Strange Chemistry’s shutdown, and also me

I find myself torn on whether I should talk about this sort of stuff in public, being business related. Is it unprofessional to expound on one’s business disappointments? I suppose we will find out soon (or at least formulate a basis for the discussion).

I was taken aback at the recent news that Angry Robot is closing down its imprints, Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A. To be honest, my dealings were exclusively with Strange Chemistry — while I enjoy a good mystery, it’s just not the sort of book I tend to seek.

Science fiction and fantasy for younger readers, willing to take some unconventional approaches to the genre, is more up my alley. I was there for their launch at WorldCon and bought books there (SHIFT by Kim Curran, and BLACKWOOD by Gwenda Bond, both of which I happily recommend to those interested in some contemporary sff). I mean, this doesn’t entitle me to some Special Status (even though Heidi and I were dressed to the nines in preparation for Geek Prom shortly thereafter), but I, in general, wanted this to succeed.

Of course, there is a more personal matter at stake here, and one that I’m not sure I’m qualified to say out loud. But what the hey, it’s my blog, for better or worse.

I submitted a partial manuscript to Strange Chemistry’s open door submission period late last year. Waiting to hear back was not easy, but I kept myself busy with plenty of writing projects in the meantime. However, the submission period ended November 1, 2013, so I was curating the proper amount of antsy-ness to figure out how to write a query letter to get the word on where my submission was in the process. That query letter was beginning to crystallize on my mind, though I confess I hadn’t written word one of the thing.

Finding out that the imprint is shutting down operations was not a major personal blow. It didn’t directly affect me except that I won’t be able to potentially try and be published by them. That’s why I feel silly being disappointed, since it actively affects the lives of the staff and writers who are a part of the imprint. (I’m sending prayers, positive vibes, crystalline blue energy, or whatever is most effective toward the staff, hoping that job situations don’t turn sour. Also to the authors who had pending books that won’t be published as planned. This is not a good time for anyone to have financial insecurity,)

I do want to be clear on this particular aspect: I do not in any way, shape, form, or idea feel mistreated by the staff at Strange Chemistry. As soon as the news broke about the dissolution of the imprint, the editor emailed me to let me know. I found out from her, rather than just stumbling across the information online, which I really appreciate. Everyone I’ve met associated with Angry Robot seem to be great folks, which is part of the reason I crossed all the fingers I could that I might join their ranks with this book.

But alas, and alack, and Admiral Ackbar, it is not to be. Not right now, at least. And while it’s not the result I wanted (it is, in fact, not even close to what I expected, due to the high quality of fiction published under that imprint), I shall move on. As shall we all, because life and whatever.

This is yet another push for me to start taking responsibility for my writing career, such as it is, and try to move forward. Once I get the rest of this book in tip-top shape, I will start querying agents to see if my book has a place in the publishing world.

It should be… interesting.

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