Where “The Book” Is Headed

The fate of the book is becoming a bit clearer. My initial batch of agency submissions has come and gone. All of them passed although two in particular gave me reason to hope. In fact, the last rejection I received was better than any acceptance mail I have ever received.

So now we’re down to two small presses that are mulling things over and, of course, the huge temptation to self publish. But being that I am having difficulty getting many followers on the Twitter account, it makes me realize once again just how bad I am at this whole advertising/marketing/non-writing-side-of-writing thing.

Now, before I pose this next question, let me also reveal a tiny bit about the book. It is a fictional account of sexual slavery in an area of the world where it is running rampant. It is based on facts and events I have witnessed myself or have experienced second and third hand.

I pulled no punches in writing the book. I didn’t hide anything behind a curtain, nor did I mute the horror of the reality of sexual slavery and human trafficking. While there are no graphic scenes, it is a book that does have some uncomfortable moments.

So, with that said…

What say you, general public? Non-writers…are you less inclined to buy a self-published book or does it matter so long as the blurb makes it sound okay and the writer is at least somewhat established? And for writers, have you given up on traditional publishing, seeing where the industry is headed, or do you still think agencies and presses are the way to go.

Leave your arguments in the comments below.

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It’s Not Magic, But…

Later on, I’m sure I’ll share more on this blog about how I eventually came to Christ six years ago. For now, I’m still the new guy at the party (here on the blog and, I suppose, as a Christ follower) and I don’t believe you and I are quite that close yet.

One detail I will share right now is that I was able to easily forfeit most of my sinful behaviors once I gave my life to Him. The one thing that I really struggled with submitting, though, was my writing. After all, I had spent nearly ten years of my life trying to become a respected horror author. And at the time I came to Christ, I was well on the path to doing so.

But then the day came where I heard Christ pretty clearly…that still, quiet voice saying: “Yeah, the writing…that’s becoming an idol and a tool of self-worth. So I’m going to need you to hand that over.”

After much wresting and questioning and denial, I was finally able to give it over. Some days, honestly, I still resent it, but I know it was the right thing.

Part of giving my writing to God came in the form of the one and half years I spent on the book that I am currently shopping around. Now, take a look at some of these stats.

Before coming to Christ, in the six years I spent actively trying to get an agency interested in my work, I got a grand total of ONE agent that showed any interest and they eventually passed.

In the six months I have been seeking agency representation for the book I have written for Him, I have gotten FOUR positive agency responses.  Granted, all but one of them eventually passed, but still…as far as I’m concerned, this is proof positive of the fruits that come from obedience.

Logically, sure, part of the reason for the interest may be because my faith-centered book has wider audience potential than any of my darker work written under my other name (The Other, as I call him on this blog). Also, at the risk of sounding conceited, I am a much better writer than I was two years ago.

And is submitting my writing to God responsible for that? Yes, I think so. Partly, anyway. Since giving my life and talents over to Christ, the motivation behind my writing has shifted in some way I can’t quite explain. And while I still enjoy writing dark stuff, there is a core of hope to it all now.  Even in the relatively dark horror novel I recently signed a contract for under The Other, there is an undertone of being reborn into hope (although I’m not sure I wrote it specific enough for non-believers to pick up on it).

So while I am well aware that believing in God and giving your life to Christ is by no means a magic route to getting closer to reaching your goals and dreams, I do believe that he has been rewarding me in many small ways ever since handing my writing over to Him.

Anyone else experience anything like this before? If so, please share in the comments.

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Going Hybrid

In the previous post, I mentioned that the novel I finished earlier in the year will be out sometime. If I had made the decision to self publish the book, it would have been out about two months ago. But, as I also said in that awkward intro post, I have self published a few titles under a different name. I know the ins and outs of self publishing to some degree (and am more familiar with the outs, if we’re being honest).

Here’s the thing. This novel is my first faith-based novel. I’m not sure I’d go as far as to call it Christian fiction or not, though it probably is at its core. And because I owe the ideas, motivation, inspiration and overall energy behind this novel to God, I decided that it deserved a shot at the biggest stage possible. For that reason, I started shopping it to agencies in January.

Of the 11 I sent it to, 5 have responded. Three of those responses were requests for sample chapters. One of those 5 ended up asking for the full manuscript and even went so far as to work on an initial round of edits with me. That process took about five months and, in the end, while I have yet to hear a definitive “we’re gonna pass,” it sure feels that way.

Currently, one last agency has sample chapters and a lengthy synopsis. I am waiting to hear back from them, although early signs indicate that things are going well and looking favorable. Still, we’ll see.

Now, if this agency passes, I do believe I will go the self publishing route. This is exciting to me mainly because it will be my first faith-based novel to see the light of day. Also, I have recently signed a contract under my other name with a small press for a horror novel I wrote over the last four months. This all equates to me officially being a “hybrid author.”

Sure, I have had novels and other material published in print before (all under that other name which I may just start referring to as The Other from here on out), but it was a few years prior to this quaint self publishing revolution we’re all seeing.

It’s an odd feeling, being a hybrid author. But it’s a good odd.

What are everyone’s feelings on hybrid authors? Do you think it’s a smart move or are authors better off to keep both feet in one world rather than the other?

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The Awkward First Post

Ah, the first post. It’s kind of like going to a party where you don’t know anybody but start non-apologetically introducing yourself to anyone that you manage to trap in the hallway or kitchen just in front of the snack table.

So, now that I have you in the metaphorical hall/kitchen…

I’ve been toying with the idea of this blog for a while now. There are many reasons I have waited this long but I won’t get into that right here and now (hey, I need blog topics for later dates). The main reason for beginning this blog is to chronicle the events (or non-events) surrounding my writing…in particular, a few Christian fiction books that will soon see the light of day.

As of right now, the first book is being considered by two agencies. It has already been considered and, four months later, turned down by one agency. I have recently made the decision to self-publish the book if these two agencies also decline.

I have self-published several titles under another name and while I love the freedom of self publishing, I also want that validation of succeeding via the traditional route. In my life before coming to Christ, I wrote horror. And, from time to time, I still write it. But now, as a Christ follower, I’m finding that introducing faith into my fiction is not only rewarding, but helps me to better understand some of the struggles I have in my spiritual life.

This blog will also give me room to explore those ideas, struggles, and the link between writing my Christian fiction and the fiction I write under my other name.

Again, I’d delve in for a while here but that seems a bit much for the awkward first post.

Besides, this is the point in that weird party introduction scene where you would have started to pretend that you just got a text or someone is motioning for you to join them in another room. And that’s cool.

I’ll be floating around for a while so if you want to check back in, I’ll be here…in the hallway/kitchen…waiting to share these things with anyone willing to listen.

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