On August 15th, I became a soon-to-be-published writer. The tidal wave I rode for several weeks has broken up into smaller waves, but I’m still very excited and busier than I’ve been since graduate school. An update on my journey is overdue.
In truth, there hasn’t been a lot of action. Dreamspinner Press (DSP) gave me access to a message board for other DSP writers and added me to the DSP writers group on Twitter right away. Other than that and an email exchange about my desire to delete two paragraphs that don’t work with the prequel I’m working on, I’ve heard from my publisher twice.
On September 15th, I got an email from the artists who design DSP covers. In addition to samples of covers from all the artists, the message included a form with questions about the main characters, major plot points, and my preferences for various aspects of the cover. I sent it back the very next day. The DSP writers I’ve met tell me I’ll get several options to pick from in the next month or two.
Yesterday I got an email from the DSP editors about the blurb–the short description that appears on the back cover and in promotions for the book. As with the cover, it’s a form with lots of questions about the characters and the story. Hopefully I’ll get it back to them today. The blurb I’ve been using, written by the freelance editor who worked on the manuscript, is pretty good. It will be interesting to see how much they change it.
The DSP writers I’ve met have all been wonderful about sharing their experience and answering my questions. They say I’ll get an email in the next few weeks informing me that the editors have started working on my manuscript. When I complete the third round of edits, DSP will give me an official release date for Until Thanksgiving that will be about a month later. So a lot of stuff is going to happen here in the next few weeks.
The blog swapping experience has been interesting. Judging from my blog stats, more interesting to me than to most of you. Even so, many of you have told me you bought books from one or more of my guests. That’s how it works–one reader at a time. The result of all the swaps for me is that I’ve got more books to read than time for reading.
I’ve been somewhat disappointed by the response to my guest posts on other blogs. As usual, the problem was my expectations more than anything else. It’s like working out. I don’t see the result from one push-up or bench press. Results come from consistent effort over a long period of time.
Phase One of my marketing plan–getting my name out there–is nearly complete. I’ve appeared on ten other blogs so far with a couple more still to come. Nine writers have appeared on my blog with a few more scheduled to appear in coming weeks. I’m backing off on the frequency–I kinda got overwhelmed with requests this month and doubled up to make it through the rush. I’ll continue doing things here and there, but mostly I’m waiting for a blurb and a cover to launch Phase Two.
Work on the prequel, After Christmas Eve, came to a screeching halt about a month ago. Life events played a role, but the real issue was an out and out mutiny by a trio of minor characters. My weak and ill-defined protagonist’s story got highjacked by a future drag queen, an ex-con, and a female African-American police sergeant.
The story has more loose ends than a well-worn, too-long pair of jeans. That I was running out of story a good 20,000 words too soon was also an issue. How things got so out of hand escapes me. Like a bad GPS, my outline dumped me in the middle of a pasture far, far away from my intended destination.
While the problems were apparent, solutions have been less obvious–coming to me in pieces with a lot of fuzzy places and gaps still to fill in. The Robot Unicorn Cult will give me feedback an a critical 5000 words Saturday. In the meantime, I’ve printed out a hard copy (the first for After Christmas Eve) and am working my way through, making the necessary changes as I go.
My original goal was to finish After Christmas Eve before Labor Day. Oooops. Now I’m hoping to finish before Halloween. We shall see. One thing I’ve learned the last few months is that it’s impossible to predict what will happen next here in…
My Glass House