Well, earth-shattering in my world anyway. I’ve made two decisions this past week that completely change my writing life. And I feel really good about both of them. I’ve been contemplating both for some time and I came to their realizations within a few hours of each other. Coincidence? I think not. I believe that they work together to finally launch my stories into the world. I’m excited and scared at the same time…excited because my stories will go beyond a tight circle of friends and into the world and scared because of the risks and the potential changes to my and others’ lives.
Get on with it already, right? Stop blabbering and tell us! Okay, here goes, my public announcement (and don’t forget…these are BIG to me, but probably not to many others, so be prepared for disappointment LOL)…
My First Major Decision
As I’ve been writing here, on Facebook and Twitter, I’ve been working on rewrites of PURPOSE, primarily the first 75 pages. Many times I thought the novel was done. I even queried agents, only to receive rejections or no responses. My queries were pretty sucky because I had a hard time pitching the story. I couldn’t decide the real main plot line to focus on, what makes the story stand out from all the others. That was my first clue.
I still have a partial out with an agent (sent in November!), but I don’t expect to receive good news. Because I know now it wasn’t the best it could be when I sent that out. The beginning still just wasn’t right. I’ve also known all along that PURPOSE was entirely too long as a debut novel and this became clearer after learning more and more about story structure and publishing. So, back to rewrites and edits.
But every time I tightened everything up, I felt like I lost something in my characters and the story. I often wondered if I should just break the novel into two, but I couldn’t completely grasp that idea. First, I felt like this was the story given to me and I needed to stay true to it. Second, I didn’t know where to break it up. Where could I build in a climax earlier in the book? There were a couple obvious places, but I had good reasons for rejecting those ideas without further thought. Third, I also LOVE the ending to PURPOSE. It’s epic. It’s beautiful. And it leaves the reader wanting for more. If I broke the novel into two, the first one wouldn’t have nearly as great of an ending as PURPOSE.
But I finally realized this week that I’ve actually already written two novels. There are two great story lines in the current PURPOSE, which is why I couldn’t focus on one for querying purposes or for rewrites. So, PURPOSE is now my second book. The first one remains unnamed, although I have a pretty good idea. When I feel positive about it, I’ll announce it. The best thing is, once I made this decision, the responses to my above objections came loud and clear: 1) I can still stay true to the story. It will just be better. 2) The best breaking point is painfully obvious, and I really mean painfully. For the few who’ve already read PURPOSE, you have a good idea of where the first book will end. And yes, my readers may hate me for it, but they’ll be begging for the next book. And 3) Ideas for the climactic scene to the first book came rushing through me and I could barely get them scribbled on paper fast enough to keep up. And it’s going to be just as epic as PURPOSE’s ending. I can’t wait to actually write it!
My Second Major Decision
This one can be chalked up to what I’ve always considered as character flaws: impatience and my need for control. These flaws were exactly why I hadn’t decided this earlier, like nearly a year ago when I first thought about it. I told myself I needed to be more patient and more willing to give up control because it would be best for the books and my writing career. A lot has changed since then, though, including even more impatience and a stronger need for control. So, I’ve decided to go Indie…as in independently publishing my books.
It’s not that I don’t think a traditional publisher will eventually pick me up. I’m just not willing to wait for that to happen. It could be months or years. And even if someone bought the rights tomorrow, the first book likely wouldn’t hit the shelves until 2012! Yes, two years from now! And I’d still be responsible for the majority of the marketing and publicity…for making the sales. Publishers just don’t have the money to put into debut novelists these days. I completely understand their situation, but I’m not going to fall victim to it.
Besides, self-publishing means I control everything, from the cover to the interior formatting to the release date. Well, not me alone. They will be team decisions. Because I’m not doing this on my own.
I am blessed to have a great supportive network that believes in me and my books. We’ve already started discussing the plan for publishing the first book, which we’re targeting for a June 2010 release. Yes…just a few short months from now, not years. That’s why I’m scared! LOL But this will be good, not just for me, but for others, too. I believe in our abilities as a team and I’m really looking forward to this.
I’ll be writing a lot here about this incredible journey. For now, though, I must go write that new ending. Can’t wait for you to read it!