I am slowly crawling out from the cocoon of heartbreak and back toward my Secret Book manuscript. However, I’ve reached an impasse that has held up the story somewhat. The road has two forks, and I need to go down both of them.
My attempt to brave the first fork has shown that my research into the period and especially the English setting is sorely lacking, to the point that it’s holding me up. I’ll be in London again in two months, and I want to spend much of my time there doing research. So I’m making plans to organize where and when and who and how.
The second fork led right back to Heartbreak Hotel (I should just buy real estate on Lonely Street, seriously). I couldn’t write the lovey-dovey part of the book because it’s been so long since I’ve been happy in a new relationship that those scenes are coming off wooden and stilted. I can’t tap into those emotions right now, even in my imagination. That realization made writing them and listening to the book’s Einaudi playlist exquisitely painful.
Shit like this all over Facebook right now does not help.
So I’ll take First Fork Road for now. (And I’m listening to Einaudi again, which is a good sign, I suppose.) Meanwhile, stuffs be happening:
- This research and preparation will take time.
- I’m embroiled in trying to retrieve my Rose’s Hostage critique. Things are not going well at the moment. Hint: if you pay someone to do a critique or editing, get a turnaround time in writing. In the meantime, a chapter rewrite I thought of on my own looms.
- I’m still querying agents about Tunerville (more on that shortly).
- I’ve entered a story in literary magazine Glimmer Train’s New Writers competition.
This past weekend, I attended VisionCon with my Whovian friends. I went dressed as Donna Noble in an outfit very similar to this one:
I clipped a small adipose plush to my jacket just in case no one realized who I was supposed to be, but everyone got it and a couple of people even wanted to snap a pic. So my first cosplay ever was a success.
While I was there, I attended a panel on traditional vs. self-publishing hosted by horror/fantasy authors Ben S. Reeder, JM Guillen, and EM Ervin. All three of them are self-pubbed; only Ben Reeder has gone through traditional publishing. EM Ervin’s book had only been out for two weeks when they had the panel–I could totally relate to her excitement.
Overall, the three writers were in favor of self-publishing. Guillen said he had never gone for the regular method. Reeder told the audience that you certainly do not get much money from traditional publishing–advances have shrunk to ridiculous amounts, especially for first novels. I knew this already, so no surprise there.
Reeder and Guillen both said that while the slush pile and queries are still a thing, agents have a new tool to find writers–they go online and see what is selling. And according to Reeder, whom I spoke with the next morning on my last pass through the dealer’s room before heading home, you can make a living this way, if your sales are decent.
I have my doubts about that last, but they definitely gave me something to think about. I’ve been avoiding self-pubbing for several reasons:
- It still has a shitty reputation, because anyone can do it. And anyone does.
- It costs money. Even if you avoid vanity publishers and publish on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing for free, if you want even a hope of having a decent project, you still have to shell out for a competent editor and hire a book cover artist. All three of the panel hosts agreed these two things are absolutely vital.
- It requires you to do ALL the work. While traditional publishers these days put authors to work flogging their books, with self-published books the onus is on you. All of it.
- It lacks the one thing traditional publishing gives you that nothing else can, according to Reeder: legitimacy.
This last is why I do not want to self-publish Rose’s Hostage or Tunerville. I’m still querying the latter. I got a rejection this week that said the query sounded interesting, but that the agent in question was inundated with work and not taking on new clients. Maybe it was a form email, and maybe not. It’s difficult to tell sometimes.
You will not see any self-published books at Barnes and Noble, unless they’ve been picked up by one of the Big Five, and that is very, very rare. Still, it does happen.
I want that legitimacy. It’s like getting instant street cred. If I get it, I will have passed the initiation; industry professionals will have declared my book worthy, and I’ll become one of the club. For me, right now, self-pubbing is not going to happen with those two works.
I thought–and I keep thinking–that it might be a good way to offer something shorter than a book to you, my readers. Because I feel bad that you haven’t got anything besides this twit of a blog to read.
What do you think? If you would like me to put some stories up, let me know in the comments.