Writing Books, Selling Books, The Slick Furies, Final Edits

Some reiteration, recap, updates.

The novel is finished. I am doing my final edits, working on the interiors, odds and ends, getting it ready to go through the process of making it into a book available for purchase. The word count at “the end” was 82,986 words, that’s two hundred and fifty or so pages, standard 8.5 x 11, or 457 pages formatted for publication.

Four hundred and fifty-seven pages.

I finished the original final draft of this novel in 2013. It has taken until now to do anything with it for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that at one point I completely abandoned it because I was so stubbornly certain that it wasn’t the kind of writing that I wanted to be doing. However, when you write that many words, invest that much of yourself in something, and you think that it’s good, it can be tougher to let go of it.  I’m glad that I finished it. I am now a novelist. I do not say that lightly. I’ve written several other pieces of considerable length, I earned this, worked toward this, worked up to it. I am a novelist.

Supremely Technical Schematic, or hereafter to be known as, “The S.T.S.”

What happened with me setting up at Patreon? ( Which is really what prompted this blog post because I said I was going to do Patreon and then I pulled the plug on it.)

I don’t have time for it.
I set the page up, got it all ready, edited and posted two stories, a poem, and began to realize that the time I would spend keeping that going, would be better invested putting those stories into a selection for a book of such works. I think that Patreon is a great site, wonderful idea. It isn’t for me right now. But, there’s another point in that, had I not been willing to go check it out, I might not have realized some things that are pretty important. So what looks like wishy-washy or floundering, sometimes really isn’t. Sometimes you’re finding out things that you need to know, about yourself, about what you’re doing, want to be doing, etc.

“Not all who wander are lost.” J.R.R. Tolkien

The last five years has been on the job writer training for me. Being talented and able to get the words on the paper does not, necessarily, a writer make. I think I kind of thought, “Hey, I’m a writer, I’ll just show up and do this.” Well, that’s like going into an unfamiliar wood, where you don’t know your way around, at night. It’s easy to get lost. It’s easy to lose track of what you intended to do, end up chasing butterflies, or a, um, er….rabbits.

There isn’t just one road to “writer” these days. The career of a writer can take many different shapes, forms. The publishing landscape, with digital media, self-publishing, independent publishers, small presses, is ever-changing, growing, evolving. Somewhere in the last five years I wasn’t thinking anymore about what I wanted to be doing or had intended to do or the kind of career that I wanted. There are a lot of carrots out there sometimes and it can be easy or tempting to get caught up in things that aren’t necessarily right for you or the direction that you want to go in. Just like regular life.

I don’t claim to know, in the least, what other authors think about their careers or what they want with regard to such things. I think that the standard idea is that as a writer, very generally speaking, you’ll write a book, you’ll get an agent, or not, and hopefully sell the book, then sell another one, and another, and so on. If you’re a short story writer or a poet, that same holds true, that I think the “traditional” publishing route is still the one that generally comes to mind for most authors. Get that “big book deal.” That’s great. I’m not opposed to the big book deal hopefully for huge money, not at all.

When I made the decision to self-publish, I remembered why I had made that decision once before. I like being in control of the process, in fact, I love it. During the formative years of my child, when I took my camera everywhere with me and seriously considered becoming a photographer, to the annoyance of many as I was constantly taking pictures of everything, that was one of the things that I liked about the prospect of that job, essentially, you work for yourself. ( My favorite photographer is woman who was named Margaret Bourke-White.) I still take photographs, as a hobby.

I have never been one to follow the path of another. I’m sure that sometimes it might look that way to whomever, as I certainly will learn everything that I can from someone who knows what they’re doing, if it’s something that I want to learn about, but at the end of the day, I am going to do my own thing, and I am going to do it my way. Some things, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Some things, if you know how to do whatever it is and I don’t, sure, I’ll learn from you, but then I’m going to figure out what my way of doing that thing is and that’s how I’m going to do it.

“Do not follow where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

That quote has long been a motto of mine. ( I’ve been collecting quotes in the same journal for twenty-five years, educating myself as I go as to who some of those people are/were that have said all of those smart things.)

And, not to get too existential or philosophical about it at this moment, but for some, following the path of another completely is their path, and that’s fine too. That is why we have such things as “proven methods” and formulas, and the reason that there are roads and paths. How do you get there? You take the road from point A to point B. We remain individuals, there will always be variations.

What I had said in a previous post about Patreon and self-publishing:

“All of that said, I’ve come to love the idea of the writer or artist as an independent creative entity, owner of themselves, beholden to none but themselves with regard to their work. I think, without question, that writers and artists should be paid for their work. I don’t think that capitalism is a dirty word. I think that writers and artists should be the ultimate independent capitalists as we create the cultural and intellectual landscape on which the rest of the world feeds and wherein it also so often seeks to find excitement, escape, comfort, and solace. I like the idea of having complete creative control of my own work without compromising my ideas, my ideals, or vision. I like the freedom involved in self-publishing.”

What I’ve realized is that this was always my idea of being a writer.
I have always been a writer, I didn’t “become” one. If I had chosen photography, I would have “become” a photographer, but I still would have been a writer. To me, for me, being a writer is about freedom, writing when I am able to, when I want to, to set my own hours, being my own boss, to run this show my way. For me, being a writer is the antithesis of kowtowing to the ideas of anyone  about anything.

If it took the last five years, and whatever thrashing about, to get back to that, to learn everything that I’ve learned, well then obviously it did and I will take everything from that that I am able to. I am still learning.

The other thing that has become increasingly apparent to me is that, having gotten sort of sucked into certain things, wrapped up in social media, sometimes flailing about, what have you, apart from the obvious timesuckage involved in such things, is that in all of the rambling, or whatever else, I could have gotten a lot more words on the page and work done. Now, sometimes having gotten a lot of work accomplished, like I just did in finishing this novel, sure, it’s good and fine to let loose or post an update, what have you, etcetera, but when there’s more of that going on than actual work or when that becomes too big of a distraction, well, clearly that isn’t good.

The thought I had when I realized that I didn’t have time for Patreon was, I don’t want to give you blog posts, I want to give you books. 

Which doesn’t mean that I’m not ever going to write blog posts, who are we kidding? What it means though is that having realized completely again what it is that I want to accomplish and how it is that I want to do that, my focus has shifted. I want to give you books of my writing, of my own invention, and creation, filled with stories, and poetry, that you can fondle the pages of lovingly, keep and carry with you, always to treasure. 

That’s romantic. Of course by “give” I mean “sell”, I want to sell you books, and they’ll be worth it. But you get the gist of it.

To that end, as I got to the final pages of this edit, I made a new book marker for myself for whatever I am working on.  “Save it for the Book.”

  
I was also reminded of this…

though clearly I kind of like social media and being able to use the internet for what I want and need to use it for. That’s the point too, to utilize it as a tool, to not be sucked down the rabbit hole of it. The internet also tempts those who are so inclined to concern themselves too much with what other people may or may not being doing.

There’s an old adage, a quote that I do not know whom the originator of, that is, who said it first, but it is this…. It’s none of my business what others think of me.  Or “What people in the world think of you is really none of your business.” ~ Martha Graham

If you’re spending too much time worrying about what anyone else is doing, you’re probably not blazing your own trail. It’s a question that I frequently ask myself just to keep things in check, What am I doing today? What am I getting done today? Stay on track with that.

The final edit looks slightly different from this, that is what final edits are about.

I believe in this book. This book, The Slick Furies, is an important milestone for me, not only because I finished it, but because it showed me that I was being closed-minded with regard to writing fiction, with regard to subject matter, I wanted to write books, but not about vampires, and that kind of thinking was one of the things that was holding me back. This book taught me that I really love writing fiction. I can’t wait to get it finished, to make it available, and… to move on to the next book, the next project. I am super excited. I have completely fallen in love with writing again.

As for when I hope to have the book ready…synopsis, the pitch, stay tuned…

Teri 

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