10 x 10 (Take THAT WordPress!)
In honor of this amazing day in history (just kidding), I thought I’d talk about my book coming out in the next week. It’s taken 3-1/2 years to get to this point…and I’m pretty excited. [Yes! It really took that long. I’ve felt each and every one of those 3-1/2 years too. Sigh.]
Eyes of Light began as a little seed in my mind when I was taking an online Creative Writing course. I had to come up with a short story, and was having trouble. I’ve always loved to write, but had convinced myself that I had no good plots in my head, and therefore no stories. [sidenote: Don’t do that to yourself!]
Inspiration came in the form of a traveling artist named Suvi. She knocked on my door one Sunday afternoon and showed me a few of her small canvases she was selling. She and some other artists (who were out beating on doors too) were on their way to San Francisco to open an art gallery.
Suvi was this perky Israeli girl with auburn hair and a nose piercing. I’m a little shy and stand-offish with strangers, but this girl found a way into my heart. The proof is hanging on my wall. She convinced me to buy one of her paintings.
I couldn’t stop thinking about Suvi after that. She was a cute character, and as I put her into my story scenes…BOOM! it all came together. I sent it in, and my teacher liked it and asked me to write Chapter 1 for a novel based off it for my final project. That was easy. I had already written a trilogy in the month my teacher had been perusing my last portfolio. The story wouldn’t rest in my mind.
I filled up 3 notebooks with my skeletal story of Suvi. It happened to be at a time when I was sitting in my car A LOT…waiting. Gas was expensive and my daughter’s soccer practices were across town. So I sat in my car for 2 hours and wrote while she practiced. The story was finished in a month, bringing me a sense of accomplishment I had never felt.
In short…I was hooked.
I haven’t been able to stop writing since. The pictures to the left show my process: 1) from handwritten story in notebooks, 2) to pages of research about Guatemala and its crime, editing notes from friends, and outlines for story organization…3) to a few books printed from Lulu.com (with a cheesy title and horrendous cover) for people to edit who didn’t like to read on a computer. I learned where the story and characters were weak, and then revised the story about 5 bajillion times (I’m not kidding. It might have even been 5 bajillion and 3 times, but who’s counting?).
Finally, I reached a point where I felt the manuscript was presentable and sent off a query to one publisher and the full manuscript to another. The waiting bugged me—4 months for one to answer; 8 months for the other. Ugh!
In the meantime, I bought a couple books I was disappointed by, especially after having paid full price for them. Publishers say that self-published books are subpar, but I disagree. I’ve read lots of published books that were crap, and several self-published books that were dang good. With Amazon’s ebook preview, I can read a few chapters of a book for free and get a feel for whether the writing is good or not.
I started reading lots about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing. In my plan, I would write a book and then let the publisher market it. That’s what publishers were there for, right?
Wrong! I found out that even if I found a publisher, I would still be in charge of self-promoting. Ick! Why have a publisher if they won’t do the distasteful part for me?
The kicker for me was when I listened to an author share her experience and found out how little authors receive per book via the traditional publishing route. I was appalled. I realized then I wasn’t going to make a lot even with a publisher…and the whole process of getting an agent/publisher left a sour taste in my throat and made me hate writing. So I decided to bag the icky part.
I set about learning the ropes of self-publishing. I’m a proofreader and knew I could edit my book well enough (and probably a lot better than some published books I’ve read). Amazon has a nifty site called CreateSpace where you upload your files, see a digital proof, order a print proof, and WaLah! upload it onto Amazon when your book is ‘just perfect.’ And after doing all that, I still like writing, which is the most important thing.
It’s been a long process, because it’s all brand new to me, but here is the final product (new cover and title). Eyes of Light (1st book in my series) will be available on Amazon by next week (I’ll post a link here and talk more about it when I finally hit the button that says it’s good to go).
Maybe someday I’ll post 100 Things I’ve learned about Self-Publishing…but not today. Today, on my 100th blog post, I’m just happy to say…it’s ALMOST done! For 3-1/2 years, I’ve experienced joy in the moments putting this trilogy together. I’ve stopped counting the times I’ve read my story through. My husband asked if I was bored one day as I was proofing it for the 5 bajillionth and 4th time, and I gasped and told him to bite his tongue. It’s my baby! How could I be bored with it? If anything, I love it even more, because I know how it started (raw and undeveloped), and now it has matured and is the apple of my eye (just like my real kids). Even if I sell only 100 copies, it has been worth all the effort.