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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Our Town Tuesday

“Does anyone ever realize lifeOur Town Tuesday
while they live it…
every, every minute?”

What if we lived one day a week
Not looking for the meme –
Hump Day
TGIF

Not focused on its end
Getting through
Getting it over with
Finishing up
in favor
Of a better future
that more Special Day

Stay in this day – Our Town Tues.
(#OTT)
Please note:
The oatmeal – steel cut or not
The song on the playlist
The mustard between the winter vines
Unbroken shoelaces

Thank:
A place to go
A voice who answers
Electricity and hot water

Acknowledge the pennies
From the cashier
as if
It were your last sentence

Celebrate the ordinary
the sky held overhead by mysterious forces
The earth that this morning, remains still.
Air – Flush toilets – Delivered mail

Realize life
In this least important day
This Tuesday
Like a saint
Like a poet

It will be important enough.

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Don’t Overthink

Around the corner from my house is an art studio.  For $35 I spent three hours cutting, pasting and painting, activities I cannot achieve without adult supervision.  What I needed was time to pull out of the writing and my head and work with just instinct and my hands.  I’m not the only writer in the class who needs this kind of work.  What do you need to do to shake it off, and get back into your groove?

Art journal page

During

Art journal page

After

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Traveling Light

I’m traveling light this week.  I travel with my husband and with my mother, sometimes separately, sometimes together. And I always travel light – one carry on, one briefcase (I’m carrying a Think Tank LilyDeanne bag – love it).  What do you carry?  That’s the big fat metaphor of course, what baggage Traveling Lightare we lugging around?  What can we leave behind? How many shoes, really can we wear in three weeks?

Travel light, you can go faster, farther and if you’re like me, you’ll end up carrying your mother’s luggage anyway.

Now that’s a metaphor.

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What does the future hold?

#CatharineBramkampWriter poemDo we live in the moment?  Probably not, we plan, organize and wish for better futures, not realizing that this is the future we dreamt of in our childhood, or as teens.  I have to remember that.  Especially when I’m on the fourth floor of the Muse d’Orsay.

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Everyone is Doing It

Poem: bridge locksAfter seeing so many 1,000s of locks on so many bridges, I wondered about the exclusively of it all. My favorite are the combination locks.  You know, just in case.

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