Thanks much to Lou for inviting me to participate in this blog. My name's Ari Marmell, and while I've been writing for a decade, I'm still learning how to navigate the ins and outs of publishing. Up until a couple of years ago, most of my writing was freelance work in role-playing games while I tried to build up my fiction chops. I've done some shared-world fiction, tied to the Vampire: the Masquerade, Dungeons & Dragons, and Magic: the Gathering games, but my first wholly original novel, The Conqueror's Shadow, is just coming out this coming February from Spectra.
Any way, all of this is by way of saying, I'm still learning how to interact with editors and publishers. So when I hear "Gee, I really can't buy this book from you, but I like your work and I'd like to do something else with you," I tend to see the "Can't buy this book" and not really the rest of it.
(We writers are a neurotic bunch at the best of times.)
Thankfully, Lou decided to prove me wrong.
See, the novel that he's publishing--The Goblin Corps--wasn't the first book of mine that he saw. My agent first sent him another fantasy novel that simply wound up being too short for Lou to be comfortable publishing. That's fair enough, but I'll admit that, even though he raved about it and specifically said he wanted to work with me on something else, I didn't have a lot of hope when we sent him TGC. Yet, here I am, a new member of the Pyr stable. (Neigh. Winnie. Snort.) And very happy to be here.
Funny thing is, that's actually how I got my start with my freelancing, too. I submitted a book idea for the Vampire: the Masquerade roleplaying game to White Wolf Publishing. Not a proposal, the entire book, which I'd written in my spare time. The line developer at the time, Justin Achilli, couldn't use the book itself, but he liked it enough to hire me on for something else.
All of which means that I should probably start being more optimistic, and start believing people when they say "I can't use this, but..." I should--but then we're back to the whole "writers are neurotic" bit.
But if any of you reading this are up-and-comers, looking at selling your first work, consider this a gentle bit of support: Sometimes "No, but..." means "but" more than it means "no."
Thanks for the reminder, Lou.