Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Path to Publication- Part Two

Click here to read Part One.  Otherwise the leap right into Step 7 might be jarring.

Step 7: Right after my agent started presenting RUDY TOOT-TOOT to editors I lost my job.  I'm pretty sure the two events are not related, but who knows, I love a good conspiracy theory.

I took advantage of the two months between gainful employment opportunities to write the first draft of another book.  Thinking I might be best served continuing in the children’s book market, I chose an origins-of-Santa story I’d been contemplating for several years.

I wrote the first draft of THE MAN IN THE CINDER CLOUDS in about 6 weeks.  Then I reached out to a diverse group critique partners, including children’s book authors, YA authors, and authors of literary adult fiction.  I had a fifth-grader read my book, and I read the book aloud to a class of third-graders; the kids all liked it.  I incorporated the feedback from my critique partners (NOTE: a.k.a. "critters" in some writing circles) and revised the manuscript and emailed a copy to my agent.  I thought it was pretty good.  My submission was met with:


I called to follow up on the submissions for RUDY TOOT-TOOT.  My follow-up was met with:


For nearly six months I heard nothing from my agent, and I tried to reach out to her monthly.  I noticed on one call that she now had an intern.  I saw in Publisher’s Marketplace that she was selling books.  Just not mine.

Eventually she responded to an email and let me know that RUDY didn’t get any offers, but said she would read my new book.  She asked me to give her a month.  I did, and when I got back in touch with her, she had not read it.  She asked for another week.  I gave it to her.  She still did not read it.  It was one more week when we both realized that our author/agent relationship was not going to work and parted ways.  It was bittersweet, because as frustrating as the end was, her editorial guidance and feedback helped me to grow as a writer and storyteller.

But I do believe that things happen for a reason, and I'm not about to hold a grudge, because eventually... 

Step 8: I revised THE MAN IN THE CINDER CLOUDS again and again.  I applied everything I had learned and poured my heart and soul into the book.  The result is a very special story; I feel honored that The Muse picked my fingers to hammer it out, because I think it's a great read.  I guess that's a conceited thing to say on some levels, but what do you expect?  I'm asking people to spend their hard-earned money on the book and take hours from their busy lives to read it...you should hope I think it's good.  

I considered querying and going the traditional publishing route, but I realized that to do that, my book would not be published until 2012 at the very earliest…more likely fall of 2013.  I decided that I did not want to wait that long.  The story is ready to be told.

But speed-to-market is not the only reason I decided to self-publish.  I’ve been watching the changes to the publishing market over the past several years.  I wouldn’t suggest everyone self-publish.  I don’t know if I’ll self publish my next book.  But for this book, I feel the time is right, and I’m comfortable with my decision.

THE MAN IN THE CINDER CLOUDS is available at Amazon.com in print and Kindle editions, and it also available for the Nook at BarnesandNobel.com.



Anonymous said...

My copy of your book is waiting patiently while I finish, The Help.
I look forward to reading it.

I've heard many stories like yours about agents. Arthur Levine compared finding an agent to dating. I agree. The key is in finding the right one.

I'm thinking about self publishing too. Thanks for sharing your path.

Bane of Anubis said...

Arghh, I'm sorry to hear about the relationship fracture. I'm sure it worked out for the best in the end, but I can't imagine the frustration in the during.

Thanks for sharing the story (both stories :). The writer's path is lonely, long, etc, but it's nice to see how he finds his way through the tangle.

Anita said...

Well, good for you! I've got a video series going now (on my blog) that talks about epubbing.

Rick Daley said...

Krista- It seems that for every agent-of-my-dreams anecdote there's a corresponding nightmare.

My agent was fantastic in the beginning, while we were expanding and revising RUDY TOOT-TOOT. I learned a lot about crafting a good book through those exchanges. It wasn't until later that her communications (or lack thereof) became a show-stopping issue.

Bane- Check the interview on Sue's blog tomorrow for additional insight into the frustrations and my current feelings. Long story short, you're right, it worked out best in the end and I harbor no regrets or resentment.

Anita- I saw the video today about cover design, good job!

Ellis Shuman said...

I really enjoyed reading your step by step description of the process. I am working on my novel, but not yet sure I will sure if I will go down the self publishing route.

Rick Daley said...

Thanks Ellis. Keep at it, and give you publishing options as much thought as you can; it's not a decision to be made lightly.

Self-publishing takes time and money. It's not right for every book and for every author, but if you feel you can put the right effort behind it, both in making your book a quality product and in self-promoting it, then it can be a viable path.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

I'm certainly excited to read your book, and you should never apologize for saying you've written something great. We all deserve to be very proud of our work, for sure!

Thank you for sharing all of this, Rick. It's amazing how everyone's paths are so different.

Rick Daley said...

Thanks Michelle!

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

I just realized I'm starting your book today! I finished one last night and yours is next. Whee!

Rick Daley said...

Awesome! I hope you like it, please let me know what you think when you finish...

Donna Hole said...

It was an adorable story.

Sorry to hear about you and your agent. I hope you found another job too, though being a writer seems to agree with you :)


Rick Daley said...

Thanks Donna. I was lucky to get a new job after two short months (although I still dream about that job being writing!).