I’m contracting THE PURIST to NineStar Press for a release date sometime in 2018.
It almost certainly *won’t* have this cover, and possibly not this title, but I look forward to seeing what NineStar does with it.
Way back in 1996 or 1997 I wrote a 6K short story set in my Lonhra Sequence fantasy universe: a secondary-world riff on the Orpheus myth where Persephone and Eurydice combined into one badass spearwoman with A Secret, Hades was a genderfluid immortal sorcerer, and Orpheus…was Eridan: a bard and ambassador whose quiet life is turned inside out by those other two lunatics.
Around 2013 I wondered if I could expand SINGER IN RHUNSHAN into a novella. That happened, then it shot past novella-length and eventually to 102K words.
I gave it the next four years to find an agent or editor willing to take it on. The wonderful agent who helped me with the first MORO contract tried to place this one, and got form letters back. Several agencies said ‘no’ but asked me to come back ASAP with new work. At least two Big Five editors have liked my social media pitches for PURIST in its early incarnations as SINGER. (Ironically, a couple of months after form-rejecting the actual mms, but that happens.)
They didn’t like it enough to champion it or my other work, either in mainstream fantasy or LGBTQIA SFF romance. No one but me, five beta readers, and the agent loved this story. And she couldn’t get anywhere with it.
I’ve seen the miracles that can occur with my art representatives: they’re cheerleaders as well as representatives of the artists they help. They’ve lifted my art career far beyond my ability or expectations.
A bad or indifferent agent is worse than no agent.
I have options that I would not have had, if my first (very capable) agent had been able to sell my first (barely) coherent novel to a mass-market paperback publisher in the mid-1990s. Good small presses are out there now, and they are getting industry awards, notice, and readers. Effective self-publishing exists now, and is the safety net for many authors now releasing their own backlists and new work. I have access to trade groups that will help me with audiobook versions, film rights, and foreign rights if those apply.
NineStar is a great small publisher with a lot of potential. It probably can’t come near the best possible Big Five sales, let alone advance rates. But the NSP staff will do the best job they can with their formidable skills. NineStar’s rights reversions processes are clean and simple enough that I will be able to self-pub in the future, should I need to.
I don’t view NineStar as ‘settling’ as much as finding another viable route through what has become, for this book, an impassable quagmire.
It’s a journey I’m looking forward to, and a huge relief.
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