Hey, gang. I come to you bearing tidings of great joy. As of 12:28pm MST today, I received the single best rejection email of all time. Not only was it tactful and encouraging, it was the last hold out of hope that the zombie novel would shuffle its way into the publishing door.
But wait! you say. Why are you happy to get a rejection letter? Did you spend months writing/revising/editing/pursuing publication on this very project? How can you be happy to see it just fizzle and die on the vine?
Gentle reader, I'm not just happy. I'm fucking ecstatic. And here's why.
So, for those of you that followed along on the journey with me and my second novel I WANT HIM FOR HIS BRAINS, you may recall that this is a project I started outlining 2 years ago. I wrote the rough draft of my zombie book quickly and then spent months polishing it and making it ready for the ball. I even landed an agent with it this time last year. But, if you've been around you know that my agent situation changed this year. Since then, I've been working to salvage BRAINS' chance at publication. I had a lot of support from people in the industry and community. I sent out fresh queries and submissions to a handful of interested (and obviously deranged ;) ) agents. Feedback came in saying it still needed a lot of work. Looking over the combined comments, I realized they were all right. The book needed about 80% ripped out and replaced.
The thing is...at this point... I don't care enough about that story or those characters to do that work. It's not that I'm lazy, but that it doesn't even excite me any more. I look back at my first novel (Dreamseed) and see it as a true freshman effort. BRAINS took what I learned and built on it, refined technique, but it still missed the mark. I wrote STITCH, a novella companion to BRAINS and worked on my short game... then I started working on TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES and I'm in love with this whole project. The series is going to be a ton of work, but I love the material, the characters, the world... it's fun.
Going back to BRAINS right now would require a lot of love. And right now, I just don't love that book. It deserves more time and effort than I'm willing to put into it right now. Approaching a project with that mindset? Toxic.
I gave up on BRAINS a while ago and have been holding out on this last response. Today, when I saw it in my mailbox, I cheered. I could finally move forward without that project hanging over my shoulder. And--and this is pretty important, too--it's the last shred of the drama that happened in June. It's done.
So, this is actually pretty damn awesome. I'm officially free of any contractual sticky tape I might have had with the former agency. I know beyond a doubt that this book is done and I'm free to move on.
I was asked if I will self-pub BRAINS. No. I will not. A) That's admitting defeat. and B) I'd be putting out sub-optimal work and that is not acceptable to me.
I'm going to play in my TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES universe and run around with satyrs and technomages. I finished the 3rd draft last night, as a matter of fact. I already know where I need to start with round 4. I will work and polish and refine this puppy until I think it is shiny and ready to go into the world. When that day comes, I'll cut the cord and send queries flying into the inboxes of poor, hapless agents. I know, though, that this book isn't ready. I didn't know that with BRAINS.
So, you see, once again we've learned something. I'm so grateful to that book, those characters and that story. They brought me a step closer to where I want to be. The experience was more than worth it.
Now, though, it's time to pull the plug. Or in this case, maybe it's better to say that it's time to double tap those zombies. Because, for now at least, it's closing time for I WANT HIM FOR HIS BRAINS.