The Four Hundred and Thirty-Sixth Post: The One Where I Type with Crossed Fingers!

Originally I was going to talk about how killing characters to show how big and bad the villain was seemed to be cliched to me, then I happened to be on the LinkedIn and I found this ad for Level 4 Publishing. I read on and found something interesting about them.

What’s-His-Name! NOOOO!

They want writing samples.

One of the problems I have had with notion of getting an agent is that I have absolutely nothing concrete to show for it – a degree of some sort. I know some of you are going to say to go out and apply, but I say this: I can’t for…reasons…the kind I don’t want to get into right now.

Anyway, Level 4 Publishing gives you an outline, synopsis, and characters. From all of that, you have to give them 1,000 words. That’s it. You lay it out on the table and see if they like it. I like this. It’s fair. I have an equal shot against someone with a degree in English.

What’s even better – you get paid $5,000 right out the gate if they accept you. Granted, it’s not all at once, but it’s the usual “advance” and you get 10% net royalties afterwards which is pretty standard in the business. So far, none of the usual flags come up for me – I don’t pay anything, they’re up front about the rights to the books (they’re not mine), and they already have at least one book out. This might be the gateway I’ve been looking for to get into professional writing.

Now, when it comes to length, they are not messing around. 100,000 words. That’s about two months of work of you’re clearing 2,000 words a day. This is my only sticking place because I tend to write about half that and call it a day. While it would be nice to let it all hang out as it were, I am a little curious as to the pace they want. Their ad says I would have to be willing to work 10 hours a week – two hours a day on the weekdays, leaving my weekends to myself. An hour at lunch and an hour at home is no problem. I’d still have the weekends to pursue my other projects which are not making money right now, or I could work six days a week for only two hours and see if I can get some favor for working fast.

Am I going to do this? That’s the question. All I have to lose is…nothing really. I’m not putting forward any of my ideas. The company hands them to me and I run with them. Am I comfortable with the company owning the rights…even trying to get the book adapted for movies or games? Sure. Might help to get my name out there for my stuff. Do I think I’m good enough?

No. There is a reason why I have a dreaded day job. Am I ever going to get successful? Who knows? But if I don’t do something, I am going to be sitting in front of this laptop wondering what would have happened if I took the risk.

I did try to get an agent once at a writer’s convention here in Louisville, but it fell flat. She said that what I had given her (the first chapter of The Dreaded Day Job) wasn’t what she was looking for. That was it. No other words of encouragement, nothing. I think she was looking for YA, which I do not do. After that, it kinda cemented my will towards self-publishing…but if this works…

I think I am going to give it a try. Like I said, I have nothing to lose in this. They refuse me, I plug on and kill a character to show how bad the goblins are. I get accepted, I get a novel outline and synopsis, along with professional cred.

Wish me luck.