Publication: The Never-Ending Rollercoaster Ride

So many things keep jumping up and chomping my behind, that then keep me from adhering to any type of decent schedule at this blog. Oh wait a minute – not my behind – my pseudonymous self who is leading a much more thrilling and adventurous life than I am.

So, here is where things stand: when last we met, I had just gotten the final edits turned in for my first release coming out May 7th. Yay! I had a wonderful experience with my editor, she had glowing things to say about me – I was feeling pretty damn-spankin’ good about life in publication land. I began to feel the mounting pressure of scheduling guest blog spots, arranging giveaways, lamenting that I’m too poor to attend the Romance Times convention in Chicago (where my publisher and fellow smut peddlers will be) and twittering like a raging maniac.

Then I opened my alter-ego’s email that contained a message from the art department. The subject line claimed it was the cover art for my book. Odd. I already received the cover art for the anthology my story will appear in about a month ago. I opened it up and actually cried. This wasn’t a “the world is crashing about my ears” crying. This was “OMFG – I can’t believe how GORGEOUS this is!” You see – this was the cover art for my story alone, that will be released as a stand-alone 90 days after the anthology comes out. I just stared at it and was wept. It was not only incredible artwork, but it epitomized the look and feel of my story. If the artist wasn’t in England, I would have run over and hugged her.

It’s really happening. It’s real. Somehow the anthology cover – while exciting to see my girl’s name on there – wasn’t the same as seeing my own title in all its glory. Okay, I realize we’re not talking the next Hemingway here, but seriously, for as long as I’ve waited to get frickin’ published – it was epic. Then came the really fun part, The Booty Box. Yes folks – the Booty Box. They have a merchandise page at the publisher website that includes things like thong underwear, tote bags, mugs and iPad cases with my book cover on it! There was also a T-shirt that said “Such & such publisher author (my name) ROCKS!”

Too funny. But very cool.

But wait, you ask. How is that like a rollercoaster? These all seem like “ups”. Yup. But then there was the email that arrived – I swear less than 10 minutes later. You know how on some emails you can see the first few words of the actual message? So, I see one from the actual publisher who has only contacted me one time to welcome me to the fold. Surely she must be writing to tell me how massively awesome I am, right? Yeah, right. The first few words in this case were “I’m sorry to inform you…”

Gasp. Choke. That seemed like a rather precipitous beginning. I’ve never really experienced a positive outcome from anything that began with those words.

I literally froze. Did I really want to descend from my heights of self-imagined grandeur and crash, burning in flames, to the dirt of this earth? Not especially. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted. So I decided to live on the edge and open the email. Turns out my editor – who must be even more awesome than I originally realized – just received a full scholarship to get her Master’s in English at Oxford. She’s writing her thesis on Mid-Renaissance poetry. Damn. I guess that was a pretty good reason for her to put in her notice.

Sigh. So how self-involved could I be about this? I couldn’t help it. Pretty self-involved. She was the first one that said “I would like to publish your book”, and then sent me a contract. She’s not only the first professional editor I ever worked with, but it was a great experience. She’s also the one that I just submitted a new story to not a week earlier. The one who said she would like to see a synopsis on my 3 book series.

The publisher was very gracious, and let me know that I had been assigned a new editor who would contact me shortly. This new editor might not like my “voice” or story ideas. She may have other writers she’s more interested in working with – where’s the antacid! Also – those vague time references always make me nutty – I am waaaay too impatient. So I was going to have to wait. I thanked the publisher for taking the time to tell me personally what was going on, and that I would look forward to hearing from the new editor. Since the publisher also left it open at the end of her message to be sure and let her know if I had any questions or concerns – I tread lightly into that territory. I decided to save the series question for the new editor, but I did politely inquire about the submission I had just sent in for a Halloween anthology.

Five days went by with no communication. So now I was sweating bullets. Stomach twisting – all the angsty cliches you can possibly think of – I was living them.

The publisher answered me on the 5th day and apologized for not getting back to me sooner, but said that she had forwarded my submission to my new editor who would look it over the next day; but could I please send her the synopsis as well? That would be fine I thought – if I had her email! Since there was a time element involved, and I knew the publisher was busy, I contacted my current editor who is there until the end of the month. I was able to congratulate her and thank her for the experience of working with her, and then ask for the new editor’s email.

She got back to me right away, and I sent off the synopsis. Phew! Then I figured I had done all that I could, and probably wouldn’t hear anything for at least a few weeks. Apparently the rollercoaster had another plan in mind. Five minutes later, my new editor replied with a “speak of the devil”, saying she was just about to email me. Apparently, the anthology was already filled, but she loved my story ( she said something really glowing about it that I’m too embarrassed to put here – but I think I am going to make a poster out of it and hang it above my computer for the next time I get discouraged) and wondered if I would mind if they published it as a stand alone book. Mind? MIND?!?!?!?! Holy 2nd contract Batman – no I don’t mind!

There you have it. And I get that this is how it is. Been there done that in music. But in some ways, I feel that I have more to lose now with the writing. I think it has to do with the resilience we have when we’re young. When we think there’s forever and maybe even an extra day to achieve what we desire. When I got the “I’m sorry to inform you…” email, it felt like a cruel trick the universe was playing on me right after the heady feeling from my cover art on men’s boxer shorts.

Which reminds me, I wonder how much 11 GPB is in US dollars?


Facebook Ebook Publishing???

Really? I suppose it’s possible. I mean, before myspace became the uncoolest thing on the planet, it went a long way in promoting indie bands and solo artists. That was the one reason that I always preferred myspace over facebook  – I could groove to tunes and find obscure new music.

So I suppose it isn’t that big of a stretch to see facebook take on the ebook craze challenge. According to an article in Publisher’s Weekly, , facebook just purchased Push Pop Press, a digital publisher I have actually never heard of before. When you read the article however, it seems that facebook may be more interested in the gaming possibilities, since facebook has so many wildly popular gaming apps as it is. That seems like a more natural progression.

In the ebook world, there are so many epublishers popping up. Many are genre specific, such as sci-fi, romance, horror, etc. For instance, the long-standing Avon publishing is just now getting into the ebook mode with Avon Impulse, a separate entity from their firmly established traditional press.

I’m not going to list off a ton of ebook publishers – for there are a ton, and more being born every day like rabbits in heat – but the phenomena reminds me of when everybody and their half-dead grandmother was opening a video store in the eighties. You could do no wrong. Video stores were the wave of the future – everyone could make tons of money from it, and it would last forever! Ooops.

So far – when you consider things from a self-publishing angle – Kindle publishing, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble seem to be the main contenders. But then there are all of the half-dead grandmother ebook presses you can submit to as a beginning author, who may or may not help your career. You need to look at them the same way you would have looked at a boutique or small press ten years ago. There will be those that are incredibly well-managed or connected and will proliferate among the giants, and there will be about ten times more that will fail miserably and drag your poor sad manuscript down with them.

In other words kiddies: the more things change, the more they remain the same. God I wish I’d said that. But I wrote it for a reason. There is no magic potion! Make intelligent and informed decisions when you decide where you want your writing to land, and how you want it to be handled.

We’ll see what happens to our buddies at facebook. In the meantime, when I’m not researching new ebook publishers – I might go check on how things are doing in Cityville.

Borders Books & Music: A Personal Memorial

When I was a little kid, going to the bookstore at the mall with my mom was enough to send me over the edge with excitement. I was one of those worrisome children that found the bookstore more thrilling than 31 Flavors or the pet shop. When my middle daughter was a pre-teen, she got to be part of the magic by standing in line at Borders for the midnight release of two of the Harry Potter books, complete with balloons and everything. As an adult, I performed a comedic reading at a Borders Books & Music on the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Many singer/songwriters who never would have stood a chance in corporate America, were introduced to their audience through a Borders tour. I also escaped a family crisis there one Easter Sunday; where I drank espresso, read American Scholar, and pretended my real family was from another planet.

I have purchased countless books, magazines, CD’s and DVD collections I probably would have never even known about had I not been able to experience the full sensory sensations of being in an enormous multi-level Borders. While visual impression is very important, there is nothing like the 3rd dimensional feel of an item; the gloss of the magazine, the smell of the ink, the weight of a photography book, the crackle of a newly opened hardback, the aisles of bookshelves or music bins there for your pawing pleasure, the quiet murmurs of others sharing in the awe of discovery.

I feel guilty, like a neglectful lover. I moved away from my favorite Borders almost 3 years ago when I relocated from Southern California to a small coastal Oregon town. The nearest Borders to me is (or was) about a 90 minute drive away. I meant to go there, but I have been so busy, and yes, I did get a Kindle last Christmas. I still buy books – primarily from Amazon. After I got into the Sookie Stackhouse novels, I did patronize a little local bookstore because I was so desperate to get the next book in the series – I couldn’t wait for the shipping. But it will never be the same as going to what I always felt was the Disneyland of Borders at the Rivers mall in Palm Desert. It would feel like a blast furnace outside, and my daughter and I would go into the freezy Borders – before or after whatever movie we had come to see – and each drift to our own area and lose ourselves. It was way too easy to accidentally be late to the movie, or stay until we were starving. But it was so hard to leave. Now, we can never go back.