Monthly Archives: January 2011

Oh, indeed.


The Deal

I was going to wait until the ink was dry on the page, but the details are up at Publisher’s Marketplace, so I guess I’d better spill the beans.

I’ve really only kept up my subscription to PM since I got an agent so I’d be able to see these words on-screen. I’m grinning like a lunatic right now, reading them over and over. So here we go (ahem):

Jay Kristoff’s STORMDANCER, a dystopian fantasy set in steampunk feudal Japan, to Pete Wolverton at Thomas Dunne Books, in association with Julie Crisp at Tor UK, in a good deal, in a three-book deal, by Matt Bialer at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates (World English).

I’ve waited a long time to read those words. And now that I’m reading them, they still don’t feel real. I’ll put up a post next week outlining how the auction went down, and all the technicalities thereof. But for now, I’m going back to PM to read about my deal again.


.flesym wenk reven I ,oga emit gnol A


I was trawling the bookmarks in my “Manuscript” folder today, deleting the ones I don’t need anymore. Kind of a strange experience, all told. About half way through, I realised that the tools I’d collected along the way might be helpful to someone else walking that same rocky road towards a book deal. Then I considered the concept of karma. Then I slapped myself in the chops.

So before the bookmark purge, and not out of any fear of universal retribution, but in the hope of providing some much-needed ❤ to all the aspiring writers out there, I hereby provide a list of all the tools I used in finding an agent, learning about the writing industry, and general writer shizz. In hindsight, it would’ve been damn helpful if someone did it for me beforehand. So I do it for you. Such is the love I feel for you, Mr or Ms Complete Stranger.


Miss Snark – This blog is dark now, but the archives are 100% worth your time. Insightful, intelligent, & funny.
Author!Author! –  This site is intimidating as hell. There is simply so much information on there you won’t know where to begin (Hint: Search function). If the extraordinary Anne Mini has one flaw (she doesn’t, imo), is that she actually writes too goddamn much about the publication process. There is solid gold in them thar hills. This site is 100% awesome. BATHE in it.
Query Shark – If you enjoy watching queries that are not your own being torn to shreds and rebuilt with less suckitude, or would like your own query to undergo the same abuse, look no further.
Nathan Bransford – Formerly an agent at Curtis Brown, NB recently got out of the agent game and moved into social media, but his blog archives still contain some splendid advice from a splendid chap. Rather, what, old bean?

Agent Resources
Query Tracker – Great resource to hunt down agents who rep your genre. You also get a rough guide on how long they take to respond in the comments section (very handy if you like watching your inbox and torturing yourself because Mr Agent’s reply is 1 day later than the median response time)
Agent Query – another super-fly site that gives details on submission guidelines, clients, email, snail mail and website address, plus the type of genre they rep.
Publisher’s Marketplace – You need to subscribe to this site (US$20 per month) but it gives you a breakdown of most of the sales being made in publishing atm. Not every deal in the world gets posted (the agents have to supply them to PM, and some can’t be bothered) but it will give you an idea of what is “hot” and what is “not”, and how little moolah even the “hot’ sells for in this day and age.
Preditors & Editors – Worried that your 8-figure deal sounds too good to be true? Concerned that your agent’s street address is actually a laundromat in downtown Kosovo on Googlemaps? Look no further than the publishing world’s ultimate guide to dodgy bastards.

Other tools
Twitter – You can totally stalk agents here. They often only talk about what they ate for lunch, or how lousy the weather is though. But maybe you can slip that into your query letter without sounding like a total psychotic…
The Absolute Write Water Cooler – Best writer community I found on the web. Experienced writing folk and total n00bs brush shoulders here, giving and receiving advice, critiquing queries and chapters. You can find beta readers here (in theory), guest appearances from agents, crit partners. Pretty much any question you can think of has already been asked and answered somewhere in these forums. It’s like a wretched hive of scum and villany. Only nice.

Hmm. That’s pretty much it. Go forth and destroy.

.sgnik wen ehT. sgnik liaH


Update on the offer front:

One House is now officially out of the race. The two remaining Houses are engaged in a bid-counterbid shootout over World English Rights. With WER on the table (basically US/UK/ANZ publication), UK affiliates to the Houses have been consulted, and are apparently saying very nice things about the MS too. Nobody has consulted the Australians yet (lol).

So yeah, there is officially an international bidding war happening over STORMDANCER as I type this. Which is kinda blowing my mind right now.

Like, right out of my fucking skull…

ehtaerb em stel ti, ti deen I nehw, gnidih m’I nehW

Hooray for boobies?

I’m unsure why, but I always feel self-conscious and vaguely ridiculous writing a smut scene. And I’m not talking about Dobby/Harry Potter Slashfic for the TR FFF (you guys write those too, right?), or anything involving barnyard animals here. I’m not talking the guff from the average bodice-ripper. I will gouge my eyes out with a spork before I ever type the words “throbbing member” or “heaving bosom” (Oh my god, I just typed them. Does that count? I don’t even own a spork.)

I’m just talking about regular consenting adults bumping uglies in my books.

I wrote a sex scene in one of my aborted WiPs, but that’s wasn’t ‘for real’ since it was only a WiP from an un-agented author. But now I’m writing words that people are actually going to read (well, my agent, his assistant and my soon-to-be chosennnnn editor at least), this seems to have put an entirely new spin on the process. These words are going to be published, black and white, printed on a page where any impressionable 12-year-old boy can toddle up and read them, staggering away all half-blinded and covering his crotch while the girls laugh at him and his wee boner. (I’m not big-noting my smut writing abilities here btw – the hypothetical gentleman in question is 12. His hypothetical willy will take your eye out if the wind blows the wrong way)

My wife reads all my stuff. She’s my first and only beta. And believe me when I say, I am well aware this woman reads some absolute filth, and yet I’m still vaguely embarrassed about her reading mine, despite the fact that it’s totally mild by comparison and she has, in all liklihood done all of these things to/with me. And then I realize that my sisters will probably read it too (at least until the smut hits). My cousins. Their daughters. And then, the final revelation hits me, like a top-rope drop kick to the wedding tackle from The Rock himself:


Even if she has one-third of two fifths of no idea about what the hell is happening in it, or what a griffin is, or the fact that she wouldn’t know a steampunk if he ran up and played air-guitar on his throbbing member in front of her heaving bosom (gahhhhhhhhhhhh), she’s still going to read every goddamn word. And she’s going to hit the “blue patch” and clutch her heart and fall over dead, and congratulations Jay, you just killed your Mum.

How is xmas dinner going to work after that? “Can you pass the breadrolls, you murdering sonofabitch?” What the hell will dad do? He couldn’t find his own arse with both hands without that woman to point him in the right direction.

The scene wasn’t even that hardcore. Neil Gaiman wrote a scene where some demon ate a man with her vagina. Neil- fucking-Gaiman. Everyone loves that guy. Nobody blames him for killing his Mum. Does the woman not read? Did he rip out those pages before he gave her a copy? How could you not blow your gasket after realizing your son wrote a book with a carnivorous vagina? She’s English, for crissakes!



Just got my third offer on STORMDANCER. Two book deal again. Another of the “big seven” houses.

I’m thinking I should have sent my agent a more expensive bottle of wine for xmas.

This shit is getting rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeaaaaaaaaalllllllll…

?won naht emit retteb tahW

The Death of the Naughties

Happy New Year, all.

How’s that for a ridiculous moniker to strap to an entire decade, eh? “The Naughties”. Just makes you want to wheel-kick everyone who works in Marketing or Advertising right in the throat, doesn’t it? (It’s hard to wheel-kick my own throat, but lawwwd knows I try). Even-money says it’ll be a month, max, before you hear some smart-mouth on a talkshow or infomercial refer to this coming decade as the “Teenies”.

So I have returned in one piece from the second most isolated capital city in the world. Booze was drunk and food was consumed and relatives I hadn’t seen for two years were given scary six-foot-seven hugs and whatnot. Went to check out my Grandma’s house before it gets sold and torn down. Caught up with old friends, got to meet terrorize infant relations of mine that I had only seen in pictures. All in all it was pretty grand. Five days are about my limit over there, though. The older I get, the smaller it feels.

So, back into the swing now. The sequel to Stormdancer is sitting around the 47k mark, and it’s feeling really good. First act is done, sitting around the 40k mark, which means the sequel will be fatter (or phatter, as the incredibly un-hip kids say) that SD was. I’m guessing it’ll be 110k when fully cooked. I’ve just hit what I, for lack of a wittier or more literary phrase, call the “sweet spot”. This is where I start ruining all my character’s shit and the book kinda starts writing itself.

I’m not sure why, but I seem to take great delight in setting everything up for super happy fun times, and then sticking it in and breaking it off. You’d think I’d be fonder of these imaginary people I’ve created, given the amount of time I’m spending with them lately.

In publishing news: The pair of two book deals (muahahahahahaa!) are still on the table,  and we have “interest” from a third (gobsmackingly awesome) Publisher. I’m a little unsure what “interest” means, tbh. I presume it’s somewhere between an offer and a straight-shot to the baby-maker. Kind of a “don’t sell this until I get back to you” type thing. Maybe. Anyways, we shall see. The mighty Matt B says we need to have a decision made by the end of this week. So watch this space for some stupendous fkn news.

In other news, turns out you can’t post red wine (or indeed, any alcoholic beverage) to the United States. So my awesome agent and his intrepid assistant go thirsty, and the muppets have finally had their revenge for all the bad stuff I said about them.


.enasni gnikcuf si siht gnikniht ni enola ton er’uoY