I Have a Book Deal! (How I Got an Agent: Part IV)

Deal or No DealSo it’s official. I’ve sold Vodnik to Tu Books, a new imprint at Lee and Low that’s focusing on publishing multicultural fantasy, sci-fi and mysteries. This is the last bit of info that I’ve been waiting to fall into place before I continued my How I Got an Agent series, which can now also be called How I Got a Book Deal.

When last we met, I was talking about how I kept submitting new novels to Jabberwocky, reluctant to revise any of the ones they’d already seen. While I was submitting to agents, I was also submitting to editors. For those of you who don’t know, typically these days you’ll get an agent first, who will then send your book to various agents and sell it to the highest bidder (or only bidder, as is often the case). Why is it this way? Because most publishing houses have restricted their submissions policies, now only accepting agented manuscripts (books that are represented by an agent). So if you want to “break in,” your best shot is with an agent. Agents work on commission–they typically get 15% of whatever you get. But they also negotiate your deals for you, and you usually end up coming out ahead on the deal, even after their cut.

Anyway, this is just to explain that I wasn’t restricting myself to agents alone. I would send in manuscripts to publishing houses I thought would be a good fit. One such place was Mirrorstone, an imprint of Wizards of the Coast (the place that does all the D&D books). I sent Weaver of Dreams to Stacy Whitman when she was working there, and she asked to see the full manuscript. While it didn’t work out (Mirrorstone closed their non-D&D lines, and Stacy moved on to different things), I kept Stacy in the back of my mind under the “People who seemed to like what they’d seen from me” file–the same place Joshua was listed. When Stacy started a new publishing house called Tu Publishing, dedicated to printing multicultural fantasy, I immediately made the connection between it and Vodnik, my Slovak-based fantasy novel. They started accepting submissions at the beginning of 2010, and I sent in Vodnik as soon as I could. I heard back March 4, with Stacy requesting the whole manuscript. (Editors, like agents, usually just want a query letter and possibly some sample chapters. If they like what they see, they ask for more.)

Enter the waiting game.

Soon after I sent Vodnik in, Tu Publishing was bought out by Lee and Low, and it became Tu Books. That’s great, right? Because now it wasn’t just an independent publishing house–it was part of an established house that’s already made a name for itself in the multicultural world. True. But it also focuses on publishing books about people of color, and Slovakia (in case you’ve never been there) doesn’t have much in the way of people of color. At least not western Slovakia. My characters were all quite white. I read the change in focus with a bit of disappointment, but I still hadn’t heard back from Stacy, so a glimmer of hope remained.

Months went by, and the glimmer got smaller and smaller. I moved on to different writing projects (well, I did that immediately–you get nowhere in this business waiting to hear back from people. It can take months, and that’s just the nature of the beast. Always be writing something new.)

And . . . I’m out of blogging time again. Tune in tomorrow for more!

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