I’m now in the fortunate position of having three books published by DAW, with two more due out in January 2017 and October 2017, but achieving a novel publishing deal took years from my first short story sale to a three book deal with a major publisher.
In my case it took years of writing science fiction and fantasy in secret before I even dared admit my genre-vice to my friends. Then a chance meeting with Nebula Award-winning author Elizabeth Ann Scarborough gave me my first nudge along the road, and my first short story sale, way back in 1998. Yes, that’s right, my overnight success, from short story to novel publication only took sixteen years.
I’ve lost track of the number of might-have-beens and nearly-bought-its along the road…
The two false starts with agents before finding my current agent, Amy Boggs of Donald Maass. The first agent who couldn’t sell my first book, but gave me an encouraging list of where it had been and who’d said what – then messed me about with the second book until I politely withdrew.
The major American publisher who said, ‘The first couple of chapters look interesting,’ and then hung on to a manuscript for three years without doing anything with it.
The kerfuffle when I tried to withdraw it from the next publisher who’d had it for about six months because another publisher wanted to take a look. All of a sudden, instead of accepting the withdrawal of my manuscript it was: ‘We’ve passed this on to a senior editor for consideration,’ and oops I’d sim-subbed without meaning to.
Then the agent who helped me make my book better and then got out of agenting with my book subbed to half the major publishing houses in the USA, and already rejected by four of them – meaning finding a new agent for that book would be difficult in the extreme.
However, along the way there were people who helped and encouraged. I couldn’t have done it without them.
- writer-friends, especially those from Milford, from RECOG and from the old r.a.sf.c newsgroup
- first readers who told me I was good enough
- the writer who kindly introduced me to DAW
- my current agent, Amy Boggs of Donald Maass Literary Agency in New York
- the staff at DAW in New York including Josh the managing editor and Kayleigh the publicist at Penguin Random-House who helps to push my books (and Nita, her predecessor)
- cover artists Stephan Martiniere and Larry Rostant
- and last but never least, Sheila Gilbert, my lovely editor at DAW who had the faith to publish my books, and also offers many ways of making them better.