Release Day! March Edition

THE MISFITS (coauthored with the amazing Kevin Ikenberry) was released into the wild on Friday and we hit #1 in the category almost immediately on Amazon. Granted, it dropped back down to #2 eventually but for those glorious 12 hours? Oh yeah, I reveled in it.

Working on another project at the moment. A new series in an urban fantasy setting. I took about two weeks off after finishing my latest short story for Jamie Ibson (Until the Wolves Arrive is going to be in WE DARE 5: OLD AGE AND TREACHERY, coming in May), mostly doing research and tooling around with this idea that’s been niggling the back of my mind for the past year or so. Shouldn’t take too long to write, but the issue is… where do I send it?

See, I’ve been swearing off agents for a very long time. The last two I had couldn’t sell either of the books they had (I ended up going with smaller publishing houses on my own later), so my mind always has had two questions: am I good enough to go to a big house, and do I need an agent to do it?

I’ve said “Not yet” for years regarding question one. I knew I was pretty decent, but I wasn’t sure if I was “good enough” quite yet. I wanted to get better, and I’d like to say that, over the course of the 17 novels I’ve written, I have. So then the questions comes down to this: do I need an agent to get into a big publishing house?


I have an in with Baen, of course. Perks of having the job with them, plus Senior Editors on speed dial, and weekly conversations with Toni to boot. Plus, I’m a known quantity to them, writing-wise. Heck, I was before I even started working there (both contracts for CHICKS IN TANK TOPS and MONSTER HUNTER MEMOIRS: FEVER were signed well before I was hired).

But I’d be foolish not to look at other places which might offer more money. Granted, this new project feels like it should go to Baen. After all, Toni once challenged me to “write it better” after hearing my opinions of another urban fantasy novel (published by someone else, relax). It’s been in the back of my mind for a long time as I built the world around it. I knew where the vibe had to be, but I didn’t have the story. However, I have really cool friends, and Steve Diamond suffered listened to me whine work through the issues of it for two hours Friday night and helped me figure things out.

So now I have the story and I’m fairly certain I’ve got the voice right. Now it’s time to figure out just what the theme of each book is.

Something Christopher Ruocchio once told me was that every book should be saying something. What is the story trying to tell the reader? I never really looked at writing like that before (seriously, if you’re not reading his Sun Eater series yet, you are doing yourself a huge disservice), so approaching writing like this has been… different. I would almost say exciting except I’m always excited to write new things, so…

This takes us back to the original question: where do I send it? No publisher reads a book the same as anyone else and comes to the same conclusion. Hell, a dozen people could read Tolkien and come away with a dozen different takes. Ego notwithstanding, what publisher would see and read the same story I’m trying to tell? Plus, who would even give me the time of day, because so few of them even accept unsolicited and unagented submissions these days.

So… find an agent.

In theory, an agent will be able to identify the right fit for the book and get the most money for it from said publisher. However, part of my worry is I’ll get an agent, who will then turn around and… send it to the publisher I work for. Awkward. I could have skipped a whole lot of angst and whatnot and saved myself 10-15% of the advance and later royalties while I was at it. At the same time, though, it would be almost rude if I didn’t at least give my boss an opportunity to look at it first, which is something I don’t need an agent for.

Sigh. This writing thing wasn’t supposed to be difficult. I mean, writing is supposed to be difficult, but… decision, you know?

Fortunately, this is something I can explore further down the line. Right now I need to figure out a few other things in the book (like for starters, is it a series? Of course it is! But how long of a series? Oh, uh…) and get words to paper. BICHOK* is not just something we throw around to sound cool, you know.

*BICHOK = butt in chair, hands on keyboard


One thought on “Release Day! March Edition

  1. Call me prejudiced as all hell but I’m at the point where if it’s not “the factory floor” tm or Baen, I won’t see it. So that would solve your agent problem. Or it would solve my agent problem. But that’s me not you I know.

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