Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The 7x7 Link Award

Tim Riley and Rusty Webb awarded me with the  7x7 Link Award.  Basically this award involves looking back at old posts to find pieces of writing that made a mark, and I can appreciate this.

Most Beautiful:  I think that my most beautiful post is going to be the one that has (in my opinion) the best looking art on it. That would have to be my post on the art selected for the 2012 George R.R. Martin Calendar that I put up. These pictures by John Picacio are plain awesome.

Most Helpful:  I'd say this goes to "The Misunderstood Exclamation Point" which consequently is one of my better searches that seems to come up.  People googling it are probably pissed off that my post is such a smartass one. Honestly, for genuine writing advice, Moody Writing by Mooderino is the place to go. Here on my site, I don't feel I can add anything to the world of writing so instead I choose to be snarky about most things.  Mooderino is on a one-person mission to make every blogger into someone that writes Pulitzer Prize-winning prose.  It's too bad that the authors making millions will never adhere to any of Mooderino's advice. But college professors who sell five books a year are so on top of that.

Most Popular:  This is a huge surprise but blogger stats says it is my post on "The Eyrie".  I guess this must be because of the popularity of George R.R. Martin's writing.

Most Controversial:  My recent post on Understanding Men To Write Your Fiction. It got a lot of views and quite a few one-page comments.

Most Surprisingly Successful:  My flash fiction entry for Rachael Harrie's third platform-building crusade.  It got almost 90 comments.  I was pretty stunned.  It's the post with the most comments but not the post with the most page views.

Most Underrated:  I think my most underrated post is the one where I show what Wonder Woman can show us about writing.  It took a lot of thought and was one of my more interesting .gif parades.

Most Prideworthy:  This is easy.  My post on signing with Double Dragon Publishing for my upcoming novel.  I must have gotten rejected by agents fifty times (I think) before I gave up.  In there somewhere was a few partials, one full manuscript request, and comments like "LOL...I can't represent this," or "Hey there, I think if you go into a bookstore you'll find the kind of books that you want to write and answer your own question."

The last response came from a "big wheel" in the writing industry.  I asked him via email if being a debut author in this terrible economy coupled with a gay male protagonist was essentially "asking the impossible" from the Big Six Publisher from a pure marketing standpoint.  Needless to say, I did go out and investigate and discovered "my kinds of books" next to the restroom under the burned out flickering fluorescent light bulb.  No one else was in the aisle...the shelves looked dusty.  My "kinds" of books got the same treatment as the YA books that feature black protagonists.

So I decided to pursue small- to mid-size publishers. We had a discussion on Rogue Mutt's blog sometime this year about the benefits of going with a small- to mid-size publisher and the general consensus is that a publisher of any kind seemed "better" for most people than just self-publishing. So that's why I did it.  And I never felt better about my writing.

I was able to go back to the sequel and finish it and feel like it was going to be read.  I had closure on that first book that I wrote for the series because an actual editor liked it.  More importantly, I could stop hunting for ideas to pen yet another novel to query after the current one got rejected by all the agents out there (the third one that I wrote just this year...and yes it's finished but just sitting in a drawer. It's a fantasy instead of sci-fi and I've queried it to only 8 agents who rejected it).  Just for the record...what a bunch of bullshit that cycle is.  Writing a novel to collect rejections.  Exhausting your list of agents and then writing another novel to rinse/repeat.  Especially when you know that your previous novel is good...and you go back to it and read it again and guess really is good.

I also honestly didn't think that my sci-fi book would ever find a home. I sent it to Samhain where it got rejected, then onto Mundania Press where it got rejected, and to the slush piles at both Tor and Penguin (which subsequently rejected it).  These last two were really slow.  When you submit your manuscript to a publisher, they frequently want exclusivity while considering it.  So Tor and Penguin each took 6-months (one year right there waiting for rejections on those two).  I also tried Bold Strokes Books and Dreamspinner Press and got rejected.  I'd always kept my eye on Double Dragon...but never got the guts to submit to them (and plus their submission requirements looked really frickin' hard).  I also thought to myself that if a genuine honest to god sci-fi publisher read my book and rejected it, then I should just hang up my writing and move onto something that may have been a huge delay in me asking Double Dragon to publish my book.

Meanwhile, all I was doing was sitting around writing more books and haunting Rogue Mutt's blog where I have three times the amount of comments than anyone else that goes there because I can be an opinionated man who likes the world to know what his opinions are.  I guess that's the danger with all of us, right? People better not piss us off because we are writers and by god...every single one of us will log onto our blogs and yap yap yap our fingers off about what we think and then hit "publish" to the world.  I think my brother lives in fear that I'll put something about him up here and then have 100 comments on it from people he's never met.


Here is where I pick on bestow seven people to receive this honor.  I choose the following:

Steph Schmidt
E.J. Wesley
Sarah Ketley
Tamara Paulin
Danette Baltzer
Joe Vasicek
J.L. Campbell

Remember you winners that your thanks for choosing you above all others is not necessary. I know how overwhelmed you must feel. If you truly must thank me, never ever pick me for a blog award again. That in itself shall be sufficient.  However, if this be my fate, I too shall return the thanks whenever I get the opportunity.  I can promise that much.

Hugs and kisses XOXO  :)


  1. Congratulations! And there's a lot to be said for the smaller publishers.
    Moody gives great writing tips as well.

  2. Thanks for not "awarding" me. I don't participate anyway.
    I've heard that even the Big 6 expect you to do the lion's share of propmotions anyway, so you don't lose that when you go with a smaller publisher.

  3. I'm so happy for you that you found success with Double Dragon. That's definitely something to be proud of. And now, off to read the post!

  4. Micheal, thanks for the award, but I am notoriously bad with posting them. Going to try and pass it on, but it might take a while. This one feels like it takes a bit of work to get it posted, but it might be interesting to do.

    I hear you on the whole submission process. It wasn't long before I got wise to the fact that no agent I was querying was gonna buy what I was selling and I wasn't trying to sell anything as nichey as Sci-Fi or fantasy. This was plain old romance.I gave up when I thought that the cultural divide might have been too wide to cross.

    Luckily, I found a couple of publishers who were willing to take a chance on something different.

    Found two shiny new gizmos for my blog. Useful and nothing like the tweeter bird. :D

  5. I think if I'd decided "Most Helpful" by people's searches it would be the "SEX! Care Bear Style" entry or "Invisible Catfish Sex Change" entry, though I'm pretty sure neither of those is all that helpful.

    Anyway, I definitely think getting published anywhere is better than self-published just for the validation it gives you. It's a real shot in the arm to think someone thought your story was good enough to publish it, even if it's an ezine with a circulation of 5 readers.

  6. Congrats on your award. Since I'm a late-comer to your blog, it was good to get caught up on some of your older posts.

    And congrats on your novel coming out with Double Dragon. Yes, the agent hunt sucks.

  7. Hey! congrats, and congrats! Love your tenacity on getting published.

  8. Most of what i've been reading about the whole publishing process involves people saying that agents are pretty much a waste of time. Of course, that is coming from people who don't have agents, but I can certainly see their point. If you can go directly to a publisher yourself, why share your profits with someone? Congrats on your book though!

  9. "Chain letter" lol. Sorry, I can't get over that! :D

  10. See, I'm usually pretty forgiving of some of the frustrations involved with the querying process and publishing industry, but I think requesting exclusivity and taking six months is just plain abusive, and this is one of the things that I hope will change as the success of ebooks slowly erodes publishing houses as gateway keepers.

    It's not the six month thing that gets my goat - I can understand that they're busy, and the fact that they take so long maybe means that they spend quality time with many manuscripts. No, it's the exclusivity thing that gets under my skin. I don't mind exclusivity if it's two months, even three months, but SIX months? If you know it might take six months, why are you doing that to someone?

    How hard is it to have a policy where someone notifies you that they've sold the submission, and you go back and make a note/toss out the manuscript? It's clear that this is all about making it convenient for publishing houses, NOT writers, and who knows...maybe that will change in the future. :) (Hey, a girl can dream.)

  11. I LOVED that post with the pictures of all the ASoIaF characters. I even had to comment on it again.

  12. Congrats on the award! I love all of your posts! Highlight of my blogging day. :-)

  13. Congrats on your award. I like this one.

  14. Your exclamation point post was awesome.

  15. You know, I actually got an offer from the very first publisher I submitted to before I started querying. But it was a lousy offer. Or so I thought. As it turns out, it was a pretty typical offer from a small press, but I couldn't go with it. Then I started querying agents and only got rejections, which I find fairly humorous, at this point. Especially since the submissions editor at the publisher that wanted House said it was the best in its genre he'd read the whole time he'd been with them (nearly 10 years). After going through all of that, I just decided I wasn't going to play all the stupid "jump through the hoops" games that all those people play.
    Not that self-publishing has been easy, either, but it's a lot more gratifying than spending a year querying.

  16. Your story is inspiring. A whole year waiting on two publisher? You're incredible!
    Congrats on the award! Your blog is one of my favorites.

  17. Hey, Michael,

    Congrats on the finding the perfect publisher. I am on that route now.

    Also, congrats on the award.

    Also, I picked the same pic because my new followers hadn't seen it AND it represents how I feel ... so sue me.

  18. As someone who is new to your site, it was great going back and reading your "best of." Of the last, most prideworthy post, I think your experiences with querying and publishing are incredibly prescient, especially in light of recent happenings on the gay ya front.

  19. Hey, I just popped over to your Wonder Woman post~ you're right, it rocks!

  20. I love my small press. I think you can learn a lot and go far with them. Congratulations! Also, thank you so much for your kind comment on my blog. It made my day. :)

  21. I love that you are a "smartass" and "snarky".

  22. On Pride: yep, you gotta be tooooo special to make it into the Big 6. You know, the the more established publishing houses and agents only want what is so unique it is a trend setter, or an author that has done so well they have to fight over. Yeah, I think small presses are the way to go too. One day they may be as exclusive at the big agencies, but at least they'll be moving up. I don't begrudge a company success. Everyone has to start somewhere.

    I've been delving more and more into fantasy writing so I can submit to Double Dragon. I like what I read from their blogs and the authors they publish. A publisher to wath means the authors are watch-worthy too. You're getting there Michael; definitely. I'll have to keep watch for your publication.

    I'm not very good at keeping trac of my blogger stats. I see the comments, and that's about as far as my techno savy goes.

    Congrats on the award Dude. It is well deserved.


  23. Congrats on finding a publisher! I'm throwing some virtual confetti back in your direction! Yay!

  24. Hey, thanks for the mention. Nice recap of what you've been up to, when you put it all on one page it reads like quite the time you've been having. Congrats again on the publisher, look forward to seeing the cover art.

    Moody Writing

  25. I think being published by someone else is a big deal, period. If I sold a million copies of everything I threw out there self publishing I'd still jump at the chance to be traditionally published.

    I thought it was one of the more clever awards I've seen, and I actually enjoyed this one... although I tend to agree that I'm not a fan of them on principal though. When I do pass them along though, I only announce it on my blog instead of in your comments, that way you can accidentally miss it everyone goes on none the wiser.

  26. Congratulations! As if I could keep up with current blog posts, now I find it necessary to look back at these archived ones you've listed. Thanks a lot.