So I had more or less exhausted all the options available to me at the time. What happened then? An incredibly lucky break.
I had been teaching English at California State University, Long Beach, for a few years. My office mate at the time, who also happened to be a poet, had just completed his PhD in Literature. After gaining some experience in publishing his own work with small presses, he decided to start his own. World Parade Books, founded by Paul Tayyar as a specialty poetry press, took off very quickly. So quickly, in fact, that only about a year after releasing his first titles, Paul decided he wanted to branch out and publish fiction. I had no idea of his plans, though, until one day he looked up from his desk, turned to face me, and said, "Hey, you have a novel manuscript, don't you?"
I did indeed.
A few weeks later he told me he wanted A KING OF INFINITE SPACE to be the first novel published by World Parade. I was, of course, thrilled.
There's something I find very hopeful about that experience, but something a bit troubling as well. At the end of the day, after I'd done everything I was supposed to do (written the best book I could, followed all the advice, landed an agent, etc.), I had still failed. My success only came because I knew someone. Because I had a connection. I don't, however, feel as bad about that as I once did.
Of all the changes in publishing that are being talked about today, the most important, at least from my perspective, is the increased ability of writers to make connections with people who can have a significant impact on our ability to find a readership for our work.
And while my connection with Paul came about the old fashioned way, many of the subsequent connections that made the success of AKoIS possible were the direct result of online social networking.
To be continued . . .