We are just coming off Voices in the Walls, which, if you missed it, was a fragment of a novel presented with commentary. It was intended to provide young writers with a chance to look over my shoulder.
Like most experiments, I didn’t know if it would fly, but I think it worked out quite well. Now I intend to expand the idea by presenting Jandrax, my first published novel, as a serial, with commentary on world building, person, publishing, writing style (Be careful how you write, it will still be around to haunt you in your old age!), and changes in the world of fiction from then to now.
In August of 1978 I received this letter, which changed my life.
August 8, 1978
Mr. Syd Logsdon
Dear Mr. Logsdon:
I have just read Jandrax, the novel you sent to my husband. Lester handles the fantasy for the list, and I take care of the science fiction.
I like the book and would very much like to publish it–probably in the Spring.
I offer you (monetary and rights details, very modest)
If these terms are satisfactory, get back to me, and I will get a contact prepared.
Is this your first novel? It reads well, and I would hope to see many more from you.
Would you prepare a 200-word About The Author (in the 3rd person) to run in the book and send that along in the next few weeks.
I think readers like to know something about new authors.
I shall look forward to hearing from you. Welcome to Ballantine.
Judy-Lynn del Rey
DEL REY Books
P.S. I’m not sure I love the title. Can you come up with something a little jazzier that captures the spirit of the book?
If you are a would-be writer – and why would you be reading this if you were not – you probably already know what a rejection letter looks like. I had certainly seen dozens by the time Jandrax was accepted. I’ve seen hundreds since.
Acceptance letters are a different breed of cat. This one hangs, framed, above my desk. I look at it from time to time to remind myself that I am a published author, when current events make that seem fantastic. I have had a few more acceptances, which are filed, not framed, because only the first one gives you that maximum heart thump.
Jandrax begins tomorrow