First, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the death of Diana Wynne Jones last weekend. She was one of the truly great writers of young adult fantasy, weaving magic with her words. A very sad loss.
Second, if you haven’t checked out Farland’s Authors’ Advisory Conference Calls yet, tonight’s the night to do it. David Farland will be talking about How to Sell Your Novel.
Now, on to BLOOD WILL TELL:
I’m beginning to make good progress on my revisions, working through scene by scene. First making any changes I think are necessary, then working through the three full critiques. I’ve gotten some excellent critiques that have made me look at the story and characters in a new light. That’s invaluable. I liked this story before, but I think it’s going to be much stronger when I finish.
My current goal is to work through a chapter a day. Some days I may get more done and some chapters or scenes may need less work. That should fill up about a month before I’m ready to return to SEVEN STARS for the second draft.
The question then becomes what to do with BLOOD WILL TELL. Last year, I sent out 34 queries on this one. I got two requests for a partial, both of which ended in rejections. That’s not a very good showing.
Now, I’ll never know for certain why all those agents chose to pass. I can’t tell if the new first chapter and the revisions to the early chapters might have gotten a better response. But in my gut I have a feeling that part of the problem is that it’s a werewolf story.
It’s only a guess, but I have a feeling that the agents and editors of traditional publishing (who have to think about a book that might hit the bookshelves of Barnes and Noble three years from now, at best) just aren’t interested in werewolf stories right now. At least, unless your name happens to be Patricia Briggs, Gail Carriger, Sherilyn Kenyon, Charlane Harris, or Stephanie Meyer. I suspect, even, that when they open their inboxes they find half a dozen werewolf or vampire stories every day and it’s just easier to hit the next button than to try to sort out which ones might be good. I know that I’ve seen at least one or two agents’ websites that said specifically something like “Please don’t send me any more werewolf stories”.
So, what to do with BLOOD WILL TELL? One option is to change the title, write a new query, and try again. Frankly, I haven’t found another title I really like. And I’m not sure it would make a difference, really. It’s still a werewolf story.
The other option that I am considering very strongly at the moment is to e-publish it myself, probably under a psuedonym. The pen name would be mostly because this story (and it’s sequels) don’t really fit with the rest of what I’m writing. It’s adult, probably new adult, and I write mostly young adult and middle grade.
It’s a decision I’m likely to take with one or two of my short stories, too. In fact, I’ll probably do the short stories first, just to test the waters.