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MAJOR THREE-BOOK PRE-EMPT DEAL FOR DEBUT SF NOVELIST [Oct. 6th, 2008|03:25 pm]
jjarrold
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John Jarrold has concluded a three-book World Rights deal for Scottish-based Finnish SF writer Hannu Rajaniemi. Hannu’s debut novel (presently untitled) plus two further books were pre-empted by Simon Spanton of Gollancz for a high five-figure sum, on the basis of one chapter.

‘I received this chapter from Hannu by e-mail in the morning (and loved it), mentioned it to Simon when we were talking about other matters, and three hours later I had a very strong pre-empt offer,’ said John Jarrold. ‘After fifteen years in an editor’s chair I am very aware how unusual it is for an offer to be made for a debut novelist on only twenty-four double spaced pages – particularly at a time when many publishing executives are more interested in the opinions of their sales and marketing directors than those of their senior editors. So congratulations to Simon for his enthusiasm and the speed of his response, and much respect to those at Orion who trusted his judgement. I think everyone can judge the power of Hannu’s writing from the way this deal was done. This chapter leaves me thirsting for more!’

Simon Spanton said: ‘Yes, acquiring one book, let alone three, on the basis of a single chapter is a gamble; and not one I or any other editor is in the habit of making. But I’ve never been more sure of a hand than the one dealt to me by John and Hannu.

‘Hannu’s first chapter was entirely enticing; yes, it was brimful of energy, originality and fascinating science but these were bonuses. What caught me and left me desperate for more was the masterful way he set up the characters, created relationships between them based on intrigue and need and suggested a rich past and a dangerous future for all concerned. I haven’t been this excited after reading just one chapter in a long, long time and consequently I’m delighted to be able to welcome Hannu to Gollancz.’

The novel is due for delivery in August 2009.

Hannu’s short fiction has featured in INTERZONE, Finnish magazines, the anthology NOVA SCOTIA and two Best of the Year SF anthologies. Hannu has a Ph D in string theory and is a co-founder of ThinkTank Maths Limited, a technology consultancy.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: autopope
2008-10-06 02:34 pm (UTC)
Hannu is indeed brilliant! (I was for some years actively in a workshop with Hannu and I've read enough of his stuff to happily endorse him as the Next Big Thing in hard SF.)
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[User Picture]From: jjarrold
2008-10-06 02:42 pm (UTC)
Cheers, Charlie! As you can imagine, I wouldn't usually send out a first chapter on its own, even when the publisher was this keen to see it...
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[User Picture]From: jjarrold
2008-10-07 07:28 am (UTC)
Make that 2010, James! It's due for delivery in August 2009, and if you reckon 9 to 12 months after delivery for publication you won't be far wrong. The book trade likes cover proofs around six months before publication, book proofs the same, and of course there is a whole ongoing publication schedule for new projects to fit into...
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[User Picture]From: jjarrold
2008-10-07 06:10 pm (UTC)
Not yet. It's quite usual for US deals to be done after the book is delivered and fully edited.
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[User Picture]From: lilifae
2008-10-07 10:15 am (UTC)
John, you are amazing! I have immediately blagged this over at my site and gone over to Hannu's to congratulate him. This is such amazing news - it will no doubt stir the community into a frenzy of jealousy and joy.
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[User Picture]From: jjarrold
2008-10-07 10:23 am (UTC)
Too kind! But Simon S deserves much praise for acting so decisively. And of course if Hannu wasn't a genius wrtier, neither of us could have done anything...
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[User Picture]From: adamantine_lady
2008-10-07 05:35 pm (UTC)
The mighty Jarrold strikes again! Congratulations to everyone involved and my hat off to Simon for taking the risk! Hannu must be ecstatic :)
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[User Picture]From: jjarrold
2008-10-07 05:43 pm (UTC)
Cheers! Yes, we're both dead chuffed!!!
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From: andrewhewitt76
2008-10-09 10:44 pm (UTC)

inspiration

This story is indeed a huge inspiration to all the budding SF novelists out here working on our debut! If Hannu can do it, with or without a PhD in Mtheory...then why can't we :) VERY curious to see Hannu's work on publication...
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[User Picture]From: jjarrold
2008-10-10 07:24 am (UTC)

Re: inspiration

Yes, and it's the tenth debut I've sold to a major UK genre publisher in the last three years (all in multi-book deals). Publishers are looking for new writers, but only if they are terrific. Any agent or publisher can turn down 90% of submissions within the first ten pages.

And most deals for debut novelists are done on a complete novel, of course, which makes this all the more wonderful, being based on one chapter.
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From: andrewhewitt76
2008-10-10 01:42 pm (UTC)

Re: inspiration

So it's not *all* about who you know! Suggests too that the appetite amongst the readership for SF (cf. fantasy) is still healthy. An encouraging inspiration indeed.

In x months time, the first ten pages of my whole will just have to be... "terrific", wont they!
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