People have asked me about my publishing experience as I have a little bit of a unique perspective. I have done it both ways – I have self – published, and I have gone the traditional route as well. Not all experiences will be the same of course, but however you choose to publish, know that it will be difficult.
“Whatever you like is the name of my game.
The rules are quite simple but never the same.
Whatever you know is the name of my song.
There aren’t any words so just sing right along.”
My writing career began when I self – published six children’s books, including a book of poetry. For years, while I worked at my paying job, I would periodically send out queries. Perhaps twenty queries every couple of years went unanswered or rejected. Occasionally I would be encouraged by some nice comments, but these would be followed by something like:
“Sorry, I really don’t have anything that I could do with your little stories.”
My children’s books were written with rhyme and whimsy. Every story has a moral or lesson. But these kids’ books were destined for failure because the self – publishers sabotaged any chance I had for success. I could not even present these books to my local grammar school because I couldn’t in good conscious encourage any parents to buy a book. Maybe someday I will reformat my kids’ books with my current publisher or another.
That is something I could do, because when you self-publish, you retain ownership of your work, whereas when you have a publisher, they take ownership of your books.
Would I ever self – publish again? No, never. And I could writea book explaining why.
I won’t say all self – publishers are unscrupulous, but I’d suggest caution if you go that route.
I had better luck with my first adult book. “A Glimpse Beyond the Aether” was in the works for a couple of decades. I knew that I would get a publisher or an agent for my book, or it would rot.
“A brilliant scientist once said that people we interact with play different roles in our lives depending on which splinter of reality we exist upon.”
“Aether” is a sci-fi / romance and answers the most important question every human wants to know, ‘what happens when we die’. Aether is the substance that lies beyond the universe. It is the term for the molecules that exist past the upper regions of space, the medium that light waves and radiant energy consist of. Past all matter and antimatter is the aether. But the world is not ready for this knowledge, and likely never will be. A few people will sacrifice everything to keep this knowledge from being revealed to the world.
What I love about “Aether” is that all the mysteries of life are solved and they are beautiful. Someone is given a second chance to be a better person. Another is given a second opportunity to keep love from slipping away. Others can now make the world a better place, or find a glorious reward.
My second sci-fi / romance is “Breaching the Sentry”. The greatest weapon of mass destruction is time invasion. Our history can be altered, our present changed, our future rewritten.
One young detective teams up with a psychic to solve an unorthodox crime. Clues disappear, memories fade as reality changes.
Why I love this book is because I’ve always loved stories about paradoxes, altered realities, and time travel. Things are not as they seem, and I controlled the narrative.
“Pink Reign” is my third Sci- fi / Romance, and will appeal to you if you appreciate heroes or heroines who are flawed. The story could be called a character study of Kali, a strong, gifted mother of three whose world implodes when war breaks out and her beloved spouse trades his life to save her. Kali needs to find the fortitude to safe her people, find their children, and overthrow the corrupt government that subjugates gifted people. It’s a daunting task but she has two extraordinary allies: a powerful magician, and her spouse, who even in death refuses to leave her side.
“He would never meet the likes of this child again. ‘When the darkness falls and we teeter on the brink of annihilation, he will take all the suffering upon himself’. I must stay in his life to guide him as he moves toward his destiny’.”
I enjoyed writing this book because Kali is such a flawed human. There are certainly reasons to dislike her. She can’t control her temper, and she speaks long before she thinks. She’s vindictive, and if you wrong her, she will show no mercy.
What’s fun about writing her character is to let her go far overboard, but then bring her back to redemption in the eyes of the reader.
For thousands of years the inhabitants of heaven and hell watched the colorful dramas play out on Earth, and they were envious. A bargain is struck. A test begins. Angels and demons now walk the Earth on a journey of self – discovery.
“Paschar locks the wheelchair, lifts the child up in her arms and carries him to the sofa where she puts him on her lap. Paschar closes her eyes. She is talking to the child, all the while running her hand down his spine. ‘Michael she says, stand up, you can walk now’.”
One of the reasons I enjoyed writing my fourth book “Midnight Comet” is becauseI got to develop a language called ‘Korel’ which is explained as the language spoken by the inhabitants of heaven and hellbefore the dawn of man.
The publishing process takes about a year, and has a number of necessary steps. These steps may vary a little from one publisher to another, but basically I believe they will be the same. Once the publisher accepts your full manuscript, a contract is signed by you both. The manuscript enters the ‘housekeeping’ stage and it is now in the hands of an editor. The editor proofreads the entire manuscript, and makes corrections in spelling, grammar, sentence structure and the like. The editor can make suggestions and may even make minor changes in the flow of the story as well.
The entire manuscript is then returned to you and is called “Amendment One”. When you’ve accepted or rejected the changes suggested by the editor, you return the manuscript which is now called “Proof One”. The editor prepares the manuscript with all the accepted changes, and this is called “Amendment Two”. After a final edit review by you, you are asked to sign a certificate of acceptance. This is now called “Proof Two”.
The manuscript then goes to “House Styling”. This is the process that turns a manuscript into a book. The manuscript is sized, formatted and divided into chapters. Any graphics are added after your approval, and the cover chosen by you is either illustrated in the art department or purchased from the artist that produced it. A photo of you and a brief ‘author bio’ are placed in the beginning of the book.
The “blurb” as it is called is the story description on the back of the book. It is offered to you by the editor, and you can either accept it, or write your own. This “blurb” is, of course, very important because along with the cover it draws in a perspective buyer for your book.
Your book then goes to the marketing department, and you are assigned a person who will present your book to the public for purchase. Your finished, and hopefully perfect book is now sent to all the bookstores your publisher has a contract with.
Now your book is in the hands of marketing, and you are assigned a marketer to help sell your book as aggressively as possible. Your marketer will ask you to fill out a questionnaire designed to create interest in you personally. For instance, you’ll be asked about your work history, how you became interested in writing and what inspires you.
We’re given tips on how to conduct an interview. If we have a children’s book they help us on how to approach grade schools and libraries. They help us understand how to promote ourselves on social media, and how to handle a radio interview.
My personal story drew me to become a writer. I’ve worked in nursing my whole life, and retired after thirteen years as a nurse practitioner. I have two son and two grand kids. Writing has been gratifying and it has been painful as well. My best experience was when my grandson wanted to read my first book “A Glimpse Beyond the Aether” for a book report. It wasn’t on the reading list, so I had to supply the teacher with a copy to read so that she could approve “Aether” for my grandson to read.
All of my stories have been inspired by dreams. While in the process of writing a book, I’m obsessed with my character sand storyline, so I continue to dream about them. Even my children’s books came through to me in dreams. I would wake up with the little rhythms going round and round in my head. The only way to clear my head was to write it all down.
My adult books all have a spiritual edge to them. I worked for six years as a hospice nurse, and quite a few of my patients talked about being close to death. Some of them had near death experiences. These as well as my own personal experiences heavily affected my stories.
The worst part of my publishing experience came about with my third book while working with a new editor. A process that should have taken a few months took over a year. The first proof reader made bizarre changes in my manuscript that took me months to correct. But the worst of it was the liberties taken by this editor. I was angered, shocked, and insulted by her actions. She and I argued and many many more months were wasted. I ended up going over her head and complaining to her supervisor, but her supervisor took her side for some inexplicable reason. I slept poorly for months, had anxiety and depression. I thought I would be dropped by my publisher, but I believe that she had my best interest at heart. Will I ever write a fifth book? Would I ever present another manuscript to this publisher? Would they ever agree to work with me again? Or would I look elsewhere? Right now the pain is too fresh, and that is all I can say. I wish all budding authors the very best wishes.
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