Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Lyda's FF&F Questions, Kelly's Answers

How long does it take you to write a novel on average?

I'll break that up a little into life sections since I've written eleven and the pace has varied a lot. The last five (since I sold a book) have taken an average of six months apiece, but I think I can shave a month or two off of that, because there have been outside circumstances over the last three years that have chopped my time up in ways that I don't think will continue. The six before that averaged a year apiece. And my very first took about three months.

Do you have another job?


How long did it take you to find representation? How many rejections?

My situation is very unusual in that Lyda did much of the agent work for me by finding hers. By the time I was thinking about looking for agents, Lyda's first agent, was already repping three of the folks in Wyrdsmiths and I'd sold a fair heap of short work. He asked me to send him a book when I met him at a con (about three weeks after I finished the beta draft of WebMage).

I then signed with him about two months before he folded his agency. At that time, another agent, Jack Byrne, who did some work with my agent of two months, was interested in picking up something like a third of his clients. I was one of that third and I've been quite happily with Jack ever since.

So, it took me approximately negative two months from when I had intended to start seeking an agent and zero rejections to first agent. And one folded agency and no rejections from there to my current agent.

How do you deal with irritations or constant interruptions when you're trying to work?

That's a very rare problem for me as I write full time during the day, I don't have children, and my few relatives have been trained not to bother me when I'm working. I don't remember the training phase being too difficult, but I come from a family of F&SF fans and married into another similar family. Both families understand and value intellectual work in general and writing novels is well within the realm of the normal range of pursuits for them.

For those of you, especially debut authors, who sold series where the first book was complete but future books were not: How much freedom did you have with the writing of the second book? Did you just write Book 2 and send it off to your editor? Or did you have to write a Book 2 proposal/synopsis and have it approved before you began writing? Or did you have to write multiple different synopses for Book 2 and let the publisher choose which one you would write? (I've heard of the latter happening, and am wondering how common it is.)

My first book contract was for WebMage and "a sequel." That's all the contract said on the subject of book II. For context, my agent and I had discussed the fact that I had some vague ideas for writing another book in that world and my editor thought that would be great. For further context, WebMage was not the first book of mine that my editor had seen and liked, though she didn't buy Numismancer. So she knew at the time of the first contract that I could write multiple novels in multiple worlds that she would like.


lydamorehouse said...

Great answers! Welcome back, Kelly.

Kelly Swails said...


^JR^ said...

I hope I'm able to earn an interview like that some day.