Saturday, March 7, 2015

Where Do I Go From Here? An Agent. Though I Have No Idea How To Get One.

Sometimes, this is what my writing career feels like:
 a path with an ending I can't see.
I haven't blogged in awhile. Things are busy at school. We're just past Winter Break, on the long road to Spring. Add in coaching duties this year (my daughter's Youth Club Basketball Team), and I've had just enough time write my fiction, and that's it. And with Madi's second basketball season starting up next Saturday, I've got this Saturday to fit a blog in, and then I'll probably go dark again until nearer to the end of the school year.

So, here's some updates. It's actually been a productive year. My story "Out of Field Theory" appeared in Shock Totem's Halloween Special. It's a spooky tale revisiting Bassler House, and I had a blast writing it.

Secondly, another Clifton Heights story "The Black Pyramid" appeared in Hazardous Press' small-town Lovecraftian collection, Shadows Over Main Street. Not only is this thing packed with talent, it's kicking butt on Amazon's rankings, still #3 in Anthologies. Very proud to be a part of this one.



Third,  I signed a contract with a publisher (who must remain nameless for now) that about blows my mind. Not only is it a huge step for me, I really dig this novella - Mystery Road - and can't wait for folks to read it. It's easily my most accessible story yet, with a very subtle, Twilight Zone vibe.

Fourth, my next Clifton Heights book - Through A Mirror, Darkly - is in the proofreading stages, out to blurb readers, and set to release June 1st. I've recently started communicating with amazing artist Ben Baldwin (who was responsible for the magnificent cover of Things Slip Through), and I can't wait to see what's in store this time around.

I'm currently working on my first novel - The Mighty Dead - which has been requested by another fabulous publisher, the likes of which also blows my mind. Of course, they want to check it out, which doesn't necessarily mean they'll publish it, but even so. In addition, I recently sent out a synopsis for a non-Clifton Heights novel - A Winter Storm - to a respected horror press I'd love to work with.  And of course, there is that sorta-finished-but-needs-work Billy the Kid weird western novel, though I'm still not sure what to do with it. 

Lots of exciting stuff, and I've got two novellas out doing the submissions rounds, to boot. I'm more productive than I've ever been, sales have been slow but steady on both Things Slip Through and Devourer of Souls, and I'm very happy and content for all my success.

And yet, given that...I'm thinking very hard about my future, about what comes next. I've come to the inevitable conclusion that, very soon...I need to suck it up and start searching for an agent.

And honestly?

The prospect terrifies me.  Mostly, the prospect of all the time wasted, all the hopes raised, with very little guarantee of returns. I've heard so many horror stories about agents not working very hard on behalf of their clients, of agents working hard but getting nowhere, about agents not understanding horror, about agents not caring about horror, about sketchy agents....it all makes me want to keep my head in the sand.

And even if I do find a good agent, (a monumental if in my mind) I don't want to get myself into a rut writing manuscript after manuscript, shopping them out to an agent, but having nothing published it all, allowing what little momentum I've managed to build wither away and die.

See, here's the thing I can't escape: I'm beyond thrilled with how far I've come, and the new developments on the horizon indeed are taking me a step up the ladder. And if I try - really try - to go higher and it doesn't work out, at least I'll have done my best, and I'll be able to rest on that, and be content with where I am.

But...to never try? To always wonder what could've happened?

Of course, we come back to the reality, however, that searching for an agent scares the ever-living hell out of me. I also need a novel to find an agent. So, the question is - when do I draw the line, write a novel, and instead of shopping it to a small press, suck it up and send it to an agent?

I have no idea.

But it's gotta be soon. I'm don't plan on giving up on the small press entirely and soley writing novels for agents in hopes of a big score. At the same time, I have to pull my head out of the sand and try to aim higher, and I have to do it, soon.

Before my head gets stuck in that sand, forever.