Today is the Day

I barely slept a wink all night.

The countdown is close to reaching zero on two separate events. One event is that today I mail off my submission packet for Vengeance Will Come to a publisher.

My very first submission. It feels like I’m breaking new ground. Or better yet, stepping out on the ice, hoping that it’s frozen enough to bear my weight.

To be honest, I’m fully expecting a template rejection letter. Thanks, but no thanks. It’s my first novel and I’m sure I have much to learn about writing. I could have moved on without attempting to publish this first book – but the project would never have felt complete otherwise. (I still have a few wrinkles to smooth out in the manuscript, but they are minor and I hope to be actually complete in two weeks).

And without attempting submission I would never have learned about writing a synopsis, which was both a pleasure and a pain.

Writing a synopsis is an art all of its own and different to a query (or “pitch”). It forces you to distil your entire manuscript down to the core ingredients. (Vengeance Will Come is 300 A4 pages and my synopsis was 7 pages). In complete contradiction to an author’s normal impulses you must outline all major plot points, plot twists and character arcs. You must lay bare your secrets in a summarised recounting, without making it sterile.

I found creating the synopsis helpful in how it articulated the character arcs. In future projects I’m going to write the synopsis in parallel to the manuscript.

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Writing a Synopsis

I’ve written before about the amateur author’s pendulum, and the indecisiveness of which route to choose. The spectrum is vast, with traditional publisher at one end and self-publish, release-for-free at the other end.

I’ve decided that I’m going to submit Vengeance Will Come to a traditional publisher. First and foremost, I want the gatekeeper to say I’m allowed through. I don’t want to self publish and (accidentally) add to the slush pile. I know I’m not experienced enough to judge my own quality objectively.

I also know myself. I don’t want to have to worry about things like cover art, promotion and marketing. (I realise there could be elements of this, but I don’t want to ‘go it alone’. I’d rather leave it to the experts).

So now I’m trying to write my very first synopsis. Trying being the operative word.

Why Publish?

I really like receiving correspondence with my readers – either via email or in the comments section below. I enjoy hearing your opinions and thoughts. Plus it also helps me with blog ideas 🙂

I recently wrote about the stress involved in writing something in Vengeance Will Come  (book 1) that I might later regret in a subsequent book in the series. Essentially I was worried about painting myself into a corner.

“BMadTiger” wrote to me and suggested:

No one says you have to publish the first volume straight away… You could write the remaining volumes and then adjust the first book if necessary…

Firstly thanks, BMadTiger, for your correspondence and thought.What you have said is very true, of course. It is sound advice.

So, what would possess me to release the novel, locking myself in, rather than write the entire series first? There are several reasons:

Seeing an outcome. I’ve spent hundreds of hours over multiple years on it, and I want to see an outcome for that effort. Until the novel is available to the public (in some form) it’s not an outcome.

(Having said that, if I did go down the route of a traditional publisher I’ve read that it’s better to pitch at least two books in a series than one).

To Avoid the Endless Revision Loop. One of the main dangers for new authors is to get stuck in one story, endlessly revising. It doesn’t matter how many times I look at a paragraph, I can still find changes. Some of those changes improve the paragraph and some just make it different. (Some, unwittingly, make it worse).

Sometimes it is better to finish a story and move on to the next one, even if the first isn’t perfect.Finishing a story is important, because in finishing you learn things you can’t learn at other points of writing. Whether a finished story should ever be released/published is another question.

There’s a difficult balance to achieve knowing when something is ready for release and when it’s still too raw. I’m assuming that will only come with experience, and probably a few missteps along the way.

Perfection: the enemy of productivity. Again, there’s a balance between quality and quantity. Some authors want to churn out multiple books a year (I don’t know how). Others want to publish a book which adds richness to the study of literature. They don’t care if a single novel is their life’s work. While not being a churner, my goal is to be able to write more than one series.

Also, this is my first novel-length story. I have to accept it’s not going to be perfect. Practice makes perfect.

See what I made. There is a desire to show others my work. I’ve spent so long on the project that I want to share it with others. I understand not everyone will like it. Different strokes for different folks, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I hope someone gets enthused by it. I think it’s probably the goal of every author: to have a community of people who like their work; who think about the worlds they create, and who delve deeper into the story than a casual read. A lofty dream, but here’s hoping.

And back to editing for me…

A true tale of success

I point you to this article: The Shack: How William Paul Young wrote a bestseller as an excellent encouragement.

Some highlights:

  • He was bankrupt and facing divorce after infidelity.
  • He wrote a novel for his family, and had 15 copies printed.
  • The average novel sells only 3,000 to 5,000 copies over its lifespan and sales of 7,500 gives you a bestseller.
  • They sent it to 26 publishers, who all were uninterested. They formed there own printing company and spent $300 on marketing.
  • It has sold 20 million copies, printed in 48 languages worldwide and remained #1 on The New York Times bestseller list for 49 straight weeks. (It has spent 136 weeks on the list, and returned to it just last week, currently sitting at No. 7).

(Incidentally it is an awesome book).

 

New Australian Imprint

It’s with some excitement that I recently found out about a new opportunity for writers of fantasy fiction.

From an announcement email:

The imprint Stone Table Books will be Morning Star Publishing’s first official foray into the fiction market, seeking to promote the work of talented Christian writers, or any writer of fantasy fiction that bears the stamp of a Christian worldview.

Dr Mark Worthing has accepted the call to head up this new imprint. As you can imagine, Mark brings to the role a wealth of energy and expertise. Some of you have had dealings with Morning Star Publishing  (or their US affiliates Wipf & Stock).

As an aspiring author it’s always great to welcome a new “buyer” to the marketplace 🙂

Perpetual Motion!

I have conquered perpetual motion.

Just before you fire off a twitter notification letting the world know that we have solved  energy production…I should clarify.

I seem to have an internal pendulum inside of me that just doesn’t stop swinging. It is the pendulum of both whether and how I should release Vengeance Will Come.

Pendulum

I can see some big pro/con lists in the near future.

In any case I can’t release it until it’s edited, so back to it…