Monday, August 1, 2011

I Signed With A Mid-Sized Publisher

I got a nice surprise in my email box on Friday. My sci-fi novel called SLIPSTREAM is going to be published by Double Dragon Publishing and Media Group in 2013. I know it's not one of the Big Six but getting an agent for my sci-fi novel is impossible. I have no idea why. Maybe it's because of the subject matter (there's gay people in it...shhh don't tell anyone :P), or maybe it's because I'm a nobody, or maybe it's because I put a second space after a period in my query letter. Whatever the reason, it has resulted in nothing but rejections, many of them of the form variety. Some even arrived like fifteen minutes after I sent them...talking about blazing fast return. I don't think my query is bad (you can view it in the "Books" tab above as I'm using it to explain what SLIPSTREAM is about). I whittled it down, read Janet Reid 'til my eyes bled, wrote, waited, revised, and wrote again. Two partials and one full manuscript request and 70 some odd rejections later, I decided to look at other options. Just as an of my partials came with a one line rejection: "LOL. I can't represent this." I've struggled to understand exactly what the agent meant by that especially with the "LOL" attached to it.

Now...just to be clear...this isn't the novel that I said I would be querying in an earlier post a couple of weeks ago. That particular book I'm still hopeful for. I sent out 8 queries to 8 agents and have gotten four rejections. Why only eight? Because, I'm slow, I like to watch t.v. and my friend Stephanie Schmidt has it right (I think) when she advised "don't blanket the world with queries so you can catch mistakes later." So yeah...I'm still querying that other project.

So I got the email from C.E.O. Deron Douglas himself. This is what it said:

Hello Michael,
I'm sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. I've been away from
the office most of the summer. In any event I would be pleased to
offer you a contract with Double Dragon Publishing. If you are still
interested, let me know and I can forward a contract to you.
I read it twice just to make sure that it wasn't another rejection. Then I said yes. :)). So without further ado, here's a little about Double Dragon Publishing gathered from their Facebook and website:
Double Dragon Publishing is a medium-size publisher with an expansive catalog of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror titles. Many of our authors are award winners with "Best Seller" track records that extend over a number of years. You can purchase from our website, or from an extended retail network which includes Fictionwise, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Sony, Kobo, MobiPocket or Apple to name only a few.

Double Dragon Publishing is a Canadian company responsible for the publication of many top rated eBook titles in a variety of genres. Composed of a number of imprints, Double Dragon eBooks is by far the largest division under the DDP umbrella with over 1000 titles and 8000 editions. This is our flag ship imprint established in July 2000.
If you're wondering how I found this publisher, I actually got led to it by Piers Anthony, an author that I've widely read and one who had nothing but good things to say about them on his website. Additionally, I checked these guys out online with the Absolute Write Water Cooler and they are legit. This seemed good enough for me.
What can I expect?
1) Professional editing. I will get assigned an editor sometime in 2012 that will go line by line through my book. I get the impression that it will be edited by multiple people and proofread exactly twice before publication. I can't tell you how good this is. I'm an excellent self-editor but I miss stuff. Plus I hired an editor at my own expense and in the future, I won't have to. All sequels that I write will automatically be accepted for publication. This is such a relief because I feel like I've been writing in the dark for years and I have a huge story to tell with A Crisis of Two Worlds.

2) Cover Art. I read Patrick's blog and he occasionally talks about cover art. Cindy Borgne does too and I had no idea what I would do for cover art. I would like it to be simple...ideally just a glass spider giving off silver light sitting on a brick wall. That'd be perfect. But I have no idea how to draw a glass spider or fill it with shiny gears and switches. Nor do I know how to paint webs that carry information like fiber optic wire. Meh. I also really like the cover art that is gracing many of the Double Dragon books so that is another plus. Here's a sample from one of their books:

3) All the usual formatting and primping and placing of the book in the usual online areas. They even do some advertising but I've no idea what kind they do yet. Marketing will be mostly up to me and I don't really have a problem with that. And I've made a lot of blogger buddies so I'm hoping that in a year or so (if I get a little countdown widget) that some of you may help me by posting it in a sidebar just to get more exposure.

On marketing, another thing that I like about being published by Double Dragon is that I can still go to the book bloggers that I was going to target because they accept manuscripts produced from mid-size publishers. They just won't accept any from self-published authors. So I have doors that are open in that area and I think that's a good thing.

As I've spoken to some of my close friends this weekend, I think that for me, in order to get anywhere, I needed to start somewhere. If I get published and get a name out there, I will be more attractive to agents in the future (with unrelated writing projects) because an editor actually saw merit in my work. Additionally, Double Dragon has made a name for itself as the largest e-publisher of science fiction in the world and has grown to encompass 8 imprints which doesn't seem shabby to me at this stage. Heck...what do I know about publishing? I do feel a little more validated though. Agents only ever gave me basically eight sentences to win them over. As you can see, my eight sentences suck. But when a real world editor actually read my book, he liked it, and decided to invest in me. Some of their authors have hit as high as #53 on's list of books. I think that's pretty decent and shows they get behind their writers. Anyway, seeing as my book is science-fiction...and this seems to be a strong science-fiction centered publisher, that maybe my book is best here after all. What do you guys think?


  1. Gay people in sci-fi? Won't somebody think of the children?!?!?!?

    Seriously though, this is fantastic! Congratulations!
    This is such great news, and you deserve every success with it!

  2. Congratulations, Michael. It's so great to hear that writers are finding success. Enjoy the experience.

  3. Great news, really pleased for you. Nice to know perseverence pays off (I was beginning to wonder).


  4. Congratulations. It's always good to hear when someone gets accepted. (*raises glass to a toast) Here's to your success...


    This is just the start of greater things to come, so don't sweat a thing!


  6. Grats Mike, I am really happy for you. Interesting you got turned onto that publisher by Piers Anthony. I didn't know you were a fan. I think I read his whole catalog when I was in college. Fun writer and a great way to escape.

    Grats again and I look forward to reading your book.

  7. Fabulous news Michael, and you sure deserve it!! Well done!

  8. Excellent news. I think you made a good choice. Congrats!

  9. Huzzah! I can't wait until it comes out!

  10. Wonderful news! How exciting~ you'll have to keep us updated with the whole process :) Congratulations!

  11. Congratulations!! Keep us updated on the process. I'll be interested to see your cover art (looking at the ones on Double Dragon's website). :)

  12. Congratulations!! That is such exciting news and I am so happy for you!!!!

  13. Congratulations! Wish this happiness to all the waiting writers! :)

    Javid's Notes

  14. @Jen: Well I just think that having non-traditional protagonists as a debut author is a huge roadblock for some people.

    @Vanentina: Thank you :)

    @Moody: I was beginning to wonder too.

    @DRC: Thank you.

    @T.D.: LOL

    @Kevin: Yeah I read Xanth as a kid, Incarnations, Apprentice Adept, etc. The guy knows how to write and is surprisingly dirty when he wants to be. I have a lot of respect for that old man. I used to read his author notes back in the days before internet.

    @Trisha: Thanks hon.

    @Cindy: I think so too. Meh. It's not like agents were beating down my door.

    @Mutt: Two years...

    @Jess: I have to blog about something so from time-to-time when I run out of Sn00ki .gifs to post I'll probably talk about things I'm working on O.o

    @yrmama: Thank you. Always nice when mama has your back.

    @Marjorie: Thank you :)

    @Cherie: I like most of their cover art. I don't like the way they do humans as much...very computerized and expressionless. That's why I'm hoping for a nice glowing spider.

    @MJ & JS: Thanks :)

  15. You realize if you drop this wonderful piece of news in a query letter (as Rachelle Gardner said) you may have agents reconsidering offering you (sometimes they say no because they don't know any publishing houses that they can sell to--not that these publishing houses don't exist). Check out this link to see if it might help.

    Also HUGELY FREAKING WELL EARNED CONGRATS! I will happily slosh a congratulatory drink down your arm later if we ever manage to go out for drinks ;)

  16. Congratulations! It's awesome to get picked up by an editor at a good-sized publishing house--definitely better than getting accepted by an agent who's so unprofessional as to write "LOL" on their rejections. Best of luck!

  17. Hey, that's awesome news! And, I think, if Anthony vouches for them, they're probably a good deal. He was the first author I really followed, and, although I don't read him anymore, I respect what he's done. He stands up for authors' rights and has done a lot to promote them, even going up against the big 6 himself. His author's notes became my favorite parts of his books, which is probably why I quit reading him.

    Congrats! Can't wait to read it!

  18. Awesome news! I bet that made your weekend. Enjoy the high of knowing YOU'LL BE PUBLISHED! It rocks!

  19. Congratulations!! What exciting news! :)

  20. This is GREAT! I look forward to finally reading your book. And also to now saying "I'm in contact with this author who knows people in Hollywood" to impress people around me.

    When I order it, will you autograph it for me?

  21. Woo-hoo!! Hoorah! Congrats,Michael, that's fab news!

  22. Steph: Rachelle Gardner has awesome advice. I'm not approaching an agent though because I've decided that I'm going to use this series of books as a stepping stone and just work with the publisher. Besides, in her write-up she uses "Penguin" as the example and that's one of the Big Six. I did send to Tor and Daw to see what slush pile hell was like and six month's later got rejections on both.

    Joe: Thanks for stopping by. I still have no idea what the agent meant by that line.

    Andrew: I agree on what you say about Anthony. I did stop reading him because I outgrew the audience. However I have fond memories of his stories.

    E.R.: Yeah! Someday at least...two years. But that gives me plenty of time to do research and work on a novel that I know will also get published.

    Alyson: Thanks, hon.

    Briane P: Again...won't come out 'til 2013 so the whole Mayan Calendar will end before my book makes it online. And the whole "Hollywood" thing is most likely just a couple of guys marketing stuff to SyFy channel to compete with Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. However, I happen to watch SyFy so what does that say about my tastes?

    D.U. Thanks my British friend!

  23. Congrats on the sale!

    It's a pity DDP isn't interested in novellas; otherwise, I'd submit my story to them.

  24. Yeah!! I am so excited for you. With the fall of Leisure Books, I think that there is much more space for smaller publishers to take up the slack. It's great to see the growth of a publisher who is invested in science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Wonderful. (And: go Canada!)

    I will eagerly await the publication of Slipstream (and the subsequent potential film version?). Let me know when it's time for me to promote it relentlessly on my blog.

  25. YEAH! That's great news! I've heard good things about DDP. I wouldn't mind occasional updates on your interactions with them.

    Again, congratulations on the contract!

  26. Huge congratulations! I look forward to following the progress of your publishing journey.

  27. How exciting! Congratulations! A mid-size publisher is plenty awesome, and it sounds like you've done your research on this one and have made your decision with a clear mind. I wish you tons of luck and good times.

  28. Sandra: I'll investigate further and get back to you when I know more.

    E.Twist: Thank you for the support.

    DPK: What part of Utah do you live in?

    MH: Thanks Michael.

    Cacy: I did do quite a bit of research. Part of me struggled with the whole stigma of mid-size publishing but there comes a time when I feel an author has to do something to push past stagnation.


    I knew it sounded like a really smart, fun book, and I'm glad you found a publisher who felt the same way. :-)

    I look forward to hearing all about the next steps.

  30. Yay! Such awesome news. The publisher sounds pretty great. I'm very happy for you. And my fingers crossed for the book you're currently querying.:D

  31. Oh man Michael! Congrads. *pangs of jealousy* I am thrilled for you. *Throws confetti* You deserve this, pal. Enjoy the moment.

  32. Great news kiddo !! Congratulations !
    Michael, I am very happy for you, I wish you all the best with the process. Hard work does get you results, doesn't it? I will not read the details as there is nothing better than reading everything when the book is in your hands. Congrats again:)

  33. PS.
    Check out "Tossing it out". Arlee has books that were made into movies. Who knows one day your book will be too. ( that is if you want it to be a movie)

  34. Congrats my man, very exciting. You'll have to keep us up to date with the whole process.

  35. You waited so long to tell us because you were running up and down the street screaming weren't you? I can feel it. You can't hide the truth from me. XD

    I hope the world doesn't end in 2012 so I can read your book.

  36. Thanks for stopping by my interview over at Get Busy Writing. And BIG CONGRATS on your contract!

  37. A big pat on the back for you. Well done. Here's hoping it's a huge success. Please share some of the details about what the process is like as you go along.

  38. @Tamara: Thanks for the compliment.

    @CherylAnne: I appreciate your well wishes hehe.

    @Robyn: Don't be jealous. I'll be jealous of you when you land a six-figure book deal with a Big Six publisher.

    @Munir: I'll look at "Tossing It Out". Sounds interesting. As always, I love your visits and your comments.

    @Mr. Riley: Will do sir. Enjoy the rest of your summer break before you must teach again.

    BB: If the world ends in 2012 then all the people invested in the U.S. national debt are so screwed. #winning

    Katie: I love reading author interviews. It gives a peek into the soul of their genius.

    Rusty: I shall in my own snarky manner for sure, sir.

  39. I see congratulations are in order. Good that you have a publisher that publishes almost exclusively in your genre. From all indications, this sounds like you'll have a good experience.

    I skipped the agent route and went directly to the publishers very early on. There's so much time you can wait around and no more before growing weary.

    Enjoy the ride!

  40. Holy freakin' congrats!!! I'm so excited for you.

    I couldn't get any agents to look at Witch Song either, so I went for a small publisher too. Look how well it's doing.

    I don't regret my decision for a second.

    So happy for you. :D

  41. Congratulations! They may not be the big 6, but this is nothing to sneeze at. Your book is getting published and that's awesome! And I think a smaller publisher will treat you better and value you more than a huge publishing house. You won't get lost in the shuffle. Hope you are out celebrating!

  42. WOW!!! This is amazing! Your book getting published is a HUGE accomplishment and I think that you may even like having a publishing house that can treat your work with the attention it deserves. I'll definitely be getting your book and am SO excited for its release. Congrats! You are so inspiring :)

  43. Congratulations! That is just fantastic!

  44. Congrats Michael! No easy feat and all us other folks out here are very envious!

  45. That is totally awesomesauce! Congratulations! I'm sure your cover is going to be gorgeous. I can't wait to see it! :D

  46. This is still a big deal! Huge congrats, Michael! I wish you all the best in your publishing journey. And you can be sure I'll be hunting down a copy of your book.


  47. Michael, I'm so excited about your news! REALLY excited! Your publisher sounds fantastic. I do hope you get into print at some point because I'd love to own a print copy. If not, my Kindle will do. :)

    Again, congrats!

  48. Congratulations. Who cares the size of the publisher? It's a publisher. That's all that matters, really. And a sci-fi publisher at that. This is amazing news. Bask. Enjoy.

  49. Wooooh I am really late with this Mike, but I just wanted to say a big congratulations. This publisher seems like a very good fit for you. Nice one, and I wish you every success.

  50. Thank you Mr. Offutt. I will be anxiously awaiting the book's release.
    Cool, really cool.

  51. CONGRATS! I'll be buying an autographed copy!

  52. I am sooooo sorry I missed your announcement about this Michael! I was out of town Monday and worked all day yesterday! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS IS SO GREAT! It does not matter if it's mid-sized, family sized or compact, IT"S A PUBLISHER!!! Too Cool for you! You'll get to hold you're book all published and everything! Awesome!!! Can't wait to hear more!

  53. I'm a little behind, but this is pretty great news. It's great to see a success.

  54. What?! I leave for a week and you go and sign up with a publisher. Congratulations! This is going to be great for you. Double Dragon is actually on my list of mid-size publishers as well.

    Keep us posted on how you like the process.