Paying It Forward

I have to say, I got lucky.

When I decided I wanted to publish my book, and when no agent wanted in on my project and no small press had room for me, I able to access a wealth of knowledge by joining the right forums and asking a lot of questions.  Their kindness and wisdom made this process of going it alone, while not exactly “easy” absolutely easier, all things considered.  I think, as with all good fortune, paying it forward is the key to real gratitude.  So, I’ve decided to do just that the only way I know how … with a blog.

I’m launching a new spin-off site of La Bella Novella, The Indie You, to give the information back.  Send it out into the world so that someone, like myself, can stumble upon and find (hopefully) what they need to make their dream of being an author come true.  Let someone else harness the belief that wild dreams are possible and give them the tools to make it happen.

While I’ll be the first to admit … nope, I’m no expert … I think there is real power in the meeting of minds.  There is no “one size fits all” formula when it comes publishing a book … so what the point of the new blog will be is to explore all avenues of self publishing through experiences, professional knowledge and plain old talking it out.  It will be part forum, part resource center.  Nothing will be off-limits … and every question will be addressed head on.

I will build a directory of freelance professionals, and unlike on this site where I feature only those I’ve worked with, The Indie You will welcome everyone to sign up and list their skills-for-hire.

The Indie You is rough right now, but, I will be focusing time in the coming days to launching it.

So …

While I’m building the site, I’m also opening the door for communication.  This is what I’m looking for right now …

– Are you a cover artist or editor? Formatter? Offer another important service? Interested in offering your time to be a beta reader?  E-mail me at theindieyou@gmail.com and let me know, you’ll be added to the list of resources.

– Are you an independent author with a story to tell?  E-mail me at theindieyou@gmail.com and let me know, I’d love to feature you.

– Have questions you want answered about self-publishing?  E-mail me at theindieyou@gmail.com, I will be more than happy to open them up for addressing.

Stay tuned for the official launch … needless to say, I’m excited!

 

 

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Back From The Editor–Now, I Edit

You know what I love?  When people say they’re going to do something … and they just do it.

This afternoon I received back the copy of my book from the editor.  Lauren had promised that it would be about 28 days in her care, and it was just that … 28 days.  Nothing more.

The manuscript arrived back to me completely edited with tons of grammatical track changes, but (much to my surprise and joy) nothing structural–which was an amazing moment for me as a first time author to know, under the tutelage of a seasoned professional, that I did tell a story with no glaring hole and divots.  That I had managed, with my piecemeal skill, to flesh out my characters and give the reader a glimpse of life.

All thats left to do is muddle through the 400 plus pages and click accept.  Now, I can just be really excited to share the finished work with you…I know how it begins and how it ends.

As an early gift to you all, a thank you of sort for your patience and support, check out the tab “The Milestone Tapes” for the first excerpt from my forthcoming novel…

And Off To The Editor We Go

Today was the day I’ve been waiting for.  The first step towards changing my book for the better.  It feels huge, like the writer in me’s day of comeuppance, I’m almost giddy with it.

I can tell you this … finding an editor is a really laborious process.  There are so many talented freelancers out there.  It makes finding the right one who will capture the essence of your voice and do the job in your likeness really hard.  But, it’s worth it.  And when you know, you know.

Prices vary greatly between editors.  I remember the first time I reached out to an editor, and she came back at me with a $3,000 bid.  I almost died.  I cried; sitting at my kitchen table, I hung my head and felt like I’d never be able to afford that, that’d I be forced to pause my project and play the waiting/saving game.  I could no more afford $3,000 that day than I could afford to fly to the moon.  I hadn’t saved for that, I had a small sum–but it was nothing that even came close to that.  Mark, as always, encouraged me to keep looking and as I did, the bids slowly started a downward trickle–and once we dropped below four-figures I could breathe again.

Then, I found Lauren Dee of Daisy Cakes Creative.  Don’t you just love her businesses name?

Lauren is a selective editor, the sort that doesn’t take every project passed to her…you have to query for her attention.  And once you have it, there is a waiting list.  I was on-hold for almost two months, but I didn’t mind because I liked her.  I wanted her to be the one to take this project on.

Lauren is one of the more a reasonably priced editors I approached, bringing to the table ten years of editorial experience working with NYT best-selling authors, smaller Indies and publishing houses alike.  She’s sweet and approachable, the naturally friendly sort–and she will go the extra mile to highlight her service, bringing it down to an understandable level for a newbie like myself. Her style of editing is classic, and her e-mails read just that way.

I told her, in plain text, that I was giving her my trust.  That I wanted her to be honest with me…if I need more than a copy/line edit–say so!  This book, it’s sort of everything to me, and if I need a bit more on the heavy side of make it publish-worthy, so be it.  Hold me accountable.

I’ll continue to post about this editing process as milestones or things arise.  It’s all part of the journey and I just took the first step…

 

 

Telling The Truth–What I’ve Learned To Be True

So, as I mentioned in my blog below, I received a request for a partial read.  The only catch is–my book is going to the editor tomorrow.

I was put in a place of having to tell the truth.  I had to write this agent and say–listen, this book isn’t perfect, I know that, so be prepared and I’m sorry in advance.  But, believe me, I’m also working on it.  In one month, the story will be better.  My voice will be clearer.  So what you’re going to read–while a solid effort on my part–isn’t perfect, not by a million and one mistakes.  (Okay, I didn’t phrase it like that…but I did say “this is going to a freelance editor”)

So…here is my truth…

If I could go back in time and do anything differently–the one thing I wished I known then–is that, what I sent out should have been edited by a professional.  I should have hired a professional editor prior to doing the querying thing.  I should have had an editor lined up, ready to go, chomping at the bit for my manuscript and cash.  That is what I should have done–it’s exactly what I didn’t do.

This is something I never thought of before.  The thing I didn’t consider.  The thing publishing books won’t tell you.  No where, not in all of my reading did I ever come across phrase hire someone before you query.  It was a regrettable oversight–one I’m openly talking about in hopes to save others from my undoing.

When I was walking blissfully into this whole publishing thing, I really thought: hey, I wrote the book, that’s my job–I did it.  It can be a “come as you are” manuscript because if I sell the book to a publisher they have an editor.  I’ll do content editing.  I’ll rewrite and rehash and edit for clarity…but my sloppy mistakes–someone bigger than me will read through them and find the nugget of potential…right?

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong!

The truth is…as a new writer…my first footfall needed to be perfection. If I was brazen enough to ask someone to take a chance on me–a first timer from the Midwest who has never published anything before–it needed to be amazing.

I sloughed the responsibility off on other people, when the whole time, the onus was always on me.  I failed to see that.  I made a big critical mistake–and sitting here right now, sure as God made little green apples–I believe that hurt my chances.   And as much I wouldn’t mind being an Indie…that doesn’t mean it’s an excuse for a lackluster performance.

The agents who have taken the time to entertain my query…they were patient, kind folk.  And I’m truly sorry I didn’t take that opportunity and shine.  I’m sorry I bothered them with novice mistakes–honest though they may be.

When I finished THE MILESTONE TAPES, I could not wait to query.  I wanted to be swooped up and adored…and, yes, I was really silly enough to believe that.  I didn’t think about my first impression as much as I thought about the light at the end of the tunnel.  Remember–in my first post–when I said I was new, green and fumbling?  This moment, right here, is exactly what I meant by that.

Ten years from now, when I kind of/sort of have this whole thing figured out, I’ll look back and laugh, probably blush a little, and shake my head in stunned disbelief.  This was a one time mistake.  Next time around, before the book is even finished, I’ll have an editor ready to go, I’ll sit on my freaking hands if need to be to stop myself from querying before I’m really ready.  I’ll take the paces and give the book the space and time it needs to be amazing.

The truth is…you get one shot.  That’s it.  One time, one moment, one read.  If you blow it–it’s blown.  And, if you’re going blow it…being unedited is really, really, really not worth it.  Blow it because your book is a crazy, genre-challange machine of epic proportions that some people don’t get.  Blow it because your better off Indie and that’s who you want to be, because you can’t see yourself handing off your book and crossing your fingers that the finished product will look like what you first wrote.  Blow it because you’re a risk–a beautiful risk.  Anything less, you’re just selling yourself short.

So…My Balls Dropped

Okay, that is a fairly graphic title–but yes, I guess my balls have dropped–and there is simply no other way to say it.  I’m getting ballsy.

This morning I received a rejection letter.  The agent said…and I quote…”I hope you plan to write another novel, because I do think you have talent. However, both your query and your opening pages need some editing, and the story could use some revision.”

Normally, I’m a “no means no” sorta gal.  My mother raised me that way.  I don’t back talk, and I’d never ever go against an adult.  But hey…this is a grown up world, I’m an adult too and I’m trying (really hard) to find my place.

The fact is, I like this agent.  I like that not only did she take the time to tell me–point-blank–my manuscript needs work, but that she saw something in my work that could be a launch pad for bigger things–things that I want long-term.  It’s not the standard “I’m not right” or “thank you, but we’re not interested”…she communicated with me.  She told me where my problems lie and gave me some real solutions…she just didn’t know I already knew that, that I was already working towards coming correct.

So…back to my balls…

I read, reread and reread again the e-mail.  I thought it over, and in my mind I reasoned–nothing ventured, nothing gained.  My book is going to an editor in 8 days.  It will be revamped and polished and sorted out.  My clumsy first-timer mistakes will be corrected and what remains will be a better, rounder story.

I figured–let’s see how serious that “talent” comment was…I e-mailed back.  This is where I’m dropping the “no means no” pretense of my entire life.  I asked her for a second chance.  I said that yes, I know this MS needs work–but I’ll do it, and I’ll put everything I have into making it right.

Make no mistake about that, I’m as serious as a heart attack when it comes to this in general–this book means everything to me, and it will be perfect, whether I’m an Indie or Traditional, it makes no difference to me…my accountability will be to my readers and they deserve nothing less.

So, I took the gamble.  I rolled the second chance for that first impression dice.  She may say “no way, girl”…but she may not.  Had I not tried…done at least that much…I’d never know.  And that right there, that’s exactly what I can’t live with.  I can take rejection, I can take silence and unanswered queries because I know what they mean…but not trying, that’s not my personal style.  I’ll try and try and try until I run out of road.

I understand what I did was unconventional–I told her as much.  I understand what I’m trying for may be a total literary faux pas. And this is nothing I’d recommend someone doing–because it might be a really, really bad thing. But–what do I really, really have to lose?  She already rejected me once…twice can’t be much worse, right?

***I’ll be updating this post if or when I receive a reply…good, bad or ugly***

Edited For THE UPDATE

I heard back…she said the particular story didn’t interest her, but she’d be willing to entertain other books in the future.  I quickly added her to my address book–Dear Agent Lady, you’ll be hearing from me again someday, unless I get a believer from jump street.

So…I guess I stay true to the course–we’re off to the editor in 8 days (so thrilled) and then, if nothing else, self publishing (super thrilled)…and of course, book two which is already in the worlds (extremely thrilled about that one).

The lesson here is simple and one that, I suppose, we all have to learn by trial and error…

Rejections aren’t always as simple as they may seem.  I’ve, personally, been told so many different things on my journey with THE MILESTONE TAPES–but the base line is this…different agents really do want different things.  That’s not stock font, people.  That’s really, really true–it’s the grass-roots of reading at large.

I’ve always believed–even before I wrote, just when I was an average, everyday reader: One persons beautiful book is another’s wasted space.  And now that I’m on the other side of the coin, I’m realizing, this whole author/agent/query thing…it’s not that much different from being a reader–you turn a book over, you read the back and decide if this novel is right for you.  If it’s not–that doesn’t mean in five minutes another reader won’t come along, swoop it up and devour it in a solitary afternoon because it’s so them and it’s exactly what they needed.  You can be a great author with great talent, and if the book isn’t an agent’s cup of tea or personal flavor, they’ll pass…same thing with any reader, really.  But that’s not a reflection on you as the writer–it’s on them, as the reader.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  Nothing at all.  We’ve all done it, we’ll all do it for the rest of our lives in a million different ways.  It boils down to choice.

I love what I do…I want others to love it as well.  If you don’t, I’d rather skip the melodrama of trying too hard.  I’ve hated the query process and all its baggage.  But, what I can appreciate is the lessons I’ve learned…the growing I’ve done because I put myself through querying.  I’m not going to say querying is something everyone should do, many won’t for personal reasons, and that I can respect.  But for me, as someone green, new and fumbling I needed too–not because it’s fun, but because it’s simply educational.  It prepared me for everything else that will come my way in bucketful doses; rejection, adoration, the highs and lows.

My balls and I are happy we e-mailed back.

AMP, over and out!

The Query Fixer Upper (an exclusive invite continued)

Just over 10 days ago I received an exclusive invitation, from an agent I had reached out to on round one, to have my query revamped for salability.  Many folks told me “run”…but I opted against their advice and decided to proceed with what the agent was selling–the opportunity was something I just didn’t want to let slide.  My hope was that she would really tear me apart–word for word.  I wanted to learn from this.

I finally got the query back.

10 days…and she had four comments, okay well three verifiable comments, since one was answered for her in the line above–but, she apparently missed that.

It was my intention to come here and share a blog seeping with information.  And in the spirit of full disclosure and to be honest, there wasn’t anything enlightening or any really rare nuggets of agent wisdom she shared with me.  There’s really nothing to pass on and for that, I apologize.

You all were right…I was wrong.  Bummer.

What We’re Up Against

Lately I’ve been reading about these amazing flukes of luck in Indie Author Land–multi-book deals, movie options, agents querying the author.  It’s all very motivational and it feels so hopeful.  These stories are a portal to the realization that, without doing anything other than being the best author you can be, beautiful things can happen to you all the time, at any given moment.

But there is a darker side to being an Indie Author.  Some may call them haters…others may associate the hate speech with the guillotine that hangs above every Indie Published book and the reputation that proceeds each new title…I would say it’s a pinch of both…but still…it’s darn good to know what we’re up against so we can arm ourselves accordingly

Amazon offers “Kindle Forums”…where real Kindle readers cluster to discuss.  I don’t frequent it often, but in passing I noticed a thread entitled—How To Avoid Indie Authors (ouch, that hurts!).  Yet, I decided not just run from the topic–but to consider their “take” as a master class on the isolated opinions that would polarize me from my dream.  Frankly, I’m always eager to learn from the ignorance or experience of others…to design what I do to prove them wrong–so wrong it hurts.

Here are a few sample quotes…

When Amazon opened up self-publishing for the kindle, everyone and their dog has suddenly become an “author,” and every rejected manuscript resurrected as a kindle “book.” I have no problem with amateurs posting their stuff to share online in a writer’s forum, but must their writings be intermingled with real books in the kindle store? Is there some way to hide them or weed them out when browsing and searching. It’s annoying to have to wade through all that garbage which has multiplied like a rat infestation in the Kindle store. courtesy of : Greg

Dear Greg,

I wrote a “book”.  It’s 100k words, and I wrote it in 4 months.  It was long process and it required every inch of self-control, dedication and deep love that a traditionally published book requires.  It’s real, and despite what you may believe to be a universal truth–it is, very much, a book, no quotations required.  You are under no obligation to purchase it–and I’d probably prefer if you didn’t.  No sense in subjecting you to my literary “garbage”.  I believe my feelings are probably shared by the others you harbor so much contempt for as well.

Greg, we do what we love.  We share what we love.  We pour over the words and characters and world we create with enthusiasm and joy–sometimes with heartbreak and frustration.  We intend the book to be enjoyed…so if you can’t or won’t simply because we’re not “traditional”…then it’s genuinely your loss–and for that, you have my sincere condolences.

Kindle and Nook ought to flag books that are self-published. At least then we think to check the book out a bit more closely. For me its the copy editing that makes me gnash my teeth and use words my mother would not approve of! courtesy of : KesterGayle

Dear KesterGayle,

It’s good to always check a book out–you might find something you’d enjoy.

I agree that the covers are a major clue. Indie book artwork and graphics are usually abysmal. But an even better clue is the absence of professional reviews. If all you see is a product description and/or quotes from anonymous sources you know it’s an indie. courtesy of : Danica

Dear Danica,

Since artwork and graphics tend to be one in the same…can you really take issue with both?  Or, did you mean font but simply fell victim to your own bad, confusing writing?  Maybe? If so, welcome to the party–writing what you mean to say can be a tricky skill to master. But, all of that aside, yes, I’ll agree with your point, covers are important.  Did you realize most covers–Indie or Traditional–are purchased from similar places?

I suggest we petition the federal government of the United States to create an Independent Author Advisory Board to decide for us what books can be published. This will weed out all the “undesirable” content from being sold. We need to censor all this garbage. Think of it like exterminators for infestation of freedom of press. courtesy of : New Girl!!

Dear New Girl!!

Your ideals fascinate me for the simple ignorance of them.  Amazon is an American owned and operated company…and in America, dear New Girl, we have this wonderful thing called Freedom Of Press–which, thankyouverymuch, doesn’t practice extermination.  Obviously you’re new…but look it up, girlfriend 🙂

Even calling them ‘authors’ is pushing it. Yes, wipe them out. 🙂 courtesy of : Greg (again)

Oh Greg,

It saddens me to see that–despite how simple it seems–you’re unfamiliar with the definition of an author…here, let me help you Greg.  An Author is defined by someone who has written a book, article or report.  Indie is simply a catch term given and used…but, it’s all the same…an author is an author is an author.  Cheers to all the wordsmiths out there!

Psst: You may want to buff up on the proper use of quotations–you use them in all the wrong places.

**names removed for privacy of the innocent** … Stop the self promotion please. That is the problem with indie . They just cannot help but promote their more often than not unreadable/boring work. Either use their friends or gang up together to self-promote covertly passing as unbiased readers. courtesy of : athenadsb

Dearest athenadsb,

Per chance you don’t understand that promotion–in many forms–is part of the job?  Even traditionally published authors promote their work, day in and out.  Your favorite author?  I’m sure has trudged the path of self promotion.  And, on a side note, I didn’t realize our friends weren’t allowed to enjoy our books?  News to me…but I’ll make sure to promote that in the future.

Indie writers: stop being so pathetic, even that Norwegian neo-Nazi killer had the decency of not publishing his 1500 + mein-kampf-ish jibber jabber to Amazon Kindle, learn to be as decent as him, that’s not too much to ask, or you’re just tooo needy and want to poison us with your venom. courtesy of : Brandenberg

Dearest Brandenberg,

Adolf Hitler wrote “Mein Kampf” (the title should be capitalized, by the way) in 1925 with a second edition published in 1926.  Amazon.com was founded in 1994 and went live in 1995.  Obviously, as you can see, there was no cross over.  However–I believe had Hitler been given the chance…he’d pushed that hate speech out at every turn–he was nothing if not self indulgent.

And…since I can’t let this slide without saying something…

To liken an Indie Author to Hilter is disgusting, it’s wrong, it’s vile and you should be embarrassed.  Nothing you say; before, during or after, will ever be relevant again–it was a nonsensical baseless comparison.  What Hilter did was exactly the opposite of what we, as authors, do.  We sell stories–not hate.  We believe in freedom to say what you want and be who you are–clearly a different agenda then the above mentioned.

I’ll be waiting for that apology, Bradenberg.

***

I think we’ll close the quote portion of this entry with Brandenberg ranking us below Hilter on the decency scale–seems like a good place to me…you?

What I walk away with (after seventeen plus pages of that full on bashing) is that in every dismal compliant there is a spark of truth (save for Bradenberg–but he’s his own man).  And that spark of truth is how we crawl from under the stigma of “just Indie” to be taken seriously as contenders, as good writers and good people.  It’s what we learn from the bad comments that earn us the good comments–the one’s the are listed below the title of our books.  People don’t hand out gold stars and stickers on effort when you’re a grown up doing grown up things–you have to work for it, and if you put in the energy and the money and the balls-to-walls effort…then–and only then– do the accolades come in droves.

Let’s put their objections to good use…they are just readers after all…

-Book covers.  Apparently they matter–a lot.  The age-old saying of “don’t judge” needs to be trashed.  Our covers are judged, probably to higher standard.  Effort needs to be outgoing and the product needs to be outstanding.

-Editing.  Just do it.  Hire an editor, find a beta-buddy…pause yourself, cool your heels…take the time to make it right from jump street.  If you publish a error-ridden work, it’s just that–error ridden.  Stop expecting anyone to read through your clumsy phrasing, and mistakes…they won’t and you lose.  It’s of paramount importance.  Raise the bar–and then rise up to meet it.

-Promotion.  Do it where it should be done.  Put your energies towards the places where you’ll be rewarded.  Every author promotes–interviews, press releases…but bite your tongue at the times where you’d appear to be selling snake oil.  The best promotion is the one that allows your reap the benefits of it…everything else is just clutter.

-Quotes.  If you’re going use them, let them stand for something.  Find reviewers and capture the best phrase of praise and use it!  Be proud of what’s being said–give credit where credit is due.

It can all be done.  Like I said before–prove them wrong.

I’m going to hand off the blog clincher  to Doobie Doobie who will say it better than I ever could….

All of the following were self-published…recognize any of the names?

Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn
John Grisham, A Time to Kill
L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics
Irma Rombauer, The Joy of Cooking
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
Richard Paul Evans, The Christmas Box
Jack Canfield and Mark Hensen,Chicken Soup for the Soul
James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy
Beatrix Potter, creator of the Peter Rabbit Classic Series

Also, here are some more self-published authors:
Thomas Paine – Edgar Allan Poe – T.S. Elliot – Carl Sandberg – Gertrude Stein – Deepak Chopra – Upton Sinclair – D.H. Lawrence – George Bernard Shaw – e.e. cummings – Henry David Thoreau – Virginia Woolf – Margaret Atwood – Tom Clancy – Stephen Crane

This Thing Is Pretty Remarkable

I have to share this because I just discovered it…AND I LOVE IT!

Have you ever stumbled upon a product so perfect you just want to know why you didn’t come across it sooner?  For me, that product is Storyist.

If you haven’t heard of this really inventive, user friendly software…let me have the honor of passing it on.

Storyist is basically, in short, the writers software.  It allows you to map out your story with pictures, sticky-notes, cork board post-it notes for plotting and all the other really amazing things that you wish you had–but didn’t have before.

Speaking only for myself, it allows me work like no other software I’ve used.  And, even better, it’s allowing my second novel to come together visually–which will only stand to make it better in the long run.  It keeps me organized and thoughtful.  It brings my characters into a new dimension, it allows me to hone in the the finer details of their lives–like their homes, or family room.  It saves me time, keeping my voice and vision consistent–which, as many of us know, can get muddy the further along we go.

I–adore–Storyist.

I encourage you to download it–15 days for free.  Try it.  See if it works for you…no harm in that.  The software price is a reasonable $59.00 and even better…if your a NaNoWriMo member, you can score an additional 25% off with a special code!

I also should note–since many of you may be Indie Authors–Storyist has dumbed down the formatting processing, making it super easy to upload directly from the software to your Kindle account and ePub account.  Anything for simplicity–right?

I simply cannot beg you all hard enough to try this–at least for 15 days.  It’s an amazing product, and does truly help with your craft–start to finish!

I Write Like…

A few days ago I joined a critique circle.  I did it simply to test the waters before sending my MS off to my editor.  I was curious how my story would sink in with the masses at large and of course I had the normal questions.

I received a very sweet, thoughtful crit from a member who likened my writing to “the classics“…something in my passage reminded her of the flowery, poetic prose of old world literature.  The reviewer asked me if I read a lot of classics–and no, I don’t.  Actually, I’ve never read even one–and can’t remember reading any in school either, though I’m sure at some point I did.  I write in my voice, which is all I genuinely know how to do.  I guess I don’t sound like other authors…

It got me wondering–is being classical a bad thing?  The reviewer made it out to seem like that wasn’t good–an a-typical thing.  Modern books have a certain flow that mine doesn’t.  I don’t jump right into the story…I inch it along.  Of course, what she saying was based on the first 4,000 words of a 94,000 word manuscript.  But, what she took fault in was my goal all along…

I wanted to weave a tapestry.  Several multi-hued threads stitched together to create the story of a family.

I begin with a prologue.  It’s not a dream, it didn’t happen far before, it’s a white hot flash of the future. I felt, when I was writing, that that was the natural beginning…the shift of life…to go there, then back and work towards it again…felt…it felt natural. From that place, the prologue, you join Jenna on the worst day of her life.  But we don’t jump right into the thick of it.  I wrote it so that getting to know Jenna was a full circle experience–where she’s been and where she’s going.  She becomes a round person…hopefully, when it counts, a reader will identify with her, will know her and understand her.

Then, I read I was classical.  What if classical is an synonym for bad.  What if everything this book is just doesn’t jive with the exceptions of a modern day reader?  What if I was born a century to late to be relevant?

I could have started the book differently–I could jumped right in with both feet and spelled it out, plain and simple to the point…but that wasn’t the story I wanted to tell–that’s not who I am, that’s not how I write.

I can’t change that.  It’s my voice–you can’t just change something that’s so natural.  Can you?  I really don’t know.

I guess the lesson is this:

Write for yourself.  Tell the story your way.  It’s not going to be everyone’s favorite–and that’s just plain a-ok.  As long as the effort is genuine and honest, you can’t harbor regrets in what you could have done differently.

I know there will be changes to my MS coming.  I’m going into the editing process with my eyes wide open, and every critique I manage to accumulate will go to good use as well.  But I have to stay grass roots.  I have to keep on keeping on–because this is the book I wrote, this was story that needed to be told.

Here’s to being classical me…or whatever it is I am…

 

A Major Hiccup In My Book (pulling my hair out along with other things)

In THE MILESTONE TAPES, there is this moment–it’s really sentimental and warm and sad and all sorts of other things–and there is a children’s book that does capture that moment in its entirety.  It speaks to the way Jenna feels about this particular threshold of Mia’s life, the inevitability of it and how it should be approached with hope and joy–it’s an adventure.  There are certain things Jenna knows to anticipate at certain ages–and she speaks in the context of those moments–be it to an adult, a teen or a child.  And this is one of those rare moments that could happen at any time, and Jenna speaks so universally through the words of this book that are timeless.  I can’t do without it…yet, I can’t use it (copyrights and such).

I’m suck wading my way through saying the same thing my own, less beautiful, words.  It sucks.  I can do it.  Sure I can.  But I worry that it won’t encapsulate the same feelings for the reader.  It won’t remind them of that milestone in their own lives, of what their own mother/father said as they passed it by.

Here’s to the joy of chunking the book down by pages :/

(P.S: I have absolutely no idea how to rewrite this…I could cry…)

Update:

Well, that didn’t take long.

And actually, it opened an opportunity to discuss something I’d wanted to fit in.  I think it works–hopefully others will agree!