Friday, June 26, 2009

Did You See Any Lightning?

I just now, this very second, realized my problem.

I've been through a strangely hellish yet very encouraging ride over the last two years in my quest to sell a novel. Sometimes I think the quest is just that—a Quixotic thing, and as soon as I actually get an offer, I'll get hit by lightning. I'm like that old priest in Caddyshack. He played the game of his life, but he sure picked his days badly.

So ... right now, it looks like another publisher is about to ask for non-contractual revisions to one of my books. That would make three. If it happens this way, I'd have to put those revisions in line with the other set of non-contractual revisions I'm currently working on (and I hope are finally going well, thank you very much).

I know the economy is an issue, and no one really wants to take a chance on an unknown author, but c'mon people, this is getting a little ridiculous. Still, I'm not complaining. I know I'm lucky to even be getting this level of attention. My rejections are actually pretty uplifting. It could be worse.

Which brings me back to my problem. I'm not the bitter type, or the envious type, or even the defeated type (on most days). But I'm afraid I'm becoming the cynical type. I was just sitting here thinking, "You know what, it doesn't matter whatever revisions I do, it's just going to be the same thing all over again ..."

I wish I could say I was too young to be cynical, but I think I'm exactly the right age to be cynical.


TurkeyLurkey said...

Sometimes I find the whole "agent/publisher" process archaic. The music industry is shifting away from record labels - IE NIN. I think the future of publishing will see a similar fate. It would be nice if we could throw our work out there, do our own marketing (Twitter, Facebook, Blogs etc..), and if it is good, earn an audience of readers. Electronic Readers are opening the door for just that. - IMO

LurkerMonkey said...


Mmm. Cherry wheat beer. (That's my non sequitur for the day -- my wife says I'm only allowed one.)

Anyway, that's a whole ball of wax, what you said. It actually makes people's heads explode if you bring it up in the wrong company. As it is right now (and if Zoe Winters is reading this, please don't shoot me), I don't see a viable way for most unknown authors to build their own audiences. The distribution clout of a major publishing house is an exponential multiplier in terms of odds of success.

But I tend to agree with you that the future will be wide open, and who knows what'll happen, but for now, I tend to think this is the maze we're stuck in.

Mark Terry said...

Mmmm, Sam Adams Cherry Wheat. I'm with you. As for uncontracted edits on a novel, I think you know what I think about that, and that's between you and you, and God knows what I'd do if a publisher offered that, but I think my thoughts on it come down to this: WTF?

Or maybe: Hey, Honey, you want to dance ya gotta buy a ticket to the ball.

But then again, I'm cranky in Florida today. What the hell do I know? Everything's pissing me off today.

LurkerMonkey said...


Lucky you weren't here last week. The heat would have melted your soluble Michigan bones. And yeah, yeah, yeah. I know what you think about non-contractual revisions ... but what else am I going to do? Your choices are either to play ball or walk away, and considering there's only about six major houses that publish the kind of books I write, it's time to suit up.

spyscribbler said...

Ohhhh, Sam Adams. Do you know how long it's been since I've had a drink? I miss my twenties.

Well, no matter one's thoughts on self-publishing, middle-grade e-fiction isn't exactly booming, is it? I read an article on its supposed growth (from what?), but I don't have a single student who knows what a Kindle is, and they all can afford one.

Good luck, Jon. I'm rooting for you. I don't exactly trust in the fairness of life, but I'm hoping for you!

LurkerMonkey said...

Thanks, Spy!

Now I believe it's time for me to go act like I'm in twenties. :)

Melanie Avila said...

Good luck. I don't envy your position, even though, like you said, this is something you've worked towards for years.

And now I want a beer.