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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Drinks at the Last Cafe Part IV

Sam found a tin full of gas, surroundedDrinks at the Last Cafe, a dystopic poem
by skeletons with long fingered hands
Mad Max meets O. Henry
he grinned. We need a worthy receptacle.
It took hours until they found a sports car
low to the ground, fast he promised.

It roared to life cutting off every other
possible sound, she clutched the seat, the window
screaming like the demons from hell
She never moved this fast.

Sam yelled straight from his soul
They careened through the flat desert
in a more or less straight line.
Sound trailed behind them – 100 miles an hour

Took care of the next seven days, he grinned like a maniac.
Her heart was forever damaged
by all that speed. She just knew it.
Can we do it again?

Ketchup bottles red as the setting sun
Absorbing all the light
the old waitress served them ketchup and road kill
specialty of the house
The Last Café on Earth

I was in the meat freezer
I hate it in there.
So of course I was trapped for like
97 hours
All that cold meat
Her nametag read Fran
which was not her real name – just the name left

She fingered her tight neck
The pink scars growing up over her sharp chin.
Tell me again about the Mother God.

Careless children, the same children
Who cracked Pandora’s box
Unlocked blue beard’s last room
Inspired the flood
The angry god hunted and destroyed

But the Mother God patiently
gathered body parts flung across the Nile or
the whole universe
and reassembled those back into a better man
missing only an eye, back of a heel, sometimes a hand
she watches over us
The girl concluded.

The waitress sighed
Sam rolled his eyes

They grew bolder as the leaders lost
brothers, hands, teeth, brothers
no job was too awful, that was the legend right?
They quizzed the Drummer
Weren’t they the stuff of old legends?
Billy the Kid, Dillinger, the Okay Corral.
He didn’t have the heart or the balls
to describe the sacrifices legends require.

It was easier to find notebooks and pens
In the abandoned Union Station stores – than cans
Here, he tossed her a fruit pie
and Dr. Pepper because that was all that was left
eat this, you will live forever.
She clutched a new notebook to her chest.
Yes, she could live forever.

The wind turbine over the Last Stop Saloon
thrummed in the sky
Come, charge for free, called the owner
although there is little to say.

She offered a cupcake
Too fat, the girl automatically announced, recognizing the object
As a no in the magazines

Ah, the woman bit into the cupcake.
with relish.
Just so you know,
here. Along the edges of the world
we all eat dessert first.

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.

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