Posts Tagged ‘waiting’

Long Road to Publication is more like a Dark Cave filled with Giant Boulders…and monsters don’t forget the monsters.

I’m walking down the path towards publishing my second novel, The Light Side of the Moon. I thought it was going to be easier this time–I was wrong.

Disclaimer: I am not trying to scare you. I did not publish this post during November, because I didn’t want to sound like I am attacking Nanowrimo, speed-writing, or anything that helps authors follow their dreams. However, after four self-published comics and a published novel and short story, I realized that the main attribute that makes or breaks an author is patience.

Here’s why:

Your first draft sucks. Now don’t feel bad, my first draft sucks. When he was alive, Ernest Hemingway’s first drafts sucked. firstdraft

For me, its the first few drafts that are shit. I’m not going to talk about my process today, but its a boulder that’s so big, it has false summits. Other Systems had seven distinct drafts, The Light Side of the Moon had five. My current project entitled The Grove has had two so far, but I know there is at least one more on its way. BTW This is all before professional editing.

Writing the novel is the easiest boulder. It’s big, rocky but with steady work eventually I get over it. So will you. Because whether you write the book or not, is completely within your control.

None of the next steps are within your control.

After I finish the book, I send it out into the world hoping it gets accepted somewhere. 48Fourteen has had manuscripts of mine from anywhere to two months to nine months. Other small publishers have been similar. Large publishers are even longer. I had a manuscript at Angry Robot for nine months before getting a rejection. I had sample chapters at Tor for seven also rejected. I get so many more rejections than acceptances. They don’t hurt anymore. I just list it on the manuscripts spreadsheet, if there is personalized feedback, I try to glean what I can from it–but that’s time.

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Skylight in Ape CavEven short story markets sometimes take months to hear back.

So if you want to be published, authors need to wait, learn patience.

After a traditionally published book is accepted, there is waiting–alot of time in the dark, not knowing what’s going on. I am happy people ask me about the book, but they really have no idea how long each part of publishing takes.

First of all, there is calendar issues. Every publisher has a calendar to get out their yearly catalog. So the publisher has to decide what makes sense for the title and put it in between other titles.

There’s also the cover art. This one isn’t as bad for me, since I do my artwork with 48Fourteen, however, I do need to wait for my cover lettering to be finalized.

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One of the abandoned tunnels at Iron Goat

Next boulder is editing. Right now, The Light Side of the Moon is getting edited. My publisher told me. This is a huge boulder that I have to climb over, cutting my hands in the rough crevices. Not because every word I write is gold, (that last sentence certainly wasn’t) but because I am curious what the editor will suggest. I want to get to work on making it a better book, I don’t know how long the editor will take. Every week I freak out a little more. I have to remind myself that the editor is a person with a life, she will finish it when she finishes it. And I need to stay chill, so she can do a great job.

Seeing your manuscript marked up the first time is pretty shocking. When I was going through Other Systems, I joked that it looked like a smurf died with all the comments. That being said, going through the process is the best thing for your writing.

People often ask, “Does it hurt when they touch your baby?”

Answer: “Not as much as you’d think.”

Truthfully, it doesn’t hurt at all. I don’t argue with my editor. I read their comments and unless I feel they are way off, or I don’t understand them, I get to work on the corrections or rewriting the passages. Only if the editor is way off, I argue. While editing does not hurt, WAITING does. The not knowing. I tend to start thinking weird thoughts. Computers exploding, stuff like that. The Boulder morphs into a monster. Maybe a stone golem or something.

Other Systems had two editorial passes, will The Light Side of the Moon? Who knows.

Then a book goes to formatting and actually become an ebook and a paperback.

Then the book gets released….and its still not over. We stumble around trying to sell it while we write our next book. We need to go slow and steady. We want to write with passion, while everyone tells us to get out our next book: now, now, now. Whether self-published or traditionally-published books sell is up to the whim of the readers. Will they like it? Will they find it compelling?

I can send out review copies, do interviews and go to conferences, but I can’t make people buy my book. I can’t make people read it. That is not in my control. What I can control is how I react to it. My goal is to respond with patience and persistence and to remember the long game. It boils down to the publishing of The Light Side of the Moon or any book is just another step in a career.

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The veil is growing thinner…and a poem

Dump: a word with many meanings. Today it’s referring to the fact that I’m down in the dumps…and about to dump on the readers of this blog.

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Maybe i just need to build more lego structures, when Other Systems was first published I created this.

Honestly it’s been one of those weeks.  One would think I’d be used to the routine.  I try to stay upbeat and busy when I await feedback.  I am waiting for two manuscripts to be read. One is The Light Side of the Moon which is at 48Fourteen, the other is the few folks who are beta reading The Martlet.  I hate waiting. Waiting makes me irritable. Waiting on a rejection makes me feel worse. Little things annoy me.  I’m getting frustrated with conversations with people who aren’t even here.  I’m half-afraid to go to writing group because I can’t stop rambling. This week, I snapped at a friend over something stupid —and now I can’t remember if I apologized or not—I’m hoping I did or he just isn’t mad at me. The veil that covers my crazy grows thin.

Now I realize I can be a bit intense and high strung, but my hiking companion said, “You’re creeping towards level 10 neurosis.”  Thank Goodness, we’re really good friends and she is willing to put with me. This is the part of the job, I am not good at–dealing with the intense emotions.

Now I want everyone to know, my neurosis is not because of the work. I love the work.

It also doesn’t help that I am busy preparing for the autumn cluster of appearances and classes which is ratcheting up my intensity even more.

Each time I encourage another writer to keep going —often in public—and follow their dreams when my own nervous stomach/critical part of my brain is telling me to quit. That I am never going to be published again.  (Which is total BS, I know logically, but try to tell my stomach that!)

Of course, this feeling is the key to my next “project” I decided to create a small collection of poems and short stories. I don’t know if or when they will be published. They might honestly all suck. That’s not really the point. The point is to allow me to experiment. I decided to see what happened if I did not put any restrictions on my creativity for a few weeks.  I know not every idea I will have over the course of the experiment will be great, but I feel it’s important not to censor or ridicule myself. So far I have written ten poems, rewrote a short ghost story, and wrote a piece about vampiric aliens. Each one has illustrations.

So here is a short poem I wrote. It is the kindest and most gentle of the poems which is why I chose it to share.

Dangers Real and imaginary

She warns of dangers real and imaginary.

So I take pause before I jump in the icy water

Obscured with mineral dust.

Algae clutch to rocks and squirm under my bare feet,

My toes grow pink, Then my calves and hips

No further.

I could see minnows in the emerald abyss

Nibbling at mosquitos.

 

Yes this poem is about a swimming in alpine lakes and why certain people don’t swim in them.

PS Before anyone thinks I am moping about physically. Nope. I still exercise each day. My tummy & brain are moping, but I’m going hiking to Lake Valhalla today and yes I’m going swimming!  Which leads to the most important advice I can give: If anyone can stand your company, it’s important to stay busy with friends while manuscript waiting occurs.

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