Chapter XIX: Clocks
And I'm not excerpting anything because this is the Big Giant Answers chapter where you find out everything you ever wanted to know about what the hell is going on in Fairyland. Obviously, I would LOVE to hear what you guys think of all this. Check out the community, onaleopard , for discussion. (Only three chapters left!)
Secondly, I said I had something big and awesome to announce. Well, do I ever.
As of last week, Fairyland has sold to Liz Szabla at Feiwel & Friends, which is a YA imprint of Macmillan. Not only Fairyland, but also a sequel.
Can I get an omg?
This is a huge landmark in my career and my first YA deal. It's real and it's happening--which I have to keep telling myself. And in large part it is due to you guys, your enthusiasm, your reading every week, your loyalty, your love. Thank you so much. This has been overwhelming, one of the most amazing trips in my life. And it strikes me as wonderful and astonishing that something so very, very Web 2.0, born and bred and thriving online, can be so embraced by the traditional publishing world, can become a hybrid of the old world and the new, so very like Fairyland itself. Obviously this is not the first book to travel such a route, but it is still a road neither paved nor well-marked, and I'm so proud of the universe I live in, where such things can happen, which hath such people in it. I've been sort of reeling all weekend. It was a whirlwind process, so fast, so suddenly like a fairy tale of publishing, where everything goes to plan and you feel like a farm girl at the ball.
Now, I'm reasonably sure that you, and I, and a significant portion of the internet are about to have a conversation about e-publishing and traditional publishing and whether or not this is the future of everything. It is a good and worthy and necessary conversation to have. However, since I already field emails every week about whether it's a good idea to chuck any hope of a publisher and just put everything online, I'd like to make the first volley in that conversation. I would like to point out that before I wrote Fairyland, I had a significant traditional publication history, a pre-established fanbase, and several literary awards. If I had not, I doubt anyone would have cared much that I was posting a book online. I am extremely cognizant of how lucky I am, and how many ways this could have gone wildly wrong.
The fact is, signal-to-noise ratios have always been an issue in online publishing, and the signal-boosting around Fairyland was tremendous. The sale to Feiwel was made possible because of that online support, but also because I have an amazing agent, who is capable of miracles. Agents and editors and the apparatus of publishing are still good things--and ones that do not, contrary to popular belief, automatically stomp on anything original and experimental.
It remains harder to sell a book that is already available online than to sell one that is not. I think something like this hybrid approach is the best of all worlds--and the best of all worlds remains a pretty tough thing to plug into. This kind of thing, which has happened to John Scalzi and through a slightly different vector to Cory Doctorow and a few others, is not yet anything like the normal way of doing business. It's more like courting lightning. It is not a repeatable experiment, really, because the results are still entirely unpredictable. This was a perfect outcome. Therefore, it is an outlier.
Of course, it is an awesome outlier, and I'm utterly beside myself. I need to install a confetti machine in my ceiling. Enough of the sober writerly advice.