I’m around the blogosphere and the twitterverse I promise.
Ange asked me today in a comment on my Beta Reader Contest, why I don’t try to get my book published.
I don’t know how to answer that without a lot of foaming at the mouth and a string of nasty insults, but I’m going to try, because I’m a nice person and I DO want you to keep following my blog. So I’ll try not to stick my foot in my mouth.
The thing is, it’s really hard to get published right now. We’re talking millions of aspiring writers around the world flogging the poor literary agents with stuff they just don’t think they can sell, indie authors taking over and pubbing on their own, publishers putting books out there that flop big time, and otherwise a whole lot of hulla ballo for nothing.
All it equals is a lot time, money, blood, sweat and tears spent, for an outcome that isn’t much of an outcome.
I used to be of the wait my turn approach, and to a point I still am. I think it’s important that I do the slow build thing. Nobody has to tell me my book is good anymore, I KNOW it’s good. It needs a copy edit, but it’s good.
The reason for the slow approach is because I know my book is too good to just throw it to the first person that will take it. I don’t know how much other writers covet their possessions or their writing, but on a scale of 1-10 I’m a 10 in terms of coveting my own work. I’d rather sit back, analyze my best options over and over again, and only take careful pre planned steps that will lead me closer and closer to my goals.
I’d rather not publish my book at all if nobody is going to read it.
So, just so nobody thinks I’m totally off my rocker or something, here’s the run down of what I have done already, and while this isn’t the entirety of my master plan, it should at least make everyone more comfortable that yes, if you want to read the book, you likely will be able to at some point.
1) I wrote the book, this one, and its two other sequels. I officially have a trilogy. I’ve also outlined a novella that comes after the third book, and also outlined the last three books in the series. You see how ahead of the game I am? I knew I was never talking one book, but six and a half books to any publisher, agent, or editor is really scary, especially if it’s not done already. If it’s done well then, that’s a different ball game altogether.
2) I BETA tested the book with some close friends, and rewrote the book.
3) I queried in 2010. I hit up 100 agents and 1 read 50 pages of my book and told me it was good, but not good enough to keep him hooked.
4) I enlisted the help of a group of cosplayers / film students / friends who did up some professional photography, costuming, and filming. We did up two book trailers for the series. I’m now working with them to get 3 more trailers done because they have the free time and they’re forever fans of my books because they get to cosplay the characters in the books. For instance, that pretty cover you see, is one of the girls from the cosplay group, she plays Kaliel, my main character, and she also edits video like you wouldn’t believe. That photo was from the shoot in June 2010. I happen to be friends with a wedding photographer that does a lot of charity things for fun.
5) I wrote the second book, and then I rewrote the first book to fix some of the things I learned from reading like a motherfucker and also from writing the second book.
6) I began blogging like crazy, also joined twitter. I began to meet booky people in the community, and I began studying, watching what others do. I wrote down stuff I like in my notebook.
7) I researched the agents more, followed them on twitter, read acknowledgments from my favorite authors, wrote down the people that repped them. I also bid on a Full MS Critique during the Japan Crisis and I donated a boatload of money and got a Full MS Critique from Jennifer Laughran. She wasn’t enthusiastic about my book, but she did tell me what was good and what wasn’t good. She was incredibly fair and she also critiqued it in less than 2 weeks, because she’s a superhero.
8) I waited, and I was patient. I went back to the first book and pieced it together based on Laughran’s suggestions. I edited the second book in the series and tried to fix some of the mistakes Laughran pointed out from the first book, stuff I hadn’t rectified in my writing yet.
9) I BETA tested again and this time my BETA reader had nothing to nitpick at regarding the book. She just loved it.
10) I was patient. I lived through the knots growing in my stomach that Miriam Forster got signed by Laughran and sold HOUSE OF ONE THOUSAND DOLLS. (Yeah okay, it hurt, sue me.) I also watched Ginnifer Albin get picked up, watched Tahereh Mafi get a 6 figure deal.
I stayed quiet as a mouse.
11) I distracted myself by writing the third book, thinking, “If I start this, I’m not stopping until it’s done.” Sure enough, May 21st, through to July 1st, I was writing. 133k later I had a first draft of a third book.
It’s my favorite book of the series.
12) I queried 16 agents on my list of agents. I crossed off some I no longer wanted to query.
13) I read some Indie books, bad and good, and somewhere in between. I read some Trad pubbed books, some bad, some good, and somewhere in between.
14) I came up with the idea to put up the Beta Reader Contest to see what would happen.
15) I listed the book on goodreads to see what would happen. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11841693-flame-of-surrender
Things are happening.
What is it that they say? Slow and steady wins the race?
I’m the tortoise.
And this book will always be good, whether you get to read it today, or tomorrow or thirteen years from now. It’ll always be the same story, the one that’s rested in my bones, the one that’s curdled my blood, the one that’s kept me up at night, the one that’s hurt me, the one that’s made me cry, the one that made me laugh, and the one that made me lie on my living room floor thinking it’ll never be good enough, it’ll never. be. good. enough.
I think it’s your turn to be the judge of that . . . and my turn to be quiet, to be friendly, to be approachable and welcoming.
It’s my turn to wait while things happen, in no particular order, in the wrong order, or in the right order. I’m no longer picky about it.
My only concern is that this book doesn’t fall into the hands of the wrong people, the haters, the harsh critics, the thieves, the people who would tear it apart and change it, make it theirs and not mine, the editors that would rip it to shreds and make me stitch it back together by hand, pricking my fingers the entire time, or the people who would put a new cover on it and try to sell it themselves . . .
I’m trying to invite the good, and weed out the bad.
I hope you understand . . .