Jacey is a long time friend from the Usenet writing group rec.arts.sf.composition – the sf is for science fiction, not San Francisco, as the group had to regularly explain to bemused newbies. :-) Jacey’s published by Daw; her second book was released a few months ago, and her third will be published early next year. If you want to know what it’s like to be picked up by a major name in SF&F publishing, read on. If you want to read what caught the acquiring editor’s eye, there’s a giveaway in the post…
My first book, Empire of Dust, launched on 4th November 2014 from DAW. I was so excited. I’d waited a long time for novel publication.
I got the first review (http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-7564-1016-2), from Publishers’ Weekly, no less, and read it with trepidation. (Hey, it was the first review of my first book, I was allowed to trepidate!) I read it and I read it again. Gradually it began to sink in. It was a good review. Then I looked back at the email that it had arrived in – a congratulatory email from my editor, enclosing the review. (I should have read that bit first and saved myself a giant case of the trepids.) It ends with: “Bedford builds a taut story around the dangers of a new world…. Readers who crave high adventure and tense plots will enjoy this voyage into the future.”
And it struck me, as I read it for the fourth or fifth time how author worries morph as you move along the path towards and beyond your publication. I was talking to Alastair Reynolds on Twitter not long ago (Al and I did our first ever Milford (http://www.milfordSF.co.uk) together back in 1998 before he got his first publishing deal and became mega-famous), and he reminded me that: ‘Worry is the gift that keeps on giving.’
First, you worry that your writing just isn’t good enough to make the grade. Despite all, you stay focused, finish your book, polish it, and think that, just possibly, it doesn’t suck too badly, but then you worry about selling it. Your first step is to find an agent. It may take months, it may take years, but eventually (if you jeep trying) you snag an agent and all of a sudden it feels as though you’ve leaped an insurmountable obstacle with one huge bound. Are your worries over? Of course not. The next big question is whether your precious manuscript will ever sell. (Truth? It might, it might not, but while you’re waiting keep on writing more.)
If you are very lucky (and luck does play a big part), all of a sudden, a sale, and your life changes in an instant. Are your worries over? Far from it, but they turn into different worries. Will the reviews be good? Will readers like it? Will sales be good enough to cover the advance your publisher has paid you? Will you get a follow-on publishing deal after this? I think most authors will recognise this cycle of self-doubt and worry (and hard work), but the thrill of seeing the finish line racing towards you makes you forget the speedbumps along the road to publication.
My first completed book didn’t sell, and neither did my second (unsurprising because it was a sequel to the first – duh!), but my third, Empire of Dust, sold (though not until I’d written seven altogether!). I not only sold Empire, but in the same deal I sold my fifth completed manuscript (a historical fantasy called Winterwood) and got a commission for a sequel to Empire. Yeah, a three book deal with DAW, my dream publisher of science fiction and fantasy! Pretty cool, huh?
I was offered the first sale in July 2013. After a year of edits, rewrites, additions, inventions, reinventions, and just about the craziest most creative spurt of my life to date, my debut book, Empire of Dust, hit the shelves in November 2014 and the sequel, Crossways in August 2015.
Word of mouth and social media are hugely important, especially in these days of diminishing browsing opportunities as high street bookstores disappear from our towns and cities. If you like a book, SHOUT about it to your friends, on Facebook, Twitter, your blog and all the many possible outlets. Your shouts are the oxygen the publishing industry needs.
Thank you to Jules for hosting this. Thank you to you for reading.
I have a mailing list on mailchimp. If you’d like to sign up to receive occasional emails (and I do mean occasional) I’d be very pleased if you would go to my website and sign up here: http://www.jaceybedford.co.uk/contact.htm I will be giving ARC copies to random subscribers. The twenty third person to sign up will get a copy, as will the fifty-first
My Books, Present and Future
Empire of Dust, DAW, November 2014 – Psi-Tech #1
Space opera. Is there anywhere in the galaxy that’s safe for a Telepath who knows too much? Evil megacorporations, planetary settlements, Psi-techs implanted with psionic technology, a star-spanning manhunt, treachery… and love. Cara and Ben battle huge odds to save a settlement, but can they save themselves?
Crossways, DAW, August 2015 – Psi-Tech #2
A hunt for survivors turns into a battle for survival. This follows on where Empire of Dust leaves off. An illegal freeport space-station, a lost ship full of settlers, renegade Psi-Techs… and the megacorporations want revenge on Cara and Ben. They’ll go to any lengths to get it. But something is stirring in the depths of foldspace.
Winterwood, DAW, February 2016 – Rowankind #1
The start of a new historical fantasy series, set in 1800, in a Britain with magic, featuring Ross, a cross-dressing privateer captain who likes her life in the high seas accompanied by a boat-load of barely-reformed pirates and the jealous ghost of her late husband. On a deathbed visit to her estranged mother, Ross gets an inheritance she doesn’t want. Enter Corwen, handsome wolf shapechanger…
Silverwolf, DAW, Late 2016/early 2017 – Rowankind #2
The further adventures of Ross and Corwen as they struggle with the changes in Britain after the events in the first Rowankind book.
Nimbus, DAW, 2017 – Psi-Tech #3
Something is stirring in the depths of Foldspace and unless Ben and Cara can convince the megacorporations that dealing with it is more important than profit the human race is doomed.
Jacey Bedford is a British author of science fiction and fantasy, agented by Amy Boggs of the Donald Maass Literary Agency and published by DAW in the USA, with (currently) five books under contract. She’s also sold short stories on both sides of the Atlantic and has been translated into Estonian, Polish and Galician. She’s secretary of the Milford SF Writers’ Conference in the UK [Link: http://www.milfordSF.co.uk]