Monday, March 3, 2014

Publication Transparency

So, now I'm a couple months into this process, it's time to talk a little about what this process has been.

First of all, there was a big gap between me finding out that I had sold Thorn of Dentonhill and A Murder of Mages.  I learned mid-December, but with the full understanding that the process of putting together the contract coupled with the holiday break meant it would be about a month before everything was squared away and I could shout the news to the world.

Indeed, it took a month, though my experience in that regard should be considered atypical.  It was an aspect of the timing coinciding with the holidays.

Once I received the contracts, I printed them out on legal-sized paper*, signed them and shipped them back to the folks at DAW.  Once that was squared away, I could make the announcement.

So, what happened next?  For one, I decided that was cause enough to start work on Thorn II, which is now well underway.  My goal, on a writing level, is to keep myself ahead of the game.  Once books start to come out, I don't want to leave my readership hanging for too long.

Next, I had a long talk with my editor on Thorn, over the phone.  I took copious notes of things to address in the changes I needed to make.  I also put together my maps and sent those off.

Now, I have to confess-- if you've been following this blog for any amount of time, you know I'm a bit of a map geek and have done a fair amount of work along those lines.   But in sending my maps to my editor-- a woman whose career is centered on the publication of fantasy novels-- there was still a part of my brain that went into nerd-shame mode.  Like, "They're going to think you're such a dork when they look at this."  Crazy, no?  I suppose that stuff is pretty internalized.  Swallow it and move on.

So, got to work on edits, as well as sending a few miscellaneous documents: a two-paragraph description of Thorn (modified from my query letters of old), a bio and some descriptive guidelines for the cover artist, whoever that will be.

Once edits are done and sent in, I presume we'll get to work on the same process for Murder of Mages.

That's where we are right now.  Any questions?  I'll answer them as best as I can.

*- Oddly enough, for no real reason, I had legal sized paper on hand.  I don't think it had been used for years, but that's how our home office is.


Madison said...

What was the process you went through in searching for a publisher? Do you have any insights for those starting the process of sending out their first query letter?

Marshall Ryan Maresca said...

Madison-- Much of the process is detailed in a series of posts starting with this one. But the short version is: picked agents, started querying, kept querying.

Insights for those starting the process:

A. Do your research. Figure out who you should target based on who else they represent. Find out what their submission requirements are. Follow those to the letter.

B. Your query needs to be filled with hooks of why your story is unique, but doesn't have to tell the WHOLE story. Make the agent WANT to read it, not feel like they already have.

C. Professional, best foot forward.