Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Six months later, the time has come to let go.

I started querying THE BOOK OF LOST RUNES back in November - on the first of November, naturally, because it seemed like a good time and I liked the symbolism of starting something new with the new month.  I sent out my first letters to seven agents whom I thought would make particularly good matches for this book, and had a list of twenty-something total.  Since then, I've delved into a bunch of different sites and lists, and sought out a great many agents who are looking for adult fantasy.

In the time since then, I've sent out a total of ninety queries, and received largely rejection and silence in return.  The only bright points in this process have been two partial requests (both said no), two "likes" from Twitter pitches (both said no), and one dodged bullet.

Being able to call those "bright points" is yet another reason why writers drink.

This is the farthest I've ever gone with a book.  After writing so damn many books (most of which were bad), I really thought I had something with BoLR.  I'm not sure if it was the "book of my heart", as some writers say about some of their stories, but most anything with Shiloh & Alexi in their various incarnations is a story that's close to me.  Which, of course, only made the rejections feel more personal.

I know they weren't personal.  They never are, unless an agent checked my twitter feed and was grossly offended by me making bad jokes or something.  :P  But the fact that some people wanted to read even part of the book gave me hope.  It felt like a sign, y'know?  Like I really had something and I just had to find the right person.

But that never happened.  I still have queries out, and I don't think it's going to happen.  I told myself that I'd query for at least six months, and consider my options then.  Over that time, I've lost faith in BoLR, and mostly think about how I could do it better.  Maybe it just wasn't the right sort of story, maybe I didn't do my original ideas justice, maybe I tried to make it too many things at once.  I'll never know.  I just know it's time to trunk the book and move on.

No matter how much it hurts to leave this one behind after all that I've put into it.

It does me a lot of good to know that the current book is going well.  I hit 30K words tonight, and I'm having a lot of fun with this.  Even though I started plotting this back in 2014 and thought it could have been ready last year, I'm still discovering all kinds of things about the characters and the worlds it takes place in, and working on it is constantly surprising.  I can tell it'll need a lot of edits, but that's nothing new; working with a half-dozen completely new characters and worlds means I'm not going to get everything right the first time.

Especially when I realize that most of a character's development is post-mortem.

Anyway.  This is, I'm sure, just another step in the grand learning experience of being a writer.  It's not that I have a problem with the learning experience, I'd just like to experience some other part of it eventually.  Which is, of course, why I keep trying.

Next week: IWSG: Embrace Your Weird.


  1. Glad the new story is going well, but sorry you didn't get a better response for The Book of Lost Runes. Did you go through a list of publishers as well? I know it's hard to give up on something that took so much time and energy.

    1. If I hadn't lost faith in the book, I would be considering small presses and the like, yeah. I had a few noted down. But I've accepted that the book isn't working, so there's no point in trying to find a home for it there.

  2. That sucks, Dude. I know you don't have any inkling toward the indie market, but I wanted to mention a conversation I had with my buddy Dani. She's active with the LGBT community on Tumblr and she sees a group that is desperate to receive some love. They get looked over, or used as tropes, and really they want the opportunity for hope. The latest uproar has been over the 100, when they killed one of the characters. It fell into the Dead Lesbian trope, the same one that killed off Tara in Buffy, or Charlie in Supernatural. I wasn't aware of how common the theme was until earlier this year, or even how it played out in my own work when I was completely unaware.

    *shrug* I know you want validation from an agent or publisher to say your story is worthy. But I also know that there's a community out there that would probably really enjoy BotLR, and they're the ones who are going to be losing.

    I am glad that your current work is going well. That's exciting! I hope it continues!

    1. I'm aware of a lot of this; I just didn't want to make the post be about it. But I've heard about the (massive) issues with The 100 and I've learned how prevalent it is to have a gay relationship in any medium end in death. It makes me sad every time I hear about it, because it's ridiculous how damn much it happens. It's something I'll never do - not that I like killing off characters who are in relationships, but I read about how that affects LGBT+ people, how seeing the characters they identify with constantly killed off is such an incredibly negative thing. >_< And yes, a big part of why I wanted to get BoLR published is that there are far too few stories out there where a same-sex couple not only stars, but gets a happy ending.

      The thing is, though, I have plans to write more with Shiloh & Alexi. They've lived in my head for a good fourteen years now, they're not going anywhere. I've only taken down a few notes for a new story with them, because I want to work on other things and let this one build up in my head and in a plotting file for a good long time. But I'll get back to them in time.

      And there's another thing: the only couple in my book-in-progress? Two women. When I gender-swapped the two human characters, I then had to consider whether to also swap the gender of the woman the guy was with. And that character didn't feel right as a man at all. So the human woman became... I haven't put an exact label on her sexuality, because there's no real need to, but she's dating within her gender and outside her species, so make of that what you will. ^_^

      I've also realized that this is going to be a running thing for me. I learned this while writing the crazy dream book last year, and only figured it out when I was contemplating your comment and how I'd reply. I am really, really bad at writing someone being attracted to a guy. I did some of that in the crazy dream book, and ye gods, it was some of the most unconvincing stuff I've ever written. So considering that I like writing women more than men, I might end up writing a lot of F/F couples. And I'm good with this, especially since I've gotten compliments from gay women for writing gay women well.

      As for the indie market, we'll see how this one goes. I've said before that I think this book will be hard to sell because it's so hard to categorize, but if it goes well enough, I might seek out a smaller press and the like. No promises on anything yet, but there are so many reasons I want to get published, and making stories where people who too often end up dead or otherwise marginalized get to be the heroes is an important one.

  3. Glad to hear your new MS is going so well! Querying is a monster. It's as if we willingly set ourselves out there and scream 'beat me up'! Actually, that's exactly what we do. Sorry it didn't go as well as you hoped, but it sounds like you survived and that with an okay attitude. Good for you! ...and I just got done reading the last comments.. Interesting.

    1. I think of it more as screaming "PLEASE LOVE ME!", but it amounts to the same thing, doesn't it? Sadly, a huge part of agents' jobs is saying no. I know that's better than them trying to say yes to everything, but... yeah.

      And I never know what someone's thinking when they just say "Interesting". O_o

  4. Querying has got to be the most stress-inducing thing ever invented. It makes you panic, sweat, doubt yourself, check your email incessantly. There seriously needs to be a querying support group. I think that just because agents passed on your novel doesn't mean that it's not good. It could just be that, based on their current relationships with editors, they didn't feel they could sell it. Doesn't mean the book is bad! Anyway, glad you're on to the next project. Maybe you'll go back to The BOLR someday and realize that it was precisely the story you wanted it to be.

  5. I saw this a while back, and I didn't know what to say then. I don't think I really know what to say now either. Publishing is sometimes a big pile of dog poop. What I hate most about publishing is how it makes you question things like your value as a person when it's really about the writing....except it isn't. Publishing is about insane things, stupid things, things that are bullshitty and things that are the same but different.

    In short, I'm seeing more and more crummy books in traditional, bored, tired trope weilding books. I'm seeing a lot of growth and movement in indie, but there's not the same amount of recognition. Which is both weird and you know, the way it goes. I know you've lost faith in this book, but I'm not sure you should have. The book that I just published had two partial requests and then a big pile of rejections.

    On the other hand, sometimes you just need to move on. The thing I would caution you about doing is to make the next book different enough from BoLR that when you do land your agent, you can go to your inventory and be like "and here is an awesome book I have just waiting for a little editing and it's ready for prime time."

    Good luck one way or another.