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It was a busy weekend. William and Kate were married, bin Laden was killed, and I sold my very first book.

Kathryn posted about it the morning after it happened, and I followed up with my own Facebook post when I returned from Austin, and since then a lot of friends and family have been asking how I found out about the big news.

So in lieu of a full convention report, in which I would undoubtedly leave out something or someone important, I’ve decided it would be more fun to focus on the events of that night. One I will remember for the rest of my life.

For those who didn’t already know, last Thursday I travelled to Austin, Texas, for the World Horror Convention. On Friday night, I attended a party put on by ChiZine Publications in the convention suite. I was with a small group at the time including Simon Strantzas and Gary McMahon. Earlier in the evening, Gary, who I had met at the 2007 World Horror Con in Toronto, had given me some very good advice on the Felix Renn novel I’m currently working on. To show my gratitude, I gave him copies of the first two Felix Renn chapbooks. (This will be important later.)

When we went up to the party, the place was so packed that people were spilling out of the room and into the hallway. Helen Marshall, a managing editor with ChiZine, told us that the readings had just started because the previous group’s party had run long. It was very hot and stuffy up there, and we all agreed to head back to the bar for a drink. Helen told us we should really stick around, but we told her we’d be back shortly.

So we all tromped back down to the bar and had a drink. Not long after, Helen Marshall and Michael Rowe showed up and told us we needed to come upstairs immediately. Wow, I thought, they really want us at this party!

So the group of us headed back up to the con suite. The moment we got out of the elevator, everyone headed down the hall, except for Gary. Turns out he forgot the chapbooks I had given him at the bar. I told him I’d go back and get them for him, and Gary said he’d come with me. So we pressed the call button and waited.

Moments later, Michael Rowe popped back around the corner and asked where the heck were we going? I explained the situation to him and he told me to get my butt into the room. He actually grabbed me by the arm and pulled me into the party. And I’m so glad he did.

Brett Savory and Sandra Kasturi, the publishers of ChiZine Publications, were in the middle of announcing their upcoming titles. I recall clapping for them, and then they said, And here’s our latest author, whose collection we just accepted, Ian Rogers! I was still clapping and thinking, Who the hell is Ian Rogers? Then I realized, Hey! That’s me! I waved my hands in the air and I’m pretty sure I hopped up and down a few times. It was an exciting and surreal moment.

The rest of the evening was spent shaking hands with people who congratulated me on my good news, and answering two questions over and over again:

Q. When did you know they had accepted the book?

A. The same time you did!

Q. What’s the book going to be called?

A. I have no freaking idea!

It was true, I had submitted the book to ChiZine with no title. I always figured it was no big deal, titles were easy to come up with. I’d worry about it later, if they accepted the book.

Well, folks, it looks like I better start worrying.


19 Comments for In which the Writer finally sells a book

  1. May 2, 2011 @ 10:59 pm
  2. An almost perfect retelling, except you forgot that it was me that snagged you in the hallway, not Michael. Don’t you remember all the names I called you?


  3. May 2, 2011 @ 11:23 pm
  4. Riiight. You snagged me in the hallway and Michael pulled me into the room. My bad! I think the shock of the whole thing kind of fried my mind. It’s a miracle I remember any details at all.

    Strangely, I remember all the names you called me. I wrote them down so I could give them to my therapist.


  5. May 3, 2011 @ 1:45 am
  6. You’d better start capping that “Z” in “ChiZine,” Ian, or the deal’s off!


  7. May 3, 2011 @ 7:27 am
  8. D’oh! I always forget to do that!

    Fixing…


  9. May 3, 2011 @ 11:10 am
  10. I would never have made that spelling mistake, but Helen already knows that.


  11. Kate Brown
    May 3, 2011 @ 12:52 pm
  12. Ian! So proud – my adrenaline is pumping for you. Congrats!!!


  13. May 3, 2011 @ 1:05 pm
  14. Thanks, Kate!


  15. May 3, 2011 @ 9:31 pm
  16. I suggest you call your collection Adam Golaski. Perhaps ADAM GOLASKI.

    Ian, congratulations. Really very exciting news.


  17. May 3, 2011 @ 9:34 pm
  18. Thanks, Adam! How about “Adam Golaski Presents… Horror Stories, by Ian Rogers.”


  19. May 4, 2011 @ 12:33 am
  20. I think your modifications are a little too subtle. But they do retain the core of my suggestion, and of course that’s what’s important. My main concern was that Strantzas would suggest you use HIS name, and that could only do your first collection harm.

    The title is tricky, isn’t it? I spent a lot of time trying to think of a title that wasn’t X and other stories–for a number of reasons. The story in the title gets a lot of pressure put on it, but it also seems like a lame title for a collection. It suggests to me that the collection was not thought out. I suppose if a story is really famous. As a model, I considered Aickman’s collections. Cold Hand in Mine. Quiet, evocative. Painted Devils, etc., etc. One of the best titles for a collection is Kelly Link’s Stranger Things Happen. For a while I toyed with the Talking Heads lines, “Watch Out, you might just get what you’re after, cool babies, strange but not a stranger.” Nothing came of this.

    Tho Hirshberg’s collection includes a story called The Two Sams, it’s a really good title. I love it. So there are exceptions. Maybe it’s the “& Other Stories” (Gene Wolfe’s collection an obvious exception).

    I suppose you might troll Twin Peaks for a good title. The Red Room. Invitation to Love! That’s it! Or just Bob.


  21. May 4, 2011 @ 7:11 am
  22. Yeah, I’m brainstorming a bunch of titles, some taken from titles of stories in the collection, some completely different.

    At the night of the ChiZine party, I had people giving me advice on titles and it was a combination of Whatever you do, don’t name it after one of the stories in the book and Just make sure you name the book after one of the stories in the collection. Uff.

    I do like “Twin Peaks,” though. You might be onto something there. Words Spoken Backwards in a Red Room with a Dancing Little Man.


  23. May 4, 2011 @ 5:15 pm
  24. Congrats again, Ian! So, can I say I knew you when…? :)

    If it was me in your shoes, I probably would have tripped in front of everyone and gone crashing into something Mary-Katherine-Gallagher-style (my middle name is Catherine, after all).

    Exciting news, man!


  25. May 5, 2011 @ 6:56 am
  26. Thanks, Mary! Fortunately, there was no tripping, but it has been confirmed by more than a few people that there was much jumping up and down in the air!


  27. Lesley
    May 5, 2011 @ 8:11 pm
  28. Congratulations Ian!!!! That’s fantastic news! Can’t wait to read it!!! :)


  29. May 5, 2011 @ 10:21 pm
  30. Thanks, Lesley!


  31. Laird
    May 26, 2011 @ 8:25 pm
  32. Congrats, Ian. It was only a matter of time.

    Regarding the title, there aren’t any rules or best practices besides picking something you want and getting your publisher to sign off on it. The “whatever you do” stuff is myth making (likely drunken myth making given the scene you were at).


  33. May 26, 2011 @ 8:35 pm
  34. Thanks, Laird. I think you’re right about myth making, on both counts. There are no hard and fast rules about these sorts of things. I’m trying to look at the book as a whole and think of a title that reflects most if not all of the stories. It’s harder than it looks. Probably in large part because it’s my first book and I want to make a good impression on readers. At the same time, I’m trying not to overthink the thing, either.

    I actually just fired off a few titles to CZP a few minutes ago. I guess we’ll see what they think. :)


  35. Laird
    May 28, 2011 @ 12:08 am
  36. It’s going to be terrific, I am certain.


  37. May 28, 2011 @ 8:06 am
  38. Thanks, Laird. I appreciate the support.


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