Communion Of Dreams

Wish me luck.
March 25, 2008, 12:11 pm
Filed under: Failure, Feedback, Marketing, Promotion, Publishing, Science Fiction, Writing stuff

Well, there’s been another surge of interest in the book the last few days, and now there have been over 8,100 downloads of it.

As I told my wife on our morning walk today, saying “over eight thousand” sounds like a lot. I mean, it’s not just some kind of flash-in-the-pan interest thanks to one posting on a SF discussion forum or something. Over the last thirteen or so months, there has been a continued interest in the novel. And one of the most interesting things is that it largely seems to be due to word-of-mouth – I can only track about 1,200 downloads back to people visiting from other sites (and that is being generous in figuring that just because someone visits from a link on a site they decide to download the book.)

So, I decided to take a step I have been putting off for a long time: this morning I sent a query to a literary agency. In fact, I sent it to one of the agencies I had selected as being a good fit a year ago – they were one of only three who even bothered to respond to my query (of 9 or 10). And they turned me down, saying that they thought the book sounded interesting but were “insufficiently excited” about it. Here’s an excerpt from what I sent them today:

About a year ago, I contacted you concerning the possibility of representing me and my work. Your assistant at the time kindly declined on your behalf. But a lot has happened in the intervening year, and I would like you to reconsider. Given your long history working with science fiction authors, I still think that you are the agent for me.

My finished novel is discussed below. But first allow me to explain briefly why I think you may want to reconsider representing me.

When I set out to find an agent early last year, I also decided to put my novel online, available as a free download in .pdf form. Since then, over 8,000 people have downloaded the book. Some of this has been due to mention of the book in various forums, but that only accounts for about 15% of the downloads, according to my server statistics. The vast majority seems to have come about entirely because of word-of-mouth. And those numbers of downloads have continued to slowly grow. In the last week alone, almost 350 people have downloaded the book.

Shortly after posting the book online, I also started a related blog. The numbers there are not huge, but typically run about 100 visitors per day. Comments pertaining to the novel are almost uniformly very positive. Many people indicate that they are eager to buy the book in conventionally printed form. One person who produces audio books as a sideline was so enthusiastic about the book that he produced an unabridged audio version and made it freely available to me to use – this has just been added to my website in recent days.

Over the past year, as I was the primary care-provider for a family member with Alzheimer’s living here at home (culminating in her death last month), I also wrote about the experience of being a male care-giver for my blog. When I cross posted those entries to other forums, they always received a very enthusiastic response. That series of blog posts runs to about 40,000 words, and I am now planning on developing them into a book on the subject – a memoir, if you will.

So, we’ll see – see whether that is sufficient to entice them to represent me, or if I just get another rejection. Rejection hurts, kicks you right in the ego, there’s no doubt about it. But it is a necessary part of the process. And all of you who have downloaded the book, who have told others about it (and my blog), who have sent me comments and feedback – you all have made it easier to face the prospect of rejection. Thank you.

I’ll keep you posted. This is just the first step – in coming days, I will probably spend some time to select a couple of other agencies and contact them as well. We’ll see what happens.

Jim Downey

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[…] Promotion, Publishing, Science Fiction, Writing stuff In the month or so since I posted this, there have been more than an additional 800 downloads of Communion of Dreams.  Meaning that […]

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