The Black Sky By The Numbers
It's been a long road to finally publishing The Black Sky. Aside from writing, rewriting, and actually getting the darn thing to people, plenty of other work was involved.
Like any other unrepped writer, I tried to get an agent or publisher interested in the book. That meant query letters, lots of query letters. To my own detriment, I sent out The Black Sky before I should have. The first round of queries occurred before I ended up rewriting the first chapter, which made a significant difference in kicking-off the story. The second round of queries, the book was in better shape, but still had plenty of grammar issues that a quality copy-edit pass would have caught. Overall, here's what querying looked like:
- 126 total queries sent
- 64 no response
- 62 responses
- 59 rejects
- 3 read requests
- 1 offer of representation
You're probably thinking, "holy cow, Tim, you got an agent!" Well, not so fast. Getting an agent doesn't mean getting published, obviously. Having a literary agent tell you they loved your book and want to get on the phone was thrilling, but it is just the start of another process. Over the course of a year, the lit agent sent out the book to thirteen publishers. None were interested, and since we had nothing more than a handshake deal to start, the agent I parted ways when it was clear the book was going that route.
In retrospect, it was too early. I still hadn't re-written the first chapter yet, and there were other edits/adjustments that needed to occur, plus the grammar issues. The fact the agent took a chance on me was, to some extent, validation.
When I knew I was going down the self-publish path, that meant returning to my roots as a DIY musician. Building a press kit, researching outlets for reviews, and all the other work to get the word out on the book. Here's what those numbers look like:
- 179 review queries (mostly book bloggers with some print and digital media)
- 127 no response (so far)
- 37 positive responses
- 15 flat-out rejections