I recently got an email message about a submission. Any time I have material waiting for a response, these messages tend to come in, most of them rejections. This one was different, if only because of the length of time involved.
In December of 2012, I sent Mind & Machine to an open call for science fiction and fantasy novels. The call was for a new imprint backed by the Big 6 and, for once, didn’t require representation. I’d looked into it and decided it was a good deal, it was just going to take a while to hear back.
I didn’t hear back until last week. That’s over a year, if you’re keeping score at home. I had forgotten about this submission since it had been so long since I’d heard anything. (Also, there’s a rule that, after a while, if you don’t hear anything, it’s the same as a rejection.)
During the past year, there have been times when I’ve considered doing something different with Mind & Machine. I could format it and put it up as an ebook. I did it before with Vitamin F, so I already have some establishment in the world of independent publishing.
The question is this: Do I walk away from pursuing Mind & Machine as a print novel and push the current draft as an ebook?
A great deal of people would answer yes to this. Many people will see this post and scream yes at the screen.
Here’s why I said no.
I knew there were holes in the novel still. I shared it with several people and have more people I plan to share the next draft with. I need to find the problems with the story and the writing and fix them. While the best ebook writers have editors on call for this sort of thing, I don’t. I live in Missouri and I’m poor, so I don’t have three hundred dollars or more to pay an editor to look at my book.
Part of my reasoning as well was that I want the multimedia deals. I want the convention booth and the movie deal, the audio book and the discussions in the bookstores. While none of that is cut off from ebook publishing, an independent release for Mind & Machine just felt like the wrong idea. It’s a story that carries a wider audience net than Vitamin F.
That’s why I haven’t given up on a traditional path for Mind & Machine. I’m glad I didn’t give in, since I have recently found some major points in the story that need to be fixed, things that I wouldn’t have caught with an independent release. These are also things that, had I not changed them, would have hurt my name when it comes to later releases.
I’m making the story better now. Perhaps when I’m done, I’ll write up a companion short story or two and release those as ebooks.