Thursday, June 25, 2009

Day 201 - From the Desk of... Richard Aaron!

How was Gauntlet published? That’s a story in itself, but here are the high points. I had put together, over the course of 18 months or so, a ramshackle, complex international thriller. It was a first novel affair, and was more than 1000 pages long (no one had told me that manuscripts should be 250 pages, 12-point font, double spaced, with wide margins). At considerable expense I made 100 copies, obtained lists of agents, and sent out the manuscript, fully expecting at least half of them to come knocking on my door, beseeching me for publication rights. Nothing happened. There were two or three polite “no thank yous,” but that was it. I couldn’t believe it. The manuscript, I thought, was magnificent. So I sent out another 100 copies, with the same result. One agent must have taken pity on me, because she sent my manuscript on to a freelance editor in the business of helping authors “prep” their manuscripts for submission to agents and publishing houses.

That was how I met Carrie White, a young lady who knew the publishing business but was just getting started. She saw some promise in the manuscript, and agreed to take it on as a project. There were many rough edges, a lot of unnecessary detail, plot lines that absolutely did NOT work, and about 700 pages too many, but the “core plot” showed promise. Thereafter, over the course of about two years, the manuscript went through dozens of revisions. We cut plot lines, cut characters, changed the fate of our hero, gave our bad guy more personality, and refined the timeline. At the end of it, Carrie had friends and family members read it and the response was uniform: it was a great story. But the MS was still 500 pages long, and that was a squeeze – we were using 11-point font, 1.5-line spacing rather than double, and there were no margins whatsoever. Anyone who knows will tell you that an agent would turn that away without even looking. The book was ready, and we still wouldn’t be able to pitch it! So Carrie jumped off the cliff. She begged, borrowed, and mortgaged everything she had to create Glass House Press, and jumped in with both feet. After a year of prepping it for publication, we released it on March 3, 2009. And held our breath. We thought the book was great, but what would everyone else think? I mean, first-time author and first-time publisher; how much credibility did we have?

We found out soon enough, when the reviews started rolling in. We got great feedback from the majors like Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal. While on tour for the book, we had magazines and newspapers covering the release. New York Times bestselling authors like John Lescroart and David Morrell came on board with endorsements. And my head began to spin.

Carrie caught a wave and surfed it, and Glass House Press now has many books in the pipeline (I’m no longer her only author). I’m working with her on editing the sequel, Counterplay, and talking to agents about foreign rights on Gauntlet. We took an incredible gamble, and it’s looking like it’ll pay off. In retrospect, I think we were part lucky, part good. Well… make that 70% lucky, 30% good. Sometimes I still have to pinch myself, and it still makes my day to know that anyone at all has read my book.


Thank you so much Richard for stopping by today! I know I'm personally looking forward to Counterplay! The best of luck to you and your career ahead of you =) Don't forget to check out my review of Gauntlet here! && Be sure to pick up a copy of this amazing book!


LuAnn said...

Great interview, Mish! I will also be posting an interview with Richard Aaron on my blog later today!

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