I just got back from out west, where I had a meeting with publisher Shahid Mahmud and his assistant, Lezli Robyn. I met Shahid two years ago on the Sail to Success cruise he sponsors. I went on the cruise again this year, and on the last day of the program Shahid asked me if I would be interested in doing something with his company. In the words of Kevin J Anderson, who has mentored me in the past, “I can do that.”
It was interesting how we ended up in Arizona, since I’m from Florida and Shahid is from Maryland. This was supposed to be a collaboration with another successful independent author who has also had a lot of short stories published in major science fiction magazines. Shahid sent me the money for tickets and a hotel, while he bought tickets for himself and his assistant. I wanted to do a little traveling in the region after the meeting, so I bought a flight in to Tucson, then out from Las Vegas. At the last minute the other author dropped out of the project, so I still had a trip to Arizona. We had three days of meetings in a local Denny’s, while I spent the mornings looking around the area and taking pictures (855 on the entire trip. Aren’t digital cameras wonderful).
I brought the signed contract with me and gave it to Shahid before the first meeting. This was to cover the legal aspects of what we would be discussing. I have twelve months to produce the first book, which will be edited along the way, then six months after that delivery to give him the second book. It will be a unique space opera/military science fiction universe I had already started to develop. After I am finished and Arc Manor has promoted it, other authors will be invited to write in it. I may be able to swing a couple of people, but it’s up to Arc Manor to decide who will write in it. I may do some more books, and I have been asked to do at least one short story well before the publication of the first novel to help generate some buzz. I don’t want to go into any more detail. Nothing about the financial arrangements, which are between myself and the publisher. I think I am getting a very good deal, and one which could boost my exposure considerably, helping me in my independent publishing endeavors as well. The funny thing was I told Shahid at first that I didn’t need an advance, since I put my own books out without one. He insisted that I take one, with the advice that you never turn down money. Have to remember that.
I will be producing an outline on the first book as well as a series arc before the end of the month. Arc Manor will handle the cover, editing, and promotion, including a website, though I will be putting up content on that site, including sketches of ships, maps, and so on. I am really excited about this opportunity, which, though just one of many coming up, could turn out to be a really big deal for myself and Arc Manor. For those who don’t know, they publish Galaxy’s Edge, a mag edited by Mike Resnick; a series of books pairing new and established authors; short stories by Larry Niven, and reprints by many famous authors including Robert Heinlein. This is my first traditional publishing deal, and I hope the first of many. Don’t worry, I will still be putting out books in my several independent series. After all, it takes time for traditionally published books to come out, and indie novel still bring in money within a couple of months. More news on this deal to come, though Arc Manor will wait until it is near ready to come out for their release. Blogs to follow on the rest of the trip, and some observations that will appear in future books.