Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My First Book Deal (With Surprise Twist Ending)

In January 2012, with my self-publishing venture lying in ruins, I enrolled my book, The Jackpot, in Amazon's KDP Select Program.

As you may recall, and as I documented here, this proved to be one of the smartest things I ever did for my writing career. 

Because the book had finally done well, my agent Ann and I decided to see if there were any foreign publishers that would be interested in the book. So in February 2012, Ann submitted the book to a number of overseas publishers. She warned me that foreign deals were hard to get, and that they could take a long time. 

The book toddled off to faraway lands, and we went on with our lives. The Jackpot's time in the sun came and went, and its carriage finally turned back into a pumpkin. 

That spring, I finished the manuscript I'd been working on only to realize far too late that the book was a total disaster and would have to be re-written, almost entirely from scratch. I documented that experience here.

I floundered about for a while. Then in November 2012, I returned to a manuscript that I had started but had not finished. I loved this manuscript, but had abandoned it, thinking it would not be marketable. Eff it, I thought. I loved writing it.

I worked on that book for the next year and sent it to Ann last fall. She loved it. We spent the last part of 2013 and early 2014 whipping it into shape, and it went out on submission about a month ago. 

There were a number of interested editors, but, as it turns out, I'm not the special quick-sale flower I was certain I'd be, and these submissions do really take time for all but the luckiest of authors. So we wait. And we wait.  

Then on Tuesday, March 25, I got an e-mail from Ann's co-agent and my fellow Wahoo, Penn, with this subject header: 

FW: THE JACKPOT by David Kazzie/ Bulgarian offer

As writers tend to do when they get e-mails like this, I looked at the words all out of order. Offer? The? Kazzie? FW? And I was like, what? 

I opened the e-mail to discover that one of the leading Bulgarian publishers had made an offer for the Bulgarian language rights to THE JACKPOT. 

A real, actual book contract. For a book whose heyday I thought had long since come and gone. More than two years after the book was submitted.

So here we are. My little self-published e-book, which I finished writing years ago, which I often worried should never have been self-published, is going to be a real book. The book that I'm most proud of is out there fighting for its publishing life right now, while its ancestor, The Jackpot, becomes the first one to kick down the traditional publishing door. A publisher is buying my work. My words. And hopefully, this bodes well for my new book. Hopefully, The Jackpot, old and wise like Mr. Miyagi, is establishing a beachhead for all my work to follow. 

Chuck Wendig recently wrote (I'm paraphrasing a bit here) that every writer tunnels his own way through this business and then detonates the tunnel behind him. I couldn't agree more. Everything about my career has been weird and nothing at all as I had envisioned it when I was a rookie writer. I've been at this a long time. I've had some bizarre experiences, some terrible heartbreak, and some weird successes. Nothing compared to the moment that I saw that e-mail. Life is weird. 

I'm beyond excited about seeing a print version, seeing a new cover (I'm guessing), seeing my words translated into a language I cannot read, and especially reaching a new audience that I wouldn't be able to on my own.

I'll post updates about how things go as THE JACKPOT marches along to publication in the next year.


  1. Some important tips: