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Friday, 2 November 2012

It's a book!

THIS is the cover of my newly published book, Marking Time.  It's available today on Amazon for kindle apps, and the paperback will be available starting next week.  And I, like many debut indie authors, thought the hard work was writing the book. 

As the four of you who actually followed this blog from its inception know, I started this journey on the traditional publishing path.  The boys and I were in the Yukon visiting Ed on the set of the show he spent the summer Story Producing (runs in the family?), and while the boys slept off the effects of midnight sun bedtimes, I researched agents and sent out query letters and sample pages, revising both daily.  If you were one of those first agents I queried, I apologize.  You got the benefit of no experience and a very awkward combination of too much and not enough confidence.  I got better at my queries later and did get some requests for partial manuscripts (my kids were very entertained by the happy dance), but as the form rejections mounted, and the few personal rejections attested, my book was just too long for traditional agents to imagine trying to sell to traditional publishers.  Apparently, the cost of production of the longer book isn't worth the risk that the young adult audience wants to read anything longer than 300 pages.  My 17-year-old niece would disagree, since she chooses her books first by the cover, then by the back copy, then by the page count - with longer being much better.  Incidentally, I wrote this book for her and readers like her, but that's a different story.

After cutting about 40,000 words from my original manuscript (which definitely made it better) and debating splitting it in two, or cutting off the first 50 pages and offering them as a free novella, or serializing the whole thing, my confidence had begun sagging around my knees.  And saggy knees are just not my thing.  My friends, who got the weekly download of plan-changes and justifications over glasses of wine (and whine) are saints - thank you for your ears, your support, and your patience.  Truly, thank you.  Ultimately, I couldn't stand myself.  I was in the waiting place, playing the waiting game, researching everything I could get my hands on about the pros and cons of all kinds of publishing.  There were a couple of author/bloggers, like Lindsay Buroker and Joel Friedlander, whose arguments in favor of self-publishing gave me back the confidence that I didn't have to start redecorating the waiting place to make it more comfortable.  I could just move out.

And so I have.  It's a place where all the design and publishing, and all the marketing and sales of my book are on me... and it is a far more interesting place to live.  But for the moment it's also a full-time job, starting before 5am most mornings and ending at homework time after school.  And I'm going to have to grow a whole new variety of confidence as I figure out how to interest indie booksellers in Marking Time, how to entice internet traffic to my shiny new website, and how to navigate the very complicated internal marketing business of Amazon.

It's hard work.  And it's really, really satisfying.