This week, as happens every week, I received a number of emails from readers asking about the status of Waymaker and my search for an agent to represent the Pearlsong Refounding fantasy series to the publishing world. After months of waiting, I finally have something to tell you.
First, the disappointing news: The agent who has most recently been considering representing me and these books finally contacted me. Unfortunately, her answer was no. In her own words:
"The market is flooded with faith-based fantasy right now, more so than in 2003. With the audience stretched thin, publishers are hesitant to take on new series and authors. And selling a series that has been in print before – even the first book – is a steeper uphill climb than selling a brand new novel. I’ve tried it twice before, with authors in similar situations to yours, and haven’t been successful yet. That’s not to say it’s not possible; I work with a select number of top houses in CBA, and can’t speak for the entire industry. But for me, the chance of success is just too slim to take it on, and so I must decline the opportunity to represent you and this series.
"Please know that I say this regretfully, and with every respect for you as a writer. Perhaps the best thing to do is to self-publish the trilogy, to provide the conclusion to the readers already so anxious for its release, and then re-enter the trade publishing market with something new, and with a faithful following of readers."
This was a blow to me; I had great hope that she would say yes. I received her dispatch on December 19th, and have been deep in prayer and thought ever since then about my next step. This agent is the fourth (or fifth?) I have wooed and cajoled to take on this project over the past few years, and in my opinion, she was the best the industry has to offer. If she does not believe she can pull this off, then it's unlikely any other agent will either. Besides, this search for an agent has taken too much time already. I've given it well over a year; I've given it my best. And I think it's time to conclude that, for whatever reason, this is a closed door.
So I've decided to stop looking for an agent, and along with that, to stop looking for an established publishing house to produce these works. Instead, I'm bringing the whole thing "in house"--that is, I've decided to publish the books myself.
So, awesome readers o'mine, here's what that means: Over the next few months, I'll be hiring typesetters and cover designers to create an entirely new look for both Gideon's Dawn and Waymaker. And I will (most likely) be publishing the books through lulu.com. Within a few months, both books will be available for sale directly from my websites:
(And a new one that's being created right now: www.thepearlsongrefounding.com !)
As well as through Amazon.com and a few other online distributors. Because I'm self-publishing, the books will be more expensive than they would have been with a traditional publisher (I'm guessing somewhere in the $20 range), but they will be out, professionally done, and easily accessible to all of you who have so patiently waiting so long for the story to continue.
With Waymaker out, I will spend the rest of the year completing the third and final book in the trilogy, The Word Within (working title), which I plan to have released in the Spring of '09.
I will also be republishing my popular devotional book, Alone with God, as well as a second devotional that is also ready for print, The Transformed Heart. So, presto: Just like that, I am suddenly a publisher.
Again, my gratitude to all of you who have stuck with me so patiently. I promised I would see these books come to print, and I am a man of my word. I may be late, but I am faithful. :)
Feel free to share your thoughts on any of this. I welcome your comments.
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