My critique partner Wendy Spinale has her first novel coming out next spring. It’s a YA Steampunk take on Peter Pan and should be fantastic. She’s already writing a sequel! Anyway, you can pre-order Everland on Amazon, and today we also get a first look at the beautiful cover. Click on over to YA Books Central for more, including a giveaway!
After working on Peter for so long, I of course want to think it’s very clean. Nearly perfect, right? But I’m also a reasonable, logical person (at least some of the time), so I know there will be stuff to fix. Maybe even a lot.
I’m really kind of scared.
It’s like handing your baby over to a surgeon and not being sure what will come back. Lots of stitches? Only a few scars?
And having been an editor so long myself, you’d think I’d have more insight or whatever, but it’s very different being on this side of things.
So that’s what I’m insecure about at the moment. That and the revisions I’ll need to do on Changers. My critique group will be tearing that manuscript apart in the coming weeks as well.
My Hallowe’en horror story: having my work ripped to shreds!
Used to be one book was enough to make an author a superstar. Harper Lee dined out on To Kill a Mockingbird for decades. Well, and even had her book assigned as regular classroom curriculum (at least where I’m from).
Maybe an author didn’t write only one book, but it only took one to shoot him or her to the moon. Stephen King’s Carrie was just the start of his huge success, and he’s built up from there.
But then one has to keep in mind that, back in the day, one had to go to a bookstore to get a book.
I liken it to movies, now, too. There are so many different distribution streams. And, hell, cinemas have 10 and 20 screens now. When I was a kid (God, I’m old enough now to start using that old chestnut), growing up in Small Town, South, our cinema had one screen and showed maybe two movies at any given time. Those films played for about a month before we got anything new. Now, though, a slew of movies come out at a time, and if you don’t feel like spending $50+ at the cinema, there’s just as much on offer at home On Demand.
Same for books. A bunch of books came out each Tuesday, and the local bookstore would display them for at least a week, if not more depending. (On what? The whims of the bookstore owner or manager, I suppose.) Your choices were to pick up one of these books, or maybe browse the older stuff on the shelves, or go to the library, which had pretty much the same stuff as the bookstore but for free so long as you gave it back when you were finished with it. In short, though, an author had a fair amount of time on display and a fair chance of getting noticed. Same as movies. At some point in that month of What’s On, odds were you’d suck it up and go see it because, well, that’s what was playing.
But now? Thousands of books get published per day via self-publishing platforms. It’s a constant deluge. And the minute your book is out, it’s lost in the flood. Even if you get some attention from readers, the chances of you being a breakout superstar are miniscule. Because today people don’t have much of an attention span. So any attention you do get is fleeting.
Which means you have to (a) market constantly, and (b) keep producing new work.
I’m going to switch metaphors on you now. Think of it as fishing. The readers are the fish. When only a few boats (authors) are out on the stream, the chances of catching lots of fish are pretty good. But when the stream is crowded with boats—so many boats you can’t even see the surface of the water—that’s a lot of bait for just a few fish. So you up your chances of catching anything by throwing in more hooks (books).
I could go on about using the right bait for the right readers, but I already feel bad about calling readers “fish.” Let’s just say, readers, you are a valuable and necessary resource to us authors (who are also readers)!
I’m thinking about all this as I look at my list of projects and wonder which to tackle next. Some I’m bound to do, but after that . . . What bait do I load onto my hook? Because while of course I hope Peter is successful, I can’t honestly count on it being my one shot at glory. I’d keep writing in any case—I can’t not write—but I must balance the things I want to write with those that catch fish. Ideally, the two are the same, but it’s not always so. I know my Sherlock Holmes stories are still my bread and butter (would it help to say Peter started in my head as a Sherlock fanfic and then went somewhere else entirely?), and I’ll write more of those, enjoy writing those, though not as often as readers demand. So I’m forced to juggle wanting to write more Peter, more Changers, and Hamlette with the fact that my Sherlock Holmes stories are what sell.
Usually it ends up going something like: Work on a big project until I get stuck, then transfer my attention to something smaller and more immediately gratifying. Then go back to the big project. So I’ll be working on a novel, then I’ll write a Holmes story (or some other story), and then go back to the novel. It’s good to insert the quick stuff in the cracks whenever possible. Though when a book is really rolling, I might not stop to write anything shorter for a long time. But that also means I won’t catch any fish for a long time, either. Gotta have fresh bait out there.
Which is why I say one book won’t do. That bait gets old, and unless you’re picked up by, I dunno, Oprah or suddenly assigned to classrooms across the nation . . . You’re going to have to keep baiting the hook for the older stuff and putting out new hooks to boot.
And I don’t even like fishing.
But, hey, a girl’s gotta eat.
Okay, so at the start of the year I had three goals for 2015:
1. Get an agent for The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller.
2. Finish Changers.
3. Get Hunting Victor Frankenstein picked up.
And here is where I stand with those.
1. No agent, but I did get a publisher (Tirgearr) and the book is slated for a January release. Just waiting on notes from my editor, and then it can go up for pre-order.
2. Draft is done, surely needs revisions and editing, but the main goal is met. I have one agent who has told me she’s interested in seeing it, so I want to polish it up to a bright shine before I send it.
3. Alas, nothing on this front. I knew it was a long shot. Seems my screenwriting has dipped in favor of my prose just lately. I do still have a number of screenwriting projects, but . . . It’s much more difficult to get a movie or television show made. Or even a stage play. So many more moving parts than a book. Requires so many more people and a lot more money. So I suppose I can’t kick myself for not making this goal. I did at least receive great, encouraging feedback on the script. Was told it’s “worthy of network consideration.” If only I knew how to get it to a network!
In all, it’s been a pretty decent year. Goals for the coming year include finding an agent/publisher for Changers and . . . Well, that’s the main one. I’ll be marketing Peter, too, so I think between the two, that will take up a fair amount of my time. That and actual writing, of course. Though I need to look at my list of projects and figure out what to prioritize . . .
For a limited time, you can get my latest Sherlock Holmes story free on Amazon Kindle! Click here.
(But not for Edward.) <—Points if you get it.
Sometimes I have to sort of make a list of everything I’m waiting on. I don’t know why, or what a list is going to do to help me. Really, one should kind of forget about the stuff their waiting on and go on and do other stuff while one waits. Unless it’s for fast food. In which case, it’s best to stay there and keep waiting.
Am I making sense?
So, look, back in late July I sent the first three chapters of Changers to the editor at Tor that I met at DFW Con. Now I’m still waiting to hear back from her. I’m also waiting to hear from another agent about Changers, though there is just as much chance I’ll never hear anything. And I’m waiting to hear back from the woman who seemed so keen to become my agent and had planned to have a contract by the end of September, but . . . ::shrug:: I emailed her when we got back from London but I haven’t heard back.
I’m waiting to hear whether my short story is selected for the Sirens anthology, and whether a flash fiction piece of mine is selected for a podcast.
And I’m waiting to hear from my editor regarding Peter. She emailed right before we left for London and said she’d have something for me in a week or two . . .
Sometimes, when I have so many irons in the fire, it becomes impossible for me to clear my head space and get any work done. So while I know it’s better to do just that, I find it really difficult because I so want to hear from someone, anyone. Preferably good news, of course. Otherwise I start to feel like I’m wasting all this time and energy and it’s all being thrown into a void. I begin asking myself why I bother. And then I can’t write because it feels futile.
So that’s where I’m at. Kind of stuck.
Today I am haunted by 1s. I currently follow 1,111 people on Twitter. I’m 111 days away from my book pub date.
Numerologists say 111 and 1111 (and the time 11:11, of course) are key numbers. They have something to do with manifesting your thoughts, hence the whole “make a wish!” thing. Too bad I am too sad these days to manifest anything positive.
Depression is a tricky, slippery thing. I have definite triggers, and I try to avoid them, but sometimes I just can’t. Sometimes they’re thrown right under my nose. And in some cases I’d have to live under a rock to evade them. Some things are just everywhere.
Well, and sometimes I put myself in the line of fire.
I don’t want to elaborate or dwell. I only mean to say I’m having a difficult time at the moment, and I have all these 1s around me, and I don’t know if they’re a message or what. I’ve lost a lot of my hope and faith. I should go listen to Billy Joel’s River of Dreams album or something. Except I don’t really want to wallow like that. I want to feel better, I just don’t know how.
You know how, when you’re on the verge of an emotional breakdown (and I guess I’m assuming everyone has been there at some point in their lives, but if you haven’t, good for you), some songs make you feel better and some you just. can’t. even.? Yeah, that’s where I am at the moment. Feeling very fragile. Which, oddly enough, means I cannot listen to “Fragile” by Sting.
Also, a shorter walk today because I’m still recovering from walking, like, 10 miles a day in London. Didn’t use the Tube even once.
1. “Hold On Forever” by Rob Thomas*
2. “Selene” by Imagine Dragons
3. “Someday Soon” by Great Big Sea
4. “Presents to Send You” by Jimmy Buffett
5. “Tired” by Tabitha’s Secret
6. “Money Back Guarantee” by Jimmy Buffett
7. “Unkind” by Tabitha’s Secret
Rob’s song is perfectly designed to “make you feel better.” In fact, I’ve been listening to a lot of him, Matchbox Twenty, Train, and Imagine Dragons. Jimmy Buffett also tends to lift spirits. Still, I found myself skipping a lot of songs that I just couldn’t handle, like “29” by Gin Blossoms. God, no. Not right now.
Going to see Richard Marx on Thursday. Not sure how that will go . . .
Sometimes I need to write it all down to keep track.
1. Finish WIP.
2. Finish screenplay for indie director.
3. Write next Sherlock Holmes story.
4. Write Peter sequel.
5. Finish “Hamlette.”
And then I have a lot of ideas for other writing projects, but . . . I’m already feeling overwhelmed as it is! Plus, my editor at Tirgearr will shortly be sending me edits for Peter, which will take priority over everything else I’m doing, and then I’ll also need to start marketing the book and looking for reviewers, etc. @.@
So . . . yeah. All this and life, too. *faint*
I’m back from London, and it was a lovely trip. We had remarkably good weather, but then that always happens to me—I’ve been told London loves me so much, the sun shines when I’m there and then the city cries when I leave. Don’t know if that’s true, but I like to think it is.
Also, saw lots of magpies. I don’t know why, but I really like them. I want to write a play called “The Mad Magpie.” I don’t know what it would be about, but I think it’s a great title.
Enjoyed a trip to Buckingham Palace, and also Hamlet. Am slowly posting reviews of backlogged shows, movies, books on spooklights, so go take a look.
But now it’s also time to get back to work. So many projects going on . . . And can you believe it’s almost October?! So I’m ducking out again now to get stuff done. But visit my Facebook page for pics from the trip!