|The Illegal Cover|
I'm a Fantasy author at heart, but I had been working on this particular idea for almost ten years before I wrote an entire novel around it. Religion, the ritual and draw of the whole thing, has fascinated me despite my history of unsubscription from the concept. While religion plays an important role even in my Fantasy novels, I don't plan to address the topic as directly as I do in Thomas Redpool possibly ever again.
Still, it's a fun story, a different perspective, and it deserved to be told and read. It's that very last part where I've run into a bit of a snag.
The publisher of The Ninth Avatar, Trapdoor Books, has read Thomas Redpool. They like it, however, it doesn't fit into their target market of "geek fiction." I've put some half-hearted (some might say half-assed) effort into shopping it around, contacted a few agents and publishers directly, but as with most querying it's a silence-or-rejection game. Just finding a publisher who will consider "religious satire" is an exercise in itself.
Add to that, the manuscript needs another round of edit and polish before it can truly shine. I haven't put the work into it because I've been writing other novels, namely Scions of the Shade and Rise of the Carrion. The core of the novel is strong, it's just cleaning up the description, tightening the narration, and other various minor tweaks that a novel goes through to become a Third Draft. I've been reluctant to do this, also, because my perspective (me feelings on the Christian religion) have shifted since I finished the first two drafts. I don't want my current views to disrupt what my previous views created.
A few weeks ago, a friend informed me that Chuck Palahniuk beat me to the punch in this regard. His new novel (series), The Damned, reeks of the same whimsy, the same satire, and the same subject matter as Thomas Redpool, though mine still has the darker themes between the two. Where his is more like your run-of-the-mill, Satan is the "bad guy" romp (and not in a bad way), mine relies more on an originality of character and villainy that plays with common tropes rather than harnesses them directly.
Still, the similarities are such that I was a bit shocked. And before you go pointing fingers and shouting me down, I'm not accusing him (or anyone) of stealing ideas. That's just ridiculous, and I won't have it, you hear? Nevertheless, it's a bit of a question now as to whether his book has paved the way for mine or stolen a bit of its thunder. The jury will be out on that indefinitely, I'm afraid, since this is so far on Chuck's periphery that I couldn't even begin to imagine he cares.
So, the question remains about what exactly to do with Thomas Redpool. I could continue to shop it around to a publisher, hoping someone will bite now that a world-class author has gone down the religious satire road; I could self-publish it, after a round of edits and design work, and assume that more people would be interested in reading it than have already read it (you few, brave, cherished souls); I could continue to sit on it as I've been doing, bringing it up as my adventurous second novel that was never published, a semi-secret-sample of my work and charming disdain for the Catholic Church. I have options.
Based on past and recent feedback, I think the self-publish route would be best, at least for the foreseeable future. It's a short novel, something you could blast through in a weekend even if you read slowly, and I have no doubts it will either offend you or make you laugh (but probably both). It is a fun novel, this wonderful creation of mine, practically oozing cynicism and sarcasm and all things wonderful that keep you coming back to listen to me drone on here at Initial Draft.
I suppose that means you should keep your eyes peeled for purchase links. Who can say when I'll set aside the time to do the cover and map design (hint: this is a cry for help to people who are better at this than I am), not to mention pore over the 78,000-some-odd words with a red pen and an Exacto knife, but I think my mind is made up.
If you support this idea, please let your voice be heard.
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