With the completion of my dark fantasy novella, Emi, I find myself at a familiar point in the writing-to-shelf process. As my usual publisher, Inspired Quill, doesn’t print novella length fiction (and I can’t blame them as they’re stacked with new author releases right now, too), I’m on the hunt.
What am I looking for? A needle in a haystack. The story is far too long for magazine publication as almost all won’t take stories over 10k words and fewer serialise. I need a publisher who not only publishes shorter novels (Emi weighs in at around 25.5k words), but one that’s willing to take a chance on a very different kind of story. The romantic in me aspires to the likes of Clive Barker whose novella The Hellbound Heart is a personal fav and legendary in the horror genre (it was the story on which Hellraiser was based). However, good old reality tells me that I’m definitely not Mr. Barker.
I know that I can’t possibly compete for the attention of the likes of the BIG publishers such as Tor or Gollancz, and they often have such strict criteria for stories that my genre-ignoring efforts never meet what they’re looking for. I need an indie publisher, just like IQ, who are willing to just read it and, hopefully, they’ll like it when they do.
I’m starting to remember how much I hated this part of the process. Surfing the net isn’t the right word when it comes to looking for publishers and publications. Trawling, perhaps? Net cast wide, tugging along. There are so many publishers and publications out there, all trying to get themselves noticed, their work out there, their dream fulfilled. And then there are the other authors like me, smothering the publishers with our queries and submissions. We’re insufferable, we really are.
It sounds terrible, but we don’t just want to find any old publisher, either. Find one that’s too new and inexperienced, your book will never be seen. Find one that has an ego and you’re equally scuppered. The minefield extends as far as the eye can see. And this little tug boat, along with a fleet of others, just wants to find a safe harbour where we can drop off our fish.
I think I might be stretching this metaphor a bit far, now.
But, you get what I mean. While we’re all happy to just get our work in print, we also need to be careful that we don’t sell ourselves short. That book that you’ve worked was hard work, and you want it to do well. So you need a publisher who will work with you, and help you to reach your goal with a view to helping them make a little money and gain recognition right along with you (if you’re lucky enough to get some, of course).
If I can’t find a publisher, I might go back to self-publishing like I did with Not Before Bed all those years ago. It’s a daunting thought as I’m very aware that I suck at it. That’s why Inspired Quill have been so amazing. They know what they’re doing and it means that I don’t have to. Still, needs must, and the few people who have read Emi have said it’s the best thing I’ve written (not hard, I know). It’d be a shame if it never saw light of day.
So, there we are. I just wanted to share with you all where I’m at. In the meantime, the work on spreading the word about Old Haunts: The Adventures of Alan Shaw #2 continues ready for March next year. I can’t wait for you guys to read it. I hope you all like it.
Thanks for reading!