Thursday, December 22, 2011

Book Deal! Book Deal!

By Jay Stringer

First off, I wouldn't be me if I didn't mention Joe Strummer. He passed away 9 years ago today, and I always take a little time on this day each year to play some of his music really loud. If you don't have his last two albums, then you're missing something special.

Secondly...Oh yeah, hey, I got a book deal.

Well, I say I got a book deal. What I actually did, see, is write a book. My agent got a book deal. It's a three book contract from the cool people over at Thomas & Mercer, and I'm really looking forward to working with them. The deal will see the publication of the first Eoin Miller novel, OLD GOLD, and it's two follow-ups.

Here's how my agent tells me to pitch the story in one line;

Half-gypsy ex-cop Eoin Miller is caught between two competing criminal families in Great Britain's Black Country when he's framed for the murder of a mysterious young woman he met only the night before.

I'm not very good at pitches, truth be told. If I could pitch a story that well in one line, I wouldn't have written it as a book.That's a skill I'll need to improve on. On my own neglected website I describe the story like this;

It’s pulp fiction, first and foremost, but it will sneak in some social fiction if you look the other way. It tells of a half-gypsy gangland detective. If you’re a businessman looking to find a statue of a falcon or a family looking for a missing toddler, you need not apply to Eoin Miller. If you’re a drug lord looking for a missing stash, or an illegal immigrant looking to stop a rapist, then he might be the man for you. He is very happy ignoring the world, his friends and his family. He’s doing a very nice job of learning to bury his conscience. He will take your money and find something you’ve lost, and then he will walk away. But when a woman is murdered in his house, he’s forced to make some big choices. He has to try and rediscover the difference between right and wrong, and he is badly out of practice.

I have some big plans for Miller over the course of his story arc, and I'm looking forward to getting back into his head and bringing the stories out to you.

One of the things we set out to do on DSD was to "pull back the curtain," and show you the other side of the publishing game. Joelle's been giving some interesting insights into her rise to world domination since she joined, (hey, you heard about her two new deals, right? FOUR BOOKS people, FOUR BOOKS.) I'm going to try and hold myself to showing things along the way about my own process.

First up, the deal and announcement. It's a strange process, and a stranger feeling. You know it's going on, of course. You talk to your agent as she talks to the folks making an offer. And you're sworn to not tell anyone, which means you only tell a few people. Then the deal is done, and you know it's done, and part of your brain is telling you, "Hey, it's cool. You're gonna be published. You're cool with this. Look how cool you are, not freaking out."

But then the deal get's announced. And for some reason, your agent telling the world about the deal makes it more real than when she told you, and you go a little mental. And so does twitter. And facebook. And your email inbox.

So thanks to everyone who sent me kind messages over the past few days. Thanks to the DSD crew for almost 3 years of alternating between, "hey, you'll get a deal, don't sweat," and "sit your ass back in that chair and write a better version." Thanks to my wife for keeping me sane thus far. And thanks to super agent Stacia Decker (and the DMLA) for getting my foot in the door.

The foot is in. The thing about the publishing industry, from my limited point of view so far, is that every step is the hardest step. Each corner you turn is "where the hard work really starts." The hardest part is writing the first story. Then it's getting an agent. Then it's getting a publisher. So now, once again, the hard work is about to start for me. I hope you guys will enjoy reading the occasional blog about how I work at getting through the next stage.

And, of course, tell everyone you've ever met to buy the book.

Happy holidays, folks!


Anonymous said...

Congrats, Jay! That is such wonderful news. You nailed it when you said "every step is the hardest step." The pressure and self-doubt never go away, so I guess we must really love doing it to keep doing it.

By the way, one Joe Strummer fan to another: I saw the Clash in their first-ever North American concert (1978, I believe, though it may have been '77, at the old Harvard Square Theater).

Ben said...

Congratulations, Jay. You worked hard, kept your nose down. Now reap the rewards!

Dana King said...

Congratulations, Jay. I've read DSD since its first post, so I feel I know a little about you. You've worked hard and persevered to earn every bit of credit that comes your way.

I'm looking forward to the books.

Chris said...

Congratulations! In celebration, I'm off to play a little Strummer...

Al Tucher said...

Fantastic news, Jay!

Steve Weddle said...