Monday, October 24, 2011

Publishing Process

My husband and I went to a wedding this past weekend. It was a three hour drive both ways, which always equals thinking time for me. It’s difficult to turn my brain off sometimes and when I have hours of inactivity and relative quiet, I usually just let it flow.

On the way home, I was thinking about my writing, which isn’t unusual. It’s very common for me to go into a meditative state while sitting in the passenger seat, lost in a different time and place while I live along with my characters. The odd part was, on this drive, I wasn’t thinking storyline. I was thinking process. Not the process of writing, either, but the publishing process.

I have, in one way or another, been trying to get published since I was sixteen. I was okay back then, probably just slightly impressive for a sixteen year old. I had won a writing contest and come to the attention of an agent. After a phone interview I thought I was very mature and knowledgeable about, I signed with them and shipped off my check (well, my mom’s check). It turns out this particular agent didn’t usually work with fantasy, but they dutifully sent me my update letter every time I asked for it.

I cancelled with them eventually, this time for an agency that turned out to be a scam. It was at that point I decided to try getting published on my own. I had a new book that was much better than the one I had written all those years ago and I was sure it would get me published.

Another handful of years later, and I’m still working on it, yet another book to try and sell. I’m currently waiting to hear from one publisher, wondering what to do if it doesn’t work out. Self-publishing? Try to find another agent, this time making sure I’m getting an appropriate one, or try to send my book off on my own again? At this point in time, those questions are on hold, though. They weren’t, truth be told, even the questions I was thinking about on my drive.

After all my different attempts, it has occurred to me that I don’t know very much at all about the publishing process. I mean, I know about as much as is outlined in Wikipedia, anyway. That can’t be all there is, though, can there? Shouldn’t I know more? Shouldn’t I have a better handle on the business I’m trying to break into?

How do I figure it out?

I’m going to try Google+. I’m asking here, and I’ll ask there. There’s a writer’s circle project going on. I want to circle some writers and ask them what they know, if they know any good books, etc. The goal is to get there this week, the weekend being my deadline if the weekly humdrum keeps getting in the way. I want to go to a bookstore, too, and see if I can find any books that might help. I’m hoping I’ll get my answers shortly, one way or another. Hopefully it’s not learning as I go - that path just takes so long sometimes - but I will be learning.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day of - Well, it's not rest, that's for sure.

I can’t settle on a topic. Nothing is working for me today. I get almost done and then scrap it. So, in deference to the rainy, kids-going-stir-crazy day, I think this will be my entry. ;-)

I may have to rethink the blog plan after this. *sigh* Ah, well.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Blog Plans

I kind of thought that my goal with this blog would be writing Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This is for a few reasons.

I love schedules. I love being organized and knowing what is going to happen that day. This does not always happen with all the kids going through my house, the dogs, etc, but every time it does feels like success. Making a goal to write in my blog a few times a week should hopefully fit right in, no matter what’s going on that day.

I’m not really working on my manuscript right now (see previous posting, Should Be, Could Be) and blogging is a good way to at least be writing, even if it’s a few thousand words shorter than my usual daily goal. It gives me something to focus on, execute, edit and get out there. So I’m still getting practice even if I’m not making progress on my novel.

Lastly, as much as I’m not entirely certain of the success (current and future) of this blog, I really kind of like it. Short stories are not my forte, but a few hundred words on writing / getting published, I can do. Assuming I have the ideas, anyway.

Three times a week could prove a challenge, but I’m up for it. I hope, as this thing continues and grows, I can have different days for different things. One day could be specific to writing, another to getting published, and a third to whatever story I’m working on. I could even start that now, actually. Eventually, it would be nice to talk about what the readers are reading, once I have something published.

Ah, dreams. One day. At not even 30, I think I have some time to get there.

As all of this is laid out, I look at my calendar and realize - Today is Tuesday, not Monday. Lol. This is truly how time gets away from me sometimes. No matter. We can continue this week and try again next week. As I remember, yesterday was super busy and I was super tired at the end of it. This is only week two, though. I’ll get into my grove here shortly. Hopefully very shortly.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Should Be, Could Be

I should be working on the second book in my current series. Yet, despite this knowledge, I’m not writing. In fact, I haven’t written for a while. Part of the reason is I have a two-year-old, watch my sister’s 3 kids (9, 6 and 3), then there’s my three dogs and we currently have 9 puppies. The puppies go to their new homes soon, so that should free up a lot of time. Right now, though, I really could be writing.

Haha. I guess I am, when I think about it. Blogging is writing, right?

This is, unfortunately, just a procrastinating event, however. The truth is, I’m stuck at this very moment because I turned in the first book two days ago. It’s always the hardest part of the process. Writing takes a long time. Editing is not my favorite part, but I’m getting better at it the older I get. Being patient while my small circle of reviewers take their time to read it twice just sucks. But turning it in ... letting someone who matters to whether it stays a forever-draft or turns into a printed work ... that is hard.

Silly, really. I’ll keep writing either way. Then again, how can I write number two when I’m obsessing over number one?

I would guess sending off a manuscript is a lot like sending your kids off to school. The first time you do it is agonizing, and each time somehow gets a little easier, but you still have that heart-wrenching feeling as your baby goes off to grow up. Granted, my baby is only two and I suspect Kindergarten may prove a bit more of a challenge, but at the moment, that’s my great analogy.

This particular attempt at becoming published is different from all my other ones, though. When I had tried before, I always started researching the publishing companies, seeing which ones were accepting submissions without agents. I’ve had two agents in my past and neither one was what they should have been - but then, I wasn’t as smart about this process as before, either. Good agents are out there, I was just never informed enough to be able to find them.

So I tried to get published without an agent for a few years. Every time I got my rejection letters, I didn’t feel rejected. I honestly just felt like there were too many fish in my sea. I just didn’t know how to get out of the masses to distinguish myself. There are many different long-term plans to get there, I just couldn’t dedicate myself to many of them because they didn’t seem right for me.

This time, my husband came to the rescue. He believes in me maybe even more than I believe in myself. He found a smaller publisher branching out into new areas of publishing and looking for new authors. He showed them my prologue and they agreed to read the rest of my book. So off it went, and here I am, waiting to see how my baby’s first day of school was, putting off writing the next book until I know.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Creating a Social Me

I find myself in an exciting position - a publisher is prepared to review my book and possibly enter into a contract. In the way my mind jumps 20 steps ahead, one of my first questions was “What about marketing?”

As it turns out, part of that marketing falls on me. A very strong suggestion was I created more of an online presence for myself - in essence, become more social. Where I am by no means anti-social, I’m relatively shy and tend to stay away from overtly social gestures. Becoming published, however, is such a big dream for me, I find myself chipping away at my containing walls to do as suggested.

So, enter my blog. This should be easy, right? I mean, I write a lot, so what’s the big deal about a blog? Pick a service. Check. Sign up and create profile. Check. Start a new blog --
Title: Huh?
Domain: *blink*
Theme: Oh.

It took a lot of back and forth with my husband, each of us brainstorming the title alone. Thank goodness for the Internet, because we were both checking out how to create a blog website. Finding helpful hints, but nothing that said: Hey, Carrie! Name your blog [Blog Name], I was stuck playing name games for a while. A title decided on, how to spell the word? Reverie is the French version and I like the whimsical look of it, but how many Americans will spell it with an ‘ie’ if I tell them about my blog? Revery it is.

Funny note about the word Revery. Google Docs doesn’t think it’s spelled right.

With the basics taken care of, mostly, there’s the description, and the key words and meta description and all these other little, yet important, details. I decided to take a break. I wanted to write my first blog. I could think about that stuff later when I wasn’t bugging my husband at work and he could be home to help me.

Then ... how long is a blog? I kind of knew what I wanted to write about, but how many words? I’m a novelist. Editing for a shorter length has not been a strength of mine for a long time. I found a site that said 250 words, laughed, and decided it was time to just write.

Look at that? Yay! My first blog post. Assuming it’s approved by my panel (husband), off it will go to start my entry into the social world of the Internet.

This will be good for me. Right?