Since I started poking around at Sue Dent’s website yesterday looking for information on her debut novel, Never Ceese, I discovered that this novel was published by a small newcomer to the Christian publishing market, Journey Stone.
The reviews I found here left me undecided whether the novel could be classified as a horror or a dark fantasy. I realize that there is often a fine line! Anyway, I emailed Sue Dent and asked her about it. Here’s what she said:
The person I saw who referenced Stephen King was saying they liked Never Ceese as much as they liked Stephen King’s The Stand, not that it was like The Stand. There’s nothing horror about it. It’s more hysterical than anything. I can write horror. Mr. Grabowsky who wrote Halloween IV, a true horror writer, said it was “adorable!” However, one woman didn’t read it because even the thought of blood made her sick.
So, okay. Not fully horror, but a little. With a humorous side. I can handle that. Am I odd? When it was a horror novel, I was skeptical. Now that it’s a vampire/ werewolf dark fantasy, I’m keen. Yes, okay, I’m odd. We don’t need to go there.
So I was curious about how Sue found her publishing house and how she’s liked the experience of working with a small house. Her opinion is against much of what I’ve read elsewhere, to be honest. I’ve heard that you should always shoot for the top…you have nothing to lose. (Except for the turnaround time, of course.) Sue felt differently. She had her manuscript professionally edited and then says:
I thought about agents but learned after searching, that they were basically just a middle man who couldn’t do anything I couldn’t do myself. There were arguments from others that I’d never get to the big publishers if I didn’t go through an agent. My response was a hearty laugh and a sarcastic, “I’m not going to get to a big publisher anyway! It’s my debut novel, not even an agent can get a big time publisher to look at it! Get REAL!”
She followed up by emailing every house that accepted electronic queries. Journey Stone asked for the manuscript. This company is set up for promotion of children’s books, and Never Ceese is considered YA. After some time and discussion, a deal was reached and 5000 copies were printed, with another same-size press run due soon. As Sue puts it:
She’s (referring to JS’s owner) only small in that she’s new. And you can’t start off being big. She’s getting geared up and I’m in on the ground floor. I do a lot of promoting that I wouldn’t have to do if I were Ann Rice or someone like that but that’s because I like to.
If anyone else is interested in this read by a new author, post in comments. Sue has graciously allowed me to offer ONE FREE COPY of her novel to a reader of this blog. Contest ends Sunday evening. So let me know why you’d like a copy of Never Ceese and say you’d like to be entered.