This has been a busy old year for me. I accidentally started a series of SFF social meet-ups (the SFSF Social, aptly enough), and saw at least two short stories go to exciting markets. By the end of the year I’ll have been to four conventions. And there’s the small matter of an epic novel to launch at this year’s Fantasycon in Nottingham. You could almost call it an overnight success.
Except that there’s no such thing as overnight success in this business. My first short story sale, This Place Sucks, was to an online magazine called Pantechnicon (now defunct) back in 2010. The issue’s TOC makes for interesting reading – Ian Whates was a name I already knew, and I belonged to the same writers’ group as Ian Sales, but I bet I wasn’t the only one back then who didn’t know who Adam Christopher and Jen Williams were.
Like Adam and Jen, I was in for the long game. I was already building up and writing the first draft of what would become Heir to the North. There are old, long-buried threads in the SFF Chronicles critiques sub-forum from as far back as 2008 where I’m playing with parts of the narrative. Unearthing them is a lot like being in an episode of Time Team – with Panu Lumme, Jeff Richards and others all examining the relics of the dig.
Heir to the North grew into a monster, with a sequel attached. Having spent so long working on it, I wasn’t going to just dump it onto Amazon’s KDP programme and watch it disappear into limbo. I sent it out for representation at literary agencies instead, and collected a couple of dozen rejections. When Angry Robot Books set up an open submission window, I sent it out there too. To my surprise, it nearly got published. Nearly. That was 2013. Two years ago. You might be getting the relevance of this post’s title.
Autumn, 2014. Fantasycon, York. Vodka, and a serious meeting with Sammy Smith of Grimbold Books. Heir to the North had a home. Now all I had to do was hurry up and wait…
Jen Williams is nominated for a British Fantasy Award this year, for her novel The Copper Promise (which is a proper good read, by the way. Recommended.) Which award? Best Newcomer. There y’go: it’s all worth waiting for.
Steven Poore is an Epic Fantasist and SFSF Socialist. He lives in Sheffield with a crafty partner and a three-legged cat. Heir to the North is released by Kristell Ink/Grimbold Books on October 23rd, and is available to pre-order throughAmazon here.