So, in news that may or may not be surprising to you, I finally received an answer from Baen Books about A Sword Into Darkness.
And that answer was “No.”
After a number of e-mails back and forth with Gray Rinehart, Baen’s resident Slushmaster, keeping each other updated on his review and recommendation schedule, he finally was able to power through my manuscript again. All in all, he thought it was inventive and fresh and well-written, but in discussions with the editor-in-chief Toni Weisskopf, there were some things that they’d prefer changed or fixed in a final buy, but they had to make the decision based on what they had in front of them. Now, it’s not up to me to determine whether they work with me on a re-write to alter the manuscript into exactly what they wanted, but I understand their rationale that they have like a 100 manuscripts a day coming in, a certain percentage of which will meet all their wickets and won’t need to have re-writes requested. Unless they have a sure bet for a good return on their investment, they can’t devote time working on one slush novel when another slush novel is more ready to go.
I fully understand their position, and while I fervently wish they had decided differently, I cannot hold it against them. They’re good, professional people, and I feel blessed for the amount of time they already gave me. I thanked Gray for the consideration he and Toni gave ASID, wished him well, and promised to come back at him soon with a new tale that might hit the wickets that proved insurmountable for my first novel. I still love Baen Books and hope to be partnered with them in future, but ASID’s journey down that road has now ended.
One door closes, but that’s not the only way out the airlock for Nathan Kelley and the crew of the USS Sword of Liberty.
Coming soon, ASID will indeed be published with my friend and mentor Jeff Edwards’ Stealth Books line! I’m overjoyed to be with Jeff and his other writers, and I have it on good authority, that you’ll be seeing a publishing lineup from them which will have me among some very august company. It’s an exciting time for indie / small press / e-publishing, and the soon-to-be-made-public news regarding Stealth Books is more exciting than most.
I asked Jeff about the Baen rejection, and his observation was that as much as 10 years ago, the superlatives Baen had for the book vs the issues they identified would have made ASID an instant buy and a quick rewrite before publication. Now, I can’t say that Gray wasn’t just being kind in his rejection to me, but in Jeff’s mind, the problems they had aren’t really problems at all. He has also shared out ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) with some authors he corresponds with, and they were on the same page, agreeing that ASID should have been an easy investment for a traditional publishing house.
I’m doing my due diligence and trying to address Gray’s criticisms regardless, because I respect his opinion a lot. The additions won’t hurt and aren’t all that extensive. Along with a refresh on the cover, and the addition of some very nice blurbs Jeff was able to gather for me, I hope to have it for sale by Christmas!
What a fabulous gift idea for your favorite space opera / military SF / techno-thriller / adventure fan!!!
In other news, I’ve dashed out my first flash-fiction story, under 1000 words, whick I’ll link here presently, and I’ve re-submitted “ILYAMY” and “Bumped” to different markets yet again. The train keeps a-chuggin’ here at the A-Mays-ing Improbable Author camp. More info soon!
Y’all take care.