Most of you have been able to remind me of my constant failures (ha!) when you remember to ask “How’s your book going?”. What you may not all know is that I finished it. And wrote another one. Here’s something I’ve never shared en masse:
The first novel is the story of a woman who was raised by her grandparents. When they both pass she’s confronted with the life she ran away from and the true identity they kept from her. And she falls in love. It’s that kind of a book.
The second novel is a woman who witnesses a near-murder and comes to term with her demons through interaction with the person she rescues who turns out to be a big deal kind of a person. It’s that kind of a book.
The problem is that I think they’re good books. Well, the first one I stopped thinking that about after I lost my grandmother. I realized that I felt more than I made the reader feel. I need to work on that. The second one I haven’t edited since I wrote the full first draft. So in my head it’s a masterpiece.
So I need to hire an editor. Still. Which is something I didn’t learn in college. So I have no idea what to do. When I have no idea, it doesn’t get done.
That’s where we are with that. I’m thinking of taking up knitting…
Through no small feat I’ve reached the halfway point in my editing. Instead of wild celebration, however, all this means for me is fervor. I’m ready to knock the second half out, in double time. I’m giving myself two weeks, after my company leaves. That is actually presumably quadruple time, but no one is counting. I just kind of want to be done with it and get to the fun part, like signing them.
I’m also using that two weeks to bulge some intense muscles. A blast of toning for bikini season. I’m totally happy where I’m at, so why not go above and beyond, and then slack a little when it’s hot and I just want to lay by the pool? I think it’s a good plan. I just need to work on my implementation…
Things work in pairs right? Like socks.
I’m so glad that we all agree that I shouldn’t be expected to make the book “work”. That is surely someone else’s job. Someone that won’t change each little thing and over-analyze, like I have been. I’ve done the hard part. I made some stuff up and put it ‘on paper’. Now to find an editor. The going rate appears to be a penny a word. It’s abstract accounting at best. Will there be more or less words when all is said and done? What if there’s a typo that makes one word two? Who are these people anyway? Am I going for quality or content? I can’t be over 60,000 words, so the price seems reasonable considering I don’t even know what I’ll get in return. What an adventure!
Next, submitting to publishers. There are a lot of little publishers. I’m going to try ‘going local’ first. Always a camaraderie-type thing. If no one in San Diego wants me, I can pretend I am local “Seattle” where I was working on the editing, or local “Austin” where I wrote the first book. Most publishers that I’ve found will accept a synopsis via email, which apparently is unusual? I’ll take it. My goal is to start finding them and getting myself out there. I think I know how to sell, but this is different, it’s personal. I think having a place to ask for help (here) and admit that I’m lost is a great big help.
There are a couple reasons I’m waiting to explore self publishing. One is the husband, who takes the doing it myself idea as a last resort that is only acceptable if no one else wants my book (in my mind in that case why bother…). It’s going to cost more, of course, since I would want to use every resource they offer to give myself a best chance, and so few books make it big that go that way, and I’m sitting here thinking I have something good to work with.
The story so far: Last November, I wrote a book. This November, I wrote another book. A much better book. Each of them are just over 50,000 words and were finished within a month. I spent the past year editing the first book. I got to Chapter 4, of 12 chapters. I asked for help. Not so much. Editing does not equal writing, it is a lot less fun and how do you ever stop editing yourself? Yawn.
Now I’m over the first book, a romance-y just trying to get published kind of a thing, and obsessed with my second book, a Fear and Loathing crazy-style marriage of good writing and interesting action. I know I’m a writer, that these books could sell. In what form? Probably an edited one.
What do I do? Keep editing the first book? Jump to the second? Hire a real life editor? Hire an agent? Burn them both? (The books, not the editor and agent…) Send them out as is?
I’d like your thoughts.
The book totally would have been done by now!! Right…
How To Write A Book
- Do absolutely nothing until you can see the whites of your deadline’s eyes.
- If you’ve got cowriters, try to disagree as much as possible. If you’re of the same opinion regarding a section of text, bicker about dinner choices.
- Criticize what little progress you’ve achieved and doubt what little talent you possess.
- Do not write any new words when there are still old words that have only been rewritten twelve times. No sentence is complete until it’s lost all traces of your original thought.
- Complain about the pressure of a looming deadline to everyone you know. This will ameliorate the jealousy and bitterness felt by friends without book deals. It will also put an end to social invitations that may hamper your writing progress, as your former friends will now hate you.
- Stop sleeping. Complain about how tired you are too.
- Never have a mental breakdown before 11 p.m.
- Do not postpone other projects so that you can focus on the current one. It’s better to spread yourself so thin that you produce an evenly distributed amount of complete crap.
- If you’ve gotten this far without a single technical foul-up, now’s a good time to download something viral.
- Make a schedule for yourself, but do not even remotely follow it. Instead, continually do some mental math that divides your remaining pages by the rapidly dwindling number of hours.
- The best writing is that which is compiled from dozens of different documents, including things you’ve e-mailed or text-messaged to yourself. Try to create separate documents on as many different computers as are available. Some things will be irrevocably lost, and hours will be spent cursing. Learn a lesson about orderliness, but do not act upon such knowledge.
- Some terribly constructed sentences always make good low-hanging fruit for your cowriters to edit, thus protecting your awful idea from their meddling.
- Were you napping? Stop that. It’s 11 o’clock already. Start freaking out, hard.
- If you’ve worked hard three days in a row, take a hard-earned day off. And it looks like snow tomorrow, so you might as well take the whole weekend. But a day off from writing is not a day off from complaining!
- If you haven’t drastically gained or lost weight, you’re just not writing well.
- Assume your sources are reputable. When some accidental research reveals the source that serves as foundation for your work to be as reliable as grandma’s memory, briefly consider the amount of work it will take to correct things at this late hour, then fuck it and move on.
- Pick up any book on your bookshelf, skim a few pages, and admit that it’s a terrible book… but better than anything you’ll ever write. Cry.
- If one of your cowriters is something of an optimist, steal his hat.
- If you’re not panicking, call your agent and request they he or she panics. You’ll have no problem panicking afterward.
- Call your mom.
- Your time is more valuable than your money. Spend as much cash as you’ve got in your pockets.
This seems like a bad idea. Last year, I discovered NaNoWriMo. Then I signed up.
Then I spent a month writing, in between all other events. Here’s that month in case you weren’t with me for it.
Am I crazy enough to do this again? My plan was to be finished with the first one before starting the second. Not gonna happen. Trying to publish a book is hard. Even for an extraordinary writer like myself…
I’m not even halfway through professional editing. But that’s the rough part, right? And if I’m going to be famous, I’ll need to write more than one book – if I want to be rich I need a thousand…
NaNo got me going. The deadline, the camaraderie, the force to write, the adventure. So yes, it’s a crazy, incredibly nerdy, unrealistic thing to do. And I just signed up.
I’m trying to decide whether I’m going to drag you through it with me.
Yes, Mom, there’s a swear on that, but it’s not MY swear, it’s the cartoonist’s. And he kind of sums up my life nicely. Ironic, isn’t it?
The real irony is that my brother sent that to me. He does, indeed, think I’m a s****y blogger. Slash novelist. Sigh.
Publishing a book is hard. And it’s a big deal. I had no idea where to start once I stopped writing. I really like the idea of publishing the book through a self publishing company rather than dealing with stress submission and rejection. I have talked about iUniverse with David, you’ll even find him in my blogroll. He was honestly great at giving me personal feedback and talks about his experience on his blog as well.
I’d been meaning for a while to get his book, and it arrived in the mail from Amazon the other day. I didn’t put it down. It was super interesting to be reading a 9/11 related book this week. It does serve as an important reminder. I thought everything looked and was laid out great, and loved the story. I definitely suggest that you check it out!
If nothing else, this article might shock you. I don’t really want you to leave somegosoftly.com in search of greener pastures, but maybe you should pick up a book once in a while. And no, Harry Potter DOESN’T COUNT. I mean, I’m sitting here working on a book and trying to get it published, but this makes me wonder a little bit if there’s any point to all my efforts. Well, besides the bragging rights and notoriety and world tours I’m imagining in my dreams.
I personally discovered who I was through my reading, went to college to seek out those who inspired me and learn more about them, and have put my career aside to attempt the artistic feat of having an impact like that on someone through my words. Now I’m afraid it’s all for nothing.
One In Four Read No Books Last Year
Find the time to click this link, and tab through all the pages on the bottom right. (About 30 or so.) Miranda July does a hilarious job of making me want to read her book. I love it and wish I could think of something half as creative.
Oh, but I need to have a finished book first.
That part keeps messing with me.