Friday, September 16, 2011

why yes, I am a writer

I had an agent ask to see my manuscript this week. (The Curse of Jacob Tracy, from which Sikeston and End of the Line are taken.) That was pretty cool.

I had an agent ask to see a space opera novel I wrote back in college, but I put off sending it to him, for some reason I can no longer remember, and by the time I sent it to him months later, the poor man had become sick with leukemia and died. I got a letter back from the woman who had taken over his client list, saying they weren't taking any new clients.

I stopped looking for an agent, for a while.

I actually had an offer to publish that space opera novel, though. It was a fly-by-night small press, and I had my doubts about them from the beginning. They were not paying any advances or royalties, by the way; this was strictly e-publishing in the days when e-publishing was still highly suspicious. When the editor and I had a difference of opinion he called me immature and unprofessional, and I told him I was pulling my manuscript.

I still have that space-opera trilogy. I quit trying to publish it after that; I knew it wasn't ready, and I was sick of looking at it. I still like the characters and most of the story, but being space opera it was crippled by outdated Star-Trek-type conventions about artificial gravity and FTL travel that editors and readers today just won't let an author get away with.

Lately, I've been toying with the idea of taking the basic premises of that space opera and transplanting them to a steampunk setting. Too au courant? Maybe. If this agent takes my new book and sells it, it will be a moot point anyway; I'll have Trace to revise and a couple of sequels to write.

But that will be ok. I was starting to be ashamed of myself for having this resource sitting here in the form of a manuscript, and not even trying to make money from it.


Shirley, surely said...

I'm excited for you, it's been a long time coming!!

Jan Gephardt said...

I think Trace is a more well-realized effort, and richly deserves publication.

The steampunk idea sounds interesting for the space opera. It would require a complete re-think, which is good. Even if you ditch the steampunk idea eventually (maybe or maybe not a good idea), it would jolt you out of old ruts, so might be worth the effort for what it DID inspire.

Either way, best of success to you!