Edits are done.

I’m sure they aren’t the last of all edits, but the first round is finished. Part of me is glad and part of me wishes I had more to add. I’m sure you’re wondering why I think that.

My rough draft finished at about 99,865 words. I smiled because I had more than that. When i read, “most first time authors submitting their manuscripts over 100K are most likely turned down right off.  I surely didn’t want that so in I went with machete and delete button. I cut until I was liberated about the above count. Satisfied I’d made that with ease I began the submission process.

What a lesson. First I prepared a sheet with my pitch followed by a synopsis, a short bio on me and then my marketing ideas. I made it all fit on one page. Like Dorothy in Wizard of Oz i skipped out, sending the page to a number of publishers I’d found on a list.

I waited….waited… a few weeks went by and I sent my page out to another batch of editors and publishers. I waited and waited. I knew this would be a long process. I’d heard from others it could take a year…or two…or more.

One day my husband asked me, “Rich told me you wrote a book and you’re getting it published. How is that coming along?”   I was shocked. The man who has no interest in what I do or write suddenly jumps into to something he has no knowledge of.
“I am sending my pitch out to publishers.”
“Why don’t you just pay someone to publish it? After all, you get what you pay for.” This from my contractor, perfectionist husband.
“Getting published isn’t like paying a subcontractor. To be accepted in the published world as an author like John Grisham or Tom Clancy, you need to be “Chosen.” I saw the deer in the headlights look on his face. “I’m sure they just paid for a publisher to do it.”
“I can tell you they didn’t. They slugged along sending out letters, just as I am. They got luckier than I have.”
“I’m sure you can find someone who will publish it for you.”
I’m sure I could,BUT these publishers are the type who you can say you “Got what you paid for.” They are in it to make money off you. Most will ask for lots of money up front, but they don’t deliver what you’re expecting. If you want that package you will pay thousands of dollars.”  He was still confused, but I just patted his arm and said, “I’m doing fine right now. If I can find a good editor and I don’t have to pay through the nose, I’ll at least get that part done.”

During the process of looking for an editor I was directed to a woman who said she might be interested in publishing my book. If lights and sirens were signs of my excitement you would have seen them all over the world.  I was cautious. I sent her the same page I sent all the rest of the publishers.

A few days later I was asked to send in the first few chapters of the book. I did so. Some time later I was asked to send in the whole manuscript. I did and asked if she would send me a sample of her editing style from the first section of the book I sent in first. I received her sample editing and I was happy with what she sent. I felt she understood the craft and her suggestions were right on.

After the sample edits were received, I received a letter stating they were interested in publishing my novel. I was thrilled! I have to say we came to an agreement as they were just going to publish the e-book. My biggest demand was a paperback. I have many people who don’t use e-readers. They like holding a book in their hands. They like to gift books to their friends and loved ones. It really was my only requirement. They went to work on that.

Now that I’ve done my part for the time being and we have a great idea and sample for the cover, I’m anxious to get the rest of the process going. I don’t know what it will be, but I am ready to do what I need to do to make it happen.

The NaNo

October started out with a bang and I began the process of planning out my novel for the National Write A Novel in a Month challenge. I was on fire. The story was about the treatment of Chinese in the early 1900’s in eastern Oregon. A magnificent plan. How do I write a story without it sounding like a documentary on the life of the Chinese during that time period?

I did a lot of research. A friend and I took a trip to Pendleton and Baker City, Oregon.  I learned the Chinese were treated with hostility, distrust and they were tormented. While they came to America, the land of opportunity, to earn money for their families and maybe even have a better life, they were not afforded that freedom.

I chose to make this a fiction about a mixed race young woman who had opportunities growing up that other Chinese didn’t have, but once she reached the age of marriage that relationship with her peers changed to what most of us have studied about the inter-racial marriages of the day. She was shunned. Chosing a career, she headed to eastern Oregon to write articles about miners and mining. While there she learns about the real mine workers and the way the Chinese men built the railroads, their treatment and ultimately her treatment.

I had the story planned and then the last week of October I went on a trip. With no laptop, I had a notebook with some old notes from a previous story I started.  Just to give my mind a break I took the old story and applied all the questions I’d just finished  on the other outline. I wrote and wrote, the ideas and conflict flowing just a freely as the new story.

On my way home, Oct. 31, I looked at the outline for both stories and realized I could write either story. The crux of the problem seemed to be which story was I more passionate about telling? Which one would keep me writing every day? Which conflicts demanded to be resolved and who would show up to save the heroine? As the time to start writing drew closer I had no clearer vision of which story to write.

Saturday, Nov.1 came and I stared at the computer with distaste. I didn’t feel like writing. I didn’t feel like doing anything, really. With that attitude, I decided to sit this NaNo Challenge out. That doesn’t mean I won’t be writing. I have other things in my life that are demanding attention. Writing one of these two stories isn’t at the top and demanding to be told.

I look back at the last NaNo I did. The story flowed. Then two months later I had foot surgery and off work for a month. I wrote the rest of it. I was fortunate to find a publisher who is a great editor and I’m finishing up the last of the edits so it can be ready to publish in January of 2015.

I don’t feel like a failure because I stepped out of the Challenge. It was almost a relief. I’m sure one of these stories will step forward and demand to be told. Until then the editing process will take some time and I need to be ready for new adventures as they come my way.