In 2011 I sat in a Manhattan publisher’s office pitching my novel to several editors who were supposedly big deals in the publishing business. Everyone at the conference was trying to tie their novels into Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, or Ready Player One. My novel? Not so much.
"Where does your manuscript fit on the book shelves?" they asked.
"Not next to Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Walking Dead or Ready Player One," I said. "Its more like Ten Commandments meets The Odyssey." Needless to say, I didn't land a fat publishing contract that week.
I can’t remember her name, but one publisher from that conference stands out in my memory. All the female authors who were pitching their novel to her were warned not to show too much cleavage in her presence. I had no cleavage, so I felt confident going in (though I can’t make that claim today). She listened to my pitch with a dour expression, like she had to pass a kidney stone, and then asked me if my novel (Black Sea Gods) was going to be a series.
“Three or four novels,” I replied. “The first novel is complete, the second well underway.”
“Too ambitious for a new author,” she scoffed, and summarily dismissed me. And thus ended my attempt to get The Chronicles of Fu Xi traditionally published.
Every new word added to the Chronicles of Fu Xi, Book IV’s manuscript is a blow against Anti-Cleavage Lady. Take that, mammary hater! Sometimes that moment in New York drives me onward, just to prove her wrong.
Actually, she was probably right. I should have started my writing career on something a little less ambitious, and a lot more commercially viable. If I wanted a traditional publishing contract, a historical fantasy, set in central Asia, and bordering on literary fiction probably wasn’t the place to start. Not that any of that matters now, I’m committed. The Chronicles of Fu Xi, Book IV is well underway. This story must be told.
I completed 2000 words this weekend and two more chapters in the can. That brings the word count to 22,000. The writing is coming easier now, and it isn’t. When I write, I have Books I-III open on my desktop, plus The Golden Princess, trying to avoid plot holes. It’s a Herculean effort to keep characters straight, events lined up, and everything in sync. I think it’s working. I’m back in the groove. Regardless, it's ambitious, to say the least. Anti-Cleavage Lady's warning echoes in my mind.
One major change came out of this weekend’s efforts…I’ve changed the last novel’s title. It was going to be “The Children of Fu Xi”, but I’ve ditched that. That title was suggested many years ago by an editor, and I kept it in my back pocket. I’m not going to divulge the new title until the publication date approaches. However, it ties the final novel back to the first novel and sounds great.
That’s all I have for today. I’ve got to keep my energy focused on the writing. However, if you haven’t picked up the series, you really should. There are three ways to start:
First, you can get copy of Black Sea Gods, the first installment in the series, Second, you can buy a copy of the prequel, The Golden Princess. If you really want a treat, get the Audible copy of The Golden Princess, narrated by the BBC’s Philip Battley. You will not regret it, he sounds great.
I’ll see you later this week for another installment of Photography Phriday.
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