So, I did a thing. I wrote a collection of short stories about an alt-history Roman supernatural squad in the Gallic Wars battling monsters and magic under Caesar’s command. I may be biased, but cool, right? Almost as cool as the publisher, Air and Nothingness Press, who always puts out high-quality books. I can’t be more thrilled with the job their director, Todd Sanders, did with mine. Todd also not only overlooked a writer faux pas, but took advantage of an opportunity when I broke the rules of writerly etiquette.
What are writers absolutely verboten from doing when receiving a rejection letter? Responding. Like, at all. Not even to say “thank you” in that concise a format. I won’t go into the reasons why; suffice to say, it’s super annoying for editors. Well, when Todd rejected a story of mine with favorable comments, I couldn’t resist. I let him know I had more of these stories. Truthfully, at the time, I had exactly one more story finished.
There were no guarantees at any point until late in the process. Feedback consisted of, to summarize, “Cool, I’d be interesting in at least reading more.” So it began. The researching, the outlining, and, eventually, the writing. Aided by some false-alarm COVID off time, and by continued encouragement in the progress of the overarching story, I banged out the words. And, somewhere near the end of the first draft, the book was green lit. A day before falling and breaking my leg, I signed the contract. Recently, I received my contributor’s copies. I checked out the art, felt the material beneath my hand…I smelled the new book smell. And, let me tell ya, folks, I’m over the moon!
Now, full disclosure, I had rapport with Todd already, having worked with him before. I wouldn’t advise doing this blind with a stranger or just any editor. Speaks to how important networking within the writing and publishing community is, really. Also speaks to how breakable a lot of our writing rules are, under the right circumstances. Show don’t tell? Sound advice, often enough, yet certainly not universal. Don’t change tenses? Sure, don’t do that, until you’re comfortable with tense rules and unless you want to experiment, then go ahead and swap those tenses according to your cunning plan. Sometimes it’s worth taking a shot; sometimes risks pay off.
Another disclosure: Todd informs me he is full up right now on books and is not looking for or accepting unsolicited manuscripts.
You can buy the book here, at Air and Nothingness Press:
air and nothingness press – our catalog of books (aanpress.com)