Flipping The Script

If you read my previous post (or my Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter feeds) then you know that signing with Tina P. Schwartz of the Purcell Agency just after Christmas has changed my outlook for 2020, but what you don't know is that's only half of it.

As 2019 was drawing to a close I was prepping to self publish my adult mystery/crime novel and now instead I need to begin work on book number two in a YA series. Just about everything about the year ahead has changed - my goals, my outlook, my energy level, and my plan of attack. But that's not the only thing that has changed. 

The manuscript that Tina signed me for was entitled PRICK, which I envision as a three book venture (JERK and TOOL to be the follow ups). The thing is - there are actually two versions of PRICK. Early on I worked with a prospective agent who requested MAJOR changes to the book, which I made, changing the whole arc (and subplot) of the story and pinpointing a different villain. Although I could never quite satisfy that other agent, I spent a lot of time involved in that second version and as a result its the one most fresh in my mind.

Although both versions of the story are strong and each has its strengths, I feel (and so does my wife) that the original version is more emotionally satisfying. So when it came time to sit down for my  pitch session with Tina I made a gut decision and told her about version #1. That's the version she read - fell in love with - and signed me with.

Here's the rub.  Because both versions of the book were so vastly different - that means the follow up will be as well.  Thankfully, I was forward thinking and created two different outlines, but it also means I now need to re-calibrate my brain and re-immerse myself in my original story. That's not a problem because I'm actually looking forward to it.

You see, I'm looking forward to a lot of things these days.

Plot Twist

If you've been following along with my recent posts you know that I had pretty much decided to go the self-publishing route with one of my novels. Since departing with my previous agent three years ago none of my query letters - for any of my four manuscripts - resulted in anything substantive.  There was some back and forth discussions with a couple of agents, but ultimately they went no where. Even submissions to small publishing houses were fruitless. Frustrated and feeling like I was out of options, I made the decision to pick one of my novels and self-publish it - basically just so I could say I was published. I ran a poll on Facebook to help me decide which book would have the best chance at success and my adult crime mystery - Fallen Knight - came out on top. I started making arrangement's to have it professionally edited and at the same time doing research into what it would take to accomplish my goal. In my mind I was coming to terms with my choice, and adjusting my mindset as far as the whole publishing pursuit goes. I guess you could say I was making peace with it.

Then I received a phone call four days after Christmas.

There was a single copy of my YA novel PRICK in the hands of an agent I had sent out months earlier. I had met (and pitched) this agent at the DFW Conference in June and she finally asked for the full in October. If I'm being honest, I wasn't holding out much hope because at that stage I'd been bombarded by rejection for so long that clinging to hope seemed pointless - and it had been three months.

So I was a bit shocked when I saw the agents name appear on my incoming call screen - but I didn't allow myself to get excited because I have received phone calls from agents/publishers before that lead no where. But this wasn't one of those!

The agent read my novel - the night before - in one sitting - and LOVED IT! Not only that, she could see huge potential for a series. Okay - cue the excitement!

Then she asked -  if she wasn't too late - if she could represent me and my book.

In the blink of an eye everything had changed. My wife had been listening in on the call and tears were rolling down her cheeks.

She answered all of the follow-up questions I had prepared (for years) to my satisfaction and this morning I emailed my signed contract.

I am ecstatic to announce I am now represented by Tina P. Schwartz of the Purcell Agency.

Needless to say - but I will anyway - my plans have changed. I have a couple of small edits to make to PRICK for Tina, then I'm going to start working in full earnest on its follow up. 

Just twenty four hours ago I was looking ahead to 2020 with trepidation and disappointment - and now I am beyond pumped and reinvigorated.

How's that for a plot twist?

The State of Things - Update

Well, PITCH WARS was a bust.

Submitting was worth a shot, however sitting around sulking about not getting picked is not productive. It's time to move on.

I still have query letters out for several of my books, and even a FULL REQUEST to one agent, but I'm moving forward with self-publication of FALLEN KNIGHT anyway. If something positive happens I can always change my focus, but to avoid becoming stagnant I need to maintain forward momentum and self-publishing FK gives me that.  I'm still getting feedback from my critique partners and my plan is to send the manuscript off to be professionally edited in January (which is when I should have enough money saved). When that is process is complete I'll lay out the rest of my launch plan/schedule.

While I'm doing all that I've also submitted one of my short stories to a contest being hosted by Booksie. If you have a moment to read it and leave some feedback, it would be greatly appreciated.  You can find the story HERE.  The title of the story is ITINERARY.

That's what's going on with my writing-life right now. Staying busy...and positive!


Pitch Wars

I've decided to hit the pause button on self-publishing for right now and take a run at this instead.

Pitch Wars. 

This has been on the periphery of my interest for a while and after seeing a couple tweets about the upcoming season, I looked at it closer.  This could be something that really gives me the boost I need. The concept is simple. The organization matches published authors and other industry professional (Mentors) with writers seeking guidance to help them improve their manuscripts (Mentee's). The catch is only 3-4% of the writers submitting get matched with a Mentor, so in a way its a lot like querying agents, the difference being Mentors will be looking more at potential as opposed to something that can be put on submission to publishers right away.

Although the probability of getting matched with a Mentor is low, I'm going for it anyway.  Submissions open next week and the match-ups will be announced on November 3rd.

Wish me luck!

The State of Things

It's been a while since I've updated anyone following along about where I stand in regards to getting published - so that's what I'm going to do today. This will brief because unfortunately there's not all that much to report.

Almost a year ago I announced my intention to write what I considered was going to be the book that finally legitimized my efforts to become a traditionally published author after all these years. It was a story that had been festering inside me for quite a long time and I thought the topic was timely. I finished that book (Apollo's Ghost) earlier this year and after soliciting feedback from my CP's and some beta's, I immediately started sending out query letters, expecting numerous requests for FULLS to flood my inbox. That didn't happen. I didn't receive a single request. I'm not going to sugarcoat it - I was crushed! Still am, actually.

So I've started down the path of my endgame. I wasn't going to end this journey without something to show for it, so I decided to self-publish one of the five books I've written. But which one? To answer this question I turned to social media. After posting a short summary of four of my books on Facebook and asking my followers which one they felt had the best chance in the marketplace, they chose (by a pretty good margin) my mystery/thriller book Fallen Knight.  So I've tweaked the story to bring it up to date (I wrote it almost eight years ago) and right now I'm waiting for additional feedback before I send it to an editor. Then I'll look for a cover designer. There is no set timeline for its release as of yet.

I haven't totally abandoned writing new material - well not exactly. If FK sells exceptionally well I've outlined a follow-up, but I won't put word to paper until I see how FK is received. If the book tanks, then that'll be it. Story over. But if it shows even a glimmer of life, then I'll be more than happy to churn out another story because I believe in these characters.

 That's it - that's where I'm at. Not where I hoped I'd be, but not without a pulse either.

I'll keep you updated as things move along.


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