So I just published Children of the Temple: Book One yesterday and oh my god (yes, it deserves to be spelled out) what a journey!
I actually wrote the first draft of CotT during one of the 3 Day Novel contests. I was determined to get the second draft done by xmas that year, which I did. And then… well, it just sat on my harddrive while I papered every agent I could find via the Writers Digest. After about six months I thought, okay, clearly this isn’t working, and went through it a third time. Added some stuff, took some stuff out, and revised all my query letters.
Now, we’re going on about a year from when it was first written and I’m getting discouraged. But I sent out a fresh batch of queries and waited. You have to understand that responses from traditional agents can run from 1 to 3 months and most of them don’t take simultaneous submissions so you literally have to wait until you get the rejection before you can try for the next
rejection acceptance. And actually, at this point, I did get to second base with an agent who requested to see the whole novel. I was very excited. The good news is she told me in a couple of days, “Sorry. This isn’t for us,” instead of making me wait weeks for the rejection. And I’m like, “Really? You were excited enough to want to read the whole thing so clearly, the whole thing sucks.”
At that point, I relegated it to the harddrive again and went back to other projects. It wasn’t as though I didn’t have other things that needed my attention, because I always do.
It was also at this point that Eternal Investigations got published through Torquere Press (http://www.torquerepress.com/). I got a lovely review from Katy Souzeva (http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5552109-katy) and, in between the emails back and forth, she mentioned being an editor. And it was like the heavens opened and angels sang because I thought, “Temple!” I had looked into editors before, but the average cost I found was .03/word up to .05/word. When your novel is about 100k words, that gets really friggin’ pricey. But Katy was an editor I could actually afford because she’s freakin awesome like that! She understands the phrase, “struggling writer,” unlike most editors. And that’s not a slam against any editor, honest, because they have to make a living too.
In any case, we worked out a barter price and off she went to tear it apart. And boy did she! lol! But in a good way! There was lots of lovely, snarky comments throughout the manuscript, too, which let me know that it was being received as I’d meant it to be and that was a reassurance in itself. So I got through the edits and was actually really pleased with the resulting novel!
The next round of queries went out… crickets could be heard throughout the land.
Being the insecure writer that I (frequently) am, I ran crying to Katy who agreed to go through it again. And I think a
third fourth time?
It was at this point, some three years after it was first written that the concept of “self-publishing” no longer had the ‘taint’ to it that it had all along. I began reading blogs about it. And authors who “made it” as indie writers. And then I finished Flux and thought, “Hmm… maybe I should give this a try?”
So I did. Honestly, Flux was a good novel to experiment with because even though I adore my characters, I’m somehow not as invested in the series as I am with Temple. Don’t know why. It’s like parents having favorite kids, I guess. You just do. (Sorry, kids, hate to break that to you) Now, it’s not as though I made a fortune with Flux, because I actually haven’t seen any money yet from it. But! That’s because I had it up as free for a couple of months and got about 450 downloads. That in itself was very encouraging because people liked it! I got some pretty cool reviews on it! And, hopefully, some fans who would buy the next novel I put out.
Then came the Arbiter short story series. I published the first story last month and am keeping it for free. I’ve had over a hundred downloads of it in the last few weeks and am pretty happy about that, given it’s a short.
So now came the real test. Was I going to keep banging my head against the wall or publish Temple the same way?
I went running back to Katy is what I did. Poor woman. She’d probably dreamed about immortal knights and smart-assed hackers by that point. But because she’s awesome, she took one last pass at Temple. And found a few more awesome points about it. Oh, and I have to mention my friend Lynn here, because she had a great note that had gotten missed by everyone who’d read CotT over the last few years.
Decision made, I commissioned a cover from the lovely Tatiana (http://tat-94.wix.com/viladesign#!__contact) and made her life a living hell for a couple of weeks being just as indecisive with her as with Katy. Honestly, it’s a wonder they didn’t/don’t have my picture up and throw darts at it. (…you don’t, right?)
When 12/1 came around, I started doing mini-publicity bursts on twitter every couple of days. And then, at last, 12/12 came around and OMG I had scheduled the release for the same night as my script coaching session WHAT WAS I THINKING??? I scurried home from work, hopped online and uploaded the source doc to smashwords.com only to run into a Table of Content error. I started fixing it, but then the coaching session happened. (And it was an awesome session, but that’s for another post.) So a little over an hour later I had dinner, collapsed while eating, and then pulled myself up and re-attacked the ToC problem. Fixed it, posted it, posted to amazon and (re)discovered that they have a “review” period so it wasn’t a simul-publish after all. *headdesk*
But Children of the Temple was published on smashwords! And on time (on the West Coast)! And I was done. Am done. Fini!
… oh wait, now I have to write the sequel.
Let the cycle of
life writing begin!