Yea or Nay

Hi there!

Some of you are aware of this, but most people here likely don't know about the fact that I'm an aspiring author. Yes, not only am I a book reviewer, I'm also a writer.:-) Perhaps you now understand why I break down every book review in a manner which is not always similar to that of other critics.

The truth is, I've been writing "seriously" since the end of 1996. Hard to believe that it's been close to a decade already. My first manuscript, The Eye of the Serpent, is a 250, 000-word epic fantasy tale. What else, right!?!;-) Running this blog has allowed me to get contacts with every major publisher. Hence, I was fortunate enough to bypass the "agented material only" golden rule, and a portion of the manuscript is in the capable hands of HarperCollins USA's fantasy Senior Editor and her assistant. I'm still waiting, keeping my fingers crossed. Apparently, authors such as Robin Hobb, Raymond E. Feist and David Forbes come first. Quite unfair, I know!

Understandably, I've been trying to find a competent agent to represent me for a long time. But the current market has made most of them reticent to take on an unpublished writer, especially a fantasy novelist. Plus, the fact that I'm a French Canadian hailing from Montreal doesn't help matters much. Still, authors like R. Scott Bakker, Steven Erikson, Brandon Sanderson, L. E. Modesitt, jr. David Forbes and many others have offered encouragements. So there is hope for me yet.

Nonetheless, in order to help me get a foot in the publishing world's door, last summer I elected to begin work on a more accessible novel, something that anyone could read and enjoy. I figured that if I could sell the rights of such a novel, then it would perhaps be easier for me to find someone to champion The Eye of the Serpent. Instead of working on its sequel, The Celestial Dragon, last August, after more than 6 weeks of pre-production (the plotlines had been swirling inside my brain for nearly a year at that point, ever since my return from my "exile" in Europe), I sat down and started working on Time of your Life.

This novel chronicles the adventures and misadventures of four people backpacking throughout Europe. This was a "can't miss" for me, since writing and traveling are my two biggest passions. And since most of the action is based on my own traveling experiences (25 countries so far!) and that of my friends, this manuscript is truly authentic. Writing this novel has been a riot thus far. I can't believe just how much fun I'm having working on it. Surprisingly, nearly one year and over 100, 000 words later, I'm almost done. If all goes according to plan, I will complete this baby in the next couple of weeks.

Feedback has been coming in from my test readers, and the vibe is unbelievably positive. I knew it was good, but I never thought that people would enjoy it to such an extent. So much so that I've been considering posting some excerpts online. What better way to get even more feedback before going through the inevitable rewrites?

Since The Eye of the Serpent is being perused by editors at HarperCollins and a submission is also in the hands of Sarah Ash's UK agent, I don't want to hurt my chances by posting sample chapters online. But the response to Time of your Life has been so incredibly good that I thought it could interest a number of readers here. And who knows? Perhaps attract potential agents and editors!;-)

So what do you think? Have I piqued your curiosity!?! Are you in the mood for a fun-filled European escapade!?! Let me know what you think, and I'll see if I'll go forward and do this. . .

15 commentaires:

maschine said...

First of all good luck finding a publisher, especially for Eye of the Serpent.
I guess if somebody reviewed/analysed that much (great) epic fantasy novels a thing or two shpuld have rubbed to his own I'm looking forward to it :)
And I guess posting an excerpt of Time of your Life at least couldn't seen with this American guy with the WB contract ;)
And I for one am always curious about how people coming from far away experience my country/how it is seen from the outside.

But of course the question I have to ask is: will there be a contest? *g*

John P. Looney said...

If there is a possibility that it would hurt your chances with a major publisher - don't publish it online.

It might make more sense to say 'email me directly, and I'll send you an excerpt'. That way, you can atleast have a contact list of people that were interest, and proof that they said they wouldn't try claim your work as their own, use it in ways you don't want etc. etc.

And, you can then contact them, a few weeks later, and say 'So, I rock, huh?' and they'll have to answer you!


TeichDragon said...

Good luck with "Time of your Life"! And I can't wait to hear more news from "The Eye of the Serpent".

As maschine already said, beeing a european(german), I'm quite eager to hear how someone from "the new world" looks at our "old europe".

And I doubt it will hurt much if you make some small portions available online. Maybe just little "appetizers".

PS: I'm for a contest too... ;)

Joe Sherry said...

I don't know if it would hurt your chances to post sample chapters online, but if you are at all uncertain I wouldn't do it.

It is interesting, though, that Time of your Life would be non-fantasy while you are working on publishing your fantasy. It would probably help EotS if you are able to publish ToYL because it shows you have talent and commitment, but the success of one might not reflect on the other because we're looking at vastly different novels.

That said, the more you have out there the better chance you'll have.

Clarkesworld said...

Best of luck! I hope it works out for you.

Sarah said...

I thought I read that there is some kind of percentage limit, isn't there, that they use in making contracts? ie: if more than such and such percentage of the word/page count was excerpted online, it can count as previously published. But from what I remember, you'd have to post a lot of the book in order for that to happen.

Patrick said...

As long HarperCollins USA has not gotten back to me pertaining to THE EYE OF THE SERPENT, I'd rather not make a move that could come back to haunt me later on. So I'm keeping this one on the back-burner for now. . .

TIME OF YOUR LIFE is another matter, as I have not made any attempts to get it into agents/editors' hands thus far. And having a relatively vast number of people reading it and providing feedback could be a very enlightening experience for me. Also, the fact that all my test readers are loving the story sort of encourages me! We'll see. . .:-)

As for a contest, I can promise a few signed copies if THE EYE OF THE SERPENT ever gets picked up!;-) But alas, nothing yet!

As soon as I'm done with TIME OF YOUR LIFE, there are quite a few fantasy short stories I've been meaning to write for a while now, all set in the universe created for my manuscript. Hence, there is a very good chance that they'll make it online. They'll give me a chance to revisit and explore some new places, themes, etc. . .

You guys will get to meet the Widowmakers, my not-so-elite military outfit!;-)

Neth said...

Pat, my understanding is that it's not unheard of for writers to get noticed by putting up sample chapters - I think that Scott Lynch was 'found' this way.

I say go for it. A book about backpacking adventures through Europe could certainly be fun to read (of couse as I type this I am in Olomouc, Czech Republic, so clearly travelling is part of my life whether for work or play).

On the fantasy novel, I have one request that I hope doesn't offend you. Change the title. Eye of the Serpeant sounds way to stereotypical and would be a title I'd pass by pretty easily while browsing. It sounds a bit too similar to Eye of the Dragon by King. IMO, the use of the word dragon or serpeant in a title should be avoided (of course, I have enjoyed books with both in the title, so it's really more of a guideline).

Roshan said...

I don't know much about publishing/agenting/etc, but I know that you know your stuff when it comes to reviewing, and I can wholeheartedly say that I would enjoy anything written by you. Good luck, and keep us informed!

Patrick said...

Thanks for the encouragements, guys!:-)

Yes, authors such as Jeff Vandermeer and Scott Lynch were "discovered" by posting stuff on their blogs/websites. There are others as well, but memory fails me at the moment.

The difference, at least where my fantasy manuscript is concerned, is that a portion of said manuscript is already being perused by HarperCollins. So I don't want to do anything that could be frowned upon. . .

As for the title, THE EYE OF THE SERPENT, I can't change it. It was always meant to be title, and if you read the tale it makes perfect sense. RAFO!!!;-)

As for TIME OF YOUR LIFE, I know I can put excerpts without fear. I checked with most of my contacts at different publishers, and they all encouraged me to do so. So it's up to you guys now!

As for you Germans, I have nothing but fond memories of my two stays in Germany. Have no fear! Just give me a Döner kebaps and a Maas of frothy beer, and I'm a happy camper!;-)

maschine said...

I'm glad you liked it over here :)
But I have to admit that the best beer comes from Czechia ;)
So the next time you come here, best visit Prague, it's really worth it

Patrick said...

Oh, I've been to Prague and the Czech Republic, have no fear!

And the best beer is in Belgium, no doubt about it!;-)

Neth said...

I've always been partial to English ales myself, though the beer in Belgium and Czechia is great (I've been indulging a bit while here for work). Southern Germany is no slouch at beer either.

Anyway, I look forward to one day RAFO EYE OF THE SERPENT.

Maurice said...

God, now im hungry for Döner, but to lazy to walk to get some.

readerinthedesert said...

Hey Pat - I haven't commented before but I really love the idea of "Time of Your Life" I live in the states and did a whirlwind Tour after high school for a month and had a blast! I would love to read some of it and can't wait to hear about "Eye of the Serpent" Good Luck!