Novels, The Ruin of Kings
Comments 11

Hello Again

So, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? And boy, stuff has changed. My whole life has completely changed. I figure it’s a new year, so I might as well try to do at least the occasional blog update.

Where I currently stand: in less than 30 days, The Ruin of Kings will go on sale. It’s been an extraordinary journey. A few interesting stats, for folks playing the home game.

  • Number of queries submitted: 42 (should have been my clue)
  • Time from blind querying with my agent (yes, it was a blind query) to actually signing with him: 18 months. Please note this included time for Revise & Resubmit.
  • Time from selling the novel to publication: 21 months.

Add those together and you’ll quickly realize that reaching this stage has taken over three years from the point when an agent was actually interested until the book hits the shelves. Of course, it’s been far longer than that in terms of of all the agents who said no previously, the timing spent writing, etc. And it’s been an extremely busy three years — there was no stage the process was not extremely active. I was revising, people were editing, someone was proofing, creating layouts, sending out ARCs, marketing, designing the cover, recording the audio book.

In project management, one of the many things we seek to avoid is time where a project is in between owners. Where one person has finished working on it, but the other person/team hasn’t yet picked up and began doing their part. That’s waste. Ideally, a project is never idle. So it was interesting to me, as a producer, to see how rare it was for this project to be idle. It didn’t quite mesh with the public perception that traditional publishing is a slow gargantuan behemoth. Slow, yes, but not because of bogged down bureaucracies. Slow because people are taking a great deal of care. I hadn’t expected that.

The other thing I hadn’t quite been prepared for was just how busy I would be. Every author is different, but in my case, it turns out I’m one of those writers who need to spend a great deal of my time doing just that: writing. And while my editors adore that, it’s meant I’ve had to set some hard limits on my free time with friends, some of whom have been slow to understand that what they see as free time (the evenings) is in fact my work day.

This ride is still going, but every day I find myself thrilled, gratified, and humbled to see how the world I created is being embraced by the sff community. 2019 is going to be one hell of a year.


  1. Lambert says

    Jenn, what made you decide to go the publisher route instead of the self publishing route?

    • There were three main factors: 1) I’m not a great self-promoter. I suspected that I’d do better with a traditional publishing assist (and that’s proved true). 2)Because The Ruin of Kings is a fat fantasy with an unusual narrative device (footnotes) it’s really a book that works best in physical print form. And a large print-on-demand novel is one of the most difficult forms to make profitable through something services such as Createspace. 3) Traditional publishing (and also, an agent) has given me access to markets it would have been much more difficult to obtain otherwise. For example, it would have been quite difficult for me to hire the extraordinary voice actors who worked on the audio-book version out of pocket.

      Traditional publishing certainly may not be the right choice for everyone, but it’s absolutely been the right choice for me.

      • Zeline says

        Thank you for this detailed answer, and your honesty!
        I just discovered a few excerpts from the book (French website called Babelio). I was originally looking for recommendations on a Fodmaps’ book ^^
        What got me was “who said you were the hero anyway?”. As a die hard fantasy lover, that’s what I like to hear haha. I am getting a tiny bit tired of the knight in shining armour that will win eventually no matter what or how, or if it is right indeed!
        I am also a writer, I am struggling with the not-hero theme, your take is inspiring 🙂
        (love the hair color)

      • Why thank you! (for all of that, especially the hair color.) Good luck with the writing! It is both the best and the worst time for it right now.

  2. Michael Szczurek says

    Greetings! I live in Lawrenceville and work in Atlanta. I discovered this book at Costco of all places 4 days ago and decided to take a chance on it. I just finished chapter 30, and I am really enjoying this book. Thank you for a new addition to my sci-fi/fantasy obsession. I have never bought the first book of series so close to it’s release date.

    I live very close to Suwanee so there is a good chance I will meet you at the signing in April!

    Keep up the good work.

  3. James Joyce says

    Hi Jenn – there has been some comments on the timeline design of changing back and forth between stories rather than linear. Is that the style you will follow through with across the series (ie have already done on book 2) ?

  4. I love your honesty, sharing the hardships and accomplishments of the industry. I now write to just write. I went through two publishers where I received hardships worth taking my books back. I’ve binned them for the moment and can’t seem to even finish my current WIP. You’re an inspiration currently, as I listen to to The Ruin of Kings.

    • Keep fighting the good fight, my friend. In the end, I think we all have to write just to write. It’s really not worth it, otherwise.

  5. It’s always a turn of phrase that captures my attention. “Problems are opportunities with thorns” rings so very, very true. I’ll be citing that one for quite some time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s