The Novel is Gone

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Two days ago, I pressed upload on my author’s account page and the manuscript was gone – off to Friesen Press  for the next stage in my self-publishing experience. I know, I know – I wrote these same words in a post about six weeks ago. Well, it did go then, but it got a review that suggested a bit of final polishing would help – which, by the way, was as necessary as the review said it would be. After innumerable edits there were still incidents of missing words, clunky repetitions and even duplication in a chapter break section. I could hardly believe my eyes. Oh well – that is why we edit and edit and edit.

I confess to having had very mixed feelings when I sat back in my chair in front of the laptop and realized that the novel was truly gone – that I was finished writing Disappearing in Plain Sight. It was most definitely elation mixed with high anxiety. My anxiety is partially about my baby going out into the world, but I also feel anxious because I keep asking myself – what now? What am I going to do now – all day, every day?

Yesterday I had to approve my three book industry subject and category codes – my author account manager sent along a spreadsheet with what looked like a million codes to choose from, but it’s actually simpler than it looks – once you get into the Fiction category the field is narrowed considerably. I have decided to go with Fiction – Romance/Contemporary; Fiction – Literary; and Fiction – General.

Then I had to come up with 7 keywords for book buyers who will look for my book online – flags for online databases. I chose love, relationships, grief, bullying, trauma, counselling, and British Columbia. Choosing these seven words was difficult – it seemed like an important part of the process. I’m now working on a section of acknowledgments and a dedication to be included with the novel.

I want to let this process of self-publishing unfold and by that I mean – not ask what is coming next or how long the next stage will take – just go with it. Take a wait and see approach, be patient, be open to the whole process. Sometimes this feels right to me and sometimes I feel like I’m an idiot – why not ask about time frames and next steps? The truth is, I am simply overwhelmed by all that I don’t know – even asking a question is challenging.

I was approached by Friesen Press via email the other day with a special offer to upgrade my cover package – an extra $299.00 would buy me a far better cover. No doubt it would, but as I’ve made clear before – I’m not spending any more money than I already have. My supporters have mixed feelings – one comment went like this – reading this email makes me think that if you don’t take this upgrade you’ll end up with a shitty cover. My response was – if you decide not to take the extra-large fries with your burger, in doesn’t automatically follow that they make you a crappy burger. Another comment took a more pragmatic approach – don’t sweat it – that’s their job – all you have to do is say no. Yup – true enough.

Today, I will continue to work on character sketches for the sequel to Disappearing in Plain Sight – The Light Never Lies. I have quite a cast of new characters and plan to expand on some of the original settings – get into more detail on the mechanics of a small sawmill operation and an organic bakery that makes use of an outdoor, wood-fired oven. I’m reminded of Stephen King writing (On Writing, 2000) that his books and stories are often situational driven. In contrast, I can see that my writing is very much character and setting driven. For me, the first step is always getting to know the characters and the setting. Once that work is done, I can toss them all together and things will start happening. The characters will tell me what they want to do and where the story is supposed to go.

I guess there are things to get busy with after pressing the upload button!

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I’m including this picture because it strikes me as the perfect mixture of elation and anxiety – depending on whether you are the lion or the horse. Entitled Lion Attacking A Horse, it is currently on display at the Getty Villa , located on the Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu, until February 2013. On loan from the Capitoline Museums, this is the first time this statue has been on view outside of Rome in over two millennia. It’s breathtaking and gripping and to see it is almost worth a trip to California in and of itself.

24 comments on “The Novel is Gone

  1. jaschmehl says:

    Wonderful to read of someone taking their dream all the way to completion. So many start, so few finish.

    There is that quote from The Princess Bride, (movie – I can’t find the line in the book)
    “Inigo Montoya: Is very strange. I have been in the revenge business so long, now that it’s over, I don’t know what to do with the rest of my life.
    Westley: Have you ever considered piracy? You’d make a wonderful Dread Pirate Roberts.”

    What happens after the hero hits the home run, or saves the girl, or cures cancer? Well, they do what they’ve always done, they swing at the next ball and hope for another hit.

  2. Congratulations Francis. I can only imagine how you feel – one day! – but I hope in there somewhere you are filled with the joys of what you have achieved. Something to be proud of!

    • Proud and anxious? What a combination – we’re all going to get there one day and find out we are standing on a mountaintop with several more facing us in the distance. But – as you say, it is important to enjoy the moment – celebrate the successes.

  3. All the best in this new phase of self-publication, Francis. We can only say, been there, done that, twice now – and each was a thrilling but scary process. Soon you will be going through the throes of publicizing and marketing. That has been a daunting, interesting and seemingly never-ending process. Keep on keeping on. Gayle and Ian Moore-Morrans

  4. Congratulations! You must be very excited. It is funny how sometimes even when you have a story plan for the characters you flesh out, how sometimes they have completely different plan or story to tell. But that’s one of the joys of writing.

  5. Thank you for your insight. Enlightening to other writers considering self-publishing – either way a thrilling and terrifying prospect.

  6. jackie says:

    Wow, fascinating to see a bit of what is involved in the self publishing process…and yes, I always feel the same whenever I finish a project: elation quickly followed by many many ‘now whats?’

  7. Christine Penhale says:

    This is fabulous new! What an amazing accomplishment. I am counting the seconds until I can purchase it and revel in your creativity.

    • Christine Penhale says:

      This congratulations would be much more detailed if I was not trying to write three term papers and grade 37 12 page theory papers all before December 13th…yikes! And I am still only researching and do not even get the papers until Tuesday! I also appear to be using too many exclamation marks – I really must be freaking out! 😉

  8. Gwen says:

    Francis, I’ve really enjoyed reading about your novel-writing/publishing journey. You’re some years ahead of me in this process, but you’re an inspiration to those of us who strive toward the same goals. Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait to buy my copy 🙂

    • Thanks, Gwen – the whole blog world is such a great resource for sharing our stories. In the 6 months that I have been blogging, I have read so many great posts and learned so much. Being able to share my own experiences in the interesting and confusing world of self-publishing is a real learning experience and I’m so glad to hear that you find my posts helpful.

  9. ianmooremorrans says:

    Thank you for stopping by my post, “A Scotsman Shares His Story.”

  10. bwfoster78 says:

    Francis,

    You may want to check out “How to Make a Killing on Kindle.” Getting your book out there is just the first step; marketing requires just as big of an effort.

    In particular, the author goes into detail on how to choose SEO terms. You may want to revise the ones you gave your publisher.

    Thanks.

    Brian

  11. David1985 says:

    First, let me thank you for visiting my site and liking some of my posts. Congratulations on sending off your first novel for publication. That is a great achievement. And it appears that you have plenty to do, fleshing out your sequel. I’ve tried writing fiction, short stories, and mentally it is absolutely the most difficult and challenging task I have ever attempted. Taking photographs is much easier. I’m going to follow you to see how the publishing goes and also the new novel. Good luck!!!

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