Thursday, October 11, 2012

Future-us

The work got done this past weekend, I'm proud to say. I also feel like I learned some things. Like about the idea of a brief, open-door policy to unagented submissions for a major publisher. The actual activity required some additional information which was surprising at the beginning, and understandable toward the end. The deadline for submissions is Sunday, but even as I was trying to get in things early, I could see evidence that the submission portal was under duress, trying to shoulder the load of everyone trying to access it. It occurred to me that the idea might have been something they had lightly discussed doing, then pulled the trigger on just to see what it would be like. Then, in the place of the river they expected, an ocean swelled up, threatening to crash their servers. If a publisher underestimated ebooks, I thought, it might have even more traction than anyone suspected. Then, once the portal was even accessible, it required a synopsis of the book, a query letter, even a "best scene." My experiences told me that many books would not get read on account of poorly written, uninteresting, or even sadly contrived requisite material. At least, I know I second guessed my documents more than twice.

But the task was eventually completed, and I felt good about what I had done. A friend reminded me that I was my harshest critic (to which I only briefly objected, saying, "well, if I were a lot of the editors I had submitted to, I'd have more success right now). That let me finish up the guest blog promo in short order. I went through the same rigors of making sure everything looked fine and made sense, but I didn't hover, and once it was done, I didn't fret. I sent it. The person said it looked good, and thanked me for my timeliness. I thanked them for the opportunity to try to get my name out to that many more people.

After that, I finished the initial round of edits on the book to be (tentatively) released in February. Like the previous releases, I have some anxiety about how good the final product will be as impacted by the unknown editor that I'll be working with. I think about my wholly different experiences, the pushing, the pulling, and the end result. I can do little but hope for a good experience, I realize, and move forward. A friend reading my second book told me how much smoother it was and now I begin to understand the feeling of the demon of the first publication. If the things were published in the order that they were written, there will always be an obvious disparity as one moves along (IF one moves along) a given series. The questions, I imagine, will sound like "what happened with the first book?" to which I will only be able to honestly answer "I wasn't as good then." But, would it really be too much of a stretch for people to find out (about any of us) that we didn't used to be so good? I'll keep you posted on my answer to that.

The other day, my publisher posted a blog that had, and I quote, "eerie similarities," to her own experiences as a publisher. She wouldn't say which experiences those were, of the lengthy list of... pseudo complaints? But then, I guess pointing them out would make them sound more like actual complaints. I can't lie and say that the experiences don't sound very challenging. They sound like the problems a busy entrepreneur would have. They remind me of the pros and cons of the process of choosing one's path and having to live with the consequences. As the years go by, it seems like either I'm realizing I had fewer options myself, or that the more I write, the more I tether myself to this mysterious destiny.

Be as happy as you can be with your choices.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Because i dream

Sometimes I dream when I'm awake, about award speeches and magazine interviews. In those times, I practice the things I tell, because I don't want to regret things I might say. I don't want to leave out anyone I mean to thank. Tracing the events that led to where I am is getting trickier by the season. This, for instance, was an opportunity I only heard about because I'd been somewhat active in an online writer's group which I was only invited to because I tried to apply myself during a web party for a book release. And that's one of the shorter lists of degrees of separation.

And that's where I've been over the last few days. With a two-week window, and their openness to accepting any manuscript of the genres they're looking for, I'm putting all my feet forward, and I'm doing my best to make sure they can be as good as they can be. Needless to say, work on the current project took a hiatus briefly. Submissions to agents are out, naturally, but I won't be stopping to wait on those rejections when an opportunity like this has fallen into my lap. Because sometimes I dream when I'm awake, about it all crashing down and having been for naught. I don't want any regrets in that situation either. I don't want to look back and say I didn't give every superhuman effort, because no one knows to what extent luck plays, and to what extent hard work actually pays off.

And that's why I've been working on a different promo opportunity as well. Hallow's Eve approaches, and on one of the lists I belong an opportunity arose where I could promote my work, provided it was paranormal. I can't say if such things pop up more often and I just ignore them, or if I was just paying more attention in this case. Either way, I signed up, even before I had an idea of what I'd write about. I just knew that I should be making more of an effort, in general. So today I'm writing. It isn't exciting, and it isn't my best, but hopefully it will be another stone in the road taking me where I belong.

I say belong, now, because going back to look at my work, I discovered renewed belief in myself. Words from friends has helped a great deal, too, their hands in my back, but as I went through the pages, followed the story, some of the doubt began to slip away from me. I still have loads to spare, naturally, but when you're being crushed beneath a weight, even a handful of earth removed from the pile can make a miracle's difference. This is the first time I've had more to say, but will cut things short. It would be nice to throw my thoughts concerning the science fiction author's role in guiding the future into the void of blog-dom, but alas.

I've got work to do.