Congratulations!! It's fabulous that you had two offers. If you don't mind my asking, what made you choose one over the other? Was it purely the amount offered, or were there other factors?My MS went on submission in early March. I got two offers. Last week, after speaking with both my agent and my author friends, I made my choice. Hooray! I'm going to be a published author!
Thanks to utesfanami, I wasn't shocked when my agent told me that the contract would take 1-3 months.
That’s awesome! Congratulations! Is it YA fantasy, or am I thinking of someone else here?
Congratulations!! It's fabulous that you had two offers. If you don't mind my asking, what made you choose one over the other? Was it purely the amount offered, or were there other factors?
That's a huge factor, considering how much you hear about publishers expecting authors to do their own marketing.Thanks, everyone!
Yes, it's YA fantasy.
I did choose publisher A which offered a higher advance. But that was not the only reason that factored into my decision. Publisher B has a strong track record of YA fantasy sales while Publisher A's children's fiction department is much newer. But both my agent and an author friend of mine (who works in sales and marketing) felt that my book would get a lot more attention and a bigger marketing budget from Publisher A. As to the editors, the phone calls with both were so brief I didn't really get a strong feeling that I clicked with one better than the other.
Woo hoo! Great news. Congrats!My MS went on submission in early March. I got two offers. Last week, after speaking with both my agent and my author friends, I made my choice. Hooray! I'm going to be a published author!
Thanks to utesfanami, I wasn't shocked when my agent told me that the contract would take 1-3 months.
This is a great intro. Well done on garnering so much interest with Novel One - and don't give up on that one. Even if it's not actively out on sub, it's still a done thing that could well find home one day.Wow, my post worked! Yes, this is the level of my technical prowess. I feel accomplished that I wrote something and pushed a button and it worked.
Warning-- I set out to write a summary of my experience subbing my novel but the post is about as long as the novel itself. Apologies. Feel free not to read of course, and I promise not to write more epic posts.
So I'm in the US and I've been writing since I was 6 years old, and I'm 50. I mostly wrote poetry and have published a lot of poetry, did an MFA in poetry, etc. Always wanted to write fiction but never took a class or anything, and, feeling like I needed to do something "more practical," I went to law school and was a legal aid lawyer (in the U.S. these are nonprofits that provide free legal services to indigent individuals and families). I then became disabled by a case of Lyme that went undiagnosed for 5+ years and really damaged my brain and body, and I haven't been able to work for 6 years. A few years into that, in 2019, I read a Susan Sontag essay about the novel that encouraged writers to throw out traditional conventions of novel writing, since they're just accidents of history, and write without expected structure, backstory, etc. So I started writing a literary fiction novel in vignettes rather than chapters, a story I'd had in my head for years. I wrote for about 20 min/day, some days and not others, and didn't even tell anyone, not even my spouse, until I was about halfway through and asked my poetry mentor if it was any good. She said it was, so I finished it.
It was only 48k at that point, too long for a Novella and too short for a novel. In the poetry world, if you don't already have books out, you get them published by submitting to publication contests with small presses or submitting to the small press reading periods cold. So I sent my 48k first draft to a bunch of contests and was shocked that it was a finalist or short or longlisted for a bunch of them. Including a pretty big contest, and the people who run that told me to get an agent for the book. So I nonchalantly queried, planning to try 100 agents and see if I got an offer. until I got an offer. After a few weeks I got an offer and took it. My agent's been an agent for 6 years and has sold mostly nonfiction, but is with an agency that repped the last National Book Award winner for fiction (or maybe two years ago now) and she's sold a couple of novels and she had about 2 hours' worth of notes on my MS on our call, so I signed with her. She told me to add 20k to the novel and a bunch of backstory, which I did, but she was ok with me leaving it in vignette form. It's a strange and dark and very psychological story that takes place in northern Canada in winter and has a nonbinary middle aged MC.
I was surprised my agent thought this very odd, dark, internal book written in vignettes and clocking in at 66k words could be sold to a Big 5 press, but she was gungho. Turns out my skepticism had legs. She cast a very wide net with Round 1 last fall, sending to more than 20 imprints, maybe 25 or so. I never got a sub list or asked for R's as they came in. After 3 months she called it on the round with 11 non-answers and the rest R's. Most of the R's were so incredibly complimentary and exuberant that they would make excellent book jacket quotes, if I only had a book that needed a book jacket. Most passed due to it not being a fit for them, some for saying it was too literary or too quiet or too internal or that the pacing seemed uneven (I think only one or two said that about the pacing), the two Canadian imprints didn't want it because it has a secondary character who is Cree and some scenes in a specific First Nation community, and though I got a sensitivity read from a northern Cree author who was very encouraging, the presses understandably said they want to promote Indigenous writers writing about Indigenous communities (though my book is only that in very small part). I was actually very impressed by this and think Canada is far ahead of the US on actually walking the walk with #ownvoices and not just talking the talk.
I revised quite a lot between rounds, cutting out some things and adding others and smoothing out the pace as best I could, and agent cast another wide net sending to over 30 editors, including new editors at the 11 imprints that hadn't responded the first time, a few new ones, and then also, at my request, a bunch of large indie presses that only accept agented submissions.
But, alas, last I heard we were down to 9 editors left and my agent was going to pitch two more. That was a week or more ago. In the meantime I'm guessing there have probably been more R's.
If no bites this round, it comes back to me. I know the smart thing would be to sit on it and write more and submit more, but I'm 50 and sick and would like to see it published, so I'll probably sub it to small Indies that don't require agents. My agent refuses to submit to any of those-- I don't think her agency allows it. It must look worse for their agency to be associated with such sales. I'm not happy about going back to the small Indies because authors need to do a lot of their own marketing, and I can't. I don't even have a single social media account, and don't want one. I have a website but haven't figured out how to even get it noticed by Google.
I did start writing something new, but it's another genre entirely, a collection of humorous creative nonfiction essays about the odd animals in my life (e.g. first chapter/essay is about Monster, my neurologically impaired squirrel). My agent doesn't rep memoir, says it's impossible to sell if the author isn't famous, and says my idea doesn't sound marketable to her. I have another book I'm planning to write that's a historical novel and she loves that idea and wants me to write it, but I'm really exhausted from health problems and from having 5 major deaths in my life since 11/20. The light animal stories are just easier to write right now, and my agent said she understands that. But it doesn't leave me in a good place publishing-wise. And I'm now not really writing much, realizing this and feeling depressed about it.
My 11 year old wrote an incredible flash fiction piece yesterday, better than almost any I've read by adults, and now I'm wondering if I'm barking up the wrong tree and instead of trying to write I should be learning how to be an agent to rep them...
End of novel.
Sub glitter and whiskey sours and brownies all around, especially to anyone who read this monstrosity of a post.
Thank you. And regarding the career... yeah. Would I like a career writing and publishing books? Yes. Am I likely to achieve that even if I publish this book? No. I'm already middle aged, have limited energy due to disability and, as you said, I write literary and tend toward unconventional. So...ETA: I suspect someone will come in and say Yes they do if they want a career. Which is valid, but only to extent that said writer is likely to achieve a career - which is tricky enough. But I think if you're focused on literary, somewhat rule-breaking writing, then your writing is going to be a slower, and hungrier beast.
Thanks, Cheesecake! I'm from the US (though thinking about moving to Canada, especially after yesterday!). My agent just subbed to the Big 5 imprints in Canada because of the setting of the book, most of which takes place in northern Ontario.Welcome fellow Canadian.
Whoops, my bad. Since your book takes place in Canada I figured you were Canadian. That's what I get for assuming, hah.Thanks, Cheesecake! I'm from the US (though thinking about moving to Canada, especially after yesterday!). My agent just subbed to the Big 5 imprints in Canada because of the setting of the book, most of which takes place in northern Ontario.
I think it's probably uncommon for US agents of US authors to submit to imprints in Canada, so it's understandable you thought I was from Canada. Also, because maybe I should have known what I was talking about when writing about northern Ontario? Someone in a critique group I'm in is from southern Ontario and currently reading my book and I keep waiting for her to tell me I got something wrong. But she hasn't actually spent time in northern Ontario either, so...Whoops, my bad. Since your book takes place in Canada I figured you were Canadian. That's what I get for assuming, hah.
I live in the southern part of Ontario, around Ottawa.