Thursday, June 30, 2011


On the verge of the release of my sci-fi novel, Die Laughing, I thought it might be of advantage to other writers to hear my approach on how I got it published.

This has nothing to do with the quality of the story (I’ll leave that to others.) This is strictly a pragmatic approach that I used, which may help you to formulate your own plan.

I put together a tier of objectives, starting with what I thought should be my main goal, which I figured would be the best way to lead to a publishing deal with a major publisher. (Aim for the stars, settle for the moon.)

On top was to get an agent. I put together the best query letter and brief pitch that I could (constantly refining them.) From there I scoured and the Internet in general for agents related to my genre. I went through everyone I could find. I had some nibbles but no bites.

Next on my tier was to have the large and mid-size sci-fi publishers who would accept unsolicited manuscripts read mine. There aren't many, but I sent it out without any success.

The next step was to send out my query letter and pitch to the smaller legitimate (and check carefully!) publishers, which I did. This is where I started hitting pay dirt. In a short period of time I had five positive responses. The first one to make a concrete offer was IFWG Publishing, which I was pleased to accept. They're small, but spunky.

Had I not gotten any bites at that level I was faced with a choice - to hold back until my next novel was completed, start the process over with the new novel, and then present my first novel to whoever accepted the new novel (providing someone accepted it) - or to self-publish. I'm not sure which direction I would have taken.

The advantage to a tier system is that when I signed with IFWG it was with the knowledge that I was taking the best offer out there for my book.

The entire process took about a year and a half. And I’m happily sitting on the moon.

There is one caveat; it takes more than a plan. It requires perseverance and commitment.

Good luck and keep writing.

Monday, June 13, 2011


First a big congrats to fantasy author Mysti Parker. She just celebrated her 5,000th hit on her blog “Unwritten.” I’ve only got about 3,400 more hits to catch up with you!

Secondly a big thanks to my friend Debbie Orta. She’s not only a mom, a great vocalist and an actor, but also a proofreader. Debbie volunteered to go through Die Laughing. It’s amazing how generous people can be. Deb, I can’t thank you enough!

Speaking of Die Laughing, I finally set up a Facebook fan page for my book. Take a look at it. I’ve got my promo video – where I try to channel Rod Serling – on there. I’ve put up movie posters of 1950’s sci-fi movies that influenced my writing of the story, and I’ve even got a quiz asking what your favorite movie of that era is. If you like the site, “help a poor alter boy out” and hit the ‘like’ button. (That quote is from The Exorcist, if memory serves me correctly.”

Okay enough of the plug, back to the topic.

Before Deb’s proofreading I went over the book twice more myself after it being proofread at least four times earlier. This is humiliating to say, but I still had characters being called by different names! I had Hoover Dam spelled like Hoover Damn. I had one character, Francis, referred to once as France. Sheesh – how embarrassing would all that have been? In my blog on the Nuts ‘n Bolts of submission, I stressed the importance of proofreading, well here I am a classic example of why you can never overdue the process!

It’s the publisher’s turn to proof it again, and then I’m going to go through the galley. Anyone want to bet there’s still more correcting to do?

It’s a headache for sure, but nowhere near the pain of having your work published with errors in it. And really, who do you blame? After all, as the author, the buck stops with me. Keep writing everyone…and keep proofreading!