My Writing Week: Revising the Dream

As a writer, I spend a gob of time revising. Typically this means plowing through draft after draft of a book or an article to get it just right. But this week, I spent a fair amount of time revising my dream.

Now, notice I did not say “giving up the dream.” Hells no. As I’ve shared with you before, I’m one tenacious cookie and do not give up that easily.

So What’s The Deal?

The deal is the modern world of publishing is wacky. On a recent post on the Indie Hero blog I read a story that a writer created a query and book sample of Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions (one of my favorites). Following all the twists and turns of submission guidelines, the writer sent out the query and sample to 100 agents. Only one recognized it for what it was; the other 99 sent form rejection letters or nothing at all. The comments section said this “test” has also been done in other countries (using those countries’ famous authors) with pretty much the same result.

Leading me to wonder if I am completely wasting my time trying to find an agent for The Trials of Hercules.

My Efforts

Like I said, I don’t give up easily. I think my query letter is strong. My background in writing is strong. My book has been praised by everyone who has read it – not just friends and family, but REAL readers.

Still, I can’t turn an agent’s head. I’ve queried about fifty now. Only one sent a personal email, and about ten sent form rejection notices. The others? Nothing. I’ve exhausted my list of agents I would really want and the last batch of ten queries I sent out were just to feel like I was making an effort.


Easing onto the Expressway

The Trials of Hercules is not dead. Just want all you out there who enjoy my writing to know that. And it will be out this year. You’ll still have to wait, but I promise this wait is MUCH shorter than if you had to wait for a publisher to squeeze my book out of its press.

That’s right, I am returning to the road of self-publishing. But this time I’m giving my car an overhaul before jumping on the expressway.

Besides working on Book Two of the series, I’m cracking open the books (and websites) to truly study the best ways to self-publish. Of course, I have a very limited budget (roughly equal to $0) so some of the tips only make me laugh – seriously, you think I’m going to pay hundreds of dollars for a blog tour or thousands of dollars for a book trailer? Um,no.

But I still want this book and the series (and me as a writer) to succeed, so I’m studying how self-publishers actually get their books out there, how they get people to notice, how they get their books on the shelves of libraries and shops. And I want this information under my seat belt before I launch The Trials of Hercules into the fast lane.

Of course, I’ll share the journey with you and let you know what works and what doesn’t.

Driving to the Casino

The publishing industry is changing, we all know this. They’re like old ladies in the casino: They want to play the games, but don’t want any risk.

I know this is a gamble, every book is. But it’s my own gamble and not one I have to spend months and months convincing a publisher to take. It’s a gamble I can bet on using my own time frame.

A recent show on BBC Radio 4 emphasized this as the interviewer asked publishers what their future plans were – believe me, none of the publishers were oozing confidence in the wake of self-publishing. The overall message was you had to be a strong player to get a seat at their table – meaning unknown writers are even more likely than ever to be overlooked.

The upside of this series of interviews was when the interviewer found someone from Amazon to talk to. Yes, I know Amazon is evil for the independent book stores that I love, but the information Mr. Amazon presented was interesting: In various best seller (a vague term) lists, 20 to 30 percent of the books on the lists were from self-published writers.

I am determined to be in that statistic!

You can listen to the interviews at BBC Radio 4 online “In Business: Has the Book a Future?

More Patience, Please

So, dear readers, please be patient as I work out my battle plan for this war. I need time to study the landscape and strategise my efforts to get enough propulsion behind the Trials of Hercules to launch his hunky butt into the book stratosphere.

Wish me luck.

Have any self-publishing tips/experiences you want to share? Or maybe just words of encouragement? I’d love to hear from you!

One Last Thing…

The agent who was kind enough to send me a personal note (“kind” being a relative term here) did not like the series title The Osteria Chronicles. I went through hours of sifting through other names, changed my website three or four times to match the name changes, but you know what? I like my original series title.

Yes, I know osteria is a term for a restaurant, but I am hooked on it – it has a good fantasy-world sound, conveys a sense of home, and sounds a little like “west” (the books are set in the Northwest region of North America). So, I’m keeping it.