I wrote a book!

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I wrote a book!

Postby That guy on Tue May 06, 2014 10:48 am

Hi all,

It has been a LONG time. Those few of you lifers who remember me might know I wrote a comic for many years about zany supernatural misadventures in THATGUY, and that I continued writing and illustrating with the lovely Kat Santoro, author of the fantasy Cat Legend (my spinoff was called LEGENDS).

I am now eagerly anticipating the release of my debut novel, JACKABY, published by Algonquin Young Readers. I have never been more proud of a creative endeavor, and it is already receiving some wonderful reviews from advanced readers, including a starred review from Kirkus! It is cheeky and dark, a murder mystery filled with folklore and mythology and madness, featuring a strong female narrator and an enthusiastically eccentric investigator of all things odd. Below is the beautiful cover, designed by Joel Tippie (he's the dude responsible for the covers to the Divergent series, too!):
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It's so pretty. :shucks:
http://www.algonquinyoungreaders.com/book/jackaby/

I know this is not technically a comic project, but I'm unspeakably proud to share the news with my comicky peeps, anyway.

/end shameless self-promotion.
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Re: I wrote a book!

Postby Terotrous on Tue May 06, 2014 9:26 pm

Congratulations on writing a book and getting it published! The concept sounds pretty interesting, too, well-written european detective stories are always a good read.


I've also given up cartooning in favour of writing lately, and I also finished my first novel about a year ago. I definitely agree that it's one of the most satisfying things I've done, probably because it feels so good to actually finish something. Comics are nice and all but they have a tendency to just go on and on forever. Of course, now I'm writing my second book but at least there are incremental milestones?

It seems a couple other people around here have been writing as well. We should totally hijack this site and turn it into Novel Genesis.
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Re: I wrote a book!

Postby RobboAKAscooby on Tue May 06, 2014 11:47 pm

Terotrous wrote:It seems a couple other people around here have been writing as well. We should totally hijack this site and turn it into Novel Genesis.


XD
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Re: I wrote a book!

Postby McDuffies on Wed May 07, 2014 6:01 am

Hi, ThatGuy, that is wonderful news! Too bad you abandoned comics which is, as we all know, ultimately the most superior art form of all.
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Re: I wrote a book!

Postby That guy on Thu May 08, 2014 8:52 am

Thanks!

McDuffies wrote:Hi, ThatGuy, that is wonderful news! Too bad you abandoned comics which is, as we all know, ultimately the most superior art form of all.


Never fully abandoned, McD. Just constantly tinkering with myriad projects.
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Re: I wrote a book!

Postby Bustertheclown on Thu May 08, 2014 8:49 pm

Hey, neat for you! Congratulations. So, how was the process of getting "officially" published?
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Re: I wrote a book!

Postby That guy on Fri May 09, 2014 10:47 am

Exciting and intimidating.

I was very lucky to snag an agent who is incredible—she then quickly got the interest of several amazingly impressive editors—and then I had the unbelievable fortune of deciding between multiple offers to select the publisher best suited to the story I wanted to tell. At every stage I have felt both very proud and hugely humbled and out of my depth (My editor was Neil Gaiman's American Editor for The Graveyard Book, for example).

It has been a lot of work—I've never edited anything so many times as I have edited the manuscript for Jackaby—but also hugely rewarding.
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Re: I wrote a book!

Postby Terotrous on Fri May 09, 2014 1:23 pm

That's consistent with what I've heard from most people who actually know what they're talking about when it comes to getting published: First thing, get yourself a good agent. Attempting to go it alone rarely seems to work out well.

It's not really an avenue I'm all that interested in pursuing, I'm happy just being a hobbyist, but it's very cool nonetheless.
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Re: I wrote a book!

Postby JSConner800 on Sat May 10, 2014 3:28 pm

Terotrous wrote:That's consistent with what I've heard from most people who actually know what they're talking about when it comes to getting published: First thing, get yourself a good agent. Attempting to go it alone rarely seems to work out well.


I'm living proof of that. I've been trying to publish short stories and a novel for years now, and I've had absolutely no success (unless you count the part where I got frustrated and published the novel myself on Amazon, but I don't). If you don't mind me asking, That Guy, how did you snag yourself that agent? I'm hoping to get my next novel published for real, and I'd love to get a few of my short stories out there, so if the agent route has worked out for you, I'd like to know the details.
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Re: I wrote a book!

Postby That guy on Thu May 15, 2014 9:53 am

JSConner800 wrote:That Guy, how did you snag yourself that agent? I'm hoping to get my next novel published for real, and I'd love to get a few of my short stories out there, so if the agent route has worked out for you, I'd like to know the details.


Everyone I've spoken to has taken a slightly different path. I recently stumbled upon some good words of advice from agented authors, so check out what other successful people have said if you're curious.

As for me, the LONG version is that it went like this.
First I wrote a book. It took about a year, including editing constantly chapter-by-chapter, and then editing the book as a whole two or three times, and then editing again with feedback from friends and family.
Then I wrote a query letter. There are lots of sites with advice on this. Read them. In brief, query needs 4 things: 1) A quick intro about why you picked them (I see you represent, X, which is why I am eager to share...). 2) A brief explanation of your book in a nutshell (In a war-torn future...) 3) A little about you and why you're well suited to write on your topic (As an avid biologist with a masters in Marine Biology, I am passionate about the lives of Orcas...) 4) a sense of your writing voice all throughout.
Then queried agents. I found a list of legitimate accredited agents (run away if you ever find an agent who charges YOU a fee). I committed to sending ONE per DAY for one month, adjusting each query to tailor it to the agent I found. I didn't do this because it's the best way to find the best agent, but because it helped me get over the fear of rejection. By the end of week two I had a handful of "no" responses, many non-responses, and two requests for a full-manuscript. (Woohoo!)
I sent my manuscript to those agents. And waited. It went like this. There were massive storms and blackouts. It was nuts.
I got my agent! After all the craziness and nervous waiting, I had an agent who was marvelous and very enthusiastic about the project. She gave me editorial suggestions. I edited again.
SHE queried editors. BIG names from BIG publishing houses were reading MY book. I got offers from MULTIPLE editors. They each included details about the direction they would want to take the book should I opt to sign with them. I turned down a SIX FIGURE 2-book offer from Penguin books in favor of the also generous offer from Algonquin Young Readers, because I felt the editor there was best suited to the story, and could not be happier with the decision.
My book was sold! Along with an unfinished sequel (which is STILL in the early revision process).
Edit edit edit edit... After another series of revisions, the book is finally all set to publish in September.

The SHORT version went like this (translated into the language of the internet—pictures of cats):
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Re: I wrote a book!

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Thu May 15, 2014 9:57 am

Thanks for the information! I have a completed story I've been sitting on for a few years but always chickened out before I could do anything "real" with it.
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Re: I wrote a book!

Postby Terotrous on Thu May 15, 2014 3:12 pm

That guy wrote:I turned down a SIX FIGURE 2-book offer from Penguin books

Six figures eh? Interesting, are there also royalties?

I guess though it's probably going to take like 3-4 years to earn that 6 figures since it also includes another book.
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Stuff that updates sometimes:
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I also did phbites.comicgenesis.com and hntrac.comicgenesis.com way back when.
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Re: I wrote a book!

Postby JSConner800 on Thu May 15, 2014 11:27 pm

Thanks for the tips! For some reason, finding an agent sounds less intimidating than blindly dumping your manuscript on a publisher. As usual, I've been doing things the hard way :lol:
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Re: I wrote a book!

Postby MariaAndMichelle on Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:16 am

Congrats, ThatGuy! :D :D
You're just jealous because you can't get away with speaking in the third person...

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Re: I wrote a book!

Postby Parisella on Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:25 am

Congratulations on getting published, man! I'm new around here, but I'm actually on day four of writing my first book, and I know the feverish pangs of the creative process. I'm glad everything worked out for you - it's not every day that somebody reaches into the abyss and pulls out something that's - well marketable.

And I'll be sure to check out your book, man. Authors gotta help each other out.
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