Ian McDonald Sells Film Rights to The Dervish House…

Zeno Agency is delighted to announce that film and television rights to Ian McDonald‘s award winning novel THE DERVISH HOUSE have been optioned by Warp Films. The deal was negotiated by Zeno’s John Richard Parker who says, ‘As with all Ian’s books THE DERVISH HOUSE is very much cinematic as well being  an imaginative tour de force. I have always believed it has the qualities that  make it eminently suitable for film and I am sure that with Warp’s enthusiasm for the project and their fantastic track record, all the ingredients are in place to put together something very special indeed.’

Warp Films have had notable successes recently with SUBMARINE and FOUR LIONS and Executive Producer Peter Carlton says ‘We’re delighted to have the chance to adapt THE DERVISH HOUSE for the screen, set in that most iconic of cities, crossroads of east and west, past and future, Istanbul. It starts with an explosion on a tram and ends in a race to stop a terrorist plot, but in the meantime Ian somehow weaves together speculative share trading, nanotechnology and Islamic microcalligraphy, to name but a few strands in this visual feast that has a narrative sweep and ambition all too rare in contemporary fiction.

Hector Douglas Makes a Sale…

It’s not too long (fingers and toes crossed) until we see Ian R. MacLeod‘s brand new novel, WAKE UP AND DREAM roll off the presses. To herald the coming of this event, PS Publishing have produced a short chapbook entitled HECTOR DOUGLAS MAKES A SALE, which is a kind of companion piece to the book and features a wonderfully insightful Afterword by the author.

Produced essentially for private distribution and in support of the pending release of the novel, copies of this piece of collectable MacLeod ephemera were only available at Eastercon and are thus extremely scarce, but I managed to swipe a few for the Zeno archives – including one signed by Ian.

News From Planet Eastercon…

Zeno clients triumphed at the BSFA awards, which were held at this year’s Eastercon, at the Hilton Metropole in Birmingham over the Easter weekend.

First up was Aliette de Bodard, who was on hand to collect the award for Best Short Fiction for her story The Shipmaker, which appeared in Interzone issue #231. I managed to snap this pic of her being dwarfed by David Weber, who was on hand the present the award. (The homeless man to the rear is Paul Cornell prior to the removal of his comedy charity beard – for which he raised an impressive amount of money for, ironically, Shelter!)

No sooner had the applause for Aliette died down than our own Ian McDonald took to the stage to accept for the award for Best Novel for THE DERVISH HOUSE (not ‘The Dervish Nights’ as the convention newsletter later reported!), his 2010 novel published by Gollancz in the UK and by Pyr in the US.

A further layer of coolness was added to these wins when we later learned that both Ian and Aliette have been nominated for this year’s Hugo Awards – this news adding to Aliette’s previously reported Nebula nomination for the same story, and Ian’s Arthur C. Clarke Award nomination.

Huge congratulations to both authors.

There were lots of other Zeno authors at Eastercon – I got to meet our latest clients Anne Lyle and David Tallerman, albeit all too briefly, and the mass signing of Angry Robot authors at Waterstones in the centre of Birmingham was almost a mini ‘Zenocon’ of its own. Present were Aliette, Colin Harvey, John Meaney – or was it Thomas Blackthorn? – and, in a rare UK appearance, one Lavie Tidhar (pictured here next to a banner proclaiming his novels in all their steampunky glory.)

Elsewhere at the con, at readings, on panels and if truth must be told, in the bar, one could find Freda Warrington, Susan Boulton, Michael Cobley and last but by no means least Ian R. MacLeod.

I did a panel called ‘Writing 102: Finding an Agent‘, which was well attended and along with Gollancz Editorial Director Gillian Redfearn, Gollancz author Stephen Deas and author Martin Owton, we fielded a number of excellent questions from the audience. Hope those who were there found it helpful.

New Zeno Clients….

In the wake of our recent submissions window and to prove that it does actually happen, we are delighted to announce that the following authors are now represented worldwide by Zeno. Welcome one and all …

Watch this space for exciting announcements for some of these folks in next few days and weeks.

More Awards News – Aliette de Bodard…

We’re posting this somewhat belatedly, but our congratulations to Aliette de Bodard on her Nebula nomination (announced a couple of weeks ago by the SFWA) are no less heartfelt for our tardiness.

Aliette’s story ‘The Jaguar House, In Shadow’, originally published in the 7/10 issue of Asimov’s has been shortlisted in the best novellette catagory and we wish her the best of luck when the Nebula winners are announced  on May 21st 2011 at the Nebula Awards Weekend in Washington.

And you can read Aliette’s novelette for free right now over at her author web site  – follow this link – where you will also find plenty of other wonderful stories available.

Lavie Tidhar Signs…

CAMERA OBSCURA, the new novel by Lavie Tidhar is published next month by Angry Robot, and the author, rumoured by some  to be nothing more than a shadowy internet presence,  makes a rare visit to the UK to promote the release and will be attending – in person! – this year’s Eastercon in Birmingham, where he will appear on a number of panels. Whilst he’s in town, Lavie will be doing a number of events and signings, and so if you want to meet the man that LOCUS call an ’emerging master’, citing five of his projects on their 2010 Recommended Reading List ( Count them, folks! No other author had more listings!), here’s where you’ll find him…

  • Sunday 17th April :  12.00pm  – Waterstones, The Bentalls Centre, 9 Wood Street, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey
  • Tuesday 19th April :  18:00 –  Forbidden Planet, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue,London, WC2H 8JR

And if you want to get a taste of Lavie’s new book, here’s a neat bit of code courtesy of the folks at Angry Robot

Locus Online on Ian McDonald…

Over at the LOCUS web site, there’s a fascinating Roundtable discussion going on all about the works of our client Ian McDonald (whom we reported recently had been nominated for this year’s Arthur C. Clarke award) with a number of learned folks taking part – including Ian’s US Editor, Pyr’s Lou Anders, authors Cat Rambo and Rachel Swirsky, editor and translator Fabio Fernandes and our very own web guru, moonlighting as a learned genre commentator Paul Graham Raven.

Roundtable: Ian MacDonald’s Developing Economies Stories

Kings of the North Freebies…

Elizabeth Moon‘s brand new new novel,  KINGS OF THE NORTH, the second volume in her new Paladin’s Legacy series is to be published by Orbit here in the UK later this month.

If you’re looking to send us a fantasy novel at some point, you could do worse than look to Elizabeth’s work as an fine example of what the market is looking for right now – and courtesy of Orbit – a publisher always on the look-out for commercial fantasy, here’s some free sample chapters from the novel to help you do just that.

Elizabeth has also just contributed a guest piece to the Orbit Blog entitled ‘A Few Favourite Fantasy Dragons‘ which is well worth a look. (Hint: Dragons are hot right now – no pun intended … well, okay, a bit intended!)

King Kieri’s realm has been destabilised by political wrangling and his court is blind to the dangers – until an assassination attempt on their king. And when this backfires, Kieri’s enemies start planning an invasion using dragonfire, a force unseen for hundreds of years. In King Mikeli’s adjoining kingdom, his crown is threatened by a bandit prince. Alured the Black claims his lineage gives him dominion over all the lands. His ambition is boundless, his methods are ruthless and he will not be swayed from his goal, whether or not it undermines a region already on the brink of war. Dark mages also watch for weakness and hunger for their own lost powers. The Kings of the North must plan wisely, as disaster is a sword’s breadth away.

Pats On The Back All Round…

There are all sorts of exciting goings on around here at the moment… We’ve had the staggeringly wonderful news that Ben Aaronovitch‘s novel RIVERS OF LONDON (a.k.a. MIDNIGHT RIOT over in the US, where Del Rey have just published)  will appear at number eight in this week’s Sunday Times Bestseller list for hardcover fiction – a truly amazing achievement for Ben, who, we’re told, is the first début that Gollancz have ever had on this list. Extra big pats for our Ben!

No less vigorous pattage for Mister Ian McDonald, whose novel THE DERVISH HOUSE (also a Gollancz title – and Pyr in the States) has been nominated for the 2010 BSFA award for best novel. The shortlist is impressive, but Ian is widely regarded as a favourite. We’d be very surprised if this was only shortlist this wonderful novel makes this year. Also on the shortlist for the best short fiction is our own Aliette de Bodard, for her story The Shipmaker, which appeared in issue #231 of Interzone – congrats to both authors.

THE DERVISH HOUSE has also made this year’s LOCUS Recommended Reading List, which serves as a guide for the very best material our field has to offer. Here are the Zeno authors whose work has been listed…

Novels, Science Ficition – THE DERVISH HOUSE by Ian McDonald
Novels, Fantasy – THE DESERT SPEAR by Peter V Brett
Novels, Fantasy – HESPIRA by Matthew Hughes
First Novels – THE BOOKMAN by Lavie Tidhar
Collections – JOURNEYS by Ian MacLeod
Novellas – CLOUD PERMUTATIONS by Lavie Tidhar
Novellettes –BUTTERFLY AND THE BLIGHT AT THE HEART OF THE WORLD by Lavie Tidhar (Daily Science Fiction 9/3/10)
Short Stories – SECOND JOURNEY OF THE MAGUS by Ian R. MacLeod (Subterranean Winter ’10)
Short Stories – TONIGHT WE FLY by Ian McDonald (Masked)
Short Stories – THE NIGHT TRAIN by Lavie Tidhar (Strange Horizons 6/14/10)
Short Stories –THE SPONTANEOUS KNOTTING OF AN AGITATED STRING by Lavie Tidhar (Fantasy 5/17/10)

… a pretty good haul by anyone’s standards! More pats to all those who made the list, but particularly to Lavie Tidhar who scored a quite remarkable FIVE mentions!

Submissions Now Closed…

… that’s CLOSED, folks, meaning don’t query us. After two months of being open, I promise you we’ve more than enough submissions to be sorted to keep us going. If you’ve not heard back yet, sit tight. We’ll get to you in due course.

Some observations arising from the recent open window…

  • This web site is full of useful information that is there to help you in targeting your submissions correctly. Why is it that some folks can’t be bothered to read it? Those same folks expect us to read their work!
  • There are no ‘Madams’ at this agency! Queries that open with ‘Dear Sir / Madam‘ are from people far too lazy to do their homework. We don’t want to work with lazy people. Our names are plastered all over this web site – how hard can it be to address your queries correctly?
  • It rather helps to include the title of your novel when you query.
  • It *really* helps to have finished your novel before you query. Did you ever pick up a book in a book store where the last 100 pages were blank? No? That’s because publishers like to publish *finished* novels. We’re not interested in your unfinished masterpiece and cannot sell your project on a promise that you might, one day, get off your backside and complete it.
  • If you want to know how long your book should be, go to a book store, pick up a book that is in the same genre as yours and count the words on a complete line, then count the lines on the page. Multiply that number by the total page count and you’ve got a guide as to how many words a book should be. Do this with three different books and get an average figure. This will help those of you sending in novellas (where do you imagine we can sell your novella?) or novels of 46k, 55k, 60k, 214k etc. DO YOUR HOMEWORK.
  • If we say we want ‘dystopian YA’ and ‘traditional fantasy’, these terms are not inter-changable with each other. Sending a pitch for a dystopian fantasy, thinking we won’t notice is just plain stooopid!
  • If you send a hard copy submission in the mail, it will be filed under ‘B‘ (for ‘bin’)
  • If you append your email with the first chapter of your book, it will sit in the trash forever unread.
  • Having spent so many, many hours investing in your novel, crafting it and honing it, why would you only spend a few scant minutes in submitting it?

If you managed to avoid these obvious pitfalls, (so many don’t) pat yourself on the back. Thank you to everyone who approached us in a professional manner as per our guidelines. We appreciate your efforts and know that without writers we don’t have jobs.  We’re unlikely to opening again for some months now, but keep your eye on the site nonetheless.

Ben Aaronovitch Signing…

Our man Ben Aaronvitch sees his brilliant new novel RIVERS OF LONDON published next month by Gollancz. It’s also being released by Del Rey in the US under the title MIDNIGHT RIOT. With  follow-up novel, MOON OVER SOHO, following in the spring and a third title WHISPERS UNDER GROUND soon to be delivered, January is thus the start of a very big year for Ben.

To celebrate the launch of Ben’s new series, he’ll be signing copies at London’s flagship Forbidden Planet store on January 15th, 2011 between 1pm and 2pm, so be sure to come along and grab a copy. Further details can be found here.

RIVERS OF LONDON manages to be fresh and original and a wonderful read. I loved it.’ — Charlaine Harris

A consummate story of real policing in a vividly real world intersecting the decidedly unreal to marvellous effect. Filled with detail and imagination, the quality of this achievement stands out, making Aaronovitch a name to watch.’ — Peter F. Hamilton

The Biggest Mistakes Writers Make When Querying Literary Agents…

I came across this superb article this morning via my news feeds and thought it so ‘right-on-the-money’ that I’ve added it to our Resources page.

The Biggest Mistakes Writers Make When Querying Literary Agents

This is gold dust, folks! It’s almost impossible to overstate how important and relevant *every* *single* *thing*  mentioned in this article is to the process of querying an agent. READ IT!!!

Since we opened for submissions earlier this month, we’ve been swamped. Indeed if you’re waiting for a response, consider that reading each query takes time, as does responding to each and that we have plenty of things we need to do in our working day that are a higher priority than our submissions pile. This is a fact of life – deal with it!  Be patient. We’ll get back to you in due course.

Zeno Now Accepting Submissions…

We’ve opened for submissions and (presuming you don’t overwhelm us) our intention is to stay open to the end of the year. As ever, we’ve a wish list (see below) that you’d be wise to consider when sending your stuff in. If your project doesn’t fall into any of the categories below, do think twice before sending it in. Unless it is utterly, mind-bendingly brilliant, chances are it’ll get bumped down the reading list and it may be a long, long time before you hear from us.  If your material does fall in line with our current preferences, do please, please, PLEASE follow our submission guidelines – if you don’t, the likelihood of a rejection is virtually guaranteed! Here – very specifically – is what we’re currently looking for…

  • Traditional Fantasy – in short we want to find the next Peter V. Brett. If you’ve read his work, you’ll know where in the field it lies and that in order to compete with this we’re only looking for work of the very highest standards of excellence. Additionally it means we want projects with a wide commercial appeal that we can sell into English and Non-English speaking territories – so don’t send us your six volume, 250k word fantasy epic, because it’s unlikely a French or German publisher will want to pay for it to be translated!  Peter’s work falls into a very specific fantasy niche, so please don’t send us urban fantasy or stuff with angels or vampires or zombies – that’s not what we’re after at the moment.
  • Thrillers – Science Fictional elements are fine, but we don’t want hard SF books right now. Ideally real or near real world – if you’re familiar with 24, we’re after that kind of high-concept, seat-of-the-pants thing. A fast-moving, high-stakes, big-budget page turner. A ‘big’ book – not necessarily in word count, but maybe in body count!
  • Any lady crime writers out there? We’d really like to hear from you!
  • YA is a buoyant market at the moment – we’re looking for something that rings the ‘dystopian‘ bell. The nearest analogue might be THE HUNGER GAMES. We’re definitely looking for YA – SF, perhaps post-apocalyptic, but very definitely nail-bitingly exciting. A teenage, contemporary LORD OF THE FLIES would be nice.
  • We’re also in the market of ‘quality’ non-fiction.. and I’ll leave that definition tantalisingly loose, though do please note the meaning of the word ‘quality’!

JB’s Worldcon Schedule…

I’ll be doing six (six???, yes six!!!) panels at the Melbourne Worldcon. Do come along if you’re at the con, but please, only ask questions that I know the answers to!

Saturday, September 4th…

The Steampunk Playground – Saturday 1000 Room 213

If Tolkien defined epic fantasy, and Howard defined heroic fantasy, who defined steampunk? What are the seminal steampunk texts, if any, and how have they influenced the genre? How does a genre change without landmark texts to guide it?
Richard Harland, John Berlyne, Jay Lake

Pitching The Novel – Saturday 1200 Room 203
How does an aspiring writer go about pitching their first novel? Who do you approach, and how? Do you need an agent? How much should you submit? Do you need to write the whole book before approaching a publisher, or just the first few chapters – or nothing at all? A handy road-map to getting your novel in front of the right person, at the right time, and (most importantly)
the right way.
John Berlyne, Simon Spanton, Rowena Cory Daniells, Ginjer Buchanan

The Writer and the Audience: Online Interaction and Public Personae – Saturday 1500 Room 204
The Internet has brought with it a vast array of tools and opportunities for authors to promote their own work, and to interact directly with their readers. The question is: should they? Should ever author have a website, Twitter feed, Facebook account or Myspace? Should authors create and employ a brand? How should an author interact with his or her fans online? A look at the benefits, as well as where things can go horribly wrong.
Cory Doctorow, John Berlyne, Peter V. Brett, Mur Lafferty

Sunday, September 5th…

How to Review – Sunday 1300 Room 219
Reviewing a book seems easy enough from the outside – but what’s actually involved?  What responsibility does the reviewer have to his or her readers, the author of the book and its publisher? What should a reviewer aim to cover in a review, and how should one approach  a book if it’s particularly bad – or particularly good?
John Clute, John Berlyne, Crisetta MacLeod, Dirk Flinthart

The Secret Life of Literary Agents – Sunday 1500 Room 203
Every aspiring author is told he or she needs to find an agent – but how exactly do you do that? How do you approach an agent: what do you need to provide, should you telephone or e-mail? How do you know which agent is the right one for you? What is the benefit of having an agent? What should you expect from one? What will the agent expect from you in return? Is it possible to sustain a professional career without one? There are a lot of questions – we hope to provide some answers.
John Berlyne, Garth Nix, Ian Irvine

Taking it on the Chin: Authors and Reviews – Sunday 1700 Room 204
Sooner or later, every author is going to receive a bad review. Bad reviews hurt, and it’s often hard not to take them personally. How should authors react to negative reviews? How can  you tell the difference between a review that’s negative one that’s actually unfair – and what  can or should you do about it if it is?
John Berlyne, Jean Johnson, Karen Miller, John Scalzi

Midnight Riot Breaks Out at Zeno Towers…

… as ARCs of Ben Aaronovitch’s novel arrive!

MIDNIGHT RIOT will be published by Del Rey in the US and in the UK by Gollancz under the title RIVERS OF LONDON. Both releases are scheduled for  late January 2011 and will be followed shortly thereafter by Book Two, MOON OVER SOHO.