It dawned on me that it has been two years since I started this writing adventure. I don’t know which exact date I started writing in January, 2015, but I do know it was in the middle of the month. I wish I would have been smart enough to write down the date somewhere; it feels as though I maybe should have somehow magically known it was the day that would change my life forever.
It all began one morning while I was in the shower. I was struck by an idea for the storyline, and before I was done shampooing my hair, I had the first page written in my mind. Grabbing an old laptop, with several keys missing, I figured I would just write it out until I couldn’t anymore.
I recall thinking about seventy-five pages in that I was going to soon run out of ideas, but then was later amazed at all that came pouring out of my brain and onto the screen. Over and over again, the twists and turns in the story played out for me like I was watching a movie and it was my job to describe it to others. The characters, their experiences, even the plot, told their own stories without much conscious effort on my part. Quite frankly, I am still amazed… I had no idea that I had all of this in me. I certainly didn’t ever fathom that I had three books, each over 500 pages, lurking in the recesses of my mind, and ten years ago, if someone would have told me I would be writing books as stress relief, I would have laughed in their face.
Now, two years later, my first book is back with my amazing editor for the second round of edits. Hopefully, it is not much longer until she is finished, then I make changes, and I will hopefully then have a concrete release date. Despite my impatient nature, I realize how blessed I am that this process has gone so quickly, at least in terms of the publishing world. There are stories of people trying for five, six, or even ten years, with several re-writes, to be published. I am so grateful that my publisher took a chance on me.
I am getting a bit nervous about publicity, though. The publisher does help with some publicity, but I am ultimately responsible for how little or much I want to market my book. I am hoping that I will get a lot of sales just based on word of mouth, but know that with the thousands of books published every year, not counting those which are self-published, the likelihood of that happening is slim. While I hope that my friends and family enjoy my manuscript, it is expecting a lot of them to single-handedly drive my sales. Many authors have expressed how their book does really well at first with sales from those they know, but then sales dry up after that initial rush. I am researching how to maintain the momentum once my musings have saturated the market of those I know. Luckily, I know some amazing ladies who do PR and they have been wonderful about giving me pointers and ideas.
It is a lot to take in, though: Press releases, social media blitz, signings, etc. I have never been very good at selling anything to anyone, so all I can do is my best “pitch” and then pray that I have something that interests people enough that they want to experience it for themselves. I have one dear friend who has made it a point to talk to all the book store managers around town about me and is asking them to allow for me to do signings. With her exuberance, I feel like I have a PR person, of sorts, who is singing my praises, and I am grateful for her devotion. I discovered quite by accident at a children’s festival, when a booth I was at was next to our county library system’s, that our local library also has signings for local authors about which I am very excited.
I have heard that on average, a book takes about ten months from acceptance to being released and that timeline is seemingly holding true in my case. I am ready for it to come out so that I can move on to the next stage, because it has now been long enough from when I signed my contract that it sometimes feels like it was all just a dream. But, as it is such a long novel, and editing is a very time-consuming prospect, though I am impatient for the next step, I am appreciative for the care and due diligence my editor has shown by making what I wrote even better.
A lot of people keep asking me if I have a release date yet, but all I can say is that these things take a while, and even with as anxious as I am, I am realizing I need to listen to my own answer: I just have to give it time. Meanwhile, I am almost finished with my third book. I know I have been saying that for a long time, but I am procrastinating with it because, quite frankly, I don’t want it to end; I have fallen in love with these characters as much as I did with those in my last books. But, as I have the story line for my fourth book already knocking loudly around in my head, I need to get over my disappointment in order to start on the next one.
I plan to go in a different direction and make this next novel more for young adults. When I recently discussed the plot line with someone, he stated that he never thought I would write sci fi. Not a big fan of that genre, I hadn’t considered that my story, in essence, will be considered to be that. (And I am still somewhat unwilling to accept it, as well!) All I know is that I want to branch out to tell a different story this next time to keep things interesting and fresh. Maybe it will work, or maybe it will fail miserably, but I won’t know unless I try.
So, at this point, the long and the short of it is that I still don’t know when my first book is due to be released. I am also thinking that I may actually seek a publisher for my third book before my second, just because the third book is very loosely related to the first novel, though it is not a sequel. But, either way, I am looking forward to hopefully finding either a literary agent or a publisher for everything I have written so far eventually. So, to anyone who wants to read my first novel and has been asking, I beg you to please be patient and not give up on me. It is coming soon and there will hopefully be more to come!