Agents and Indies and Self-publishing oh-my!

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As I patiently move through line edits and more rounds of read-throughs of Wine Bottles and Broomsticks and begin seriously plotting the second book in the Rick Basket series, rather a lot of my mental energy is being wasted on the question ‘what comes next?’ I mean, after final revisions and copy-editing and things. I’ve thought I’d been to this point before, but not really. This time though, I really am. If all goes well I’ll be sitting with a full draft in a few weeks.

Obviously, I really want to get this thing published, you know, like a regular book – but HOW?

It seems like every writer out there has a completely different and thoroughly justifiable position on this.

The most promising initial path I’ve got for this project and where I want to take it is to try and connect with an agent. Of course, I’m completely unknown, don’t have any proven track record of selling books or meeting deadlines. Not only that, I’ve got to find a person I can trust and works in good faith and also won’t deadbeat me. It’s scary and, I suspect, very hard.

Another path, the sort of knee-jerk path, it seems, is to just start firing the manuscript off to various publishing houses. I have serious doubts I’d even manage to get read, let alone get signed. To make it worse, if I do manage to get a contract, I’m likely as not to screw it up and kill the project before it really gets off the ground. It’s my biggest fear in taking the next step here, actually. I like writing these characters and I want to keep doing that. It would really suck for me if I got derailed because of my own stupidity.

The last approach is self-publishing – a highly popular and sometimes successful way to go. The problem is that I don’t have much time and I certainly don’t have a lot of cash, so while I could self-publish, the amount of advertising I could do is pretty minimal. This, actually, doesn’t help either. It’ll be out there, sure, but I won’t be able to tell people who actually want to hear it’s out there that it is. Plus, and this is an ego thing, I won’t be able to walk into Barnes and Noble or the local indie store and find it on the shelf.

So, here I sit, heartburn chewing up my insides staring cross-eyed at a manuscript trying to viciously eliminate passive voice and unnecessary dialogue tags while stretching my plot-holes into compelling story that gets me over the 80K mark (77.6K at last count). Sigh – Any agents out there want to take a look? No? Well, had to ask.


photo credit: The Printing Press via photopin (license)

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Taking a different direction

I made the decision to pull Wine Bottles & Broomsticks off of channillo.com today. In large part, the decision was based around packaging and marketing the book as a whole rather than one chapter at a time (I’m going to pack this up as a novel and put it out there that way) When I first started writing it, the story was just supposed to be a fun little jaunt into unfamiliar territory. As these things sometimes go, I fell in love with the characters and the concept and I’m neck deep in finishing it as a novel and drafting a second one. I’m going to put it out in this format. I’ve got a strategy for getting there, but it’s far too early to say how that’s all going to play out. In any case, the book will be available at some point. I don’t know when, but I have the means to carry it off regardless.

I have no particular beefs about channillo.com. Like any publication, you’ve got to really work hard at advertising and selling yourself. Something I didn’t do after the first few chapters. This is not so much because I’m lazy as because I started to feel that this change in direction was inevitable and I didn’t want to invest too much in a platform I was going to abandon anyhow. Had this been any other story, I’d likely have stayed with channillo, for a whole variety of reasons, but for now, I had to bow out. Perhaps someday, I’ll spin up another series to kick out there, but for now, it’s single minded focus on selling Wine Bottles and Broomsticks as a novel.

Progress Report

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I feel like I should do this more often, but I’m not sure I’d say too much that was useful. As it is, I don’t know that I’ve had anything to say in a while. All that said, it’s been a couple of weeks since I declared Draft #1 of Wine Bottles & Broomsticks fully drafted. What has been amazing to me in the past few weeks has been the response from beta readers to the book. Not only have all of them actually finished the book, they’ve all done so quickly and provided phenomenal feedback. I spent a half an hour on the phone with my sister this evening discussing character motivation and her general reaction to the book.

Where do I stand right now? First off, I want to say that writing this story was exceptionally fast. The bulk of it was actually written during free time on two trips out of state for training. So, basically 40% of the book was written over the course of less than 2 weeks. With that in mind, I’m aiming (probably optimistically) at having a fully expanded, edited draft ready by the end of the month. This is possible largely because virtually all of the readers thus far have provided feedback that hits the same spots – ‘expand this’ ‘what about that’ and so on. So, now I’ve got a plan to expand the manuscript from just shy of 60K to near 80K. In the mean-time, the channillo.com will continue on with the early draft and probably sometime on Sunday, I’ll turn up the crank to release a chapter a week for a while, then maybe up to a chapter a day. Then, I’ll let it sit out there for a few weeks.

My goal is to have this thing ready for a copy editor roll over it sometime early in February. Then, I guess I’ll see if I can drum up any interest from a publisher. If not, well, I’ve got cover art and the book will have been edited, so self-publishing it is.