I received an email from Wizards of the Coast publishing on Tuesday, notifying me that they are declaring Maiden of Pain out of print. This is pretty common practice for publishers. Unless you’re a bestseller or under contract for future titles, you’re a candidate for pruning. I fall under neither category.
The email stirred up quite a bit of emotion for me, and not all of it positive. I’m grateful to my wife for helping me discard a lot the dross and finding the wake up call.
I need to get published again.
There are a couple different paths I could take toward this goal. Another FR novel is one possibility, but not a good one, for a couple reasons. I would either have to wait for an invite to submit, or send in an unsolicited proposal. It’s been more than two years since the last time I was asked to submit a proposal.
I did send in an unsolicited proposal shortly after GenCon Indy 2006. I should point out that WotC does not accept unsolicited manuscripts, or even proposals, from the general public. I did so based on the advice of some of the veteran WotC authors I met at the convention. Wizards sent a polite response back, but nothing further.
There’s a good reason why WotC doesn’t accept unsolicited manuscripts. Their publishing staff plans out the novel lines a year or two in advance. This includes not just storylines, but the number of books they will publish. There’s not a lot of wiggle room, even for previously contracted authors.
My proposal had little hope of becoming a manuscript based on just the above. Some additional revelations this year confirmed it. The first was the advancement of the FR timeline by 100 years. My proposed story was set before the Spellplague.
The second was the release of James P. Davis’ second FR novel, Shield of the Weeping Ghost. I haven’t read the novel, but from what James has told me, there’s some crossover in the locations we used–specifically, the ruins of Shandaular. His novel was in the pipeline first, which meant an immediate rejection of my proposal.
I still plan to send another unsolicited proposal after the 4E FR campaign setting is released and I’ve had a chance to read through it. However, my best opportunity to get published is to complete my own novel manuscript and shop it around. I’ll still be at the mercy of an agent and a publisher, but I’ll have more control than in a work-for-hire situation.