Wow.  Been a lot longer since my last writing journal than I had intended.  It wasn’t for lack of trying.  I started and stalled on three different posts.  I think the problem was that I just didn’t have anything to say.  ( I know you’re shocked.)

I guess I could start by bringing you up to date on a few things.  First up – the agent hunt.  A while ago, I made the decision to go the traditional publishing route with my novel, Sam Kane: Into the Fire.  A lot of people ask me why.  Really, it comes down to a desire that I’ve had for a very long time – to see my book in a bookstore.  I understand that there are alternatives out there, and different ways to make that happen, but – in some respects, I can be a little old school about things.

I liken it to the Cadillac.  For a lot of older folks, a Cadillac is the pinnacle of success.  To own one shows that you have arrived, you’ve paid your dues and come out on top.  To me, traditional publishing is a little like that.  It’s more difficult to achieve, but once you do, it’s like you’ve arrived – you made it.

Some people might think that silly, but I have to try.  Will I be crushed if that never happens?  No.  I’ll make it another way.

Anyway, the first step along that road is writing the book, the second is securing an agent.  I sent out my queries and waited.  One agent had an exclusive for months.  He called me last week and we chatted for over an hour.  Essentially, he loved the novel, complimented my writing, my worldbuilding and character development and said that there really wasn’t much wrong with Sam Kane (a few minor tweaks here and there).  Unfortunately, he won’t be representing me at this time.  Although he loves the book and feels it’s a strong story, preliminary inquiries that he put out came back with no interest in purchasing a ‘book of that type’ at this time.
By ‘type’, they meant ‘urban fantasy’.

Huh.  You prepare yourself for rejection – you kinda have to in this business.  But, you don’t really think (or at least, I didn’t think) you’d hear someone tell you that your book is great but unsellable right now.  (If I paid more attention to author tales of woe, I probably would have.)

It boils down to some people, who this particular agent is in contact with, thinking that Urban Fantasy has run its course for now.  They are waiting for ‘the next big thing’ to hit.  What that thing is, they aren’t sure.  What I (and you) have to remember is that these people are always looking forward.  What’s hot on the shelves right now was probably purchased two years ago and what’s purchased today won’t show up for two years.

He offered up some advice: I can try some other agents (already on it), try the slush pile (ugh), try some smaller presses (considering it), or, I could change up the novel to make it different and distance it from the ‘urban fantasy’ tag.  (Notice nothing about Kindle Direct, btw).  This last option is perhaps the most difficult.

As an author, you have to be prepared for someone to come along (agent, editor, publisher) who offers suggestions and notes (chapter 3 is crap – rewrite it, build on the tension in chapter 7, cut a thousand words by Friday) on changes they’d like to see to your work.  But again, I don’t think you prepare yourself for someone to say, “Change the novel into something completely different.”  I mean, you’re looking at changing/rewriting at least fifty percent of your work – are you ready for that?  What if it’s more?

(A friend of mine told me that she did that – cut out 60% of the novel and rewrote.  She’s happy with the changes and has since published the book, but wow.)

So, I have some thinking to do.

BTW – this agent was awesome in his rejection.  Very kind, tons of advice and suggestions, took the time to call and chat with me – you cannot beat such kindness and I’ve read enough to know that it’s rare to have that level of interaction on a rejection.  For that, I am very appreciative.

As a side note – I received another agent rejection just this week.  That one was a simple form letter, which I think is more the norm.

Again, I have a lot of thinking to do.

On the writing front, I continue to push on several stories, but I have had a lack of focus over the last two weeks.  This was due in no small part to unexpected visits from family and a bit of drama that I won’t go into here today.  I have writers group on Saturday, and they’ll be offering critiques on a section of Sam Kane and a short story that I wrote, Witchcraft & Satyrs.

Cord Cahill has been on my mind recently.

So has my untitled Space Opera.

I have several things I -need- to do/work on.  My submission for the writers group anthology needs an overhaul.  So will Witches & Satyrs when all of those critiques come on.  I need to do some more research into agents, publishers and small presses, and maybe tweak my query letter.

No matter what, I need to keep writing.


1 Comment

  • Paul (@princejvstin) Posted October 28, 2011 7:39 pm

    Just like Mur Lafferty says, you should be writing.

    I hear the producer of ISBW is a pretty cool guy, too. 😉

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