The (rocky, pot holed, traffic prone) Road to Publication

The Road To PublicationI am quite good at helping clients achieve their dream of publishing.  I have helped launch strong, successful writing careers which I follow with great satisfaction and even delight.

My own publishing story is different.

Maybe I should hire myself.

My publishing journey is not a three hour trip skimming over the smooth interstate of luck in a BMW convertible . My journey, so far, traverses over a a barely discernible track  through burned and denuded prairies.  My journey is more like riding in the back of a used Chevy through the Bonneiville flats with no AC while clutching a sticky Slurpee meant to last until Salt Lake City, but doesn’t.

If you want to feel better about your own rocky trip to publication, here is mine. Don’t compare, just know you aren’t alone.

The brief version of my trip so far: 

Two books, Future Girls and Future Run, were accepted by a local (to me) publisher Eternal Press.

Eternal Press then  sold to Caliburn Press (not local).

Caliburn Press’s publisher appeared on Newbie Writers Podcast.  Nice man, sincerely interested in doing the best he can by his authors.

Two more Future Girls books were accepted by the acquisition editor at Caliburn Press.

A year later – nothing.   

The books were not edited.  The books already published and purchased were not promoted. In fact the published books were no longer even available on Amazon.  It was like death.

Finally, the publisher offered to all the authors that he was willing to sell back our rights should we want to.

I wanted to.

Now I had four books with no where to go.

I sent off the descriptions to an agent, who respectfully declined.

I sent off the proposals to a service, Publishers Agents and Films.  For a fee they submit a proposal to a set number of publishers (I asked for publishers).

That is the current new route for Future Girls.

While I was waiting around for the hand off from publisher to publisher for one set of books,  I wrote a book with my podcast partner, Damien – Don’t Write Like We Talk.

This too was accepted for a new (some would say overly ambitious) imprint of Caliburn Press,  we were thrilled and even walked through a set of edits.

Yes, you guessed it because you already had looked up the destination on Google Maps.  Nothing happened.  We went no where.  Fast.

I bought back the rights to that manuscript as well.

What to do?

Agent?  Publisher?  It’s a writing book with a rather unique slant, where would it fit?

I stumbled upon a micro grant program called Awesome.  One of the grant chapters originated in Adelaide, home to my podcast partner.  I applied to the $1,000  grant program to pay for a book cover design, interior design and publication (ISBN, a small print run, Facebook and Pinterest ads). 

I just applied yesterday.

Some authors are lucky.  They take a hike, knock out a first draft, sell it to  Hollywood for tens of thousands and hit the book tour circuit delivering advice on how to write a best selling book. Their path is clear and free of axle bending potholes (shout out to Petaluma, CA).

I find publishing looks less like the Bat-mobile and more like the car  in Beverly Hillbillies.

This is the middle of the saga for a series of books and a single how-to book.  The process involved many hours of writing the books, managing the 217 episodes of the podcast, managing what seemed a dream collaboration that then disappeared.  Not with a bang, but a whimper.

Don’t feel bad if your first effort wasn’t greeted with a parade and a band.  If everyone you mentioned your project to said – meh -.  I’m here to tell you it just takes another try, a different angle, pursing another opportunity that is different than what you initially thought you wanted.  Take the detour, take the alternative route away from the traffic.

I know it works for my clients.  I’m working on taking my own advice and will let you know if the alternative route leads to if not my intended destination, at least a comfortable rest stop.

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Next Steps after Finishing Your Book

Next step after finishing your book

Chocolate

Wander through the local book store
Observe how many shelves in the local book store
Notice the many books on the shelves  Many books
Pick up the hard covers, the trade, the bargain
Hate john Irving because he published at 26 and you are 56
Resent the writers who are always short listed for a Pulitzer
Detect a trend in the prize lists
Notice you are not part of that trend

Decided to distrust any book described as luminous
Promise not to buy any book described as a brilliant first foyer into the literately field.
Wish you had a better marketing team
Realize you are the marketing team

Order a dirty martini
Be pleased the olives are served on the side –
So there’s more room for the gin

Drink

Either feel grateful there are so many wonderful stories to buy
Or depressed that you are merely part of the problem

Finish the drink
Eat the olives
Send the book to your publisher anyway.

Inspired by the afternoon after I finished the third round of edits for Future Sky, the fourth in the Future Girls series.

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Drinks at the Last Cafe Part V

Wasted hills, as if the apocalypse had arrivedDrinks at the Last Cafe, a dystopic poem
ahead of time – swept through
stranding the survivors: rocks, dried creeks,
chunks of asphalt road
haphazardly fitted together
like a jigsaw puzzle no one cared to finish
because the final picture wasn’t very compelling

No, he squinted against the big savage sky,
the blue washed out to faded denim
I think it always looked like this.

The rails blew
scattering Goblins like rubber toys.
Sam pushed the girl behind him
They were too close to the explosions, but not the target
the Goblins muttered and gathered fruit and baskets
and determinedly marched forward.

With a whoop copied from old films
the terror gang roared in throwing
more hard explosions into the crowd,
the girl and Sam hid among the dust and chaos
down, down, Sam hissed, reached for her hat.

The Drummer recognized her hat and distracted
With blown out parts of cucumbers and zucchini
Look here! The Drummer patted down the dead:
gold shavings, lumps of coal
he hefted a hand size lump – wasn’t there a story about this too?

Hey, a brother cut off a goblin head and pulled off a necklace.
did you hear the one about the people on the boat?
What about the boat?
They sailed for three hours then ship wrecked and never got off
The point? The Drummer asked. He knew Legends always had a point.

Don’t get on a boat. He laughed and twirled the necklace
Un-cut stones glittered in the setting sun.
Who would buy?
The Drummer shrugged and absently cut off a hand

Bring out your dead
Bring out your dead
But there were no grocery carts for the Goblins.

The Florida exodus was not working out.
Roads did not accommodate wheels, the carts
ditched along with 15 pounds of dried soup, a gallon of mayonnaise
Enterprising goblins snatched up products
and sold them again at the trail head.
It will be fine, they assured the new travelers
Each group weaker than before.
Buy, buy, buy
You will need all this mustard, cereal, peanut butter

The refugees were wiped out by a hurricane.
We knew that, the corporation advertised
How do you feel now?
1) deluged
2) dehydrated
3) disgruntled
4) dead

Fantasies hugged the left coast, no where else to go
but the grey pacific
dreams swirled around in the tide
the directors came to shore and pick up the remains like driftwood
and captured them back onto film and computers.

Yeah, yeah, the hunched man emerged from the bed of a truck
he eyed the girl.
Sam shook his head.
I just want to hear the stories, the old man insisted.
Tell me yours, she gestured to their fire
and I’ll tell you mine.

At the Timeless Tavern
A young man grinned, his teeth knocked out
a badge of terror gang encounters
Ignored the girl. You were a Letter Man.
Sam nodded. For a time he helped the cause
he could change Terrorists to Freedom Fighters
re purpose Hackers to Liberators.
Angry to Righteous; we fight for you.

It was merely outrage and opportunity.
Just a historic confluence of Anger and Talent.
It’s not like the peasants weren’t armed.
It’s not like they couldn’t read a bus schedule
they stole into the heart of the beast
the city of walls, all breached
whole collections of CEOs disappeared in seconds
gold parachutes do not open quickly
when thrown from the highest floor.

It was a good moment, it was a glorious moment
then the tide receded
leaving beached cities, gasping for air and temporary assistance.
Too big to fail
Except the most neglected
were the most angry
and in the end – they shattered the sky
With old plutonium and new resentment.

She threw a handful of dust
the grit blew away like starlings
Fear into flying

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The Internet of Trees

The more I travel, the more I understand how one group, or even one person influences another person who in turn, starts up a new way of living or a discovery that changes everything, or a revolution. But we don’t learn about the collaboration, we just learn the name of the last man standing.   We are taught history and in fact, everything, as separate as discrete objects to be studied in separate classes, at different times.  We need to do it that way of course because the volume of information is otherwise overwhelming and we need an educational organization system to manage it all.

But as we age and connect more and more, those silos of knowledge and information start to  merge.  It’s rather fascinating.

Here is a long video on the idea that the tree of knowledge, the tree of anything, is giving way to the web of knowledge and the web of life:

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Future Girls Book II

Future Gold cover

Future Gold

Jordan Ellert doesn’t believe in Time Travel. Except when it finally worked. One minute she’s ready for another Time Cult failure, the next she is blasted back to the California Gold Rush.  Everything she thought she knew is wrong:  she is not the only time traveler, the past is hard to alter, and falling in love while in the past is a very bad idea.

Can you really be the change you want to see in the world?

The second book in the Future Girls Trilogy, Future Run is set in the California Gold Country where the author grew up and knows first hand how difficult gold panning is  and why Jordan made other choices.  Mixing the past and the future, Future Gold is  a thrill ride on a rickety rollercoaster.

   Closeup half face portrait of girl

Future Girls

October 10, 2145: eighteen-year-old Charity Northquest’s whole future is ahead of her–and the future sucks.

October 11, 2145: she unexpectedly has a chance to fix it.

When her best friend is reported killed, but then re-appears the next day as an old woman, everything Charity has been taught is called into question. Even if she does not believe in time travel, she has little choice. So the ill-prepared Charity travels back to the mysterious and captivating 21st century where her single purpose of changing the future fades with the increasingly more urgent question of whether she can survive the past.

Where did Future Gold take place?

Nevada Theater, Nevada City, CANevada Theater

This is California’s oldest existing theater building, it opened in 1865 and hosted celebrities like Mark Twain, Emma Nevada and Jack London.  It closed in 1957 the same year my parents decided to move to Nevada City.  The theater re-opened again in 1968 and is still a lively working theater.

The dragon can be found floating through many a parade as well as making his annual  guest appearance at the Children’s Festival in Pioneer Park.

Yuba River

Future Gold, the Yuba RiverThe Yuba River and its forks were one of the more popular destinations for the gold miners who moved from the back-breaking, freezing gold panning methods to the more efficient and devastating hydraulic mining.  The practice was banned in 1884 following lawsuits by farmers who had been affected by the debris flows. Much of the debris left by the destruction of hydraulic mining remains as the Yuba Goldfields.

The large-scale mining with the extensive use of mercury lead to a contamination of a relative large area. By 2013 the contamination is still detectable and will be so for an estimated time of more than 10,000 years, yes but we were wealthy at the moment.

The Clampers

From as official as these fellows get and special thank to Honorable Brother Al Shumate, M.D., ECV who has no idea he contributed to this content, here is a little about the popular Clampers:

No one knows what  E Clampus Vitus means.

The purpose of the society is still under debate: it’s either a  historical drinking society or a drinking historical society, the debate has never been solved. 

Members swear to take care of the widows and orphans — especially the widows.
All members are officers and all officers are of equal indignity.

Clampers in a Nevada City ParadeThat’s as good as it gets, as no one who bothers to attend   meetings is in any condition to take minutes, and no one in attendance can remember  what happened during the meeting.    But they give good parade.  My dad was a member.

From http://www.yerbabuena1.com/history.htm

View the Trailer

Buy on Amazon

Buy on Eternal Press

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