I have a ton of great updates in this newsletter, so let's dive right in!
I Have an Agent Again!
Oh, man, I can't tell you how thrilled I am to say that in February I signed with Diana Fox of Fox Literary to represent Piety the Knife, its sequel, and my future work to publishers. Diana is a massive book enthusiast, a talented editor, and an established agent with over fifteen years of experience in the industry who knows how to get books sold. She's already helped me significantly improve Piety the Knife and I expect our final round of tweaks before we send it out to acquisition editors is going to really polish it to a mirror shine. I'll write more about the whole acquisition process in May's newsletter.
It's been five years since I lost my previous agent, the terrific Kirsten Carleton, with whom I shopped Elixir and Pulse to publishers. That was a heavier blow then I realized at the time (and it felt pretty heavy even back in early 2017 when it happened). While we were unsuccessful in selling either of those two books, I nonetheless thought Kirsten was a great agent who really helped me write some terrific stuff. I was sorry to lose her for her editing chops, her tireless enthusiasm, and of course her role as an agent that allowed me to get my work in front of publishers.
I'd thought, back then, that having already landed one agent would make it easier to land another. Nope! Turns out, it doesn't really matter if you've previously had representation or not. You still have to have the right book, at the right time, for the right person, in order to find that connection that'll allow you to build a long-term relationship. Over the last five years, I've queried literally hundreds of agents with three different books (Piety the Knife alone went out to sixty-nine different agents at more than fifty agencies). Over the course of all that querying, I did receive some interest here and there, but ultimately no offers of representation until now.
SO ... whew! That's a huge load off my mind. I'm so excited to move back into the next phase of my publishing journey, and I hope I'll very soon have even more great news on that front. Fingers crossed!
All books FREE on Smashwords!
Well, the title really says it all. From today (March 5th) to March 11th, all of my indie-published books, including the 2 AM Trilogy, The 2 AM short story Erinyes, The Broken God Machine, and Elixir, will be completely free over on Smashwords. If you have any kind of eReader, tablet, or phone, Smashwords has a format that will work. Kindle, Boox, Nook, Kobo … etc, etc, etc.
Not really a whole lot more to say here. Go snag some free books! And after you read one you haven't read before, reply to this newsletter and let me know what you thought of it!
Piety the Knife
As mentioned, Diana and I will be working on a final revision of Piety. This shouldn't take too long - from what she's told me so far, her notes aren't going to require incredible changes. This is truly a polishing step, not really a fourth draft. She expects to have her notes together by mid-March, at which point I'll dive into the work. I'm extremely enthusiastic to work on this project, so I don't anticipate it taking me very long to get it done!
I really like Piety the Knife. I think it may be the best book I've ever written, and I think it has an excellent chance of actually getting picked up by a publisher. All that said, as I learned with Elixir and Pulse, there are absolutely no guarantees! The publishing industry is in a constant state of flux, and it's important to remember that at its core, it's a business, and all businesses are about one thing: making money. If they don't think they can sell your book, they're not going to buy it. So, even once you have an agent, it's still a crapshoot. The agent just gets you in the door at the casino!
Piety the Knife Sequel
In my last newsletter, I talked about how I was embarking on the sequel to Piety even though I didn't yet have an agent, and how that might be a bad idea. WELP! Turns out it wasn't. I had an absolute blast writing this first draft, cranking out words at an incredible rate. The draft came in at about 129k words, which is exactly what I expected. I think it's an awesome expansion on the world established in the first book.
I've already collected feedback from my wife on the new book, and will soon be getting feedback from Diana and from my advance readers. She was thrilled that I'd already started in on the sequel, as it'll allow us to seed some neat stuff from book two into the first one, and it's also appealing to publishers to have works in a series already in progress. So, good news all around there! More on this one in the May newsletter, also.
And finally, I have a …
There are a ton of writers I enjoy and whose skills I envy, but there aren't that many who are so good that they often make me pause mid-reading to go "Damn, I will never be this good." Geoge Saunders is one of those writers. His short speculative fiction is often so perfectly-written, all the way from concept to the construction of each sentence, that it's jaw-dropping. In his latest collection of short stories, Liberation Day, he repeatedly explores themes of human beings as unknowing or disposable cogs in a machine, and the inner thoughts of others. It's a masterful collection of stories that all feature speculative elements but also feel very close to home. I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Catch you in May!
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