My Illustrator

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Last week the illustrator from my publishing house contacted me. I went immediately into giddy mode. For this meant the next stage to getting my book published and in the stores. I needed to confirm which spider monkey my character Charlie was. For those who don’t know this, there are quite a few. But the image I had in my mind I passed along to Kim.

It was Jasper’s turn. Not just any yellow cheek Amazon would do. I wanted the company to capture the essence of my bird on the book cover and jacket. She told me what kind of poses she was looking for. I immediately started to plan in my head to take endless pictures of him in the coming days. Why I do not know. There are more pictures of Jasper in my computer then I have of some of my family members. Yes he has made that leap. Going over the endless folders I came up with a small arrangement for her to look over. I did warn her that there were going to be a lot, it ranged between 50-60 pictures. I was not taking any chances. But in case those did not work I sent her seven videos I had of my bird. From those she should be able to come up with something that says Jasper that I am happy with. This bird inspired this book and his personality wrote it. I was just the instrument that he used.

The various emails got sent. Sitting back in my chair a smile formed on my face. This was really happening. The hard work and time put into this venture was unfolding even more. Every step getting me closer to the release of my book. It does not get old, the excitement I feel every time I get more news from the publishing house. I can’t even imagine when the release date is upon me. I am sure you will all hear me from wherever you live. Until then I continue to write. It is what we all do as authors, write.

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The Rewrite

Recently I blogged about my awesome rejection letter. In the email the publisher pointed out why they were not going with my MS. He listed the reasons. When I asked if I could resubmit once revising he said yes he would check the book out again.

My initial reaction was days of glee and happiness. Okay it is still with me. But the days after I found out there is a cloud higher than nine and I was on it. After that came oh my gosh how the hell am I going to fix this the way it’s suppose to be? With that dread inside I contacted a few people for thoughts and suggestions on what to do. Once they responded I was ready to start.

Only problem is it took a few weeks before I had the guts to sit down and actually attempt this very important rewrite. The emotions that flooded me ranged from despair to frustration. I stopped dead.

Instead of getting started I stalled.

As the days flew by people asked me how much had I gotten done and sadly would have to reply that nothing had been accomplished. I mentally berated myself up for taking so long to get going on this. I repeatedly went back over the points that I had to fix, each time it screamed at me, “ You can’t do this, give up.”

Now that I have actually started, I believe this was all part of the plan. I needed to step away for a few weeks to gather my thoughts, get myself in check and when the time came it would happen. And it did.

This past week I redid the ending to the book. I went further and did a total rewrite of my first chapter. The only thing that remained the same was three paragraphs. I was on a roll. In that rewrite a new chapter emerged that I had not planned on. I kept going. Last night I wrote another chapter that brings conflict and internal tension to my main character. Something that was missing from my book. What I have left is two chapters to go. That means rereading it and making sure the holes have been filled.

The last week all that has been in my mind all that I could concentrate on was sitting down and revising this book. It has blossomed not just in word count but in strength. When I am finish it will go through the process like before. My editor Nancy will go over it and tighten it up. Will it be enough I am not sure. Every publisher has in mind what they are looking for and what works for their company.

Personally I am loving the changes. If when all is said and done this publishing house does not accept it, at least I know I have a better book now, then I did a few weeks ago. For that I thank the publisher for making me gut out my story, for making me toss things that did not work, for eliminating words regardless of word count, and for evaluating my story in a way that all writers should.

Thank you Mike.

Writing Conference

This past Saturday I attended my first writers conference. It was free and not to far away.

Getting Published: What Do Publishers Want?” was the first seminar I attended. While the information obtain was not earth shattering new I still enjoyed being in the presence of actual publishers. Copious notes were taken for me to share with fellow writers who had not attended the conference.

I got two things out of this . The first was that small independent presses are willing to work with the author up front without a literary agent. In fact most prefer you don’t have one. Second, I was introduced to five more firms I can send my query letter to. For me these two things were worth my attendance.

The next seminar that caught my eye was “How To Write for Children”. One of the presenters was a 12-year-old boy who has three books in print. Most of the information was not new to be but I did learn again two thing. What I gained from this was two more publishing house names that I had not come across through the Writer’s Market book.

The last seminar I attended was “Traditional Publishing vs Self Publishing”. This section reaffirms what I have been doing since last March which is creating an online presence through social media outlets.

One of the panelist stated that people who go the traditional route are taken more serious. Also, more doors are open to them through the contacts they meet apart from the publishing house they are with.

If you are an aggressive individual and can promote yourself well self- publishing would work for you. If that is not your style and you need the help of a publisher it was recommended to try to get your book in print.

At the moment I am trying to go the traditional route. My books deserve the chance to shine in this avenue. For the past three weeks I have steadily been submitting query letters, chapters, synopsis and cover letters to various publishing houses. The list I am working from is only half way crossed off. A deadline in my head has been given and when that time frame comes then will be looking at self publishing.

Whether I am aggressive enough to promote myself remains to be seen. At least in this day and age I’m fortunate to have the option of ebooks where years ago that was not the case.