I’m thrilled and excited to have the opportunity to guest blog for J.A. Souders this month and truly hope she’ll honor me when it comes time!
I’d like to take the chance to answer some of the questions I’ve gotten in the past few weeks leading up to the release of my debut novel, ‘The Crescent’.
First, let me start with publishing a novel is not for the weak of heart.
That being said here is how I came to pen ‘The Crescent,’ and some of my experiences with publishing.
The idea for my debut novel came late one chilly July evening. I had gone into my large back yard to feed my German Shepherd (Biscuit), when an unsettling feeling rushed over me. The fact is, it was one of those nights that you just expect something horrible is going to happen. Biscuit, feeling quite frisky, decided to stop me from going back into the house. He blocked the doorway with his massive body--now, this dog outweighed me by at least fifteen pounds and even on all fours, and he was more than half my height. Biscuit easily kept me out of the house.
Considering I already had a sinking feeling that was nagging at the fringes of my mind, it started to occur to me the dog insisted on not letting me get any closer to, let alone through the door. And being the imaginative, hyper-paranoid type that I am, my mind started to wander over why the dog could possibly be acting this way. The thoughts that ensued included a storm coming, an earthquake or worse… someone’s inside my house. Since I was alone at home that night, and I live in the middle of nowhere, it obviously was the last on the list. Someone, probably a serial killer, was probably in my home waiting to kill and dismember me. I did say I have an overactive imagination, right?
I hastily tried to figure out how to get to the phone, dialing 9-1-1 and get to my bedroom to get a gun from my safe (yes, I know, all over a dog insisting on being petted). After a few moments, the dog finally allowed me into the home, at which time I felt prudent to let him and Coco, my Queensland Healer, into the house for a full inspection.
After a hearty laugh at myself, and a thorough search of every inch of my house, I let the pups back outside. And I slumped onto the couch to begin working on ‘Benches’, my first fully completed novel that I was in the process of re-writing for submission. That night as I slept, my Biscuit morphed into Grant, and the full story of ‘The Crescent’ lay out before me. The next morning, I awoke and started working on this novel and the words flowed easily. However, the editing was much more difficult.
By the end of August, it was ready for submission and in the third week of September, I was offered my contract with Black Rose Writing. After contract negotiations and much discussion with my family, I signed my agreement and the rest, as they say, is history.
That brings me to the next section I’d like to cover- publishing. At the beginning, I said publishing isn’t for the faint of heart. Most beginning authors have this idea that the hard work stops once they write a novel… at least, I did. I thought the writing was the hard part. The fact is--that is the furthest thing from the truth. The real work comes when you finish the novel.
First of all, you’ve loved your characters and your story for months, possibly longer. Then you put it out there to be judged by agent after agent, only to be rejected. That starts another roller coaster ride, because the emotional ups and downs during this period can drive you insane, not to mention give you motion sickness. Then, you get someone that bites and wants a “full” or a “partial”! (This MUST be it- right? Uh- No…) Then you get a rejection off of that and you start to wonder if you are doing the right thing or if you are wasting your time. But you trek on, and before you know it someone is interested and makes an offer to either represent or publish (this part could take months). And you have an OMG! moment, and then you finally stop hyperventilating.
Obviously- this has to be it- right? Not quite. Now you have to negotiate the contract to acceptable terms, start the first of possibly many revisions, come up with jacket ideas, cover designs, possible promotion ideas (if you didn’t go with a large house), and the list goes on and on.
The process is quite harrowing, but exciting none the less. Even though there have been many ups and downs during my road to publishing, I wouldn’t change a thing. I truly feel you can learn from every experience you have in life and every person you come in contact with.
Life is about the journey…