That was the original word count when I “finished” writing my first novel back in December.
That’s a lot of words. I didn’t know I had that many words in me. Don’t get me wrong, I know I talk a lot. But…to get that many words out in sentences that form paragraphs that make sense in a story?
But, turns out, that was actually too many words.
Shocking, I know.
So, I hired an editor. She helped me reduce the amount of verbiage I would utilize in order to carry my point across to the people who so generously decided they would do me the favor of casting their eyes upon my work.
Er. I mean, she helped me make my writing better.
So, now, nearly eight months later, it’s down to 93,155 words, according to Word.
That’s still a lot of words. But, I’m so happy for those that made the cut.
There is one more obstacle left…The Proofreader. She’s up this week.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve written, and I am sorry, friends. It was spring break, so I missed a week, then it became two…then well, now it’s nearly July, so…here we are.
Over the last couple months, I have done a significant amount of work on my book. My cover is done, essentially (and I love it). I’ve had it professionally edited, and I’ve had a few beta-readers read it, too.
Now, I’m working on “final edits” (I put quotes around it because I’ve been working on what I’ve been calling “final edits” since like January…the edits are never final. Ever.)
Once the “final edits” are done, it’ll be off to the proofreader and maybe another couple betas…and then….then, I need to publish it.
Just do it already.
But, I’m scared. I’m afraid of failure. It’s your garden variety usual type of fear: What if nobody likes it? What if nobody reads it or buys it? What if people tell their friends not to buy it because it suuuccckks. (And, not in the good, vampirey way.)
I’m feeling insecure. And that’s a hard thing to admit.
A friend posted a meme today that spoke to me. It said, “You didn’t come this far to only come this far.” It’s true. I’ve worked hard. The last hurdle really isn’t even a hurdle. I have a plan. I know what needs to be done…I just need to do it.
So, what do I write about when I don’t have much to report? Do I put up a filler post? Something totally not related to writing, or publishing or vampires?
Obviously, my first thought was, “Yes!” So, I put the word popcorn at the top and started blathering on about not much. But, then I thought it would be fun to give you all a lesser known fact about popcorn. Like, isn’t this a cute idea, and aren’t I super clever?
Keeping readers entertained and educated for weeks now, me.
Anyway, I decided that I wanted something with a little more bite, so I Googled, “popcorn and vampires” just to see what would happen. That’s when I discovered this kernel of info.
Have you heard of pellagra? I never had, until today, but apparently, it is a disease which appears to share many symptoms with vampires of legend: hypersensitivity to sunlight, aggression, pale skin with engorged, red lips, and refusal to eat food.
Pellagra is caused primarily by a dietary niacin deficiency. Cultures that regularly ate corn (as they did in the Americas back in the day), discovered that those who ate corn that had been processed with lime juice or that ate corn tortillas with beans didn’t waste away and eventually die (i.e. no vampires in the Americas). But, when corn made its way to Europe and began feeding the peasants, they didn’t know this. So, over time, people would develop pellagra and waste away. Thus the vampire legend was formed and flourished.
Nowadays, we turn to science to understand these symptoms and help people correct their diets and avoid vampirism, I mean pellagra.
Now you know how vampires and popcorn are connected. And also, now I feel totally justified in drinking margaritas anytime I have tortillas. It’s for my health!
I couldn’t believe my luck. I opened facebook, as you do, and happened upon a post in a neighborhood page. It didn’t have anything to do with anything I was interested in, but for some reason, I clicked on it, then kept scrolling through that page.
Three posts down, my heart skipped a beat. My palms got a little sweaty. I felt warm all over. The post read something like, “FREE – 10 Anne Rice books.” There was a picture.
There they were. In all their hardbound glory. My eyes searched the post. How long ago had it been posted? Had anyone liked it yet? Were there any comments? Did it really say FREE? I checked over and over; all of this took only a few seconds, but it felt longer.
I replied, as quickly as my fingers could fly across the keyboard, “Are these still available? If so, I would like them, please.”
<Keep your cool, Kristy. Don’t freak out. Breathe.>
I distracted myself by scrolling through my newsfeed, pretending to be completely disinterested in the result of my reply.
Totally. Not. Interested.
Ten minutes later, I heard the little “bleep-boop” indicating I had a message waiting for me in messenger. It’s cool. No big deal. They’re probably already gone anyway.
“I’ll leave them in a box on my porch, what time would like to come get them?”
<OMG> <pause> <pause> <pause>
“Um, I’ll be by later this afternoon.”
<That was totally chill, well done.>
A dozen books. By one of the greats. By someone whose writing started it all for me.
Anne Rice. The Vampire Chronicles. Those books are my inspiration. They fed my soul when I was younger, and I can’t wait to dive back into them now.
Writing is glamorous. Right? Especially if you write fiction. You get to create characters – whole people, whole groups of people, whose identities and actions come to life simply because you decided they should. You can create an amazing swashbuckling undead pirate zombie who has risen from the dead to save the only thing he ever loved: his reputation. Or, you can fathom a distressed orphan found and raised by a group of lonely housewives, unbeknownst to their husbands and families, who grows up to be a serial killer, because, really, who needs that many mothers?
It’s great to have that kind of control.
Self-publishing is somewhat less glamorous. You retain control over most aspects of your book’s creation, from having input on the cover design to the channels you’ll use to market and sell it, to setting the price and even running sales. But now that you’ve written the book, you need to think about it, and analyze it, and make it interesting to people who are willing to pay you money for it. Which, really, is still kind of awesome.
But, now, excel spreadsheets are involved.
I love excel, don’t get me wrong. I mean, I’ll gladly put information into little cells and play with it for hours, but it just doesn’t have that same sense of awe and wonder that comes with the actual writing of a story.
And, that’s where I’m at this week. Making spreadsheets and analyzing data.
Today, my daughter and I went to Denny’s for breakfast. Well, she had breakfast. I had coffee. While we were there I took the opportunity to talk to her. You know, without my phone in my hand – not even to google stuff we were talking about. I know, right?
Anyway, we started talking about book two in my series.
“But, book one isn’t done yet!” you say. You’re right, but…it’s time to start thinking about where the story goes next.
Let me back up a second. Last night, I started reading a book to my daughter, and this particular book has a series of character profiles at the beginning. It makes for easy reference if you forget who is who later on. As I read through those pages, I paused and said, “You know, this is what authors do when they’re creating a new character.” I was excited about it. She just blinked at me until I went back to reading.
Back to Denny’s. I decided I wanted her opinion on one of my characters: the Bad Guy. I brought up the character profiles from the night before, and I could see she made the connection (not just vacant blinking, but blinking with feeling). We chatted briefly and she went back to her pancakes. Suddenly, she stopped chewing and with a very matter-of-fact demeanor and a chunk of pancake in her hand, she said:
“Good guys drink tea, bad guys drink coffee. That’s the difference.”
Then, she stuffed a giant piece of pancake in her mouth.
My mind was blown. I couldn’t help the slow smile and all the turning wheels behind it. I gushed out-loud over her idea, and she sat up a little straighter and looked at me a little sassier. Keep your eyes on this one folks, she’s going places.
I liked what she said so much, I made a graphic of it (look for it all over social media soon):
We spent the rest of the morning discussing all the traits of Mr. Bad Guy: how he looks, what type of vehicle he drives, what are his reasons for being the bad guy, what are his hobbies, what’s his name and why that matters, etc.
It was great. I wrote everything down in red crayon on a white napkin. I’m keeping that napkin. Maybe someday, I’ll have it framed and give it to my daughter.
As mentioned on my home page, this site is in support of my endeavor to write – and publish – fiction.
My goal is to publish my first novel this year.
Wow. I just wrote that. Let me write that again, but bigger, and in title format.
My Goal is to Publish My First Novel this Year.
Well, I’ve written it, so that means I’ve got to do it.
I’ve recently taken a class on self-publishing. It was chock full of ideas and these last few days I have been trying to put together a project management plan. But, I’m left-handed and I don’t think linearly, so I currently have 14 tabs open, and they all deal with different aspects of the process of self-publishing. Except the Crested Butte tab, that’s about snowboarding.
One of the most important, and free, things I need to do is market research. I need to research book covers, competitors, my target audience, etc. I’ve even done searches on my name. I think I’ve settled on KM Smith. But, maybe there’s another nom de plume that’s more appropriate. Maybe I should choose an entirely different name altogether. Like Francie Higgenbottom or Delia Ruze. Probably not.