*(Or As Seen In Publishers Marketplace, which is the title Evil Kev preferred.)

Normally, what happens in the book world is that someone writes a manuscript. They then try to find an agent, which is usually a lengthy process. Send out queries. Some politely tell you basketweaving might still be an option, or something of that nature. Maybe some invite you to submit more, and you do. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the average search time for an agent is six months. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out it’s more like nine to twelve.

And if you do find an agent with that first work, the next phase will depend on the agent. Either they’ll expect it to be letter perfect and ready to sell before they consider signing it, or they’ll give you their own editing notes. You’ll need to write a pitch, possibly build up your resume with other publishing credits, etc. It all depends. Then comes the shopping phase. And this is not the kind of shopping women are said to love. It’s the kind that will make you pull your hair out. You’ll get the polite rejections. Perhaps some not-so-polite rejections. Possibly some requests for full manuscripts. And it all takes time. I wouldn’t even hazard a guess at the average length of the shopping phase, although my suspicion is that it’s comparable to the agent search. It really depends on a lot of things: luck and timing. Crossing the right editor’s desk at the right time…

This is why the rule is, write the book, get it out there, and get on with the next one. Believe me, every writer soon understands hurry up and wait. It’s the way the business is.

And once you do get signed, it’s not uncommon for it to be as much as two years before your book will actually see print.

That’s about normal.

Of course, we all know there’s not much that’s normal about me.

After some communication with an agent, he asked to read my latest ms. Four days later he offered representation. Six weeks later, the manuscript had been polished by me and I’d edited it again with notes from him. And then began one of the most nerve-wracking stages of my writing career as I waited for updates.

Let me tell you something. No matter how much you know that you’ll drive yourself mad doing that, you still end up doing it, and you really do go mad.

One week later I heard the first publisher had requested a full.

It wasn’t long before another publisher had asked for more… and by then I was starting to receive the rejection letters as well.

After a few months I was a nervous wreck. I knew by then at least one publisher was seriously looking at the book, and my nerves were shot from the agony over every email. Would this one bring news of an offer? Or was this the one where they’d send me packing?

I don’t think I’ll ever forget how it felt to get the news about the offer. Of course, you’re doing the polite professional thing, all That’s wonderful, and what are the details, blah blah blah when you’re alternating between wanting to scream and feeling as though you’ll pass out.

Imagine all that nervous energy building up in your body for a few months, the cord pulled as tight as it can go and then someone lets go of the other end. Knees like jelly.

It was nice that the deal offer came, in the grand scheme of things, quickly. A year ago I didn’t have an agent. Hell, just a bit more than seven months ago I didn’t even have an agent.

And now, I can go on the record that I have a new book deal.

Now, this is just more proof of how unusual this is. I know people who’ve had book deals who haven’t been able to go public for five months, waiting for the deal to be finalized and for everything to be official. Most authors will tell you that the announcement is delayed gratification, sometimes several months after the deal is done. That thing you were excited about that you weren’t allowed to talk about is finally public, and you’re no longer excited because you’re freaking out about your edits.

And people wonder why authors drink.

Well, in keeping with how unusual things have been, I’ve known about this for almost two months, but even that’s a relatively short window of time for this phase. However, because (as we’ve established) nothing is normal for me, my book is not coming out in 2009. It’s not even coming out in late 2008. No. Seven months ago I was still trying to figure out what to call this book, and now I can tell you that What Burns Within will be out in May, from Dorchester.

What this means is, one of the first things I was asked was whether or not I had ideas for the cover. The next thing I had to do was ask around for blurbs, because the cover design had to be finalized right away. The second book in the deal is due in October, which meant I had to finish writing it, and then there are the WBW edits…

But I am excited about finally being able to update my blog, and my website.

Some of you were commenting yesterday on the new look, and I must admit, it was a bit of a pain to get in place. I wanted my blog to be as similar to my website as possible, without being hard to read. The photo used is one I took of downtown Vancouver, from Stanley Park. Now, the blog fits more with the new series, which is a police procedural series set in the Greater Vancouver Area, and as regular readers here know, there’s no shortage of material to work with when it comes to BC’s lower mainland.

What else can I tell you? Well… there are a few people who’ve already had a chance to read What Burns Within and this is what a few of them have to say:

"A taut, crackling read with switch-blade pacing." - Rick Mofina, internationally best-selling author of A PERFECT GRAVE

"Sandra Ruttan writes with utter ferocity. Twists and turns that stun and dialog that absolutely crackles with wit and authenticity. With each page, Ruttan delivers the goods. WHAT BURNS WITHIN is a nonstop chiller of a mystery that keeps you turning the pages." - Gregg Olsen, New York Times Bestselling Author of A WICKED SNOW

"When we talk of the next generation of great crime fiction writers Sandra Ruttan's name is near the top of the list. WHAT BURNS WITHIN has a compelling clockwork plot that comes together with Swiss precision but it's the real, sympathetic and utterly human characters that infuse it with depth and power. WHAT BURNS WITHIN is a stunning book. Not only is this the start of a great series but more importantly it's the start of a long and successful career. Sandra Ruttan is one to watch." - Brian Lindenmuth, Mysterybookspot

You know, it’s the simple things that get me most in all of this. An email from a fan of the work, saying they loved SC. Writers I admire putting their stamp of approval on my book. Just getting the chance to put words on a page.

And now being able to actually tell the people who’ve been asking when my next book will be out that WBW will be out next year. Yeah… that feels pretty damn good.

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Comment by Patrick Balester on March 8, 2008 at 12:20pm
I know what you mean when you say it takes time. I found out in December 2006 that an editor wanted to buy my novel. It will be released in June of 2008...18 months later. I sometimes think that when they say the publishing industry moves with the speed of a glacier, what they really mean is you can expect to hear from your publisher when the next ice age begins.
But I'm glad for you. I'll have to check out your novel. It sounds interesting.
Comment by Sandra Ruttan on September 26, 2007 at 6:14am
Thanks Kathleen. Fingers crossed for you!
Comment by Sandra Ruttan on September 22, 2007 at 2:29am
Thanks Daniel - I'll have to look into Australian distribution. ???

Thanks IJ! A fantastic success would be nice!
Comment by I. J. Parker on September 22, 2007 at 12:46am
Way to go go, Sandra! That's fantastic. Saw it on Sarah's blog yesterday and hurried over to wish you a fantastic success.
Comment by Daniel Hatadi on September 21, 2007 at 11:51pm
Yep, I'm with Karen. Greedy mitts are us.

Congrats again!
Comment by Sandra Ruttan on September 21, 2007 at 3:04pm
Thanks Lynne, Pepper and Jon - I guess the drink explains the spelling, eh? ;)

Karen... I think you should be able to. Let's hope so!
Comment by Pepper Smith on September 21, 2007 at 3:00pm
Congratulations! Glad things are moving along so well for you!
Comment by Karen from AustCrime on September 21, 2007 at 2:38pm
Excellent news Sandra - congratulations - much deserved and I hope we eventually can get our greedy little mitts on it over here.
Comment by LC Fraser on September 21, 2007 at 11:57am
Sandra! I am so thrilled! It is a great book. I look forward to reading the official copy.
Comment by Sandra Ruttan on September 21, 2007 at 6:12am
Well, I haven't even joined SinC yet. There's no local chapter for me to join, so why not join L.A.'s?

I should get on that, actually. I tried to get some membership info from MWA but I guess that's never coming. I'm certainly not holding my breath.

And I'm glad I'm coming out in paperback. Hardcover deals are nice, sure, but it's easier to entice people to try paperback. It's actually still my preferred form to read from, although I end up with hardcovers and trades because of my impatience.

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