Monday, October 31, 2011

A three book deal with Del Rey

"Everything went better than expected."

Like any good drama, the submission process did not go as I thought it would.  Everything I heard leading up to Submission Day was that I'd be in for a 4-to-6 month wait, filled with nail-baiting silence occasionally broken by terse rejection.

Instead, three weeks in, our first offer arrived.

Two weeks after that, another offer.  And then a third.

Amazingly, they all had different sets of pro's and con's, and in the end I simply chose the one that I thought offered me the best catapult into a career as an author.  Del Rey won out, and it helped that they showed a ton of enthusiasm for the book and its sequels.

I'll admit there were a few rejections mixed in there, too.  But nothing disheartening.  I think the 'worst' complaint we received was that the book was too fast paced.  I can live with that!

Now comes the hard part:  sequel deadlines.  I'm on the hook for two, and both need to be delivered in less time than it took me to write the first book.


Joseph L. Selby said...

This is where I come into a lot of self-conflict. I don't write sequels because I haven't broken through yet. What's the point of writing the sequel to a book that hasn't been published? My time would be better spent writing new works that give me another shot.

The catch is, I have a book I know will be published. I know it. It's a level above anything I've written before, and it's the first in a trilogy. How much easier would it be if I already had the next two stories finished so I could spend that deadline time revising/rewriting and taking it to the next level rather than worrying about simply getting the damn thing done.

It all seems a double-edged sword.

(I actually dipped into the second book because I had an itch I couldn't scratch. They're not joking when they say sequels are hard! What a balancing act!)

Jason M. Hough said...

Couldn't agree more! This is something I agonized over from the moment I decided to go after an agent.

To my surprise, only one of the three publishers asked to see a synopsis of book two. The others simply offered (both for three books), on the strength of the first one.

I must admit, I was surprised at how quickly they wanted me to turn in the sequels. We negotiated for extra time, but it's still a scary pace. Never the less, I'm a firm believer that deadlines are the best generators of creativity, and I think if I'd waited until all three books were done, I might not have found the same opportunities.

Joseph L. Selby said...

Pat Rothfuss had a very good post about how authors have different speeds. He writes very slow while Brandon Sanderson is ridiculously fast. I am fortunate enough to fall into the latter category, but there's so much more stress when you've committed to doing something. I write two novels a year every year since I set to take my career seriously. My fear isn't that I won't be able to tell a good story, but that I'll promise to provide sequels and then completely freeze. :)

Synopses are a kicker. Can I give you one for a book I haven't written? You're lucky I can give you one for the one I have! I'm a hardcore pantser. I can tell you how the next two books end, but that's about it.

And while I said it on Twitter, not to show poor form on your blog, congratulations again on your wonderful accomplishment. I look forward to reading your book.

Jason M. Hough said...

I'm not sure where I fall on the speed scale, but I've calculated things out and I need to write about 600 words a day in order to keep to my deadlines (with some wiggle room). Definitely within my pace.

The good news is, I'm not locked into any synopsis with Del Rey. I did provide an outline for book two to my editor, but it was more of a courtesy (and to get his valuable feedback). There's no contractual obligation, and I still have the freedom to change course if I feel I need to.

I'm a pantser only until the moment I get ready to start, and then I hammer out an outline. As you said, we're all different! No right or wrong here, and I appreciate you sharing your technique.

FatRanter said...
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Stephanie Train said...

Found you through Sarah M's twitter. Just saying hiyas! Hope to join you in the ranks of the "accepted," and wanted to wish you well on your amazing success!

montsamu said...

Congratulations! I look forward to the book.