Friday, December 21, 2012

Making my way into traditional publishing

For the last 15 months, my agent (it still gives me a thrill to say that) has been shopping my mystery novel to potential publishing houses. We had both just about given up (she was down to the last 6 of the many acquisition editors she knows) when we got a nibble, an editor loving the book and wanting to know if it was still available. Why, yes! we said. And so she finished it and asked permission to send it with her proposal on up the chain of decision-markers at her company.

Two more weeks went by and I stopped being excited and anxious about it, which was a good thing. I had a sleepless night the first night and expected to hear an answer right away, but of course things don't move that quickly. When the offer did come on Tuesday morning this week, I was excited all over again.

It's a satisfying recognition of my book and my writing to have someone believe in it enough to bet money on it, which is what the publishing business does with books. Some authors and books are sure bets. Stephen King can writer a stinker and millions of people will buy it. (Don't get me wrong. I like Stephen King, some of the time.) Other people can write heartbreakingly good books and no one is interested. So it's a crap shoot in a way.

I think that's particularly true in these volatile times when hundreds of thousands of people are publishing books, mostly online, and just as many people are buying books online instead of in bookstores. Publishing is in the midst of a revolution, and so I feel particularly pleased that a traditional publishing house is willing to take a chance on my book selling enough to be worth their while. And the fact that they are building their literary fiction line makes me very proud indeed.

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