A Long Absence

I've been on sabbatical the last few weeks. By "sabbatical" I mean that every time I should have written a blog, I went and did something else instead. Usually, that something else was reading. I've gone through a number of books lately:

The Crippled God - Steven Erikson
Making Money - Terry Pratchett
Thud! - Terry Pratchett
Unseen Academicals - Terry Pratchett
Medicus: A Novel of the Roman Empire - Ruth Downie
Westmark - Lloyd Alexander

As you can see, I've been on kind of a Terry Pratchett kick lately. I think I'd have read more if my local library had a better selection. It's hard to read one and not want to go right back into that world. I've been trying--unsuccessfully--to get my wife to start reading them.

New on the book: I had a long talk with my agent recently. I'm now working on a rewrite of about 40K words of Promise of Blood. Not exactly what I wanted to do, but I couldn't argue with many of the problems she had and the solution is a rewrite. The good news is, I'm excited about my plans for the re-write and I'm already about 15K words into it. It will make the first third of the book move faster and, hopefully, pull the reader in far better than the first draft would have.

On the thought of agents, I read a blog recently that talked about how agents are faring in all of this hubbub in the publishing world. I thought it was of particular interest because most news I see has to do with authors or editors, not the middleman.

Holidays are Hell on Productivity

The last two weeks has been somewhat of a whirlwind, as I'm sure it has been for pretty much everyone out there. I've been pretty much just a notch over useless for that period of time and to be honest, it was wonderful.

Caitlin was very kind to give me a soft date of January 10th for my next edit, and let me know that there was no pressure as we were not working with publishers yet. I'm going to keep the pressure on myself, however, as I need to learn to meet deadlines. I've got a lot of work done, I've got a lot of work to do, and I have seven days to do it in. I will be, ahem, unavailable until next Monday.

I got some great stuff for Christmas. Some wonderful essentials from everyone: my oldest brother's family gave me a new hand mixer and chocolate covered pretzels (yes, choco-pretzels are an essential). A new fondue pot from another brother, and a free-standing recipe holder from my sister, a hand made pizza peal from another brother, cookies and hand-made ornaments from another and numerous other awesome stuff that I'm surely offending people by not listing. I only now realized that easily three quarters of my gifts had to do with food or baking. That's what I get for giving everyone chocolate chip cookies for their birthdays.

I received another wonderful gift quite unexpectedly from Isaac Stewart (the guy who does a lot of art and maps for Brandon Sanderson's books and doesn't have a website so why don't you get on that Isaac?) in the form of Brandon's latest book, The Way of Kings. I'm looking forward to hitting that book hard while Caitlin has my next edit in a week or so.

I continually find myself about 60-100 posts (or 1-2 weeks) behind in my google reader and playing catch up to read industry blogs. An interesting trend I'm seeing for the year end is that agents who blog also like to put up their numbers for the year.

Being a numbers guy myself--I use spreadsheets for everything, from finances to WoW to writing--I enjoy this. The first thing I noticed was that agents are wildly different. I've been told this, but the numbers backed it up. Two single agents each pulled down around 3K and 5K queries for the year, and offered reps on just 10 and 2 manuscripts respectively. Another agency of two agents had total numbers of 36000 queries for the year (holy crap) and offered on... wait for it... 9 manuscripts. The numbers are kind of staggering to someone looking to get an agent and they make me feel really grateful that my book got the kind of response it did. An agent-less author should take some heart from the numbers though and realize that every agent wants different things, and is accepting different amounts, and don't get depressed about your first forty rejections.

Obsolete

My BF list of agents to query is obsolete. Is that even the right word? I'm not trying to say that it is a passe technology, but rather that it is not needed anymore. Let's go with obsolete.

I gotta admit, it makes me a little sad. I spent hours and hours on that thing and two weeks later I don't need it anymore. Oh well. I'll store it in a little folder somewhere at the back of my hard drive, just in case a friend needs it or, heaven forbid, I need it again someday.

It's sad, but it's not a bad thing. :-)

I have no official news yet, as I really don't want to jump the gun. I'm not certain of etiquette, and I'm a little superstitious on top of things, so no announcement. In fact, I really shouldn't say a damn thing at all for another week. But I can't shut up. I'm too excited.

Things have been flying by. Submitting to agents, and then afterwords to editors, is a waiting game. It might be weeks before you get your first rejection, months before your first request for a partial.

I had four requested fulls twelve days into the waiting period.

This blew me away. I did not at all expect this kind of response. It baffled me, frankly. I'm confident my stuff is good. What writer isn't? I enjoy it. My snobby wife enjoys it. My beta-readers enjoy it. None of this means that a professional will find it mildly sell-able.

Yet some of them do.

The next several months are going to be very exciting. That's all I can say now. I have a pretty good idea of how they will go. I think. I am new to all of this. Then again, I had that same "pretty good idea" about the next couple of months two weeks ago. That's changed significantly.

I'm rambling now. I have no coherent thoughts. I will have to organize them properly in say, two weeks.

All of this excitement means that I'm not doing much cooking. I'm very busy. I barely have time to throw things in the bread maker. Luckily Michele has been taking over almost all of the evening meals (though she says my duties still include bread and cookies). I'm fine with this. She is turning into a very good cook. Her peanut chicken tastes like it comes from a Chinese place. Mmmm.