Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sliding Doors

Just over four months after sending Shamblers off to the publisher I finally found out the book has been rejected. Apparently the powers that be in the wider arm of the company didn't think it was a goer. It's a bit of a blow, especially after hanging out for so long to find out and not really being able to get into anything else in the meantime. What scared me the most in their reply was the fact they didn't want to take any kind of risk because Tales of the Blue hadn't done very well for the company. Now that's a terrifying thought. If your previous published books are not considered a "commercial success"does that condemn you never to getting back into print again? Surely not!

So here I am, in many ways right back where I was 6 years ago when I was tidying up the final draft of Ghost of Ping-Ling for submission. Yes, it's scary. But it's also fairly exciting. Both my publisher and my editor liked Shamblers (bless their hearts). My beta-readers liked Shamblers (big wave to Teresa, Pete, Shilpa and Brendan). And I like Shamblers (and I'm not a bit biased). There's a lot of love here floating around for the book, so I feel I can allow myself just that little smidge of optimism as I reach out to submit the manuscript to as many publishers/agents as I can possibly find.

First off the rank was Allen and Unwin with their Friday pitch. I have to say, I don't feel particularly confident about that one, namely because I haven't had much luck with them in the past. I have this terrible fear they attach an enormous amount of importance to your 300 word synopsis and, quite frankly, my synopsis writing stinks. Let's hope this time I managed to come up with a better specimen.

In the meantime I'm trying to hammer out a query letter. I'd forgotten how much I hate writing those. Maybe then I'll start working through the list of agents I've been following for a while, if it gets to that.

And in the meantime, it's back to work. Time to dust off a couple of projects I've been working on for a while and see if I can make them into anything half-way decent.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Tonight is our very last night in our home of 16 years. When we moved in here we had to plug a cord into the phone-line in order to get internet, our TV was 30 cm wide and could only receive an analog signal (which was frequently blurry), my mobile phone was the size of a brick, and Friday night entertainment meant driving to the video store to hire a VHS cassette of the latest release.

My hope is that when it comes time to move out of our new home, it'll be by teleporter.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

To George, or not to George

So a few weeks back I got an email from a 10 year old girl in New Zealand, saying how much she loved my books. Words can't express how much it boosts an author's morale to get a letter like that. To date I think I've probably read it about 93 times, and I'm not done yet.

The only slightly negative thing about the letter was that it wasn't sent to me, at least not initially. It would seem the young writer googled my by name and came up with an author in the UK. Mercifully, the other Peter Cooper was able to track me down and forward it on, otherwise I would never have seen it. If that particular Peter Cooper is reading this -- cheers old chap. If I ever get any of your fan mail, I promise to pass it on.

This, of course, brings me back to a dilemma that I've blogged about before. My name is simply way too common.

If you google my books by title, you'll get me straight away. If you're reading this blog, you'll hopefully know that you can flip over to the profile page and get my email address from there. But if you try and find me by sticking my name into a search engine you'll get the phone book. Not only that, I haven't a hope of registering a sensible domain name. The .com is taken, as is the I think I might be able to get the, but it's unlikely anyone's ever going to try and find me that way anyway, so I think not.

So, what I'm coming to, is this. Should I be successful in getting another book published in future, I'm thinking fairly seriously that it will be under the name Peter George Cooper.

Not that that's my middle name. I don't actually have one. But I think George would be nice, given that it's my paternal grandfather's name, and a likely choice I guess, if my parents had ever considered giving me one (his other name was Herbert. I'm glad they didn't go for that one).

I could always follow a bit of a trend in fantasy novels at the moment and published under P.G. Cooper. It has a nice kind of "literary" ring to it, which might trick people into thinking my work is deeper and cleverer than it is. But no, I think the full version is better, should I use it at all.

And one of the big advantages is that the domain name is free. Which means, if I go ahead with it, I'll be able to get a proper authorial-type website happening, which is what people tell me I should have, being an authorial-type.

So there you go. That's where I'm leaning at the moment. Watch this space.