Search Results for Writing Updates
So, time for a writing update!
Thing have been going very well, lately. Lots to update everybody with, so I’ll start with the short fiction news and move into the novels.
Short Fiction News
Galaxy’s Edge Sale!
My short story “Lord of the Cul-de-sac” was just purchased by Mike Resnick over at Galaxy’s Edge. This is a great market with a typically stunning table of contents and edited by the man who has won the most Hugo awards in history, so that’s pretty damned sweet. No word yet on when my story will appear, but I’ll keep you all posted.
Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction Sale!
I mentioned this a few weeks back, but I’m still pumped that I sold a story to CC Finlay over at F&SF.
My story “The Mithridatist” (set in Tyvian’s world, Saga of the Redeemed fans!) went on a heck of a journey through the pro-markets, garnering personal and, dare I say, glowing rejection letters from places like Tor.com before finally earning itself a home. Again, no word on release yet, but I’ll keep you posted.
I also recently sold a story to Escape Pod podcast about a month ago. It’s free and in audio or text. “Adaptation and Predation” is a space opera-esque story set in my Union of Stars world and has received a very positive response. I’ve even gotten some fan mail! Yay!
Then there’s this as-yet-untitled Time-Travel anthology over on Chappy Fiction, which bought/will buy my story “The Day It All Went Sideways” dealing with two-bit gangsters and fifth-dimensional time. I’m being called an “anchor” for the antho, which is a great compliment and I’m excited to see what Zach Chapman puts together!
Beyond that, I’ve got another five stories or so on submission to various places on and in various stages of review and another two I need to spiff up and send out again. Pretty good haul for a guy who spends *most* of his time writing novels!
The first book in the Saga of the Redeemed, The Oldest Trick, and its two halves (The Iron Ring and Iron and Blood) are currently selling very well – particularly the two halves – thanks to a price promotion and a BookBub at the end of last year. The Iron Ring peaked at #115 overall for Amazon (#2 for Fantasy) on the day of the BookBub “Book of the Day” promotion, which is mind-bogglingly awesome. It and Iron and Blood have been selling in the low 5-figures in rank ever since, which, in Amazon terms, is really goddamned good. So thank you, all of you, who have read!
That said, I could still use more reviews! I have ranked up a few over the past month or two (all very positive – thanks!), but you can never have too many reviews and, given how Amazon’s algorithm works and how important word-of-mouth is for book sales, more reviews is essential! If you’ve read any of my books, I would be ever so thankful if you left a review (even if you didn’t like it very much!).
Now for the kinda-sorta bad news. My editor at Harper Voyager has left for another publisher and, as a result, I have a new editor (hi, Rebecca!). Since she has just been saddled with a lot of my former editor’s old workload, she’s had to delay the publication of No Good Deed again. Bummer. It’s new release date is June 21st, 2016. This is disappointing, but at least now it seems like that date will be firm. I’ve also seen the cover art, which is really pretty awesome. Not time to reveal it just yet, but very pretty, trust me.
So, yet, Tyvian will be yet a few more months before he arrives in his second adventure. Of course, that’s typical Tyvian – never arrive on time when you can arrive late and make a splash. This also gives people world-wide more time to read the first book and be ready when the second comes out, so silver linings abound.
Overall, then, a great batch of news. I leave you, Tyvian fans, with the teaser text from No Good Deed, for those of you who haven’t seen it yet. I hope it sounds as intriguing as I hope it is:
Cursed with a magic ring that forbids skullduggery, Tyvian Reldamar’s life of crime is sadly behind him. Now reduced to fencing moldy relics and wheedling favors from petty nobility, he’s pretty sure his life can’t get any worse.
That is until he hears that his old nemesis, Myreon Alafarr, has been framed for a crime she didn’t commit and turned to stone in a penitentiary garden. Somebody is trying to get his attention, and that somebody plays a very high-stakes game that will draw Tyvian and his friends back to the city of his birth and right under the noses of the Defenders he’s been dodging for so long. And that isn’t even the worst part.
The worst part is that somebody is his mother.
Much has come to pass these last weeks.
As (most of you) probably know, the first part of my debut novel is to be released this February by Harper Voyager. If you haven’t heard about this, check out this post explaining it all.
Now, things have changed a little since then. In particular, the way the books will be released and titled has changed. Initially, the first two books in my series (now titled The Saga of the Redeemed) were to be released as The Oldest Trick, Part 1 and The Oldest Trick, Part 2. This is because the first two books are really just two halves of the same book and the publisher wanted to keep the price point low for the initial offering (I assume).
Some time later, it was decided that this seemed confusing (two parts to one book that is part one of a longer series? Whhhaaaa?), so they decided to title them separately and sell them as parts 1 and 2. To this, I pointed out that this might be misleading, since readers would think they were buying a whole story when, in fact, it was only half of one. My editor concurred and Harper agreed, and so now it goes like this: the initial electronic release of the books will have a different title for each part, but they will be marketed as part 1 and 2 of the larger work, The Oldest Trick. Then, when the print release happens (by the way: THERE WILL BE A PRINT RELEASE!!), they will put part 1 and 2 together into one omnibus with my original title and, likewise, this will be available online.
Therefore, Coming Soon:
The Iron Ring (Part 1 of The Oldest Trick), February 2015
Blood and Iron (Part 2 of The Oldest Trick), June 2015
All That Glitters (Book 2 of The Saga of the Redeemed), Fall 2015
Hopefully any confusion will be overcome by the sheer awesomeness of my work.
As for the process itself, here’s where I am: I’m waiting for the final copyedit of The Iron Ring and will begin working with my editor on Blood and Iron sometime in the next month. Also within the next month, I will be getting another 1-2 drafts of All That Glitters in the can so that it is at the polishing stage and I can tinker with it until the deadline on May 1st. All of this can happen just as soon as I get clear of my workload for the Fall semester (lousy day job!) and before the workload for the Spring Semester ramps up.
So, yeah, a ton of writing and editing needs to happen over the next month. Accordingly, there may very well be another blog hiatus coming up. I will let you know and keep you posted, as doing so makes me imagine that what I’m doing here is of some kind of value to somebody rather than just the protracted ravings of a cubicle-bound narcissist.
Hey, everyone! I’ve got a new short story out (well, a flash story – it’s very short) out in this July 2019 issue of Galaxy’s Edge. I’m in a great issue, too, alongside such brilliant writers as Robert J Sawyer, Nancy Kress, Kevin J Anderson, Gregory Benford, and more! The best part is this: for this month only, you can read my story and others for free online! Just go to the website and check it out!
My story is my take on the zombie apocalypse and it is like, maybe, 1500 words, so you have no excuse not to read it. Go and check it out now!
So, Readercon this past weekend was a lot of fun, even though I was only there for one day. I saw two very interesting and engaging talks, one by Graham Sleight about Instrumentality and Science Fiction (is SF useful as a predictive tool for the future) and one by Austin Grossman about the origin of genre. Both fascinating, both mixtures of things I didn’t know and things I did, and both of which I’ll be chewing over for a while.
I was on a panel about World’s Worst Jobs that was great, great fun and I heard a bunch of crazy stories (and got to tell one, too). I gave a reading from Dead But Once that had a small audience, but was well received. To wrap it all up, I went to the launch party for Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar’s This is How You Lose the Time War, which just sounds like an amazing book you should all go out and buy right now.
So, overall a great experience at another great Readercon!
I continue working through the summer on not just one novel, but two. Well, in truth, the first draft of the first novel I wrote this summer crashed and burned last week and I need to let the wreckage settle while I consider how to make another attempt (probably not until after Christmas). So I’m working on a second one now, which I won’t have time to finish before the Fall Semester kicks in, but I’m hoping I can at least get a sizeable chunk done. What kinds of books are they? Well, the first is a gritty space opera full of bizarre aliens and no humans whatsoever and the second is a more humorous thing set in a modern mall involving mythical creatures. So, in other words, totally different things. Is this good? Bad? Unwise? I don’t know. My agent seems to think it will be fine, but one wonders nevertheless.
In any event, onward and upward! Talk to you folks soon!
On the one hand, I could make this blog post about how I was getting on the T the other day (Boston’s subway system) and saw a LCD screen displaying the warning that hoverboards are not allowed on the MBTA, which I take to be proof positive that we are, in fact, living in the future (no matter how lame that future has turned out to be). I’m not, though. I’m here to talk about what it’s like writing while stuff you’ve written is being published. Because it’s weird.
Did you know I have a novel coming out tomorrow? No? Why the hell not? Well, I do – NO GOOD DEED comes out tomorrow in e-book form (sold wherever fine e-books are found). Over the past few weeks, I’ve had a lot of friends and acquaintances come up and express how excited I must be and congratulations and so on. What’s weird, though, is that I’m not thinking all that much about NO GOOD DEED. I mean, yeah, I am excited and I’m very pleased it’s coming out and so on, but my thoughts aren’t on it that much. I’m on to the next book, you see. I’m eyeball deep in the umpteenth draft of my next book, trying to pry my way out of plot problems, trying to breathe life into the characters and so on. When somebody interrupts that internal thought stream to talk about NO GOOD DEED I’m forced to stop and remind myself “oh, right -everybody else is still six months behind me!”
Writing and publishing stuff steadily means there is no time for your to rest on your laurels. You’ve got to keep going, keep writing, keep editing, keep submitting – there is no “break,” really. So, while the thing you finished a year ago is just getting a publishing contract now and won’t hit shelves for another six months, you’re still moving. You kinda have to push what you’ve done out of your head for the stuff you’re doing now and the stuff you want to do next. When the things you publish (stories, novels, whatever) do hit print, it’s enormously gratifying, but it’s also a bit like traveling back in time. “Oh yeah,” you think, “I remember this now – that story was pretty cool!”
So, it’s a little weird. There’s the time-lag between you and the audience – they’re behind you, reading the stories you worked so hard to create, and you’re out in front, still creating new ones nobody will see for months. When you hear from them, it’s like a radio message from the past, telling you how you did all that time ago.
And that’s totally awesome, mind you. But it’s still a little weird.
The blog tour for NO GOOD DEED gets under way tomorrow – watch this space for updates! The book releases then, so be sure to pick up your copy!
If you like paperback instead, I’ve received intel indicating the paperback release of the book will be August 9th, 2016.
- I’ll be on an episode of Grim Tidings Podcast on this Friday, 6/24. I think.
- Again, if you’re in the Boston area, consider checking out a reading and lecture on world building I’ll be giving at the Hingham Public Library on June 30th, from 7:00pm-8:30pm.
That’s all for now! Be talking to you all soon!
Who’s got seven thumbs and just signed a top-shelf literary agent? THIS GUY!
(puts jar of five severed thumbs back in the cupboard)
I just sent off the agreement yesterday, so now I can officially announce that I will be represented by the inimitable Joshua Bilmes of JABberwocky Agency Inc. Joshua’s clients include a lot of super, super talented people (Brandon Sanderson, Peter V Brett, Elizabeth Moon, and on and on and on) and I am incredibly excited to work with him and very honored that he decided to take a chance on an oddball like me.
But Why Did You Want an Agent, Habershaw?
Well, because representing yourself in the publishing industry is a challenging thing, especially when you don’t know a bad contract from a good one, have absolutely zero contacts in any major publishing houses, and are frankly terrible at selling yourself (though more about that later). I’m a writer and a storyteller; as a businessman, I am mediocre at best. I needed somebody in my corner who could give me advice and help me get the best deals that I could (and who knows what I’m worth – authors routinely either oversell or undersell their own work). Joshua is the guy who might make my modestly successful writing career into an actually successful writing career just by virtue of his knowledge and experience suddenly being at my disposal.
As a guy who managed to land a book deal while un-agented, I can tell you that it is a scary thing being involved in this industry without really knowing what to expect or how it works. I don’t think I was ripped off, mind you, but I certainly didn’t wind up with the best deal possible. A small retainer is a ridiculously good bargain if it means I can do better than I’ve been doing thus far.
Habershaw, Tell Us What Was In Your Query Letter and We Will Let You Live
Like many of you folks out there trying to score an agent, I obsessed over query letters for ages and ages. It got to be that my queries were almost like those Magic Eye paintings they used to hang up in the mall – look at it just right and you would see the genius of my novel inside of 250 words. They were awful, ungainly things created by a vast infusion of well-meaning and often contradictory advice from the wilds of the Internet. My query letters, in a word, sucked.
So, after I scored my book deal without an agent (and not for lack of trying – I queried dozens and dozens of agents for THE OLDEST TRICK and got barely a nibble), I resolved that I would get an agent for the next one and, given that I already had a book deal, I thought my odds would improve a great deal. Fast forward to this past January. I had an idea for my next project, and I had a very very rough draft, but nothing I could send anywhere. Then I happen to notice that Joshua Bilmes had an open reading period coming up. I didn’t have anything ready, but I figured “screw it – strike while the iron is hot, he can only say ‘no.'”
I then proceeded to write the most laid back, least obsessed over query letter of my career. It basically went something like this:
Hello Mr. Bilmes!
I’ve got this book deal with Harper Voyager and want to write more books. Here’s the basic idea for my project and want representation this time. You in?
Crazily enough, that shit actually worked. I happened to meet in person with Joshua (serendipity – he happened to be in my home city when he read my query) and then he and his assistant, Ben (who also rocks, by the way), e-mailed back and forth until we arrived at a plan and then BINGO – agent.
So, there you have it – a dollop of luck, a hefty helping of perseverance, and a sprinkle of madness, and I finally did it – I got myself an ally in this crazy, crazy publishing business. Another notch in my Writing Achievement Belt has been made.
Next step: somehow managing to write a breakout hit.
Hmmmm…that one might take a while.
NO GOOD DEED releases on June 21st, a mere three weeks away! If you haven’t already, pre-order your copy today from anywhere fine e-books are sold!
Also, I will be giving a talk on world-building and doing a reading at the Hingham Public Library on June 30th, 2016, from 7:00-8:30 pm. It’s free and it’s a lovely library, so come on down!
The publicity engines are firing up, so watch this blog for more updates!