I finally got my cyberpunk story, now titled The Dogs of Cyberwar, polished up as good as I can make it, and I submitted it to Dreamspinner Press this afternoon!
This was, by far, the most awkward submission I’ve ever sent off. The problem occurred when I began doing some final polishing this morning. This turned into some substantial changes throughout the manuscript, which would all be well and good…except that I had accidentally opened up the backup copy of the manuscript, rather than the main copy I was working on.
When I put together the submission query letter, I attached the novella and the synopsis (which I think is actually one of the better synopses I’ve written — short and succinct) to the e-mail, I proceeded to grab them from the folder where the backup copy was located. This would have been fine, since that’s the copy I’d just spent the morning modifying.
However, I noticed that I’d named the synopsis file “Dogs of Cyberspace Synopsis” instead of “Dogs of Cyberwar Synopsis.” So I went into the main copy folder and renamed the file. But whenever I attempted to browse for that file, it kept showing the original “cyberspace” name, instead. I verified that the name of the file in the folder I was looking at said “cyberwar,” but the browser kept showing me a file with “cyberspace” in the title. Thinking that the browser had cached the original folder contents (which browsers sometimes do), I exited out of everything and went back in. But the discrepency still existed, so I rebooted.
Now, when it rebooted, I of course opened the main copy folder, rather than the backup copy folder, since that’s where I thought I’d been working all along. The file said “cyberspace,” which didn’t make much sense. Except that I’d had experiences with thumb drives (where my main copy folder was located) sometime not retaining changes. I’ve actually lost files by saving them on thumb drives, pulling the drive out and finding the file missing when I plug the drive back in.
So I renamed the file again, and this time the browser found it with the correct name. I then sent it off.
Only when the editor at Dreamspinner replied that she’d received the submission and would let me know, did I realize what had happened. The files I’d sent her from the main folder were dated yesterday! At first, I completely freaked out, thinking I’d lost all of the changes I’d made that morning. But Erich asked if I was sure I sent the correct files, so I thought to check my backup folder, and there everything was, all up to date and named correctly.
Thankfully, I’ve been working with Dreamspinner for a while now. I highly recommend against following up a query letter to a publisher you’ve never worked with with a message saying, “Um…would you mind looking at these files, instead of the two I just sent you?” Fortunately, the editor at DSP was fine with that.
Now I get to stress while they consider the story. Even though I like the story and think it’s pretty well put together, I’m concerned about it. In the first place, though I did have some readers tell me they loved it, a couple readers were blasé about it. That could just be personal preference, of course. Not everyone likes the same kind of stories.
But the other concern is the fact that it’s clearly “to be continued.” The story is complete, but the ending indicates another story to come. In fact, I’m already plotting out two more stories with these characters. I’m even weaving some vague Irish mythological themes into it. I know DSP prints series of novels, but I don’t know how they feel about a trilogy of novellas. They might want me to finish all three first.
Or, of course, they might not like it, at all. Then I’ll have to decide whether it’s worth sending to other publishers or if it needs some major work first.
In other news, I’ve finished the second round of edits on We’re Both Straight, Right? and I sent that back Friday night. I think the next thing they’ll send me will probably be the galley proof of the pdf, which I’ll have to check over for minor typos and things like that. At that stage, they don’t like the writer to do much rewriting of the text. Publication is still six weeks away.
Shinosuke is coming along. It’s up to about 10k words now. It’s going to require a major rewrite, to sort out all the Japanese etiquette. I was at a party last night, talking to a friend who’s majoring in Japanese studies, and two of his classmates. We were trying to sort it all out, and they told me some things that I’ll have to take into account, such as their belief that only women would use the suffix –sama, for the most part. It’s all very difficult to sort out, and I don’t know how to get definitive answers. But the main thing to worry about, right now, is the story. I’ll have to sort out the rest later.