I’ve officially made the decision to self-publish through Amazon/Kindle. I signed up with them and have received their massive book of complicated instructions on how to proceed. It’s truly daunting. But at least my adventures in getting Arabesque out to the world are finally underway. It’s very exciting.
I’ve been off the grid because I’ve knuckled down with a heavy, comprehensive edit of Book 1 (Honey in the Rock). First I scoured it on the screen, thinking I’d be able to catch everything that way, but found I was missing way too much. So, I did the unthinkable in this green day and age, and I printed the mammoth beast out on paper. All 856 single spaced pages of it. Don’t get me wrong, I always knew I would have to hack the hell out of that first super long draft, but I needed to really get down in the muck with it to understand what was needed and what was removable (or, even, what was trash). I have a file where I save pieces I plan to insert into the story down the road, but a lot of it has just been junked. I won’t lie, I feel like I’m maiming a defenseless child. But every time I pull out a big hunk of the story’s flesh, it somehow, amazingly, gets stronger. So odd how that works.
Now that I’m almost done with my own butchering process, I’m preparing to hire a professional butcher for a second pair of eyes. Editors are bloody expensive, people. As they should be. I recently did a light line edit of a friend’s book as a favor (a short novel, but still a complex, character-driven story) and it took ages. But there was a compulsion I’d never felt before—I needed to help that book become stronger. My relationship with its creator moved to the side, and I became focused on the book itself, its own living entity. It was imperative to help it in any way I could. My friend is a gifted storyteller and it’s that strength that got her to a three-book deal with a traditional publisher based on that first novel. But I truly hope that my contribution to the technical nuts and bolts of that work helped her success in some small way. I am so proud of her and so excited to watch her career bloom.
From that experience, I now understand how much goes into the process of editing a novel and I’m willing to pay the high price for it. But choosing that person among the zillions out there is proving to be quite a challenge. There are just too many choices and all of them promise the same thing. It’s impossible to make this decision based on anything other than blind luck.
In addition to that, I hired a cover designer some months ago because I’m terrified by the ugly, bland, frighteningly similar covers being offered in my genre. I kid you not, they ALL LOOK THE SAME. How does a reader tell them apart? How does a reader who is looking for a new author/series to take on know what might be good and what might be dreck? If they all look the same, how does that help any of them get sold? This perplexes me greatly and made me want to have a stand-out cover, something that speaks to the story and the genre, but that looked totally different from the others already out there. The process of finding this designer was fairly simple as I took a referral from a friend (the same whose book I edited), but working with him has been very different from what I’d expected. That is still in progress so I’ll wait to comment further there.
That is where I am in the process as of this moment. It is truly like having two full-time jobs, as I am still gainfully employed as a legal secretary. I cram my work on the book into the cracks around the day job and the normal demands of real life. Sleep is becoming very scarce, which isn’t good for me. I am a person who needs proper sleep and lots of it. I’m starting to notice little gaps in my cognitive abilities—forgetfulness and slow responses. My co-workers probably think I’m going senile a might early in life. But it’s all going to be worth it. I know this. How, you might ask? Well . . .
Around the holidays of 2014, I hit a terrible wall of despair. That would have been when I stopped updating this blog, actually. I was convinced I was never going to be able to publish Arabesque, or any of my other written works, for that matter. I was looking at the rest of my life trapped behind a desk as a worker bee until I’d saved enough money to take a very meager retirement. I’m an artist. The idea of that being my lot in life had me nearly suicidal.
I vented this agony to another artist friend who, thankfully, truly understood my plight. She had a rather unusual suggestion, but at the time—I was willing to try anything. She knew a lady who was a reader of “destiny cards”, which is a fortune telling model based on regular playing cards. I’d never heard of it so I looked it up. I liked the idea that it was semi-scientific as it’s based on your birth date (rather than just a “psychic” prediction made by a potential charlatan). My friend offered to gift me a reading and I accepted her generosity. I made the appointment.
The reading was done over the phone and this lady was just the nicest, most genuine person I’d met in ages. She put me at ease. I was skeptical, but she was able to tell me things about my past and present that were dead accurate, so I looked forward to what she saw in my future.
Apparently, my “birth card” is the Five of Clubs, which is known as “the millionaire card”. There was a lot of detail about how this was coming to pass, but the crux of the reading was that my 49th year was when everything was going to change. That year is when I will be able to live as I’ve always dreamed and make my way in the world as a novelist. More than that, a successful one.
I consulted other similar oracles like horoscopes and Tarot cards, even Viking runes, to see if they corroborated this story. To my stunned amazement, they all agreed. Now is the time. Now. In fact, I'm kinda late getting started.
My 49th year begins in July, 2015.
Needless to say, I was given renewed hope and started instantly on my plans to self-publish. Even though the majority of this boost of energy is based on what could be considered flimsy hope, I see no reason not to make these wonderful predictions my truth. We make our own destiny by telling the universe exactly what we want. Well, universe . . . I’ve told you what I want. I’ve been very specific. I am willing to work as hard as necessary to make it so, and I’m ready to get things underway.
Let’s do this.
Updates to follow.