Saturday, June 18, 2011

It Was Time to Grow Up

I started out a couple of months ago to let friends and fellow writers know what a query letter meant to a first-time novelist. That little diatribe was interrupted by reality ... the writers conference, a pitch session, a push by an agent that my work needed work, and then extensive rewriting.

What has been the result? For me, it means I'm a little more grown up in this publishing world. I always knew rewriting would be a big part of the deal as my novel would advance through the process. I welcomed it. I'm a veteran copy editor, after all, so I know the need for editing in a "finished product" is usually necessary. But I am more realistic ... and just as committed to my notion that this is a novel worth publishing.

I have to bare my soul here. I always have enjoyed newspaper story ideas that went "outside the box" and examined something other newspapers wouldn't do. I call that originality. I crave that in my own novels, and I have achieved that here. My novel includes elements of crime, romance, spirituality (especially Christian belief) and even a hint or two of science fiction and political overtones.

So, how can something that is such a mixed bag deliver? The only thing I can say is that it works. It is unique and original, which means I have to find an agent and publishing house that is willing to go "outside the box" as well. I will work like mad to make it happen via the agent/publishing house method, but if that fails I will self-publish. (I talked to other authors who claim self-publishing is the only way to go, but I don't want to take the easy way out. Never have. Never will. I will go that route only as a last resort.)

I have grown up about what it takes to write a really good novel and in my commitment to my own work. I have put my second novel on hold while I have attacked these tasks, but I will get back to that soon. These ideas I have been creating need a way to reach the page. I am more than happy to make that happen.

In the meantime, I am a very patient man. Thank you to all of you who have stood by me, read my manuscripts or partials and supplied feedback. You are wonderful friends. I value that more than you will ever know.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Comfortable Place For A Unpublished Writer

I am still in a waiting stage ... one agent has replied, another rejection ... but I am so much more comfortable with where my novel is now versus where it was. And I was confident in what I had done before. Now it's just a matter of finding a match with an agent. Time will tell.

I haven't made it easy on myself. My work is fiction, and fiction is harder to sell. My work is mainstream fiction, and that is hard to sell. My novel doesn't dovetail nicely with any established work, so I can't hook onto the coattails of "True Blood" or "Harry Potter," and there aren't spies, detectives, goblins or ghouls running around my pages. I like it that way. I like being original, and from all my research, my novel is very original. I have Googled plot line aspects, and there are no direct hits. That's a good thing. One of the people who read my opening four chapters suggested I check out "Sarah's Key" to see how closely that matched what I had done. It brushes my novel only in the most obscure manner.

And I have to get back to writing the second book in this trilogy. I enjoy advancing these characters, and they have been in limbo for far too long.