Thursday, May 2, 2013

Guest Post: Debut Author Christian Schoon: Zenn Scarlett


I love reading debut Authors. I also like the inspirational stories about the road to publishing. Today Christian is sharing his journey to publishing. Check it out and his book Zenn Scarlett. Look for my review May 3rd.

The Long and Squirrelly Road to Publication or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying, Landed an Agent and Got “The Call” (which turned out to be an email, but why quibble?) Once a writer has finished their book (you have finished it, right? No? Then you need to get back to work, right after reading this post, OK? OK.) and they’ve polished their query letter, they can then enter the angst-and-torture-equipment-filled room known as the Agent Submission Chamber. I have been inside this room. It’s dark and uncomfortable and smells of fear. But after spending long enough in this room to have my skin go a bit pale, something interesting happened. Something which, I’m sorry to say, proves that in this biz, in addition to some sort of talent, it never hurts to be lucky.
After several years of off-again on-again labor on my young adult sci fi manuscript, I queried my A-list of genre-specific agents ( is a good place to do your research on agents who handle your genre).  Rejected. The gist: “Awesome concept. But it’s not ready.” And they were right. After I got a little distance from the writing, it was very clear I needed to polish. I did this. I was about to enter into the fearful room again when I got an email from someone claiming to have encountered my story. He’d been an assistant to an agent at Big Name Agency. But he’d left that job, and was now starting his agenting career at another agency. He was cleaning out his Kindle and came across my book. He’d actually championed the story to his boss, but after some back and forth with me, they’d passed. Now, he wondered if I’d been signed. I had not. He said the book was kinda like some other SF he’d encountered, but with an original approach he’d never seen.  Some quick backstory: Part of my authorial schtick is that in addition to being a writer who’s sold genre scripts in LA for a number of years, I’ve also worked with a range of animal welfare groups and picked up some amateur veterinarian know-how re: exotic critters along the way. My book was about a novice exoveterinarian specializing in big, dangerous alien creatures and this, my potential agent-angel told me, was a trope both minty-fresh and engaging.  He wanted to work with me to get it published. So, even though I didn’t realize it until a bit later, this was long-awaited Call… in email form.
Over the next few months, we chopped my one long book into two, added a rascally little alien creature as a sidekick for my protagonist and sold Zenn Scarlett to cutting-edge new Young Adult SF/F imprint Strange Chemistry in a two-book deal.
If there’s a moral to this tale, it might be: don’t give up, don’t stop polishing and… be lucky. But, as they say, luck favors the prepared.  So polish away. When polished until you can see your smiling, hopeful face reflected, submit. Rejected? More polish. More submits. Now, you’ll be ready, hair combed, teeth brushed, when luck walks in the door and says “Hey, is that a book you have there? Can I see?”

Zenn Scarlett author Christian Schoon
Christian Schoon BioBorn in the American Midwest, Christian started his writing career in earnest as an in-house writer at the Walt Disney Company in Burbank, California. He then became a freelance writer working for various film, home video and animation studios in Los Angeles. After moving from LA to a farmstead in Iowa several years ago, he continues to freelance and also now helps re-hab wildlife and foster abused/neglected horses.  He acquired his amateur-vet knowledge, and much of his inspiration for the Zenn Scarlett series of novels, as he learned about - and received an education from - these remarkable animals and the awesome veterinarians who care so deeply for them.
Find  Christian at:
Strange Chemistry Website

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