ‘walkies’ undertaken with the Hound, in which every blade of grass has been sniffed and contemplated: 420

Number of grey hairs Sarah has gained and now has to conceal: Sorry, that is not information you need to have.

Number of times Blackberry has been peeked at in the middle of the night: Sssssh, that’s our secret, and if I tell you you may think I’m insane.

Number of times Sarah has said, ‘I’m sorry, but I don’t represent picturebooks’: 987

Number of times someone, anyone, has said, ‘Ha ha, Britain and the USA are two nations divided by a common language!’: 23

Number of frappuccinos (mocha, low-cal sugar replacement, skim milk, hold the whip cream) consumed by Sarah in the interests of ‘easing her into reading’ [NB: See muffin item above]): 60 (NB: Greenhouse Husband says, ‘7 billion’)

Number of people who have believed they and I were a ‘match made in heaven’: 16?

Number of times Sarah has fallen on the floor simultaneously laughing and weeping, while punching the air and screeching ‘YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!’: 1

Number of weekends Sarah has not worked in some shape or form: 0

Number of times Sarah has been caught talking earnestly to herself, while considering some thorny plot point: 7 (NB: I’m good at not getting caught.)

Number of times the phrase ‘Squeeze the juice from the fruit’ has been said: 147

Maximum number of Vermont chocolates consumed in any one evening while looking at submissions: 8 (Do not try this at home without help on hand. Those babies are rich.)

Number of queries received focusing on corpses, brothels, and automatic weaponry in the Chechen War: 1 (it was not for teens. And actually, not really in English.)

Number of MFA courses addressed: 2 (give me time, give me time)

Number of times Sarah has crossed the Atlantic: 4

Number of times a nervous breakdown/heart attack/general collapse has been narrowly avoided following the sighting of a deceased black snake: 2

Number of times Sarah has been locked out and worn plastic bags on her feet to avoid hypothermia: 1

Number of times the phrase ‘Show, don’t tell!’ has been proclaimed: 1,349

Number of friends, old and new, in the industry and book community who have helped and supported Sarah as she found her feet in the USA: A number. You know who you are. x

Number of would-be writers who have brightened Sarah’s day, charmed her with their kindness, raised her spirits, made her smile, come back with such grace after being rejected – and generally made her feel this is a great business to be in: Too many to count.

Number of Saturday nights spent writing blog posts: Many. And this is one!

On which note I wish you a happy weekend, one and all, wherever you may be.