The book is done. Last week, actually. I didn't manage my far-fetched goal of 3K words a day for ten days. But isn't there a saying that goals are meant to be broken? I may have that wrong.
It has a real title now, too. Promise of Blood.
It came in at just over 150,000 words. For those of you wondering, that's about 271 pages, single-spaced, in Word.
The book itself spent about a year in development. A few false starts. 50K+ words tossed in the recycling bin because the plot/story/characters or what-have-you weren't working. Many nights spent up late muttering to myself about who does what and how this conflict causes that resolution. Once I had the first 10K words written it sat on a shelf for about a month of consideration. Then I wrote the rest in five months.
Considering that Butcher took me four years of development with about 200K worth of false starts, I think this marks a great improvement in my ability to plan and follow through. Back in May, right after Michele and I moved into a new place I said to myself: Brian, you have a wife. You have three fuzzy children to care for and kibbles to buy with which to feed them. If you aren't going to take this whole 'wanna be a career novelist' thing seriously you really need to figure out a career.
Well to hell with that.
So I wrote about 8K a week for 5 months (minus a 3 week hiatus for illness) and finished this dang thing to prove to myself that I could.
As for World Fantasy: For a while I had it in my head that I was going to World Fantasy to sell a book. This is false. I'm going to World Fantasy to catch up on the market. I'm going to meet people and put faces to names and enjoy myself and talk to agents and editors to find out what people are looking for and maybe, just maybe, pitch my book to a few of them if the atmosphere seems right.
When I get back I'm ready to begin the grunt work of trying to sell a manuscript. I've gone through every agent that accepts fantasy queries on Agentquery.com and weeded out the ones that are only looking for paranormal romance and urban fantasy. I have a solid list of 37 agencies with agents looking for epic fantasy all set up in a pretty little spreadsheet that will let me keep track of who I've queries and when and how long I expect to wait before hearing back from them.
As for the novel: One probably should not be submitting queries a week and a half after writing the last word. One probably should not blog about it, on the off chance an agent googles his name and finds his blog and discovers the query went out before the umpteenth edit. However. I'm ignoring my own advice for three reasons; 1) I have great confidence in my abilities as a writer. 2) I have been FLYING through edits the last week. I know enough now that there will be no major plot line changes. The down time between queries and any possible positive response will be quite long enough to go through several thorough edits, as well as shoot it to my beta-readers and get it back. And 3) any agent that bothers to google my name was intrigued enough with my query that he/she will still be willing to look at my first three chapters despite my over-confident attitude. I hope.
That being said, I have a couple of contacts that might actually get my whole novel in front of an agent or editor. Those shipments will not go off for a couple of weeks, until I've looked at what my beta readers have to say.
So off to World Fantasy tomorrow. Wish me luck. And Jamie, thanks for the advice. It's really given me a boost the last week as I gear up for this thing. I really had no strategy before. I have one now.