Friday, October 21, 2011

A Tough Decision.

Take notes, they help you to remember.

c2011 (S)

I am presently in the process of editing my seventh novel, entitled, 'Redemption: An Inspector Maintenon Mystery.'

For whatever reason, I still can't bring myself to submit the thing anywhere or look for an agent. In fact, I've got the thing formatted as an e-book, although I still don't have an ISBN, end matter or a marketing image. And yet the decision would appear to be made!

That's not too serious as I still have novel #4 and novel #6 on hold, in the can and in reserve. They're both science fiction. What relevance that has, I don't know. I'm just saying.

This may seem completely mad, but I haven't even read through the book. It has been divided up into twenty-six chapters, which is better than eighty-seven. While I struggled with the middle of the book, the end seems so glib that I want to take some time in the editing and make sure it is exactly right.

That being said, this one will most likely be out by Christmas. If I have to photograph a basket of eggs, a pair of gloves, a dagger and a single long-stem red rose and call it a marketing image, that's fine with me as it kind of hearkens back to an earlier day of paperbacks and bookstores and imprints long since vanished.

In the absence of any strong leadership or even the faintest clue of what to do next, we'll just have to live with it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

To Submit or Not To Submit? That is But the Question.

I'm in the process up winding up the plot on my seventh novel, which is in the detective/mystery genre.

It's not surprising that we are running up against the old quandary, the question of whether or not to submit it to a publisher.

Major publishers often require an agent, and I don't have an agent. One publisher in particular, specifically mentions in their submision guidelines, 'no self-published authors need apply,' and that seems pretty clear to me. I'm not going to adopt a pen-name and submit anyway, because that would be dishonest.

If I did submit the book to a major publisher, bear in mind this is a first draft at this point, and of course they are looking for 'completed projects.' The trouble here is that I might not hear back from them for eight months to a year, and of course I would be fiddling with my book during that time. How could I possibly claim that it is 'complete?' I can't, can I? It's a first draft, and subbing now just to save time could so easily backfire.

Also, while many authors make simultaneous submissions all over the place in hopes of getting at least one hit fairly quickly, I tend to figure out who I would like to publish my book and then submit it to them. Then I just sit and wait. (Or fiddle with the book.)

Let's assume that in six months I get a response, and then they want to see the whole manuscript. That's fine, but it will be at least a year before my new book hits the bookstore shelves, and another six months before I see any revenue from the sales of my book.

I would hate like hell to have to wait anything up to two and a half years for a rejection slip, although others have waited longer. Assuming the first six publishers reject you, you could go three to five years without any joy, and that's clearly a waste of time. Also, after fifteen years on disability here in Ontario, I live one step from homelessness at all times. Where in the heck would you sent a rejection slip, or more optimistically, how would you contact me if you were interested?

The problem is we aren't getting any younger. While I have 'the rest of my life ahead of me,' there is no way to tell just exactly how long that is going to be, which is always an important consideration.

As yet, there is no decision, but if anyone wants me to submit my book, you had better be talking a hefty advance, or I just don't want to mess with you. Life is too short for that sort of nonsense.

It's too much aggravation, and to go and get ripped off or lose my rights in some bankruptcy kerfuffle just isn't going to happen.

Note: 'Redemption: an Inspector Gilles Maintenon mystery' is now available from Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Diesel Books, Sony, Baker-Taylor, Createspace, Indigo/Chapters, and other fine online bookstores.

Here it is on Amazon:

Here it is at Barnes & Noble:

The book has been getting some good reviews, and some other, reasonably good reviews.

A brief note: I have been offered four contracts by vanity publishers. Once I realized who they were, I jsut walked away.

I have no regrets about that. It was the right thing to do, and a sound business decision. I can't advise other writers what to do. Everyone has different goals and expectations for their work.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Winding In The Strings.

Photo by Louis.

c2011 (S)

Finally, my new mystery novel is in the home stretch. At 58,000 words with a chapter or two to go, that is a bit of a relief after struggling in the 20,000 to 40,000-word range.

Now all I have to do is wind up the remaining strings, get Inspector Maintenon home to Paris again, and that will be about it. As I go through the novel a few times, I'll flesh out characters and fill in descriptions. In a first draft, I am notorious for not describing the rooms people are in, or the clothes they are wearing. This book will probably go closer to 70,000 words.

Hopefully, there aren't too many characters running around naked as a jaybird in this book, but there may be one or two.

Poor old Inspector Gilles Maintenon! He lost his wife a year and a half ago, and it's like he just can't get a break.

With the plot now complete, I have little choice but to start at the beginning and read this manuscript.

The weather has been nice lately, and with winter coming, I am reluctant to spend fourteen hours a day at the computer, but that will change by the end of the month, when it's going to be really cold, wet, windy, and bleak. In the meantime, this book is an excuse to get out on 'the moors,' or as close a substitute as can be found in southern Ontario.