Thursday, September 3, 2009

At the risk of jinxing it ...

Well, a day or two ago I tweeted/facebooked about some "big news". And though things are really preliminary, I got the go-ahead from my editor to start putting the word out.

That's right. My old pal Brian Cartwright, EIC/publisher/Big Tiki over at Cargo Cult Press, just gave me a two-book deal.

Now I haven't signed anything yet and I have no idea about release dates other than next year, and we've only talked preliminaries regarding his ideas for the layout, design, etc of the books, so I don't think I'll get too much into that.

The two books are for the completed Hard Boiled Vampire Killers, and the new project I'm working on right now and hope to have finished by November. I've been cranking away on it, which is why I haven't been in here blogging - that and I'm trying to find a voice for this thing. Should it be weekly posts with content? Or more frequent posts with just little bits of content? The second seems more Internet-friendly but is not an easy style for me to get into.

Well, I am going to have to pay more attention to this thing, can't have people interested in my books showing up here and seeing a month-old drunkpost about how I liek wiskee.

For those who want more detail: last week while talking on the phone with Brian, talking about the problems I was having with my latest project - I'd been stuck for days and wondering what the Hell was the point - he told me to email him what I had already with a query letter and he would hand it to his first readers. Though he will deny it up and down, I'm sure, this was basically a pity fuck. I certainly didn't think big thoughts about it. I did put effort into writing a serious query letter, even though I was basically sending in solicited material, because I wanted the practice, and figured while he was at it he could tell me how my query letter sucked too. It was my first ever query letter and I wanted to get over my usual colossal fuckup on the first try at anything over with.

So I banged one out over a couple of days and sent it off with the first 20k or so words of my latest project, which we'll tentatively call WHX (for "Western Horror project X"), because I'm sick of typing "my latest project". Thanks to Jen Mulvihill for suggesting the book Give 'Em What They Want as it was very helpful and to the point in the art of crafting a query letter.

The response that came back was explosive and I think surprised Brian about as much as it surprised me. I should point out here, just in case people get the wrong idea, that in fact Brian has never really big a huge fan of my writing. Not to say he didn't like it - but certainly not overenthusiastic. And that's okay, that's part of what let me know this shit was for real. His "stable" over at Cargo Cult includes guys like Wrath James White. He does not need to be handing out book deals out of some misguided sense of pity or whatever. I knew of all the people who read this stuff he'd be the toughest to convince. So this went straight from something to fuck around with and maybe give me a little free schooling into let's you and me make some money on some really expensive books.

I really still don't believe it and am having a hard time incorporating the idea that people would like what I wrote this much into my view of the world. I am not going to post any of the responses here because they were done over private email and anyway you can read them on the back of the book or something. On the strength of that response, I sent the rest of what I had, the last thousand or so words having just hit the page, and HBVK, which had been requested I guess to see if I was a one-hit wonder.

Apparently I am not because there was a strong "buy" recommendation made on both of them. Can I go for the trifecta? Well, that's for later. Right now I'm focusing on finishing up WHX. When I finish that, maybe HBVK2 ... of course I threatened to inflict this on the world already, but I can't decide if I should just do it or wait and see if people go nuts for the first book before I start on the second.

I will feel a lot better when I have a book to wave around - I'm kind of dreading going around telling people I have a two-book deal when I haven't signed any paperwork or anything, feels like I'm bullshitting. But right now as I ease into this paradigm shift, it's starting to feel damn good. I'm probably most excited about having someone illustrating them - the concept blows my mind. Someone reading my book, and then going and drawing awesome pictures based on it! I can't get over it. I know whoever does it will be doing it for money, but I can't shake the feeling of somehow leveled up. I used to know a bunch of guys who drew, middle school, high school days, and they were always doodling stuff on their notebooks or book covers, sometimes stuff they came up with themselves but usually just fanart of stuff they thought was awesome (one guy was a huge Love and Rockets fan and would draw that logo everywhere and really riff on it). So for me it's like someone read my book and was daydreaming about it and really thought the part with the ninja or whatever was awesome and they drew a picture based on it. And that's a weird but good feeling.

Well, I'm a long way from being famous. But there it is.

I'm still trying to figure out how to tell my momma.

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