On December 8th, 2004, I sold my first book.
I tend to think of myself as having sold it on November 2nd, which is when I came home to find a message on my answering machine (we still had answering machines back then; it was the Stone Age) from the editor I’d submitted Doppelganger to, asking me to call her back. In reality, that was the moment at which I moved from “maybe someday I’ll sell a book” to “I am going to sell this book, and soon.” But I didn’t have an agent, and Warner Books didn’t buy unagented manuscripts — I’d kind of sneaked Doppelganger in the back door — so the phone call was basically to tell me I should go find an agent, pronto. Which I did: I officially signed on with one November 16th. But the deal wasn’t official until December 8th, ten years ago today.
In the interim, things have gone pretty damn well. I have nine novels out there, and two more within the next year. My books have been translated into several foreign languages. I’ve gotten a World Fantasy Award nomination. I’ve experienced my share of the vagaries in this line of work, but on the whole, I feel confident in calling my career a success. Heck, Doppelganger and its sequel are still in print! That isn’t likely to still be true ten years from their publication — it took about a year and a half to see the first one on the shelf, so the anniversary of that would be April 2016 — but they’ve trucked along in a manner that I will, channeling my Scandosotan ancestors, call “quite respectable.” Everybody tells you to expect your first book to sink like a rock; having mine still out there eight and a half years on is pretty darn pleasing.
In celebration of this day, please tell me what your favorite book is (or favorite author, if picking a single title is impossible), and why!