Before I get into anything else, I just heard the sad news that my junior high English teacher, who was the first to tell me I had a talent for writing, passed away this week. I’m so thankful for her influence, humor, and red pen. My last email from her (just before I signed my contract) was continued encouragement and so true to who she was. “You have a gift, and I loved reading everything you wrote. So glad you stayed with it, and I hope you are published again and again! Love you, Barb.”
Several months ago, I wrote about her here.
Thank you, Mrs. Padgett, for making an awkward 13 year old believe she was actually good at something. You’ll always be one of my very favorite people.
Two weeks ago, I asked you (my loyal friends and followers) to hold me accountable to finishing my manuscript. It worked!! I’m here to tell you it is done-ish and ready to go to the publisher (more on that below). To celebrate, I’ve put Kingdom (Book 1) on sale! 25% off, only in my online store. Let’s get some of these copies (intended for events. ha! Thanks, Covid) out of my home office.
Every time I say a manuscript is done, it’s not. Just last week I sent a copy to a few of my friends who read early for me, and within a few hours I had to send a “WAIT! DON’T READ IT YET!” email because I completely changed the entire ending… Like, 100% different story and completely alters where the third book will go. And this is why it took me twelve years to finish the first one. (And I’d still be tweaking Kingdom if it wasn’t published and set in proverbial stone)
The joke in the writing community is that every author’s current draft is saved in their computer with a file name similar to:
It’s funny because it’s true.
As I said, Book 2 is done-ish. I have some work I want to do on each narrator’s voice, and I want to heighten the tension and emotion in each chapter. There’s a French phrase that I learned in a college creative writing course that always comes back to mind when I’m at this phase. Le mot juste: the exact word, or getting each word just right. Moving through a manuscript with this fine-tooth comb is tedious and probably unnecessary, but it comes from the part of me that sees writing as art and not just entertainment. I may not be Monet, but I hope to write words that make people feel the way I do when I look at his lilies (enneagram lovers, I’m a textbook 4. I’m sure you can tell). Honestly, I want to write words that make people feel the way I do when I listen to TSwift’s folklore album (I’m so not kidding. Listen to it. All of it. Start with Cardigan, Exile, and August.) Monet and Taylor Swift – If you ever want a window into my wacky brain, look no further than this combination of my preferences.
Even without the le mot juste step complete, I’m ready to send what I have to my publisher (but I haven’t yet. See below). The plot is where I want it to be, and the details will get worked out between now and the editing process, which could be months and months away, depending on the publication schedule.
So here’s the good, bad, and ugly of where I’m at with my publishing house:
**You people must really be praying, because the issues listed below were resolved within about an hour of publishing this blog! It came down to a renegade email that didn’t reach me, explaining a new timetable for reports. As I mention in the 3rd point, these are good people.**
- Based on my contract, I am obligated to work with the same publisher on any future installments of this series, unless they reject it. This is called the right of first refusal.
- I have not submitted the manuscript yet, and there are no guarantees they will pick it up. If they don’t, I’ll shop it around to agents and other publishers.
- So, why haven’t I submitted yet? Another part of my contract is that I was supposed to have a royalty report and check by the end of August. Around that time, my publisher notified all of its authors that Covid had impacted the company, they were working as fast as they could, and our reports would be delayed. I still have not received the reports or the check due to me. They are good people, and I’m not worried that they’ve run off with my money (Trust me… it would not be worth it. ha!). Covid has impacted every industry, and I believe that this is an anomaly and not their usual business practice. However, I don’t feel right about submitting another story to them until this is resolved.
- Holding back until this is resolved could actually hurt me (not them) in the long run, so I’m nervous. I don’t want it to be years and years between book releases. The longer I wait to submit, the longer it will be before Book 2 is out in the world. At this point, even if we signed today, I don’t know if we could release in 2021. I signed my first contract in January 2019, and Kingdom did not hit shelves (ok, hit Amazon) until April 2020. Even so, I don’t think it is smart to submit until I hear something.
- So, I’m a ball of nerves and anxiety, reminding myself that waiting is not the end of the world and is actually the wise thing to do. Maybe God is trying to teach me patience (which does not always come naturally to this impulsive “leap before I look” woman).
In other news, I have a BIG announcement coming next week. I’ve been working on another project all year, and I told myself I couldn’t do anything major with it until I was done-ish with this manuscript. Hint: It has to do with a new side hustle that is book-related. Stay tuned!