Friday, November 21, 2003

in which you learn that in comics L and I can run together, and not to give money to strangers

Starting to get rhythms of writing going. Which is nice. Mostly finishing 1602 #8 (the final episode), which is becoming so much less intimidating now that I have Anansi Boys to worry about. (Starting something is always slightly scarier than finishing something else. But only just.) I have an idea of a kind of voice it might be interesting to write a novel in (oddly enough, more or less the one I write a lot of this blog in).

There's an account of the Foyles evening at Congress Hall up at There are also photos from that evening at (you have to search for Gaiman to see them, and they're only thumbnails, but they are there. Dave McKean's the one with the beard, Jonathan's the one in the suit. I'm the one who looks like he should have brushed, or at least raked, his hair before the photos started).

You know, if I got a phone call saying "Hi, it's me. I need lots of money. I've just had a car crash, and am unexpectedly pregnant. Send it to the following bank account right now," I like to think I would at least say "Who is this?" rather than, "No problem, oodles of cash on its way to your bank account, whoever you are." This appears, however, not to be uniformly the case around the world, particularly not in Japan. Well, according to Reuters, anyway.

And over on you can read a comic from the New York Times News section, about papparazzi trailing Madonna. It's pretty much readable online, although a few hand-lettered characters have closed up, as they are wont to do. It took me a couple of puzzled rereadings to realise that the autograph hunters did not, as I had first thought, turn up at the Four Seasons carrying cupboards. (Which makes it a very good thing that Clint Eastwood was not there that day.) There's more background on the story here.


Ok, straight to the point:
My mind has been left not quite the same by a small story included in one of your comicbooks. The problem is I can't remember in which one was it. The story includes a woman, a nasty man, broken promises, churches, three little girls and a big worm. (I apologise for the awful summary.) Could you possibly help me with this?

Also, I have to mention the virus-like effect that many of your stories have. -It's scary, it really is! I find myself trying to get people that are close to me to read e.g. Snow,
glass, apples, just so that I wouldn't be alone! ..and if succeeding, I have felt like a criminal. ..funny, huh!

So, to some sort of a comrade in crime, my best wishes and greetings from a snowy Finland,

The story is somewhere in the middle of Sandman Book 9, The Kindly Ones, and you can find the original folk tale I based it on in Neil Phillips' Penguin Book of English Folk Tales

hey Neil! I'm very excited to hear about you starting on a new novel. hopefully you get all the inspiration and love you need.

I just had a quick question...I know you've given advice on getting published before, and I've read it, but I was wondering if you could answer a slightly more detailed question...which publishers publish your sort of novels? how does one find a publisher willing to publish a fantasy novel, as opposed to, say, publishers who focus on reference books?

maybe it's a silly question.

~Silly American Girl

It is a silly question, on the face of it, with an even sillier answer. But you'd be amazed how many publishers who only ever publish reference books get sent manuscripts for romance novels, which they will never publish, while publishers who really want a new book of werewolf erotica are probably being sent cookbooks as I type this. So it's actually quite a sensible question.

So this is the secret. You go to a bookshop, and you look at the kinds of books that are sort of like yours. Then you look on the spine, to see who published them. Then open the book, and you'll find the address of the publisher on the inside. Write it down. (This can also be done using the web, but a bookshop gives you a better feel of who publishes what quicker.) If you're feeling chatty, talk to the bookshop staff. Say things like "Who publishes the best historical werewolf erotica these days?"

Then send your book to those publishers -- an preliminary letter of enquiry is always welcome, to find out if they take unsolicited manuscripts, or if they want one chapter and an outline, or if they just want you to go away.

Also, if you want to be a writer of SF or horror or Fantasy, subscribe to Locus. The online Locus is really useful. The print version is invaluable.


And finally, Berkeley's Comic Relief, Rory Root's excellent store, is having a cash crisis at the moment. If you're in the Bay area and were planning on buying any graphic novels for the holidays, now's the time...