|A Safkhet, last week. Photography © Guy T Martland
Early December. Last year. I was sitting at the back of a conference hall in faceless Heathrow hotel land. Tired because of an early start and wired because too much coffee was inter-reacting with my sleep-deprived cerebral cortex. My phone seemed to have entered a reception black hole. Or maybe it was jammed because of the planes, I wondered, conspiracy theories blooming in my mind. The hotel had wifi, I noticed during a particularly dull lecture.
I pressed the email icon on my generic smartphone. A missive had arrived from a publisher. I opened it, wondering if it could be another rejection. Always the optimist. I scanned the first few lines. Then read it again. And again. My science-fiction novel 'The Scion' had landed a publisher! They were called 'Safkhet Publishing' - I'd met some of their authors at Loncon earlier in the year. The contract was for it to be published as an eBook in the first instance.
In a break I made some excited phone calls, dropped a few texts to friends who'd read it. The conference passed in a blur. Then there were some drinks in London, a gig (Son of Dave) with some old friends. I may have had one too many. And then then next day: home, happily hungover.
So, where are we now? Well, shortly after the email, I signed a contract with Safkhet. Then came my final edit, working through the book, obsessively making sure I hadn't missed any glaring plot holes. I changed some formatting to Safkhet's liking. A few Cure lyrics were removed - even though Robert Smith nicked stuff from everyone (Mervyn Peake, Penelope Farmer to name a few), I'd read that securing permissions on their lyrics was near impossible. I did however obtain permission to use the title of an Autechre EP as a character (thank you Warp Records!).
And then it was off for their copy edit, sent late December. I imagine it is now slowly working its way through the machinations of the publishing world. Somebody somewhere might even be creating a cover... When I hear more there will be further blogs. But in the meantime, some short stories have been accepted in various places. And I'm writing, writing, writing - mostly working on a separate novel. But I've also cranked out the first 10K words of a loose sequel to The Scion...
You can see some great examples of these in the British Museum, like I did last week.