On Getting Getting Published

So here it is. You write your first draft. It’s pretty awful, but it’s a first draft. The ghost of your novel. You go back and revise it, and your second draft has more meat, but it still has lots of holes here and unnecessary filler there. You rewrite. Maybe you join a critique group and rewrite some more. You polish. Maybe you send out some queries and get say ten or forty or sixty rejections.

You go back and rewrite and polish. By now you know your characters so well, you have conversations with them. You obsess over details. You read up on agents and try to decide who might be interested in what you’re writing. Did I mention you keep polishing?

Because you’re a writer, you’re naturally shy, but you force yourself out of your writing hole and start going to workshops, then (gulp) writers conferences where you learn about pitching. You keep polishing. One day you pitch at the right conference and hit the jackpot. You get an agent. You almost pass out. You celebrate for a minute and then obsess over whether she’ll be able to sell your book.

When she sells your book, you can’t believe it. You celebrate for more than a minute. You go out to dinner. You don’t mind doing more revisions. You’re going to be published. It only took seven years to get to this point, and now you have a two-book deal. Wow! You have something to show for all your years of hard work; though, now you obsess about whether people will like your book.

Wait. A two-book deal means one year to write, revise, re-write, revise, polish, revise, and re-write a second book. Oh well, when you look at it, sleep isn’t that important.

Keeping at it is.

 

P.S. My debut novel, The Eighth Circle, a noir thriller, will be published by Crooked Lane Books in 2016.

On Getting Published

So here it is. You write your first draft. It’s pretty awful, the ghost of your novel. You go back and revise it, and your second draft has more meat. It still has lots of holes here and unnecessary filler there, so you revise. You polish. You cut and trim and polish some more. Your novel begins to shine, so you send it out. Rejection. Lots of rejection. Was it your query? Your opening pages? You don’t know, so you go back and revise. You polish.

By now you know your characters so well, you have conversations with them. You obese over details. You read about agents and what kind of novels they are looking for. You alternate between despair and obstinate hope. You keep polishing.

Because you’re a writer, you are a natural introvert, but you force yourself to go to workshops and writers groups where you learn you aren’t alone. You feel marginally better about polishing. Then you start going to conferences. You work on pitching. You become slightly more confident.

Lightening strikes. You find an agent. She likes your book. You celebrate for a moment then obsess about whether she’ll find a publisher. When she does find a publisher you almost pass out before you do a happy dance. Congratulations! You have a two-book deal!

You have something to show for your years of hard work; though, now you obsess about whether anyone will like your book. 

Wait. A two-book deal means compressing seven years of work into one. Oh well, sleep isn’t that important. 

Keeping at it is.

P.S. My debut novel The Eighth Circle, a noir thriller, will be published in January 2016 by Crooked Lane Books. 

The World of Self Promotion

I have just returned from another writers’ conference where I was reminded once again that writing a novel today is only a part of the writer’s job. After an agent is procured, contracts are signed and a somewhat diminished bonus is agreed upon, said writer must then switch hats and turn into a publicity machine unless he or she has the means to hire a publicist.

Today you must create a platform so that you have a built in audience once you go to press. Then be prepared for the dog and pony show to follow–clown suit and red nose optional.

Look we all know the publishing industry took a hit in the recession, just like everything else in this country, and the industry wants to protect its top producer, but really. We all know the authors ho dominate the Times best seller list aren’t going to fade to obscurity if publishers spend a little more on new talent, especially if new authors prove their willingness to participate in the publicity process.

Who knows? It could end up being a win-win for everybody.

Breaking Through The Wall

I just found out recently that one of my short stories was picked up for an anthology which will be coming out sometime at the end of the year. It was a good boost especially since I’m going through the long, arduous process of looking for an agent for my novel, The Eighth Circle.

I mention that, not so much to give myself a pat on the back–though I did–but to remind everyone that once you finish your novel, you should start working on another project immediately. The submission process–unless you know an agent, have an agent, or know someone who can get you an agent–is a tough, soul numbing process. Your book needs to be polished, and I don’t mean you write it once and run through spell check. Just because your friends think it’s the best thing ever doesn’t mean an agent will. Read it and look for reasons not to like it. If you can’t do it yourself (and most people can’t), get an editor.

It still may be rejected. Many times. That’s why you should always have another project in the works. Another novel. A short story. Some flash fiction. You should always be writing.

The simple reason is the more you write, the better writer you’ll become.

It won’t hurt to read either. Pick a genre you like by an author you like. Analyze the writing. What do you like about it? What makes the characters interesting? Why is the plot compelling? What about this authors style is unique? What can you learn from this author?

Don’t try to copy, but do try to absorb. It won’t hurt to look at other genres. A well written book is a well written book. Sometimes you can learn a great deal about writing by reading outside your favorite genre. For instance, I’m not a huge science fiction buff, but I love H.G Wells. The point is, if you read great writing, you’ll begin to see how talented writers use words.

Finally, you should keep writing, because the more you do it, the easier it gets. Your first novel is always the hardest. The second will be a little easier. Just don’t get discouraged.

I think it’s like learning to ride a bike, though to be honest, the last time I did that, I ran into a bread truck.

I’ll stick with my keyboard instead.