"There is no way that writers can be tamed and rendered civilized or even cured. The only solution known to science is to provide the patient with an isolation room, where he can endure the acute stages in private and where food can be poked in to him with a stick." ~Robert Heinlein
During the various parts of this process, I feverishly researched what the next step would be like. So while I was revising, I also beefed up on the query process. Before even I had my SuperAgent, I researched submissions to publishers, because what else are you going to do while waiting weeks to hear back?
Not much info on submission, by the way, other than it sucks because it's like Fight Club: First Rule is you don't talk about it. At any given moment you could have someone making a career altering decision about your book and the last thing they want to find when they look you up is your TMI despair or temper tantrum on a blog or in a tweet. You can't vent on how many rejections or close calls you've had. Sometimes this lasts years.
I'd like to throw back the curtain on that process, but I'm sorry not sorry for not having a lot of details to tell- my book sold very quickly (about 10 weeks, a couple weeks of negotiating some details, and we announced about 6 weeks later), and for that I am endlessly thankful. Like, every-day-prayers-of-thanks grateful.
But the desert of the submission process is made even more difficult by the lack of info on the next steps of editing, cover design, interior design, marketing... I get dizzy just thinking about it. I was recently inducted into the Swanky 17s, which is a group for debut authors releasing in 2017 (btw- I still can't believe I can call myself an "author"). As of right now, I'm not listed as an author, but everything is volunteer-run and there is so much going on that things take time- no complaints. We have private forums to discuss news and exchange info and support freely.
It. Is. Amazing.
And we're in different places in the publication pipeline- some are getting ARCs and copy edits soon. Information: I haz it!
But it's not public, so as I go along, I want to share what's going on with it as I can. A lot of things will be after the fact. Everyone's process is going to be different- some books need very little editing and some need complete re-writes, so my journey will not be yours. It will be something you can read about which I could not.
So my status now?
-Waiting on my editing package (NOT a complaint, this shizz takes time)
-Building my Goodreads Author page (clicky HERE... someone please tell me is this doesn't work)
-Brainstorming possible title changes (want to have the best one, which may be the original, but we won't know until we think about it real hard)
-Blogging (check that box today)
-Supporting other 2017 Authors
-Reading and reviewing other books (which is HARD when you read something you don't like)
-Mentally screaming in joy and terror as I see book bloggers tweet their excitement over my book
-Writing more stuff
Wish I had more exciting things to report, but I'll settle for knowing plenty of excitement is on the way.
I wrote my first book in six weeks.*** I can neither confirm
nor deny that I was on prescription stimulants at the time, nor will I
recommend using them for literary purposes - 5 Hour Energy works just fine. Coming
up on the two year anniversary of taking that first step, I can safely say the
most important thing that happened was I
broke down the barrier that kept me from writing. I’d always had a vivid
imagination, and I’d often fantasized about writing one of my stories out and seeing
it on the shelves of a local bookstore, but I never got my horse out of the
gate. Hell, I never got on the horse.
It was speed and reckless abandon which allowed me to finish
the first draft, and having finished, made it possible for me to take the next
steps. That and incredible ignorance of just how much more
work was ahead of me. I thought it was mostly a matter of showing it to friends (which is terrifying enough) and getting feedback on where I
needed to fix a few details. I didn’t realize I would have to show my work to
complete strangers and let them rip it apart where it was weak. And it needed
ripping. I did so many things wrong.
Side note: Probably the best thing I did was listen to those
critique partners and read blogs on the craft that reinforced that my CPs were
correct. I’ve lost count of the number of potential CPs that did not like the
advice I gave (even super solid advice, like “don’t use song lyrics in
your manuscript, especially current, popular ones,”) and dumped me, saying “my
friends like my story, so I’m going with them.” Well, my friends liked my
earlier drafts, too, which were, to put it euphemistically, poopy.
Here’s where those 3 stars above come in.
***It took a full year before my manuscript was worthy of
That’s right: 6 weeks of writing, 46 weeks of revisions
before my agent picked me up.
Followed by 16 more weeks of revisions before my agent
submitted it to publishers.
My book will hit shelves in approximately 18 months. Do you
know what will happen between now and then?
A lot of revisions.
By the time you feast your eyes on pages of my words,
they will bear passing resemblance to the vomit of the first draft. Because
that’s what it was: vomit.
Which brings me to my current situation. I’ve got a sequel
to DAS BOOK about ¾ through its first draft. There are various reasons it’s
taken so much longer, and many of those reasons are legit: the first book is
changing enough that it affects the second, I didn’t want to put too much hope
and work into something so dependent on the questionable success of the first,
I’ve been busy revising said first book, I’ve been busy with life and other
story ideas. So let’s set that 2nd book aside and look at my other
I love this other story. I’ve told the plot to a few people
and they say it sounds awesome. I’ve learned so much in the last couple years
that I know the first draft will have fewer issues than the previous first
draft, and I’ll be better at revising. I’ve shared a few rough chapters, and
they’ve gotten thumbs up all around.
When did I start writing it? About five months ago. How much
of the first draft is written? About 25k words. Excuses include: going back and
changing the POV, working on DAS BOOK, pt ZWEI, holidays, life, and the recent
happenings with DAS BOOK. None of these excuses is good enough.
A hard truth applies to both projects, legit excuses or
not: Now that I know just how primordial that first ooze was, it’s harder to
just fling it all at scrivener like I did the first time. I have to give myself
permission to write something that I already know will suck in order to get it done, and that, my friend, is a very tough thing
to do. Kind of ironic, too, since I’ve learned I love revising.
This is why the second book is harder than the first.
I don’t really have a solution other than forcing myself to
sit down and just write a scene that feels a bit inspired. The ones I don’t
feel like writing can come in revisions, when I have a better idea of whether
they’re actually necessary. It would probably help to be able to lock myself in
a room with no disturbances for several hours (several days would be ideal),
but too many people depend on me for things like food and making sure bills get
If I don’t have that reckless abandon that got the job done,
I’ll just have to fake it until I do. In the meantime, buy stock in 5 Hour
Energy. Mama’s got a book to write.