Saturday, April 27, 2013

Jitters that did not come from coffee

To borrow a phrase from my agent, we are on submission.

Writers are in a golden age, I think. We are no longer limited to one channel for selling our work. Ten years ago, if we wrote a great book, we had to find a publishing house (PH) willing to take a risk on us.  The book had to be different enough to be fresh and unique, but similar enough for the PH to understand how to promote it and where to shelve it in bookstores. So, yeah—fresh, unique, and the same as everything else. Quite the trick.

Today, if no PH will buy our great book because it's too risky, authors have two choices: 1) try self-publishing or 2) hope the market changes so that we can try again later.  There are pros and cons to both.

I'm sticking with the second option for now. Its pros are more compelling for me than its cons. I like having professional help with editing, distributing, and promoting my books—and those qualities tend to be the strengths of publishing houses.

Several years ago, I wrote a book called I WISH. It finaled in an international writing contest known as the Golden Heart®. It caught the eye of my literary agent, who signed me because of I WISH.

We tried for months to sell IW.  We came really close a couple of times.  Even though the responses was positive, the answer was the same. This book is too different. Too risky. We don't know how to market it.

Fine. Whatever. I archived IW and started something new.  After that something new sold, I pulled I WISH out of archive and took another look.  The world had changed enough in the interim that I thought this book still held promise.

First, I have changed. I am a better author now. I've practiced hard, taken classes, and improved my skills at processing feedback. Secondly, technology has changed. The characters have new computers, devices, and information available to them. Thirdly, the market has changed. E-books have expanded the possibilities. Young Adult fiction, with its willingness to experiment with "formulas," has pushed the market along new and exciting terrain.

rotary phone
Given all of those changes, I took my much-loved I WISH apart and put it back together.  I worked hard. I hired a freelance editor and 2 teen beta readers. I listened to them and applied their suggestions. And together, we've made IW even better than before.

My agent has sent the book out there into the publishing world. It could be weeks or months before we know anything.  Until then, I wait for good news, with the jitters in full force.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Juggling all these stories

I have an author-friend who has contracts with five different publishers (three are Big Six and two are mid-size).  She has to produce books for all of these publishers sometime in the next twelve months.

That would be a nice problem to have, although I'm not sure how good I would be at juggling that many. But I guess I'm finding out in April. I've been working on five books this month.

Three of them are in the Whisper Falls trilogy, which hasn't been too bad since they're all so strongly related. I'm making progress on the first draft of Book 3.  My editor is sending me some edits for Book 2.  And I may have to read, for the final time, Book 1 before it gets printed.  (Yes, indeed, the kind of printing that happens with ink and paper and binding.)

I have a YA contemporary manuscript that I wrote a while back.  I love the characters in that book, sort of Romeo&Juliet-ish (without the suicides.) It was the first novel-length manuscript that I ever wrote. Unfortunately, my story-telling skills were immature, so I put R&J-ish aside and studied writing craft.  It took a few years, but I think I'm ready to pick that book back up and unleash the main characters.

Finally, there is my "genie" book. It is the book that intrigued my agent enough to offer representation. Neither one of us have ever given up on I WISH. So I've been tweaking it too, making sure that I'm not standing in the way of Grant and Lacey to get their stories out.  And there might be a sequel or two lurking in there somewhere.

Yeah, contracts to write more books would be a great problem to have.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The moratorium is over

I promised my family that I would take the month of March off, and I did.  It was not fun.

For one thing, it was arbitrary. Why a month?  I did need a break after spending eight months working on Book 2. My husband and daughters deserved my attention. But, as it turned out, they didn't want as much attention as I had available.

The first week was the worst. I had all of these ideas for Book 3 that I wanted to get recorded, but I couldn't. 'Cause I promised.

I created a clean-the-cabinets project.  That died after five cabinets.
stack of books

I started hunting through book review sites, looking for new things to read.  And I discovered the New Adult genre. Yes, I forgot about Book 3 and all my ideas and the cleaning projects to submerge myself in NA books.  I can never write them myself, but I am sold!

It is April 2nd. I started Book 3 yesterday.  And I'm never taking a month off again. I need to write.