Thursday, July 27, 2017

Book deal for Danger Tastes Dreadful

I am excited to announce that my middle grade troll fantasy, Danger Tastes Dreadful, will be published by Clean Reads. The date has yet to be determined. Clean Reads is a small press with a few hundred authors who write books with an innocent vibe which fits perfectly for my writing. No swearing or raunchy stuff. They started out with clean romance, but have moved into a wider variety of young adult and middle grade as the appeal of the concept has proved itself.

I am excited that it will be published in print as well as ebook. I think middle grade readers often want a physical book, and it makes it a lot easier to sign copies to go in my local indie bookstores. I am especially eager to be able to see it in Mac's Backs, a wonderful indie bookstore in Cleveland Heights, OH which has been so gracious about hosting our writer group for the past three years. They are very supportive of local authors.

The story of how I got this contract is interesting. I have gone through a number of Twitter pitch contests, but also through agent queries. A lot of agent queries. One hundred sixty eight to be exact. Of those, eight requested fulls and three requested partials. Eventually, every one of those either passed or never responded. I got lots of compliments on the writing and the characters and the story, but ultimately it either didn't grab them or, more often, was too young and innocent.

I more or less moved on. I have two WIPs in particular, and I made sure they were a little older and little edgier, while still being the books I want to write. But I decided that my trolls, Bernie and Tish, would have to wait. Or possibly live in the cave under my bed forever.

Then at lunch one day, I was on Twitter and noticed #Pit2Pub trending. (When you follow as many authors and agents as I do, the Twitter pitches always trend.) I've never participated in that, as I was aiming for an agent, but I thought, "What do I have to lose?" It was halfway through the pitching time period, so I figured I'd just pitch once or twice and let the chips fall where they might.

So, I went to my document with pitches and pulled out some of my favorites. I wound up posting three.

The third got likes from two publishers. (You can see for yourself here.) This is the tweet.

I was pleased, but I also knew I had to do my homework. One of the presses was Immortal Works. I didn't find anything terribly wrong, but it just felt too new and too inexperienced for me, plus I wasn't quite sure about the close association with the Mormons. Nothing against Mormons, I just didn't want an overtly religious publisher if I could help it.

The other was Clean Reads. It had been around longer and clearly had a more editorial bent, which I wanted. I believe in my writing, but I also believe that it could always be better and I always have more to learn. My only pause was their website, which is being recreated after a hosting problem, but I checked with a couple of their authors who say it was good and will be again.

So, I sent Clean Reads my query and full MS, painfully aware of the eight to twelve weeks it said I might have to wait. But twenty four hours later, I got a very enthusiastic message back from Stephanie Griffin, the owner, saying it would be an AMAZING addition to their catalog. That's right, all caps. I've been waiting for the all caps response to this book for well over a year of querying, and I finally had it.

So, more research, more talking with authors, and a series of questions for Stephanie to which she had all the right answers. I signed, and less than a week later, I got my NEW AUTHOR packet.

Of course, this is just the beginning of the road, but I have to tell you, it is a heck of a lot nicer road than the one which led to the cave under my bed.

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