Sunday, June 22, 2014

Contract negotiations are underway

We are now in the Jerry Maguire stage of my teen murder mystery. I'll share the publisher once ink is on the paper. Publisher X emailed the contract, but the esteemed Abigail Samoun thinks we should push back on a few issues.

That said, most of it looks pretty good to me. I would like to have approval on the cover. And I'd like to get international rights, because that worked out quite well for me on The Tilting House. But mostly, I'm excited and grateful. I know how hard and how rare it is to get to this stage, mostly because I know how hard it's been for me.

Gratitude. That's the word for the day.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Seriously good news from a mystery publisher

Ok. So I've still come the realization that nothing is certain until it is past tense. But I've also learned to have gratitude for every bit of encouragement. 

So I am very grateful for an email that reads: "I’ve finished reading Life and Seth and you will not be surprised to hear that we would like to acquire the title."

Hopefully this story ends with a new classic hardboiled paperback. And hopefully it's cover is as cool as this:


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A figurative tornado of encouraging news.

Eat your heart out, Dorothy Gale. I got my own tornado. And mine doesn't kill ladies in red shoes.

I've had a whirlwind of activity lately around a kooky variety of books.

Run, Dorothy! And your little dog, too!
First of all, a Dutch publisher called Van Holkema & Warendorf contacted me directly to discuss publishing my first novel, The Tilting House, in The Netherlands. So as it slides into out-of-print status here in the U.S., it moves into print status in both Germany and The Netherlands. Go figure. My friend Lance said that maybe it's because they have more tilting houses over there.

Then, as I dip my toe into the water of picture books, I've already had some good response. One of the big New York publishers (who, of course, is owned by an even bigger foreign publisher), is interested in my irreverent alphabet book, The Unless Alphabet. No contracts yet, but I've made some edits at their request and am now sitting around checking my email.

Another publisher passed on that one, but asked me to take a crack at a related assignment.

And two other picture book manuscripts I passed on to Abigail are now having samples made by two very talented illustrators.

(I'll share names soon, assuming any of this becomes more, ahem, substantial).

Then, just a couple of days ago, a mystery publisher contacted my agent, the esteemed Abigail Samoun, regarding my young adult murder mystery. In fact, they asked me to quickly stop all self-publishing activities surrounding that book, so that they could consider it. So...I've yanked it from Kindle and CreateSpace and even from the home page of this Blog.

So then, temporarily say goodbye to my beloved Seth and his various murders. Say hello to Amsterdam. And say maybe to a handful of potential picture books.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Picture books? Me? Does this even make sense?

The idea of writing a picture book has honestly never entered my mind. I'm a novel guy. It takes me 150 pages just to get going. 

But between unsuccessful novels, I had what I thought was a brilliant idea: I was gonna become the next Shel Silverstein. I know--a humble little thought. But I've been a songwriter all my life. I write shortform works all the time for my other project, Beautiful Angle (in partnership with Lance Kagey). I can go deep, but I still like a good poop joke. So I spent a few weeks and about 40 of these bits of funny poetry flowed out of me. 

So I picked out about 20 good ones and sent them to my agent as a sample of my Grand Idea. 

She was less than excited. 

Abigail said, "Perhaps if you're the poet laureate, you might have a slim chance of getting a book of kid poetry published."

But then she said that a couple of these ideas struck her as good picture book texts. 

Since then, Abi has been sending one of them back to me for edits. The other one, she just started sending it out edit-free. And we've already started getting some encouraging feedback. Rejections? He'll, yes. But encouraging rejections from some serious big shot editors. Weird. 

So, all that to say that I might try a few more of these picture book things.