4 Down, 496 Left to Go / 7 Standards for Publishers

Last night I launched my first Publishizer campaign. I received four pre-orders ranging from $8 to $45. I thought that was good night, but my experience selling online is with jewelry, not books. When selling on Etsy, I was thrilled if I had four orders in one evening.

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 10.44.41 AM.pngWhile I’m happy with the orders I have so far, and really appreciate the support people have shown, I still have a long way to go. My goal is to get 500 orders by August 8th since that is what I need in order for  Publishizer  to query my book to top, traditional publishers publishers. I’d be completely happy with an offer from a small or indie press too.  Publishizer queries them when I hit 250 pre-orders.

However, I will not take an offer from “service” or “hybrid” publishers.

I tried to publish a book with a hybrid publisher last year. They got me really excited, but by book never even went to edits. Its been almost a year since I heard from anyone at that company and I’m not sure they even still exist. The best I can hope for is that they forget about me, so  when my contract expires I can try publishing the book elsewhere.

A bad experience is not the only reason I’m avoiding hybrids, though. From what I understand, they use print on demand and other self-publishing methods. Yes, they edit for you, design a cover and do some minimal marketing, but they are also taking a large chunk of the sales. They’re not saving writers any money.

I suppose if one knows nothing about editing or cover design, and has no platform a hybrid or service publisher might bel helpful. For me, not so much. I already have a cover for my book. I have a platform. I even have an editor. What I don’t have is a giant network of Facebook friends willing to throw their money at me. I need a publisher that is going to get my book in the hands people I’ve never met before, one that will expose me to new readers.

I value my writing. I want to build a career off of it. I need to be selective about who publishes my work. After spending some time in Absolute Write’s Bewares, Background Check and Recommendations forum, I’ve come with a seven criteria any publisher I sign with must meet:

  1. The publisher must not charge the writer anything, ever.
  2. The publisher must provide multiple rounds of professional editing.
  3. The publisher must market my book in ways I cannot do on my own.
  4. The owner, editors, PR people and designers should have prior experience in publishing.
  5. The website must be geared towards readers, not perspective writers.
  6. The covers must be beautiful and professionally designed.
  7. The books for sale must have decent amazon rankings and reviews.

My campaign with Publishizer is a new adventure for me — a new path through the publishing word — but I will still hold any offers I get to the same standards as any I get through more traditional methods. If I get under 50 pre-orders, I do have the option to refund my readers. If I get more than 50, but do not get any offers I approve of, then this will turn into my first experience with self-publishing.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed my post and want to support my writing journey, please pre-order Earth Reclaimed at https://publishizer.com/earth-reclaimed/

Cats and Email Apps = Bad Combination

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“Look at how cute and innocent I am. I’d never send emails on you!”

I’m pretty sure my cat just spammed my entire gmail contacts list — meaning everyone I’ve corresponded with on gmail. If you got an email from me you didn’t want today – I apologize. If your curious how Goose managed to spam my contacts, read on.

 

Earlier in the year, I wrote a detailed book proposal for Earth Reclaimed, which is one of my novels-in-progress. I used it to apply for a writer-residence-program at the Boston Public Library. I didn’t get in.

When I saw Publishizer was hosting a proposal contest, I realized the one I had written more or less met their guidelines. After doing a few google searches and not finding any red flags, I made some revisions, and created a proposal on their site.

Screen Shot 2017-07-08 at 10.46.29 AM.pngPublishizer is kind of like Kickstarter, but for books. People can use to get pre-orders for works they are self-publishing, however, if an author gets  enough pre-orders, they can also get deals with traditional and indie publishers.

I’m still querying my complete, polished novels to agents. This novel is completely unrelated to those. I thought that while I am trying to make something happen with those projects, I can take a completely different path with this one.

Today, I was getting the campaign ready to launch. One step involved emailing my contacts to see if they want to subscribe for updates. I allowed the app to connect to my contacts list. By default, it had all the contacts checked off. I was carefully going through, unselecting agents and literary magazines who I did not want to bother.

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Mischief Managed

I had only deselected a few people when Goose jumped up on my keyboard and walked across the enter key.

Agents and editors do not like getting mass emails from writers who are trying to promote their books. In fact, many of them tweet about how much they hate it. When I see those tweets, I would think, what kind of idiot would spam agents with their self-published book promotions.

Today, I am one of those idiots.

Not because I intentionally spammed people, but because I let an app connect to my contacts with the intent of sending a group email.

I’ve been pacing around my house in a panic, thinking this is going to lead to rejections. I need to stop. Hopefully, agent’s and editor’s spam filters will catch this so they do not get mad at me. And maybe, some half-forgotten acquaintances I’ve lost touch with will pre-order my book.

Later this weekend, when I officially launch, I will post updates on my blog.

Update: Once I calmed down and asked people if they got my email, no one had actually gotten the email. I logged back onto the site I sent the email from and discovered that Goose had sent a “preview” and it only went to my email account. I am very, very, relieved!

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And Goose needs new mischief to cause….

©2017 Sara Codair

 

Camp NaNoWriMo Take Two

Like Birds (1)
This isn’t an official cover, just one I designed to keep myself motivated. I still need an agent and/or a publisher for this book. 

My first time genuinely attempting National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) was a success. I finished a short YA novel with a day to spare. My critique groups read it and gave me feedback, spurring three in-depth revisions. This summer, I read it out loud to my mother on the beach, and revised some more. I sent out my first volley of queries and got some rejections.

A friend who wants to start an editing business did a copy edit. I posted my query to three different critique forums and got a truckload of helpful. I just need to hear back from someone about my new opening and closing, I’ll be ready to send out my second volley of queries. I have them more or less ready to go, and my fingers are itchy to hit the send button, but I need to wait for that last bit of feedback on my new opening, since that is the chapter that will essentially either prompt the agent to hit reject or ask me for more material.

I liked it so much that when the first Camp NaNoWriMo came around in April, I was determined to finish my next WIP, Community Magic, in that month, but all I managed to do was add 10K words to it.

A few things went wrong:

  • I was doing a revision of Like Birds Under the City Sky – the novel I wrote in November.
  • I had a ton of grading that month, and students who really needed in-depth feedback on their papers.
  • I had to get my completed works, queries, and pitches ready for #DVpit. This included finishing the revision of Like Birds Under the City Sky so I could pitch it.
  • I was bothered by a lack of short story acceptances, and attempted to remedy that.
  • I also had no clue where Community Magic was going plot-wise, and was lost in character development and world building.

After the month ended and I didn’t win CampNaNoWriMo, I didn’t do much with Community Magic. I posted my queries to forums for feedback, hoping to increase my request rate. I did another revision of Like Birds Under the City Sky. I signed up for an online class intending to use it to write short stories, but by the end of it, I was 10K words into a new WIP.

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I’m not thrilled with this design, but until I take better classroom or campus photos, it will suffice. 

Now it’s July, and the second CampNaNoWriMo is happening. I’ve gotten feedback on the first five chapters of Community Magic, wrote a very rough query for it, and have a much better idea of what the story is, what the conflicts are, and how they will be resolved. Instead of being a pantser this month, I’m going to be a planster. I’m not outlining every plot detail before it happens, but I am writing a general synopsis, identifying my destination, and thinking about the different ways I can get there.

I will finish a draft this month, and if I don’t have an agent by this time next summer, I’ll probably be querying Community Magic.

The Hiking Writer and Speculative Fiction

The Hiking Writer and Speculative Fiction

By Sara Codair

Even though a majority of my stories are speculative in some way, they are often inspired by reality. Sometimes it’s a question begging for an answer, sometimes it’s a piece of news too dark to keep inside me, and often, the seed for the story was found somewhere on a hiking trail.

On Labor Day weekend of 2016, my spouse and I went on a hike in New Hampshire’s Belknap Range. I hate crowds, and the parking lots for the better-known trails were overflowing onto the road. Thankfully, we had done our research and located a more “off the beaten path” trail.

The directions took us down a handful of side roads, the last of which wasn’t paved. I thought we hit a dead end and were in someone’s driveway when Adam rounded a corner and pulled into a tiny dirt parking lot with a trailhead.

Happy that we found a way to avoid mobs of tourists, we checked our gear, traded out sandals for boots and started walking up a steep, rocky fire road.

“I’m not sure any fire truck could actually drive on this,” said Adam.

His words were like a horn starting a race. As the hill got steeper, my legs and lungs burned with effort, and my mind was running, making up histories for the road and stories that could happen on it.

DSC_0147When we reached the secluded mountain pond at the top of the road, my mind was racing faster than my pulse. This lake would be a perfect home for a wizard in a fantasy novel, a hide out for the demon hunters in my YA novel, a good hike for my parents to do with their puppy, and a place to pump water if a flock of phoenix’s or an angry mother earth started a forest fire.

We took a break. Adam consulted his map while I devoured cookies and made up stories. The next part of the trail was a loop, but I was too lost in imagination to pick which way we would do it, so he choose, and soon, we were making our way up Mack Mountain.

Just shy of the summit, we reached a scenic overlooked where two trails merged. A large cairn, painted in the colors of the trail blazes, marked it. For some reason, there was a fork balanced atop the cairn, and there was literally a keyhole on the fork’s handle.

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My mind went crazy, and by the time we were done the hike, I had mentally written a complete story. After a swim and dinner, when I finally got home, I sat down and wrote my first draft. Over the next few months, it endured a cycle of revision, rejection, shortening and expansion. Finally, it found a home on Theme of Absence.

Stories, no matter how realistic or surreal, are everywhere. We just have to keep our minds, hearts, and eyes open, so that when we find them, we can catch them.

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Here is an excerpt from my story, “At The Fork.” Just click on it if you want to read more – it is hyperlinked to Theme of Absence.

The way to the alternate world isn’t through a wardrobe, rabbit hole or a non-existent train platform. You won’t get carried to it by a tornado or by falling through the “gap” you must mind when using the London Tube.

©2017 Sara Codair

Why Bullshitted Papers are Underrated

Why Bullshitted Papers are Underrated

By Sara Codair

It’s the last day of class before finals. While some students have their notebooks and netbooks open, ready to take notes, others are glancing at their phone, counting down the minutes until I give them permission to leave. They’re all exhausted. Most have been working all day, yet they still showed for this last class, hoping to learn something, or get the extra-credit for perfect attendance.

Phrases like “C’s get degrees” and “Night students just want to get their A’s and get home” float through my head as I try to focus on framing the wrap up discussion.

I don’t remember how it began, but the bookworm in the back row declared that every essay she ever wrote, from elementary school through my  English Composition II, class was completely bull-shitted.

I stared for a minute, mentally rereading her essays. She was one of the strongest writers in my class, and an avid reader. She’s someone who, if I met under different circumstances, that I could have been friends with, and I don’t say that about too many people. We could read and talk about books for hours if life didn’t make us do other things.

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Goose thinks writing is snack…

I smiled. “Isn’t all writing bullshitted?”

 

The class stared at me, probably thinking I had lost my mind.

“What’s a novel?” I asked. “Isn’t it just stuff people made up? Isn’t that bullshit?”

And she thought about, and tried to explain that novels are things people are passionate about. Yes, they are made up, but they are crafted and polished before they are sold to people who live for them.

I asked her about her last essay, one exploring and defining dystopian young adult novels. She admitted she actually liked that essay, so she spent more time writing it

I smiled again. “Well, writing is better when you care about your topic. I wish all essays were open topic, but unfortunately, that doesn’t happen.”

The debate went on, growing from the concept of “bulshitting” essays to the kind of writing we do in college and its usefulness, or lack thereof, in the “real world.” While no one won it, I hope that the students left with a few insights.

The students who claim they bull-shit their papers do not give themselves enough credit. They can sit down, and think, and make words appear on the page. They can generate four or five pages of half-decent prose a couple of hours. Believe it or not, that is a big deal.

 

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Writing might be easy for the students who are over 21…

The most challenging obstacle I often face when teaching writing is getting students to
actually write. Many will stare at the screen, agonizing over each word and sentence, afraid to make a mistake or just unsure how to convey their ideas.

 

I told my students that if they could bull-shit a paper, then they had taken the first step to becoming a good writer. In order to write, first, people need to be able to dump what they are thinking onto the page. Second, they need to shape into some kind of genre or convention. In the case of the students, they need to revise their ideas into an introduction, thesis, body paragraphs and conclusion. Third, they need to edit it and make sure it follows the format their teacher wants.

They are generating ideas inside and putting them outside.

While I didn’t go into any gross details in class, I often compare writing to bodily functions. When I say writing is shit from bulls, I take the metaphor quite seriously.

 

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Horses are good at eating and shitting too.

We consume information like bulls consume grass. We digest it, just like they digest grass. We break it down and use it up. We excrete what is left in the form of words.

 

In a more advanced class, one filled with people who were there because they wanted to be, not  because they were required to take the course, I might get into the nitty gritty details of crafting sentences and fine-tuning arguments. However, in a first year writing course, I am happy if my students leave with the ability to put ideas on the page in a coherent manner, and follow guidelines when they turn it in.

When students get an A’s on bullshitted papers, it’s not because they fooled their teachers. It’s because they weren’t censoring themselves like the students who agonize over every sentence. Getting words down on paper is the first step to developing as a writer. Being able to bull-shit a paper is a sign that  students are already halfway up the mountain.

I can’t make someone a master writer in one semester. What I can do is give them the tools to get words on the page, and empower them. I can help build a grain of confidence.

I can  plant seeds in their bullshit, and hope that one day, there is enough shit their to make the soil fertile so their ideas grow.

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©2017 Sara Codair

Can on only child mentality be the key to a successful writing career?

Writing and Publishing with an Only child Mentality

By Sara Codair

Only children, especially those of the millennial generation, have a reputation for being spoiled: needy, narcissistic, socially awkward brats who always get what they want.

While some of the stereotypes may be true for some people, only children have strengths too. We are often comfortable being on our own, imaginative, and self-motivate.

Many of the writers I interact with in “real world,” meaning people I speak to in-person, not online, often seem to marvel at my ability turn out a high volume of stories, handle rejection, persist, and get my work published.

While I’ve been writing since I was old enough to hold a pen, I’ve only been publishing for a little over a year. I’ve done well for my first year, but I still have a long way to go before I reach my goal of being a full-time, professional fiction writer. I’m starting to think that my initial success, and potential for further successes, is tied into my only child mentality.

To start off with, I’m used to getting my way.

“No” was not a word I liked hearing as a child, and often, I could turn a “no” from either parent into a “yes.” At first, I worried this would hurt me. I do hate rejections, but more a market rejects me, the more determined I am to get published by that market. I know I cannot argue with rejections, so I just keep writing new stories so I can send that editor more stories.

I’ve been sending Daily Science Fiction at least one story a month for the past year, and in December, I made it to their second round for the first time. In the end, they didn’t buy my story, but I know I came close, and sooner or later, they will buy one of my stories.

This past fall, I got a rejection from Dark Magic: Witches, Hackers and Robots, an anthology I wanted to be, so I sent them another story, and got another rejection, then sent them a third story, and got an acceptance.

Growing up getting the things I wanted didn’t turn me into a weak, whiny person who cries when someone tells her no. It taught me that persistence, determination, and hard work lead to success.

In addition to being stubbornly persistent, my imagination and comfort with solitude also help me write. When there weren’t other kids to play with, I would entertain my self by making up stories. When there were kids, or adults willing to play like kids, I often directed them in acting out my stories. It was like Live Action Role Playing (LARPing) using my imagination instead of dice or game cards.

Making up stories is a habit I never got out of. I do it when I am sitting in traffic, running, waiting for an appointment and trying to follow asleep. Whenever the current task I am doing is not occupying my full attention, I have a story going in my head, and I don’t mind staying home on a Friday night to type out the story I made while commuting instead of socializing, especially since my friends aren’t really into LARPing.

Even the worst qualities associated with only children can be useful.

A small amount of narcissism can be useful, or almost necessary for anyone who goes into novel writing. The concept writing/publishing is narcissistic at its roots. I have to be a little in love with my self and my words in order to think that anyone would want to PAY for the things I made up while sitting on Boston traffic.

Some might say this is simply confidence, but to me, confidence is believing in your skill to write and tell a story. Believing your imagination is something that needs to not only be shared, but also sold, crosses the line. As long as it doesn’t get out of hand, a drop of narcissism can be the difference between wishing you were writer and actually becoming one.

Like other aspiring writers, I have plenty of self-doubt and anxiety. However, I think the difference between me and my colleagues who “want” to write but never finish anything is that I have that annoying drop of narcissism and entitlement that allows me to believe I can and should sell my work.

I’ve grown up believing that with enough persistence, I can get anything I want. Rejection discourages some writers, but I am fueled by it. This mentality has gotten me published in token and semi-pro markets, and its even led to a few pro-sales. Hopefully, it will eventually lead to a career writing novels.

The Dreaded Short Story Query

The Dreaded Short Story Query

By Sara Codair

Querying short stories is the most stressful part of the publication process for me.

The word query has a slightly different meaning in the world of short stories than it does for novels.When you query an agent of publisher about a novel, you are essentially submitting a cover letter and sample to see if they are interested. However, when you submit a short story, you generally include an extremely brief cover letter and the full manuscript. Writers refer to this as a submission, not a query.

 

The short story query is actually a follow up letter. If the publisher does not respond to the story in their advertised timeframe, then you are allowed, and in some cases, expected to follow up with an email. For me, this is more stressful than the actual submission.

The longer a market takes to respond to my story, the more I start over-analyzing their silence. Did they forget about my story? Did they put it in their maybe pile? Are they just really backlogged? Any of these are equally possible.

If they are just backlogged, I feel bad adding more material to their reading list, even if it is just one email, so I always keep my query email short.

I take cues from their submission guidelines regarding how and when I can query. Most publications will provide some information about querying in their submission guidelines. For example, Firefly has this near the end of their guidelines: “if a month has passed from the day you have submitted to us and you haven’t heard from us, please feel free to send a query with either “Query” or “What The Heck” in the subject line. We find the latter more cathartic.”

I queried them once, but in the end, they were just backlogged and rejected my story. Other markets, like the Sockdolager and Museum of Science Fiction, have responded to queries telling me my story has made it past their first round and is being held for further consideration. The most successful querying experience I had was with Helios Quarterly as it turned into an acceptance.

Some markets have made querying unnecessary with extremely specific guidelines and efficient submission managing systems that allow writers to track their stories progress through the queue. However, many smaller and/or new markets can not afford said software, so they rely on email.

The best advice I can offer is keep it short, and make sure you read the guidelines first. If a market says “don’t query until three months have passed” then make sure three months have passed before you query.

Most of my queries look something like this:

Dear Editor (s),

I sent you my story, “The Best Short Ever,” on June 4, 2016, and have not heard anything. Could you please confirm you received it and provide an update on its status?

Thank you,

Sara

Or

Dear Editor (s),

I sent you my story, “The Best Short Ever,” on June 4, 2016, and have not heard from you. Are you still considering it?

Thank you,

Sara

If I addressed my cover letter to a specific person, I will use their name. Otherwise, “Dear Editors” works fine.

I’ve never had an editor get made at me for querying. Most of the responses I get are sympathetic or apologetic. If a market says you can query after X days or months have passed, then do it. Just keep your letter short and polite. It will give you peace of mind and remind the editor you exist.

An Image can go a Long Way

The first week of national novel writing month has passed, and so has a shocking election. While I try to cope with the results and their implications, my writing is keeping me from going insane.

Taking a little time away from the actually writing to create a cover  image for my NaNoWriMo2016 novel, Like Birds Under the City Sky has not only helped me de-stress, but it is also boosting my drive to finish and revise this novel.

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When Micah’s mother finds out he is gay, she tries to force him into conversion therapy. His boyfriend, Charlie, gets a job so they can leave their parents, their town and it’s prejudices behind as soon as Mica turns 18. Unfortunately, Charlie’s job isn’t what he expected.

Instead of living in their own apartment and moving on with their lives, the two boys find themselves hiding out in an abandoned subway tunnel scavenging in dumpsters while they struggle to survive and evade the sinister men in suits who are hunting Charlie. 

Seeing something that vaguely resembles a book cover, even one made with extremely basic tools like iPhoto and Google Draw, reminds me that the narrative and character chaos I’m calling a first draft will one day turn into a book. Hopefully, it will be one I see on the shelf when I go into local book stores.

For now, it’s just a “shitty first draft,” but the image reminds me that is just the starting point, the universal starting point from which all literature springs.

 

NaNoWriMo: For Real This Time

Two years ago, on a windy October night, I decided it was time I started writing again, for real. No more sporadic drafts started in notebooks never to be finished. No more late night rants that never evolved to essays or blog posts. No more procrastination. I was going to get back to writing. Period.

Beaten by anosmia, anxiety, and the hum of a thousand stories trying to chew their way out of my skull, I left the warmth of my bed and trekked down to my cold kitchen. Wrapped up in a blanket, I opened my laptop and started writing. It was a story about a female contractor and a haunted house.

I got two pages in and stopped.

The humidity had left with summer. My skin was dry and itchy; a sure sign that “winter is coming.” As I sat in my chair, scratching my legs and hating my story, I decided the home improvement theme wasn’t close enough to me, even as the creek of unsecured, temporary subfloor beneath my chair indicated I was in the midst of a major renovation.

Instead, I wrote about the itchiness, about the approaching winter, and how difficult anxiety makes it to get out of bed. I wrote about my fear of what could happen when a woman is alone in the dark with a man who means her harm, and my fear about how hard it must be to overcome that kind of trauma.

I thought it was going to be a short story. I may have been delusional.

By the time 3 a.m. rolled around, I had a character: Elle, a psychic cop who was raped and tortured by a serial killer she was trying to hunt. I had a plot. Three years later, she was home, working as a journalist and unofficial consultant in her small hometown, which she fled before becoming a cop in the city. Her childhood friend, Cam, a deputy in the county sheriff department, was in love with her. Children were going missing, and the monster that had tortured Elle had broken out of prison.

Believing I had the makings of a paranormal thriller, I threw my self into writing during every free moment I had. As November rolled around, I looked at the NaNoWriMo website and thought about signing up. I had papers to grade and a novel to write. I never signed up, but I told my self I was going to finish it in November anyways.

The end of the month came and went, but my novel had no end in sight. It wasn’t until January that I finished my monster of a first draft. It was a 200,000 word, genre-bending mess: a literary fiction rape survivor narrative, a poorly plotted paranormal thriller, graphic horror, and grammatical sloppiness.

It was terrible. I loved it. It was the first time since I was 19-years-old(I was 27 at the time) that I had written a complete story from beginning to end.

I tucked that novel into a digital draw and dug an old file off of my Google Drive called “Last Days.” It was a YA urban fantasy that I had stopped writing after a certain author very successfully published a very different demon hunter story, which also happened to feature a red-headed female protagonist.

This time, I vowed that I would not let The Mortal Instruments stop me from finishing my own demon-hunter novel (plenty of other people have written novels with demon hunters since Cassie Clare). Additionally, I knew that I was capable of finishing a novel; I had already done it.

I dove into “Last Days,” kept the parts that seemed salvageable, and cut the places where the plot rambled into infinity. I found a point to start from and wrote through until I found an end around 130,000 words.

Satisfied that I finished it, I went back and cut what I was calling the “Elle story” down to about 90,000. It was a little better than the first draft, but I still hated it in spite of the positive feedback I got from the one friend that I allowed to read the first two chapters.

I spent the next year revising and editing “Last Days.” By draft 5, it had become “Inattention,” and by draft 7, it had its current title, “Out of Focus.” I handed it off to a series of beta-readers and focused on my short fiction.

By the time I got all the feedback I needed to revise, I had become addicted to the instant gratification of flash. Submittable and the Submission Grinder became my best friends. I built up a long list of publication credits, made Twitter “friends” with some amazing writers, and slowly but surely revised and edited the novel.

This week, I sent out my first volley of queries out for Out of Focus. I’ve been calling the current version Draft 9, but really, some chapters have been revised at least 20 twenty times. I’m not sure there is a whole sentence that looks exactly as it did in the first draft I began back in 2006.

I did revisit the terrible “Elle Novel” and wrote the short story I had meant to 200,000 behemoth to originally be. It got a few rejections, and is currently languishing in a literary magazine’s  final round of judging decision making.

I’m done with Out of Focus until an agent or publisher tells me to revise or makes suggestions for edits, and while Out of Focus fights its way through the slush, I am embarking on a new adventure.

Five days into NaNoWriMo 2016, I am 14,435 words into a novel tentatively titled “Like Birds Under the City Sky.” This piece started as a short story I wrote over the summer. After three lit mag editors, a workshop, and a critique group told me the 5,000 word story needed to be a novel, I committed to tacking it in a month.

I know my first draft will suck. I’ll know I’ll revise it over and over again before I let any one read, and then I’ll revise it again.

However, something is different this time. I know what I’m doing. I know how to build tension, develop characters, use description wisely and use words efficiently. I know how the story is going to be structured (more or less), and I know how it is going to end.

I’ve improved my process. I’m a better writer. Hopefully, that means I will make a better novel.

What I do know for sure is that I have not gone a day without writing since I started on that cold October night, and this month, I’m doing NaNoWriMo for real. This month, I’m going to win.

 

 

Publication and Politics

For the past few years, I had been living under a metaphorical rock. Things like the news, current, events, and politics gave me panic attacks. Last year, I had a wake up call and realized that ignoring  the news wasn’t making it any less scary.

I used to show my students a documentary called “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,” shortly before having them write an essay about marketing and advertising. Donald Trump is briefly interviewed in that movie about the profitability of co-promotion. The first few times I showed, no one really even noticed him, but in Fall 2015, that changed. The second he appeared on screen, my students booed him.

At this time, I knew Trump was running for president, but I didn’t take him seriously. I had heard he was racist, and that he was ignorant, but I knew very little about him.

As the semester went on, I heard the students talking more and more about him, his racism, his anti-immigration policies, and his wall. Soon enough, I found my self slowly getting pulled back into the world of current events. I had to know if this guy for real, and if he had any chance of winning.

I started by reading articles that my more educated friends had shared of Facebook. As I reinvented my twitter account to network with other writers and publishers, I followed politicians and news organizations. Eventually, I was looking at their tweets and reading articles on a daily basis.

I came out of my cave. I became informed about the elections, about the environmental issues that were keeping me up at night, and about the human rights / labor rights violations taking place around the world.

Then some beautiful happened. I realized I didn’t need to go out and campaign or donate money to foster change. The bits and pieces of news I consumed were starting to seep their way into my writing. Whether I was imaging an America where health care was sold like a phone or vacation package, an earth without bee’s, or steampunk America where woman never won the right to vote, I could take my fears, my nightmares of a world gone wrong, and share them with everyone.

The first of these stories was published today in an anthology titled “Its All Trumped Up.” This is a collection of stories from writers all around the world that uses fiction to explore nine different ways a Trump presidency could affect the world. Please support us by read and sharing!

No matter what your political views are, please, please, please exercise your right to vote this November! And if your not American, you can still read, and you can use the social media to make your voice heard. We live in a globalized society. This election will have implications far beyond American borders.