Back in early 2006, there came a point in my Voynich research when I suddenly realized that I knew enough to set sail. Though I didn’t have all the answers (history is rarely so extravagantly generous), at that moment I could see what happened clearly enough to tell the whole story. That quickly formed into The Curse of the Voynich, which took me a little over six months to research & write, and which I’ve had fun self-publishing and selling ever since.
Over the last few days, I’ve come to realize that I’ve now hit precisely the same point in my more recent research, and so am ready to tell an even bigger cipher mystery story. It has lots of faces and places Voynich researchers will find familiar, but plays out on a much grander historical stage. For now, let’s just call it “Curse 2″.
For Curse 1, I freely admit I was neither an experienced enough writer to give the story the treatment it deserved, nor a big enough fish for literary agents to be interested in. But fast forward to 2012 and the picture is quite different: loads of people have bought my book, 900+ blog posts have sharpened up my writing, and I’ve even been on TV.
But this leaves me in a bit of a quandary.
For example, part of me thinks I should get an agent and negotiate a deal with a big publishing house – I’ve got a great story (not too technical, mind) to tell that is universal enough to stand an excellent chance of going into lots of languages and markets, making a right proper splash. However, I’ve heard that royalty advances for writers have basically gone all homeopathic, particularly if you don’t happen to already be a Named Celebrity.
Another part of me thinks I should take Curse 2 to the point of publication and only then do a deal with a publisher: I loved the cover Alian Design did for Curse 1 (even if it did blow the budget), so I have enough publishing experience to present that as a complete package. But if I can self-fund it that far, why not then go all the way?
A yet third part of me thinks I should abandon print completely and publish direct to Kindle and other e-readers, i.e. not bother with mainstream publishers but find a neat book PR company to help me get the word out big stylee. And when that’s a big enough success, only then take the print route. Incidentally, while reading a lady’s Kindle over her shoulder today (Fifty Shades of Grey, the bit about horse tranquilizers in the van? But I digress!) on the train, I noticed that there were more e-readers on view than actual books. It’s certainly reached a kind of Kindle-y tipping point in London now, it would seem.
(Though I would add that I went through all kind of hassle trying to port Curse 1 back onto a Kindle, and ultimately gave up because the pictures came out so abysmally. Perhaps doing the Kindle version first would make the print version much easier to do?)
The fourth option I thought of was to instead write it as a screenplay, and sell it to Hollywood: certainly I can see John Cusack in the title role, with Hilary Swank as his pregnant ex-army wife, and Judi Dench as his insane mother… but I’m digressing again.
Basically, I’m asking you this: what direction should I go in with Curse 2 All comments, hints, suggestions, agents’ contacts and fifth options gratefully received! Thanks!