Last month my agent, Amy, called to say we'd had an offer on The Curse of Jacob Tracy. Two-book contract from one of the so-called Big Six publishers, average first-novel advance, etc. etc. I said, ok, cool, that's the first one, now what?
However, she still had submissions out with other editors, and as per industry etiquette she called them up to say, Hey, I need your answer on this. A couple editors asked for more time to review. I said, eh, sure, I'm not in a hurry--it was still possible we'd get a better offer, and frankly, I wasn't convinced that Offering Editor was the best person for me to work with on CJT, although I DID like the publisher. The Sparring Partner and I were fantasizing about getting cover quotes from Charlaine Harris.
But yesterday Amy called to tell me that Offering Editor had abruptly and unexpectedly "left publishing," (to be a belly dancer? raise kumquats? I didn't ask) and because we had not signed any contract, the offer with Big Publisher was now null.
And of course, the other editors who wanted more time shrugged their shoulders and said, "Eh... pass."
So we are back to square one, with slightly diminished prospects. Amy's still submitting to editors in the Flatiron building, although I think we've already cleared the biggest publishers. I personally suspect I need a British publisher on this project.
I also suspect--I have for the last couple of years--that I missed the optimal window in which to sell this bastard. Ten years ago, before the Steampunk explosion, my contact at Tor said she loved the book but wouldn't know how to market it. This year, another editor at the same house said she loved the book but she already had "too many Victorian series." And you gotta admit, once "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" has come and gone from a theater near you, the bloom is off the rose.
Le sigh. I spent yesterday afternoon lethargically drinking tea and feeling unloved. And understanding all the resentment for traditional publishing out there in the Interwebs.
I love you Amy! May the publishing gods rain down fiery vengeance on those who betrayed us!