National Novel Writing Month is HERE!!!!
I started out National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) at our midnight kick-off in SecondLife… a bit hampered by DDOS service attacks on SecondLife servers, but eventually we were able to get in and hang out in my Great Library (built by yours truly). We have smaller libraries… a cozy study and a yurt… but since we were hoping we’d get more than the handful we usually have, we optimistically put out the big one. 🙂 Anyway, I managed to get in 3,176 words for the day… about 1600 at the kick-off, and the rest throughout the course of the day.
My WIP is going to be book #4 of Wishes & Dreams paranormal romance series. I’ve got a working title of Shadow Cat which NO! will NOT be the title. It’s just something to run with til The Right Title™ comes along… you know how that goes 🙂 The heroine for this showed up out of nowhere in my head a few weeks ago. I know virtually nothing about her, and I started NaNo with literally nothing more than a tentative opening scene/prologue. She didn’t have a name, or a history, I didn’t the plot or the conflict or even who the hero was going to be! I still don’t know the plot or conflict <laughs> but her name is Tamera, and the hero is going to be Kester, Katerina’s brother. I’m still trying to figure out what he does for a living, etc. Anyway… knowing practically zip about this… talk about flying blind! …I just started writing the prologue that was in my head, and darned if ideas didn’t start just flooding in!! I’m happy as a lamb in clover 🙂
So, I have NEWS. No, not that kind of news. As you know, at least, you do if you’ve been following me at all on social media for the last year or two, I’ve been intending to go the traditional publishing route… I’ve always intended to go traditional… and for the past year and some I’ve been querying my lil heart out to literary agents. I’d set December as my tie-a-knot point, and after the New Year, if I hadn’t found an agent, I was going to begin querying publishers themselves, the ones that accept unagented submissions… both large publishing houses and small presses. I’d already begun compiling a list and prioritizing over the last couple of months.
I started the process of putting Truck Stop out as an audiobook. And I really really wanted to do the best I can with this, so I decided I needed to start marketing now. I’d never really put much effort into marketing Truck Stop, but now I dove into marketing, watching vlogs on youtube, reading tips and strategies on blog articles everywhere, and asking questions, usually in RWA’s PAN (Published Authors Network) forums. I got a professional banner made, announcing the audiobook as coming soon, and sent off the manuscript for professional formatting by The Book Khaleesi… I’d done the original formatting myself, and it was okay, but it was a long time ago, and I didn’t have contact info or newsletter signup, or social media that it should have now. And facing doing it again… I mean, I can do it, but it’s stressful and I’m never quite sure if I’m doing it right… plus, you know… if I’m going to really be doing this, I’m going to do it RIGHT! So I sent it off to a professional.
And on top of that was the excitement of the audiobook… setting the book up, getting auditions, working with the narrator… and my mind kept zooming fast-forward to the next book, you know?
I took a deep breath and took out some paid Amazon ads. And… Oh. My. God. Not only did I start making a few ebook sales, but the Kindle Unlimited page reads suddenly took off! And so did my sales ranking on Amazon! I was absolutely stunned, and dammit, I should have been doing this for an age, but I was so hung up on all the marketing advice that we “have to” blog or vlog or podcast or teach, in order to do marketing and I cannot, absolutely cannot do those things… so somehow I hadn’t looked past that to what I *could* do. And again… my mind kept zooming fast-forward to the next book.
And suddenly… I wanted to do it. I wanted to get my books out. NOT because I couldn’t find an agent or publisher, but because all of a sudden this just looks tremendously exciting and appealing, and the marketing suddenly isn’t as overwhelming and scary as it had appeared to be, and I WANT to do this. So first, Truck Stop needs to be released as an audiobook. After the first of the year, I’m going to start moving forward with releasing Wishes in a Bottle. I’ve already contact the artist on DeviantArt who did this fabulous picture of Jacinth for me, to see if she’d be willing to work with me to do covers for this series.
So that’s the plan now, a complete change in how I approach what I want to do with my books. I want to release the first Sons of the Desert book after Wishes in a Bottle, but I need to find cover art that appeals to me, and I’m picky. And right now it’s NaNo, so I’m not going to worry about that!
As a reminder, if you’re interested in being a beta reader, I’ve got my process outlined on my Beta Reading Team webpage, along with synopses of the manuscripts currently available for beta reading.
- Finished Manuscripts, professional copy editing done:
- WISHES IN A BOTTLE, 1st book of Wishes & Dreams 3-book series*
- SWANSONG; 1st book of Sons of the Desert 4-book series*
- Finished Manuscripts, need copy editing:
- A GIFT OF JACINTH, 2nd book of Wishes & Dreams
- CASTLES IN THE SAND; 2nd book of Sons of the Desert*
- Finished Manuscripts, major revisions in progress prior to 2nd round of beta reading:
- WHEN DARKNESS FALLS (201,775 words, as follows:)
- Book 1: The Palace (61,150)
- Book 2: The Dark Lord (90,500)
- Book 3: The Prophecy (39,400)
- A CAT FOR TROY, 3rd book of Wishes & Dreams
- WHEN DARKNESS FALLS (201,775 words, as follows:)
- In-Progress Manuscripts:
- MICHAEL’S QUEST, 3rd book of Sons of the Desert
- SHADOW CAT, 4th book of Wishes & Dreams
Submissions Plan: I do still have a few submissions out there, but I don’t see anything changing my mind at this point, really. Okay, except an offer from Berkley. LOL. I could really go for an offer from Berkley. Who, by the way, has never heard of me 😛
- Requests from the RWA Speed Pitch Event:
- 1 Publisher request for the full manuscript (!!!) of Wishes in a Bottle (rejection)
- 1 Publisher request for partial of SwanSong
- 1 Publisher request for partial of Wishes in a Bottle (rejection rec’d… but said nice things!)
- 1 Agent request for summaries of both series as well as When Darkness Falls (rejection rec’d for 1)
- 1 Agent request for partials of both (!!!) SwanSong and When Darkness Falls
- 1 Agent request for the full manuscript (!!!) of SwanSong (rejection rec’d… this was expected)
- 4 Agent requests for partial of When Darkness Falls (rejections back: 3)
- 3 Agent requests for partial of SwanSong (rejections back: 1)
- Outstanding Queries:
- 1 Agent query, Wishes in a Bottle
Synopsis, Blurb & Pitch: All finished manuscripts have these, except as noted below:
- Blurb/1-paragraph summation for query letter (Needed: A CAT FOR TROY)
- 2-page synopsis (Needed: WHEN DARKNESS FALLS)
- 5-10 page synopsis (Needed: A CAT FOR TROY)
- 1-sentence pitch for agent submissions who require this
- 280-character pitch for Twitter pitch events
THE WRITING PLAN: (not in any particular order except as indicated)
- Log in feedback from beta readers as it comes in and copy to Scrivener file… then return to #1 above.
- See #1 above.