Forward to February, 2004...
Comments: SFF Net newsgroup | Rumor Mill Topic | Night Shade Books Topic |
In one moment my life has just become very interesting.... Not even sure where to begin.
You know how they say that editors and publishers never find you on the web, that it's a myth, and you are supposed to find them?
Well, I checked my e-mail this morning to find an e-mail from an editor of a major New York romance publishing house that will remain unnamed for the moment, so as not to jinx anything. In the e-mail she said that she found me through my Publishers Marketplace website and was interested in my work and particularly in the kickass romance project MARGOT PHOENIX RISING about a female superhero. She gave me her phone number and asked me to give her a call to discuss it.
So I called New York and spent about an hour on the phone with her, where I read her my most current outline/synopsis for the novel, the first of a potential series. The editor was absolutely friendly, gracious, and a real pleasure to talk to -- I felt comfortable immediately. She loved the synopsis, and asked me a bunch of detailed questions about the book. She also gave me a real wealth of information on what they were looking for, the kind of heroine and hero, and the kind of action and conflict, and then e-mailed me the detailed guidelines for the category.
Basically, she wants to see the first three chapters and an outline, and she told me to take my time and work on it. I told her the book is still in progress, and that I will have the three chapters to her as soon as possible. We also got talking about other projects, and I brought up LORDS OF RAINBOW, and offered to send it to her just to give an idea of my work, and yes I did mention that various reprint rights were available. And she said she would love to see a copy, so that will be going to her in the mail ASAP. Before we hung up, she mentioned that I could call her any time if I had any other questions, etc.
Now I am halting all other projects and concentrating on this one.
In other news -- oh, for heaven's sake, I am going to leave the other news for later. This is news enough for one day.
Lots of stuff today....
First, huge congratulations to the amazing Paul Melko whose story was picked up by Gardner Dozois for YEAR'S BEST SF! WOOHOO!! Paul is eligible for the Campbell Award, so be sure to remember that when you fill out that Hugo ballot! Second, congratulations to Jenn Reese and godspeed to her novel that is winging its way to New York!
Here's a press release from a great new organization called the The Speculative Literature Foundation which has established the SLF Fountain Award in the amount of $1000 for short fiction:
Speculative Literature Foundation (SLF) -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- January 2004
We are delighted to announce the official launch of the Speculative Literature Foundation (www.speculativeliterature.org), with our mission "to promote literary quality in speculative fiction, by encouraging promising new writers, assisting established writers, facilitating the work of quality magazines and small presses in the genre, and developing a greater public appreciation of speculative fiction."
We hope to accomplish this by creating a free comprehensive resource website, by developing materials for outreach to schools and libraries, and by raising funds to redistribute as grants and awards for quality work by individuals and organizations.
The first award we will present will be the 2003 SLF Fountain Award, $1000 in prize money for excellence in short fiction. A select jury will accept nominations from magazine and anthology editors, and announce the winner and honorable mentions on June 1st, 2004. (For more details, including nomination guidelines, please see our website.)
The foundation is supported by annual membership fees, and we encourage all those who read, write, and generally appreciate speculative fiction (by which term we mean to encompass the broad range of fantastic literature, from hard sf to sword and sorcery to magical realism to slipstream) to stop by our site, take a look at the resources we offer, and consider joining as supporting members. Your membership fees will go directly towards the ongoing development of
grants and awards to reward literary excellence in the genre; we're also pleased to welcome new volunteers to our staff.
For more information on what the Foundation offers, please visit our comprehensive website and take advantage of our extensive (and growing) set of free resources geared towards the needs of readers, academics, editors and writers. Thank you for your time, and again, you can find us at:
Mary Anne Mohanraj
* * *
Now, allow me to rant. No, this is not more about PETA. I am taking a break from that painful animal rights subject for the moment because frankly it makes me so disgusted with the behavior and attitudes of human beings toward other living beings that I lose the will to live.
This is a much easier topic -- writing and publishing and... invisibility. :-)
I am getting seriously fed up with my recent work being completely ignored by the media and by the readers.
(I know I am not the only one who is getting fed up with being wallflowered, but, unlike some other more polite and dignified people, I have a goddamn big mouth, no pride, no shame, only a one-track mind driven to succeed -- of which I am quite proud, by the way, it's the best thing about me *grin* -- and I am not going to lie down and take it.)
So, okay, my novel LORDS OF RAINBOW is an expensive hardcover and I don't expect people to buy it as easily. Thus I am now resigned to the fact that it will remain pretty much invisible in this edition. What is it? The cover? Is it because it is epic fantasy and people are turned off? Whatever.
As a result I guess that maybe three or four people on this planet have read this novel and none of them are Active SFWA members who can actually recommend it for the Nebula Award. Its Nebula eligibility runs out in March 2004, and with not a single recommendation, it has no chance at all for the Preliminary Nebula Ballot.
So, fuck it.
But -- my other work that came out last year, and was one of the better recent short pieces of fiction I have written, is the novelette "The Young Woman In A House Of Old," in the anthology STRANGE PLEASURES #2 (Prime Books, June 2003) edited by Paul Barnett and Dave Hutchinson.
Once again, I have learned over the course of this week, that no one has even heard of this anthology.
And it seems that the publisher did NOT send out copies to many of the top reviewers (or if they did, just our luck that the copies got sucked into postal or other black holes and nasty evil alternate dimensions).
So, my point here is that NO ONE has seen this anthology or read my story -- a piece that I wrote specifically in response to an invitation from an editor who is a good friend and a great person. And this is a story that has not been to any other market.
It is a work I am *very proud of* and it makes me furious that it will sink away in oblivion, considering it is a goddamn good story.
So I would like to offer to email it to any Active SFWA member who is reading this, for a possible recommendation.
Please e-mail me if you are a SFWAn interested in seeing a copy.
Thanks, friends. :-) And if you think I am a shameless hussy, you ain't seen nothing yet.
This bitch's gone on the warpath.
The new year is still an infant, but amazing congratulations are already in order. Huge congratulations to fellow WebRat Jim C. Hines who has sold his novel GoblinQuest to Tekno Books' Five Star line, to NAWer Greg van Eekhout whose story made the 2003 Nebula Awards® Preliminary Ballot, and equally huge congratulations to WebRat and NAW member Samantha Ling who has made her first sale ever, and to Asimov's of all places! Wow, people, you put me to shame and set a high example for all! Way to go!!! :-)
My novel LORDS OF RAINBOW is eligible for the Sapphire Award for 2003. Please, oh pretty please, consider voting for it/nominating it if you are eligible (a subscriber of the SFR Newsletter -- even if you are not, you can become one right now and go and nominate immediately after you are on the membership list, which can take about a day!)
Please note that the nominating deadline is January 6, 2004.
Thanks, friends! This novel needs all the help it can get, and this would really help!
* * *
First, here is my very lameass and rather superficial summary of 2003, much of it according to my online journal stats (yes, that's a big excuse for why I keep this online journal):
Reprint: 1 ?
It sounds odd but I can't think of what my two sales are except for the novella "The Clock King And The Queen Of The Hourglass" sale to PS Publishing and, I am guessing, the teeny-weeny sale of the original novelette "Halloween At Grant-Williams High" to Fictionwise.
I also had a reprint sale of "I Want To Paint The Sky" (I think?) and a reprint "re-sale," if you can call it that, since it is a re-sale back to Fictionwise of a Fictionwise original in the switch.blade antho, of "Hell Week At Grant-Williams High."
And oh yes, there is a pending reprint in Hebrew of "I Want To Paint The Sky" to Bli Panika, but no word on that yet.
As far as the number of words written, I suppose that would be pretty much just the novella at 38,000 words (almost a short novel by SFWA standards which would be 40K), and whatever combined novels wordage I added during the October-November-December Novel Dare Marathon, extended edition. *grin*
Let's see, that would be about 7,150 words on MARGOT PHOENIX RISING -- oh shit, I forgot when I started writing that novel! LOL! I think it was in 2003?
Anyway, and then there is the addition of about 735 words to COBWEB BRIDE.
And, there is about 1,000 words on random other snippets of various things, including two started stories and a poem.
So, my TOTAL WORDS written for this past year are a somewhat sorry 46,885 words.
Yes, I have always been very unprolific, but now that I have no more fulltime job, I have NO EXCUSES.
As far as other writing related things -- I spent a lot of time, energy, and resources, on convention flyer and review copies promotion for my novel LORDS OF RAINBOW (which probably helped a bit, considering the rotten shitty bad luck this novel has had otherwise -- a long and rather tragic story that I might share someday) and a tiny bit of promo for DREAMS OF THE COMPASS ROSE, which really is doing great on its own, and still coasting along in terms of movement.
I also queried one agent, pretty much on a lark, and got a polite quick bounce. It is rather amazing that, except for this one instance, I have NEVER yet queried a real bigtime agent in all of my published history! I think part of it has to do with the fact that I am still severely undecided whether or not I even WANT an agent.
Yeah, yeah, I know, everyone assumes that we all have to have an agent in this industry. But I am still unconvinced, considering how little even the good agents seem to do for most of their midlist clients in terms of actually landing sales. And this is not just bitter hallucination on my part, but is the impression I am getting by privately interviewing individual pros in the industry. Seems like in 99.5% of the cases, the pros go out and sell their books first on their own, and then their lazy-ass agent comes in and argues the contract and gets their 15%.
The only real advantage I see is that a legitimate agent will get a faster response and get better contract terms.
And in other good achievements -- I have...
1) Become a fulltime writer, after getting laid off from my part time night shift job when the company folded.
2) Finally refinanced my mortgage and cashed in the equity, which allowed me not only to do major home improvement but also gave me enough money to live on, for 2 years.
3) Replaced all the rotten old wooden fencing around the house with gorgeous stone walls.
4) Got the trees trimmed.
5) Replaced 11 crappy broken windows in the house with wonderful new energy efficient dual-hung ones.
6) Got my Central AC/Heat air ducts fixed (they shifted around and got loose, so the air flow was not that great, but now it is).
7) Bought a nice large and comfy recliner chair so that I can work in it with my laptop. Never had one before, yaay!
7) Got a CPA to handle my complicated taxes starting in 2004.
Which brings me to the Resolutions part.
RESOLUTIONS for 2004:
This part is more streamlined.
1) Achieve balance and blessed ROUTINE in my daily life in 2004.
2) Make enough money with my writing to keep going as a freelancer indefinitely.
3) Complete at least one novel, COBWEB BRIDE, polish it, and sell it for a decent advance to a traditional New York publisher.
4) (optional) make a final decision on having an agent, and if decided, go out and get one.
5) Replant the back yard garden -- since the fence construction destroyed much of the plants and bushes along the walls. Also, plant in the newly exposed areas that I could not use before the new fence construction, and plant a veggie garden.
6) Clean the house completely.
7) Get my health in better shape.
8) (optional) Get the automatic sprinklers fixed.
9) (optional and dream) Save up and make money to remodel the main bathroom.
Happy New Year!
Wow, a blank slate -- a dangerous and wondrous thing. Use it well.
A new issue of my very irregular newsletter Veraworld has been posted. Enjoy! :-)