I went to Worldcon in 2009 partly to sell a book I was working on, Where I Write: Fantasy & Science Fiction Writers in Their Creative Spaces
and the timing couldn't have been better. My website had gone viral, getting more than two million hits a day, Wired Magazine had just written it up, I was at the center of everything Science Fiction.
I had a meeting scheduled with David Hartwell from Tor Books that night, at the gigantic Tor party and I was pretty confident.
The party itself was amazing. John Scalzi was there, Neil Gaiman was there, George R. R. Martin was there, the place was packed. David and I sat down on a sofa and he looked at every page of my book layout and poured over every one. He was very enthusiastic, telling stories about writers, looking over all the bookshelves. I think it probably took him half an hour to go over the whole thing. He was filled with praise. And I said, "Well, is this something you'd be interested in?" and he said "No."
The Tor Party. Click to see larger.
And I was kind of stunned. Why had he sat there saying all these glorious things for the past half hour? Why waste this block of time on me when he could be talking to George R. R. Martin or Charlie Stoss?
"For what it would cost to print this," he said, "we could publish five Jay Lake novels. The money's just not there to make this a viable book for us. It is beautiful. Thank you for showing me."
He gave me some leads and went back to the party. I realized that he'd known the whole time they weren't going to publish it, he'd known when he saw the Wired magazine article. And the reason that he'd agreed to a meeting was because he cared about Fantasy and Science fiction, he loved it, and he loved all the people I'd been photographing. He'd agreed to a meeting not because he was a bad editor, but because he was a good person.
I think most other editors would have told me on the phone they wouldn't publish it but David gave me 30 minutes of careful praise instead, because he thought it was something that deserved his kind words. Thank you David, for that.
David in Montreal for my "Fandom" collection.
Click to see larger.
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