Kell Andrews’s DEADWOOD, when an ancient tree sends a message through carvings in its bark, seventh graders must break a code and a curse to save their doomed town…because the message isn’t just about the tree, to Jennifer Carson at Spencer Hill Press, by Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.
Woohoo! A new contract for my debut novel, DEADWOOD. But yes, DEADWOOD was contracted before. As one of my friends quipped, it's a book so nice I sold it twice.
I wrote about the story on my blog here -- how I took a chance on a new small press, and how even though the publisher folded, the chance still worked out for the best. My wonderful editor Jennifer Carson offered me a new contract at Spencer Hill Press, where she is now senior editor.
I took a good chance. But you know what? It was a good chance even before I got the new contract. I'm really proud that I put my book through a small press, even thought I knew it was a risk.
Certainly all small presses aren’t the same. There is a wide range in the category — new and old, tiny and mid-size, traditional, e-only, and POD. Some offer advances, and some don’t. Some are genre specialists, and others are literary fiction vanguards. Some are open to unagented submissions, and some are closed. Some have great bookstore distribution, and others sell chiefly online. There is a range of quality in acquisitions, editing, marketing, and covers, from the highest standards to strictly amateur. Inevitably, some will grow into the big presses of the future (look at Spencer Hill!), and others will disappear. Yep, a lot of them will disappear.
So I did my research. I had realistic expectations. And most importantly, I had a fair contract and I was working with people I trusted.
And lucky me -- I still am. I get work with Jenn again, and my middle-grade contemporary fantasy will reach new readers when the new edition is re-released by Spencer Hill, a fast-growing, dynamic publisher with greater reach and distribution than before.
Ready for another spin of the wheel...