Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere ~Carl Sagan
My did I notice your book bloghop entry is at the bottom.
MP: Julie Flanders is stopping by for a visit on Spacedock 19 today. She’s a librarian by day and a writer all the rest of the time. Her debut novel Polar Night will be published by Ink Smith Publishing in 2013. When not writing fiction, she loves to write about animal-related issues, and she writes several columns for the Examiner.com. She blogs at What Else is Possible? A great place to visit on the internet.
Can Craze get you a drink, Julie? Sorry about all the dust. He’s still remodeling, mumbling something about creating a destination spot.
JF: If Craze can make me a good gin & tonic, he’ll have a friend for life. Thanks for having me, Mary. Don’t forget the lime, Craze.
MP: He must be out of limes. That looks like a Siegna starburst. They taste good, though. I’m glad you came out for a visit, Julie. I was excited to hear your novel will be coming out in 2013. Uber awesome! How many queries did you send out?
JF: This is my first Siegna starburst but it’s yummy. Thanks, Craze!
I sent out 16 queries. Back in the beginning of the summer I sent out 12 to agents and then as the summer went on I sent 4 out to independent publishers. I had no luck at all with the agents, but got full ms requests from 3 of the small presses. Ink Smith got back to me fairly quickly and it’s been a great experience with them so far. I have to say I thought writing the query was 100 times harder than writing the book!
MP: That’s great to get three requests. What attracted you to the small presses?
JF: I just felt more comfortable trying smaller presses. When I did submit a few queries to agents, I found the whole process intimidating and I got discouraged very quickly. I also had some difficulties finding agents who I even thought I could submit to because I can’t narrow my book down to a specific genre and, even though I mostly consider it a suspense story, it also has a significant supernatural element. At least from what I found, the smaller presses seemed more open to considering paranormal or supernatural tales. Also, I saw many bloggers who had submitted to small presses and ended up very happy, most notably my friend Lisa Regan. She had gone through so much to get an agent and then still ended up having to wait so long for acceptance by any of the traditional publishing houses, I just didn’t know if I even wanted to try to go through that. Lisa was so thrilled when she was able to sign with her publisher and announce the publication dates for her books that I found her experience very inspiring.
MP: It’s really wonderful how we have so many credible paths to becoming published and successful authors these days. So, you said you had three requests for the manuscript. Did you send them all in when requested, or did you have to send them one at a time? How did that process work?
JF: I sent queries to four different small presses that included a synopsis of the story and the first few chapters. Three of them requested the full ms, so I sent it out to each of them at different times as the requests came in. I know with some presses or agents they ask for partial requests first, but that wasn’t the case for me. Each publisher asked for the full ms after I sent my initial query. It was very nerve-wracking hitting the send button each time I sent out the full ms! As soon as I hit send I started wondering if I had made a mistake in formatting, if the editing really was done, etc.
MP: How long was it from when you sent the queries to getting the manuscript requests? Then how long did the manuscript sit with the publisher before you heard anything back?
JF: About a month between sending the query and getting the request for two of the presses, the third was three months in between query and request. I received a contract offer from my publisher about a month after sending the full ms. I sent out my first ms early in the summer and it sat with the publisher for a good three months. I still didn’t have a response when I ended up signing my contract.
MP: So what happens next? Were you given an idea how long until the book is finished and will be released?
JF: I know it will be published in 2013, but I don’t have a date yet. This is just my speculation, but from my dealings with the publisher so far I would guess it will be in late winter or early spring, so I don’t think I will have to wait too long. Right now they are working on a cover picture but I don’t have any idea what it’s going to be yet. I’ve sent in the ideas I had for a cover but now I just have to wait and see what they come up with. I’m very anxious for that and I know it will be exciting to actually see a cover with my book’s title on it!
MP: More exciting will be to see your name on it. How long did it take you to get from aspiring author to about-to-be-published author?
JF: I started writing in earnest in 2010 when I started volunteering as a writer for Best Friends Animal Society. Before that, I had only shared a few stories I’d written with friends, and none of them were anything that could have been published. But I enjoyed the volunteering so much I started thinking about trying to make a go of writing and seeing if I could actually get paid for doing it. I got a few paid credits in 2011 that were a huge thrill and then one night in the summer of 2011 I had a dream that inspired me to come up with the story for Polar Night. It took me about nine months to go from inspiration to finished novel, and then I started submitting in the summer of 2012. So I guess the process of getting to a point where I even considered the idea that I could be a writer to having my novel picked up for publication has been about 2 years. But I’ve always loved writing and I’ve loved making up stories in my head ever since I was a kid, so I guess you could say it’s taken a lifetime to actually get to the point where I believed I could take the stories out of my head and write them down.
MP: I think the story of most writers… a lifetime to get what’s in our heads into publishable form. I’m immensely glad you stopped in for a visit today. Is your gin and tonic OK?
JF: My drink was better than okay, thanks. Nice job, Craze.
Thanks again for inviting me to be here at Spacedock 19 with you, Mary. It’s been a lot of fun and it’s always great to hang out with you and Craze.
Here’s a sneak peek as to what Polar Night is about:
When Detective Danny Fitzpatrick leaves his hometown of Chicago and moves to Fairbanks, Alaska he wants nothing more than to escape the violence and heartbreak that left his life in pieces. Numbed by alcohol and the frozen temperatures of an Alaskan winter, Danny is content with a dead-end job investigating Fairbanks’ cold cases. That all changes when a pretty blond woman goes missing on the winter solstice, and Danny stumbles upon some surprising connections between her disappearance and that of another Fairbanks woman three years earlier. Forced out of his lethargy, Danny sets out to both find the missing woman and solve his own cold case.
The investigation points Danny towards Aleksei Nechayev, the handsome and charming proprietor of an old asylum turned haunted tourist attraction in the Arctic town of Coldfoot. As he tries to find a link between Nechayev and his case, Danny’s instinct tells him that Nechayev is much more than what he seems.
Danny has no idea that Nechayev is hiding a secret that is much more horrifying than anything he could ever have imagined. As his obsession with finding the missing women grows, Danny finds his own life in danger. And when the truth is finally revealed, the world as he knows it will never be the same.
Did I notice your book? Bloghop hosted by Ciara Knight and Alex J. Cavanaugh.
Here’s a book I hope to get to reading real soon:
Child prodigy and now Doctor of Anthropology, Isabella Mumphrey, is about to lose her job at the university. In the world of publish or perish, her mentor’s request for her assistance on a dig is just the opportunity she’s been seeking. If she can decipher an ancient stone table—and she can—she’ll keep her department. She heads to Guatemala, but drug trafficking bad guys, artifact thieves, and her infatuation for her handsome guide wreak havoc on her scholarly intentions.
DEA agent Tino Kosta, is out to avenge the deaths of his family. He’s deep undercover as a jaguar tracker and sometimes jungle guide, but the appearance of a beautiful, brainy anthropologist heats his Latin blood taking him on a dangerous detour that could leave them both casualties of the jungle.
Any questions for Julie on querying small presses or why it might be great to choose one? Visit Julie at What Else is Possible.
Knights wanted! Join the jousting tournament and launch party.