‘The Purist’ mood board 3

Playing with bits of art I’ve collected or created over the years, to give myself another visual image-set for THE PURIST, a big fantasy novel currently out in Queryland.*

Yes, this is SINGER IN RHUNSHAN revisited, massively revised, and (I hope) getting closer to being fit for outside reading. For now, I’m so happy the damn thing finally decided on a better…and brutally fitting…title.

My next problem is that it also decided it really, really wants to be a graphic novel, too.

*Update 7-3-2017: I decided on querying 23 agents. That’s not a large segment of the available agents who are interested in science fiction and fantasy. But these are the agents I thought might be the best fit. These are the agents who *didn’t* scare me off with the actions I’ve listed in ‘Filigree’s Rule’. I’d be honored to work with any one of them.

I know the query’s as solid as my limited skills can make it. In eleven days I’ve had two full requests, one partial request, and two rejections. Considering the no-response statistics from BLOODSHADOW in 2009, MORO’S PRICE in 2012, and SINGER’s dire performance last year, that’s a much better query performance!

I’ve given myself a set amount of time to wait for responses. After that, the novel gets submitted to two major SFF publishers. After that, I start talking to Draft2Digital, four years after deciding to turn a short story into a book.

What’s my point? There are many avenues to publication, all with positive and negative aspects.

I know someone who tried to get an agent, failed, was published by two small presses that failed miserably, then tried two years of self-publishing, and just gave up. He spent over $10,000 on the process, between editing and marketing. He made around $200. (Not an uncommon fate in solo self-publishing, I’m afraid.) He unpublished his two paperbacks a few days ago, and his ebooks will disappear at the end of the year. He said the worry and strain sucked the joy out of his writing. I hope he gets that back, because his writing is wonderful.

I know many capable authors who, as mid-listers, were faced with dwindling options and industry notice. Self-publishing their backlists gave them new income streams and new readers…and more respect from the trade publishers. Literary agent Russell Galen has a prescient moment where he talks about the big trade publishers eventually realizing they must court self-published authors.

We won’t talk about the self-publishing wunderkind authors who seem to appear out of nowhere with multi-million-dollar success stories. We shouldn’t; those are flukes, and their paths to success often hide a lot more hard work than dumb luck.

What we, as ‘aspiring’ authors CAN do, no matter our eventual path to publication? Write the best thing we can write. Don’t settle for the fast-fashion trend of the day, unless you already have something that might fit. Don’t settle for churned-out Kindle ‘novels’ that are repurposed or outright plagiarized pablum.

Just don’t lose the joy.

 

Yeah, that moment

You know the moment when something, even the tiniest something, finally goes right?

I’m querying a mms that might as well be a roller-coaster, for all the ups, downs, and death-spirals it has gone through in the last three years.┬áThis current round of querying has only been a month-and-a-half, nowhere near the two years I spent ineffectually hawking Bloodshadow.

Sometimes, an offhand email request opens unexpected doors. A publisher I knew only in passing, is suddenly revealed as A Good Publisher. A publisher already dealing with many of the very good agents on my wish list, so just from that I can infer that both sides are of decent industry standing. And the publisher is actually viable, considering my weird mix of genres that might be homeless anywhere else. Not too small, not so big, a good mix of principals who seem to not only know but adore their business.

Thanks to that one email response, I’ve gone from crickets, slamming doors, and numb exasperation, to a small amount of hope for this new book. My query countdown has been given overtime. It doesn’t matter if no one else says ‘yes’ or even ‘maybe’. I have two alternate plans now, not just, ‘Well, then I’ll self-publish.’ Of course it’s not a sure thing – nothing ever is. But it’s a step in the right direction.