Sunday, April 27, 2014

I AM DRUMS on Goodreads

Consider me surprised, though not in a bad way, to discover that I AM DRUMS is suddenly on Goodreads.

It looks like the description was pulled directly from the Publisher's Weekly blurb, and there are already some readers who've added it to their TO READ list. Now I'm blushing....

Anyways, please add it to your own reading list if you are on Goodreads and want an extra reminder when it hits shelves in Fall 2015.

In the meantime, I'm adding more to the site, which is now officially It's not where I want it to be just yet, but as Bob said, "Baby steps to the hallway....."

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Is There An "I Got Into Publisher's Weekly Dance"?

...because if there isn't, I'm creating one. And it will likely include backflips. Here's the small to many (but not small to me in my very new writing career) blurb next to my big silly face:

My book deal was announced on the same web page as Mike Lupica? Yes, I'll take that with a side of Happiness Pancakes!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Counting Up Rejections

I spent some extra free time today during my son's nap doing something that felt amazing.

I counted my rejection letters.

It took a while. In the twenty-first century, counting rejection letters for me meant combing through old emails, searching for all sorts of keywords like "query" and "submission" and "not the right fit for us". It also meant opening up an old shoebox that's been collecting snail mail rejections since 2007. Most of them say something along the lines of "thank you, but no". But a few of them had personalized rejections, or "please send us the first fifty pages" next to another envelope with "Thank you for sending us the first fifty pages, but no."

It was pretty gratifying, actually, to see how many places I've sent things. I totally forgot, for instance, that I'd sent several stories to Cemetery Dance once upon a time. It was also nice to revisit old works of fiction, both long and short, that I can look at now with a knowing eye for what was wrong with my writing at the time.

The coolest part of all was calculating how many rejections I've amassed in all. I have an ESTIMATED final count of.... drumroll, please.......

.... 425 rejection letters.

It breaks down in a very internet-influenced way. 376 of them are E-rejections, while only 49 are snail mail rejections. The numbers also show that I gravitate more towards writing novels than short stories, as 300+ are queries to agents rathen than submissions to literary magazines.

It's also worth noting that the actual number of rejections I've received might be higher. For instance, it doesn't include anything before 2007, which was when I truly started writing and submitting my work regularly and collecting snail mail rejections in a little shoebox. This wouldn't add on much, but it would add something.

All of this makes me think that rejection letters, as hurtful as they are at the time, really are a good sign. If you're getting them, it means you haven't given up. You're taking an extra step that the majority of people who care about words enough to make some of their own are afraid to do. If your response to a rejection letter is, "Better get started on the next one," then you're not really losing out at all.

I've long forgotten who gave me the advice that "every rejection letter you receive is one rejection closer to yes", but I do feel I owe them a big thank you, or at least a really big cookie.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I AM DRUMS on shelves Fall 2015

It's official. I AM DRUMS has been purchased by Egmont, USA, and will be released sometime in Fall of 2015! That feels like a long time from now, but at least I know it will definitely happen.

The news came yesterday. A few phone calls, exchanges of emails, and suddenly the news started spreading amongst my family, friends, and various social media. My Facebook account, in particular, exploded with friends congratulating me and saying how they couldn't wait to read it. It felt nice -- it's one of those moments you dream about during the many years you spend submitting your work and collecting rejection letters and wondering if any of this insanity will ever pay off.

But, as my agent told me over the phone, "the fun has just begun." It's a long way to Fall 2015, and during that time there will be quite a lot to complete. There will be more revision notes. There will be waiting to see what the cover will look like. There will be my trip with my wife to New York in July, which we've wanted to do for almost eight years but never had a good excuse to follow through. Then there will be the moment when I actually get to hold a copy of I AM DRUMS in my hand. Yeah, that will be something, all right.

I've learned a lot of lessons this year. I can't even begin to fathom them all, but I'll be doing a lot of thinking and, of course, a lot of working. The next book isn't going to finish itself.