Sunday, 16 May 2021

On (eventually) getting an agent

I've been thinking for the last couple of weeks whether or not to post about my journey to getting an agent. On one hand, I don't know how interesting it would be to most people. On the other, it's been a big part of my life for a long time and now that I'm here. . .well, maybe I know what I'm talking about.

As mentioned before, I submitted my first works to an agent in 1999. I was 22. I'd written a load of loosely linked short stories, a ton of bad poems and I was nearing the end of my first book. I sent several of the shorts off to a London based agent - and bear in mind, this was through the post. In the UK of 1999, the internet was something for pervs and nerds. That meant email was, too. Most agents and publishers wouldn't have given a toss about a website for their company. So, I had to send the printed stories and a return stamped envelope and wait for the money to roll in.

Oddly enough, it didn't come in. What did come was a phone call from the agent. A landline phone call. She asked me about my stuff, what else I was working on, my background and so on. I tried to come across like I knew what I was talking about and not be too deflated when she politely declined to work with me or take any more of my short pieces. She agreed to look at future work, so I promptly worked my bum off on finishing my first book, sent it to her (again with the stamped envelope) and waited for the big cash. Several weeks later, I got my first real rejection. Over the following years, I grew used to the sight of an envelope through my letterbox with my own writing on the front. I had plenty of time and opportunity to get used to it. Email and websites were developing, but like everything else in the publishing world, it was slow and that meant relying on the post as well as the time it took an agent or publishers to tell me to sod off.

I wrote more. A lot more. Shorts, books, fewer poems until I eventually gave those up (my last one was in 2009 when my wife and I got married) and more books. In 2013, an American e-publisher which existed for all of about a year took two of my books. Agents still weren't interested in my tales even though they were much improved from the crap I wrote in the late 90s and early 2000s. Those two books went out of print pretty quickly, leaving me with a collection of short stories I was planning to publish myself and spreadsheets for other books which were rapidly filling with the dates of rejections. Around 2014, the agent who phoned me in '99 passed away. I kept writing.

A small Scottish publisher took two of my books, then went out of business. Hellbound in the States has taken five with a sixth to be published this year. I put the two from the Scottish publisher out (with the third to follow in a few months). Agents showed slightly more interest than they had. On average, I subbed each new book to a minimum of sixty or seventy agents. One or two requested the full novel which wasn't a great result. I began to expand my style from outright horror to more grounded thrillers (which I now learn might be referred to as speculative thrillers) and agents nibbled more frequently, but never bit. I wrote more.

After the utter shitshow that was 2019 for me on a personal level, I wrote a spec thriller last year in the middle of an utter shitshow for the entire planet. I subbed it. Again. Again. I wrote another couple of books and subbed my thriller. Again. Again. Then, near Christmas, I had a request from an agency for the entire book. A definite result. I sent it off and worked on new stuff as well as my new books. After a few months, the agent and I had some encouraging back and forth emails, then a Zoom call to discuss the books, my other work and where we might like to go from there. I made some changes to the story and sent it in. I wrote more.

Three weeks later, we had another Zoom.

Twenty-two years after that first phone call to the departed agent and the discussion about my godawful short stories, I signed with an agency on the back of the spec thriller with plans for others including the book I am currently writing.

And there we are. Of course, a few paragraphs it's taken you a couple of minutes to read doesn't include the seemingly endless rejections, the day jobs, the constant support from my wife in the face of what the fuck am I doing with my time and the surety I was lying to myself about my ability to write a novel anyone would want to read. I could write an entire book about all that. In the end, the writing is what matters. Because it's all I'm any good at, so why would I not do it?

I'm 44 in a few months. Being 22 in 1999 is a memory. That first submission is still here, though. Along with the hope it would lead to something.

Funny thing is, it might have taken a while but it did lead to something.

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Long time coming

Remember 1999? A long time ago, wasn't it? I was 22; I had a head full of dreams (if not hair); I was yet to meet my wife while I shared a house with my brother, worked in a record shop and spent my free time writing books and short stories that I was convinced would sell the first time I sent them anywhere.

They did not.

Since I submitted my first work to agents in 1999, I've written twenty-one books, more shorts than I can recall and had rejections literally in four figures. I've self-published a couple of books and had a few published by indies. The record shop is as long gone as my hair, but not my dreams.

Cut to 2021.

After twenty-two years, I'm now represented by a literary agency. As of yesterday, I have signed with The Liverpool Literary Agency on the back of what I'm calling a speculative thriller. The idiot kid I was back in '99 can't quite believe this any more than the slightly less of an idiot adult I am now. In any case, I've got a book to edit prior to it going out on submission and another which needs a fresh draft. I best get cracking.

Cheers, people.

Friday, 2 April 2021

The Day Of The New Gods - out now

Thrilled to say that the prequel to The Mirror Of The Nameless is now out in paperback and Kindle (for the bargain price of 77p for a limited time). I've had so much fun with these books and can't wait for the third and final part to be out hopefully late summer. So, here's The Day Of The New Gods. Remember, that low price won't stay forever, so get it while it's cheap.



mybook.to/DayOfTheNewGods

Thursday, 4 March 2021

Is this thing still on?

Been a little while since I last blogged which has taken me by surprise. The first couple of months of this year have fallen into a routine for me - working from home, writing, staying up too late to watch Netflix and then repeat the next day. There doesn't appear to be much end in sight to that no matter what the UK governemt says about key dates. We'll see where things go, I guess.

In other news, I've written the first draft of a new book which I'm pretty happy about as it's the first time in close to twenty years I've written without an outline. I had an idea, a character and wanted to see where both would go if I didn't know what was coming beyond the next couple of pages. As most first drafts are terrible (mine, certainly), it's crap with glimpses of something decent in there. It'll take a lot of work to get into shape, but I've got the time.

As I finished that draft yesterday, I've started work on getting The Day Of The New Gods ready for re-release next month. There's less I need to do with this one than there was with The Mirror Of The Nameless but I'm still going through it in close detail. And then there'll be the third and final part in that series. The Nameless is written; it needs a spit and a polish although it's mostly sorted. I'm aiming to have that one out in the summer. In between, I've got a few short stories to send out. Speaking of which, my short pieces The Baby Monitor and The Thing In The Loft will both be published soon at two different publishers. Hoping for good news on others. It's been a while since I've written short stories but I got the taste for them again last year and have notes for a few more jotted down.

New Gods is my main focus for March. Looking forward to revisiting my old friends. If you'd like to meet the Gods after they've been running the show for thirty years, then Mirror is the book for you. And come Day, you get to meet them on their arrival.

Expect shit to go down.

mybook.to/TheMirrorOfTheNameless



Thursday, 31 December 2020

2020 over and out

2020 is on its way out and I doubt many people will be sad to see the back of a pretty awful year. 2019 was a nightmare for me on a personal scale while this year. . .well, if you're still here, you know the score.

Three of my books went out of print which was a big downer, to be honest. More so because I'd started work on a new tale connnected to two of those books. On the plus side, I reprinted one (The Mirror Of The Nameless) and am a couple of months away from reprinting the second with the final one following later. 

I also got back into writng short pieces after leaving them for a while. I've currently got fifteen out on submission so hoping for good news in the next few weeks or months. I had two new books published (Pandemonium and The Kindred) which was sweet even if the first one came out the same week Covid meant the UK went into a national lockdown so it sank without trace.

 


 

Going into 2021, I've got the two books connected to Mirror coming along with my crime/horror Winter Graves from Hellbound. Next week, I'm starting work on a brand new book which I'm really excited about. I've often mentioned changing angles with my fiction to keep things fresh; with that in mind, this one is potentially looking like a horror/thriller rather than out and out horror. I'm also coming at it without a detailed outline. First time I've done this in best part of twenty years. Again, keeping it fresh. Or it's a terrible idea and the whole thing will crash and burn 20k in.

Lastly (and going back to the books connected to Mirror), I have the cover ready for the prequel. The Day Of The New Gods will be re-released in April. These three books are my Friday night with a few beers type books. OTT, violent, action horror. I describe Mirror as Mad Mad meets Lovecraft. Day is Lovecraft meets The Long Good Friday. I've had a blast writing all three which I hope comes across in the books.

 


Anyway, keep going, people. We're in for some bad times but we have to hope we can get through them bruised, not broken.



Friday, 4 December 2020

The Mirror Of The Nameless out now

Here it is, people. The Mirror Of The Nameless is back to life in paperback and Kindle. It's been revised and expanded from the original release with around 10k of extra words which means more scenes, more horror, more good stuff. The Kindle edition is only 99p (or not much more depending where you are) and the paperback isn't too pricey, either. The prequel, The Day of the New Gods, will follow early next year along with the third and final part in the series - The Nameless. I've had a lot of fun with these books so hopefully, that's come across in the finished tales. And I'm sending out my newsletter this weekend with a cheeky look at the book, so sign up here:


https://tinyletter.com/LukeWalkerWriter


Anyway, here we go.

For thirty years, three monstrous gods have ruled over the planet and turned it into a living nightmare. Dave Anderson knows the only way to avoid being sacrificed to the gods by the authoritarian government is to keep his head down and ask no questions. But now, his teenage daughter Ashleigh has discovered that there may be a way to vanquish the world’s terrible rulers. Hidden in a long dead writer’s fiction, clues have sent her on a life or death mission to a legendary weapon which can open the way to another world.

Pursued through a burning hellscape by a lawless group of killers intent on offering him to the gods, Dave is running out of time to find Ashleigh and save her soul as well as her life. But even as he battles his way through the blood and terror, Dave is yet to discover the gods will wipe out everything before they let him find the door to other worlds. Because they know what lurks on the other side of that door. A horror that dwarfs their evil a thousandfold.

The Nameless.

 

mybook.to/TheMirrorOfTheNameless


Thursday, 5 November 2020

The Mirror of the Nameless is coming back (and more)

Several months back, my books The Mirror of the Nameless and The Day of the New Gods went out of print due to issues at the publisher. I'd begun work on a third and final part in the series, and Day had been out for barely a year, so I wasn't keen to just let them go. Trouble is, getting reprints accepted by a new publisher is close to impossible. After working through them over the summer, I'm ready to announce that I'll be publishing the two books myself with the third coming after. To that end, a revised and expanded version of Mirror will be published in about a month. New scenes, new cover and new blurb. Speaking of which...


For thirty years, three monstrous gods have ruled over the planet and turned it into a living nightmare. Dave Anderson knows the only way to avoid being sacrificed to the gods by the authoritarian government is to keep his head down and ask no questions. But now, his teenage daughter Ashleigh has discovered that there may be a way to vanquish the world’s terrible rulers. Hidden in a long dead writer’s fiction, clues have sent her on a life or death mission to a legendary weapon which can open the way to another world.

Pursued through a burning hellscape by a lawless group of killers intent on offering him to the gods, Dave is running out of time to find Ashleigh and save her soul as well as her life. But even as he battles his way through the blood and terror, Dave is yet to discover the gods will wipe out everything before they let him find the door to other worlds. Because they know what lurks on the other side of that door. A horror that dwarfs their evil a thousandfold.

The Nameless.