Tuesday, July 9, 2013

On Publication

For some reason, I've recently been pondering where I am in my writing "career" and just how I got here. Much of it was achieved by a combination of insane hard work and blind luck.

It's been a strange journey for me to become a published novelist. I started off writing short stories and carried on doing that for several years. Then I managed to sell the first novel I'd ever written to a small indepndant publishing company called Humdrumming. My novel, Rain Dogs, came out, received glowing reviews and a BFS award nomination...and then the company went bankrupt.

A few years later I was asked by Jon Oliver to send in a  pitch for a zombie novel for Abaddon, an addition to their popular Tomes of the Dead line of titles. To my suprise, my pitch was accepted. I'd never written a zombie novel before, hadn't read many zombie novels, but dived in anyway - it was a great learning experience, and gave me my first mass market title: Hungry Hearts. I'm still very proud of that grim little bastard of a novel.

During this time I also pitched to Angry Robot a novel-length story featuring a character I'd been writing about in the short form for years: a man called Thomas Usher. It took a while, but that one was finally accepted. I had about three quarters of the novel written when I got the phone call. I'd pitched two novels - Pretty Little Dead Things and Dead Bad Things -  and the acceptance gave me the impetus (and the confidence) to write the second one.

Flushed by this success, I then pitched an ambitious horror/fantasy trilogy to Solaris - The Concrete Grove. I never expected this one to fly. I thought I was pushing my luck, trying to be too ambitious. But, to my amazement, that one was accepted, too.

Now all these books are out in the world. They've been critically well-received, but haven't exactly set the world alight with sales. I'm not quite sure where that puts me in the eyes of publishers.

I'm currently working on another pitch - a novel that combines gritty crime and horror with a sliver of SF. I'm also writing a haunted house novel on spec. I have no idea if either of these books will sell to a publisher.  Possibly not. Probably not. You can never tell with these things. But I carry on. I keep writing the stories that demand to be told. What other choice do I have?

6 comments:

Luke Walker said...

For what it's worth, Gary, I'm a huge fan of your stuff. Hungry Hearts is one of the best zombie books I've read (and I've read more than a few), and The Concrete Grove trilogy is up there with Clive Barker's best stuff. Looking forward to your future books.

Mark said...

Keep writing, matey. It's all you can do. And no false modesty -- you're doing pretty well at it so far.

Sven Declerck said...

Gary, I'm also a big fan of your writing. I don't own and haven't read your first 2 novels but I've read the first 2 Concrete Grove books and absolutely loved them. I'm kinda saving the last one for a bit. I still have the 2 thomas Usher novels on my mount TBR and I already own 2 of your short story collections. I try to get all anthologies where you're featured also. I dunno, I really like your writing, especially the atmosphere you're able to create ;) So, you keep wrinting 'em and I'll keep buying and reading em ;)
Greeting from a Belgian fan

Alex Babansky said...

I first read your short story for the 'Season in Carcosa' collection, and I was stunned. The gritty narrative inspired me to write a small piece of music with a spoken excerpt from your story. It's here.

Then I bought a couple of your other books and I'm completely hooked. You have a very powerful narrative, I can hear it, and I like when it's being read aloud (which is a rare thing since not many books are written with that kind of voice).

I'm quite inspired to compose music to the whole 'Carcosa' story and maybe do some excerpts from your other books. If you like it, I'd be most excited to help you promote your work further, with such musical audiobooks.

I'm an interpreter and musician from Ukraine.

Alex Babansky said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gary Mc said...

Note: Alex's commented appeared twice, so I deleted it...nothing sinsiter. :-)

Alex, I'm thrilled that you were prompted by my story to write some music. I'd be delighted to have a chat about collaborating on something, if you'd like to drop me an email at garyzed@hotmail.com

Thanks, everyone. Your comments are inspiring!