I did a lot of research into which big publishing houses did anthologies and would accept unsolicited material. For those that did accept such, I sent query letters, sample stories and anything else the submission guidelines required. I did most of my early manuscript shopping around online. I got nowhere fast. I would not be surprised if an old Grants Pass query or manuscript was still sitting in a slushpile somewhere.
Next came the conventions. I shopped Grants Passaround at every gaming, sci-fi and literary convention I went to in 2007 and 2008 – whether I was a pro-guest, a volunteer or just an attendee. I got a lot of polite interest, some real interest, and even a couple of email addresses from editors of big publishing houses but nothing ever came of them. Most emails were not even responded to. That was very disappointing. But I did not give up.
After some thought in late 2007, I shifted my paradigm from the big publishing houses to the smaller, independent publishing houses. I started the whole thing over again. But, this time, I focused on smaller publishing houses with good track records. I think the most frustrating thing about that experience was the fact that those smaller publishing houses were all closed to new submissions though 2008. Obviously, that would not do. Some of them opened up a little when I met the publishers at conventions and discussed Grants Pass with them.
(As an aside – it really helped to have copies of my query letter in hand with me at the conventions so I could give them to the editors and publishers that I spoke to as a follow up and a reminder of who I was when I emailed them after the convention.)
Then, I started getting small hits – requests for the full manuscript. This was very exciting for me. Also, by this time, some of my Grants Pass authors had gone on to do bigger and better things; like cmpriest published a trilogy and markdeniz created an independent press company and was publishing books I discussed some of these tentative hits with Mark and, during one IM conversation, asked if Morrigan Books would be interested. I really did not believe he would say "Yes." Then, he did – "but only if my acquisitions editor likes it." After that he requested the full manuscript.
The rest, as they say, is history. Though, Mark removed his own story for integrity's sake as the publisher (which was a shame because it was a very strong story) and we discussed the fact that there would be stories cut and some other changes.
I was OK with that. I had found my publisher at last. My baby was going to be published.