Publishing Update: Why there haven’t been more Publishing Updates…

When I first started this blog, I intended to use it to document the experience of writing and publishing a novel. I was frustrated at how difficult it is to find information on what this process looks like. I didn’t know what to expect and I knew there were a lot of writers out there who were equally discouraged by the lack of open communication on the subject.

I think I started off on the right track. I blogged about the endless querying, the nightmare of waiting, the inevitable rejections, the scraps of feedback… But as the process dragged on the time between my posts dragged out. I now realize why there is so little information out there about getting published. The experience is so draining, you lose the will continue. You begin to feel like you are just going to end up with a detailed account of your failure to be published, rather than a helpful how-to for other aspiring writers. It begins to feel like an exercise in soul-sucking futility. I admit it. I gave up. On the blogging, at least…

After breaking down and paying a professional editor to pick my manuscript apart, I underwent a heavy rewrite. I cut over 20,000 words, more than 50 pages; the surviving scenes were cut apart and reorganized to improve pacing. What I ended up with felt like a completely different novel. And I had to treat it as such. I had to start the whole querying process over again.

I would love to be able to say that the second time was easier. But it wasn’t. You think that the hard work is writing the novel itself. But the writing is the fun stuff. I know, I know. You’ve heard that before. But I don’t think anyone who is writing a book really takes the time to enjoy it. You’ve got your eye on the prize, the final product, the big shiny book deal. Maybe that’s part of the reason that the querying process is so disheartening. It’s like running a race; you see the finish line ahead and give it all you’ve got. But when you get there, you realize you still have another three laps to go and you just want to curl up in a ball and die. Or maybe that’s just me.

I sent my reworked manuscript out to the few agents who had shown some interested the first time around, letting them know I’d fixed the issues they’d had with the original. None of them responded. I realized that the pitiful one-liner “feedback” I’d received from each of them was likely just dressed-up rejection. Only one of my original queries had elicited real, concrete feedback. And that was the editor of a small science fiction imprint called Bedlam Press. It was actually his feedback that prompted me to hire an editor for my manuscript in the first place. So to hell with agents. I sent it back to Bedlam.

And they signed me! The Timekeepers’ War will be coming out this summer. I’m working with the artist on ideas for the cover and waiting for the final changes to be suggested by the editor. It’s going to be a lot of work getting my name out there and promoting my first novel, but I feel confident knowing I’ve got a great team behind me. Again, I find myself at the finish line only to discover that the race has only just begun.

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7 thoughts on “Publishing Update: Why there haven’t been more Publishing Updates…

    1. CONGRATULATIONS! on the first leg of the journey. Congratulations for writing the book, for sending out the first attempt, for doing the re-writes and for trying again! Not letting discouragement get the better of you is the key. Plugging on when it seems useless to do so. And at the same time, dealing with so many changes in your life. You are a tough one, for sure.

  1. A long journey indeed and you are now over one set of mountains and soon to face another. I self-publish, but it seems these days, when it comes to authors doing their own promotion – we are all in the same boat and I wish you the best of luck rowing that boat. I might follow along with your blog for a while and see how it all goes.

    1. Yes. We’re all in the same boat! And I think technology is the great equalizer in these things. If you can master social media and develop a strong online community, you’ve got a leg up no matter how you choose to publish. I guess it might be different if you got picked up by one of the big guys. But as far as self-publishing vs small press it’s really all on the author! Thanks for checking out my blog. I need to get back to posting regularly. I’ve read a few of your posts as well and think I’ll have to start following more closely. I’ve got a thing or two to learn from you 😉 My mom loved _Disappearing in Plain Sight_, by the way!

    1. Thanks very much! How are you doing with “The Basement”? I was reading that you’ve gotten it into some libraries! That must be exciting 🙂 I look forward to reading more about your experiences as you are a couple steps ahead of me on this path! Thanks for reading.

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