Sunday, 26 August 2012

Publishing Migraine!

There are times in a person's life when unusual things happen. Sometimes they only result in giving you one massive migraine! Such has been my week.

Since my last post, regarding my dilemma as to whether I should self-publish or go traditional, things have developed in the most extraordinary way.
Firstly, the well-known publishing consultant who was happy to charge me $1800 for editing and manuscript assessment, is now willing to lower her price to $1000. On top of that, she'd like to send my manuscript - together with her proposal - to forty US publishers, all for the same price! Since I don't have a chance of being published in my own country (Australia) as my manuscript is over 100,000 words, she thinks I have a much better chance in the States.

I was flabbergasted - for want of a better word - that she's willing to do that for me. Yes, I know she's gaining me as a client and it's all business, but does that mean she has faith in my book? Is this a good deal, and dare I trust her with my baby - my manuscript?

Secondly, I entered my book into a competition sponsored by the RWA (Romance Writers of Australia) but run by an English Publishing company. They're looking for 'The Next Best Australian Author."
Now, the amazing thing is, their guidelines specify it has to be work of fiction, set in Australia and one of the voices must be from the male protagonist's POV.
It's as if this competition was made specifically for me!
So, I sent in my synopsis and author bio. Within a few days, their asking for my entire manuscript. I'm on the short list!
Once again, I'm flabbergasted.

Now, I have wait till December for the winner to be announced.

In the meanwhile, what about the manuscript edit and those forty US publishers? What if one of them offers me a publishing deal before then? And what about CS? It's supposed to be released as an ebook on Kindle by September. Do I put them on hold?

I distinctly feel a migraine coming on!

If anyone has any brilliant ideas, please let me know.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Traditional Publishing or Doing It Indie? Part 2

In my last blog I discussed my quandary, as to whether I should seek out a traditional publisher for my book - Bloodgifted - or become an independent author, with all the risks that accompany it.

The well-known editor who originally assessed and edited my manuscript was happy to check it a second time for a modest fee of eighteen hundred dollars! I’d paid her fifteen hundred for the first editing then spent a year rewriting my entire manuscript based on her expert advice. And her suggestions were excellent. It was worth paying that amount.
But, the fee isn’t the only issue. I would also have to reduce my manuscript by thirty thousand words before she would consider recommending it. In Australia, publishers won’t even glance at a manuscript longer than one hundred thousand words.
Bloodgifted is approximately one hundred and twenty-eight thousands words.

I don’t believe that is too long for a novel and if that’s what I'm forced to do to be accepted by a ‘real’ publisher, then it’s not for me. Even if it means giving up my dream of seeing my book on bookstore shelves.
Well, at least there’s one consolation - I save myself eighteen hundred dollars!

So, one problem solved. As for the writing competition, were I to win, my book – my baby, my infant terrible – would again be in someone else’s hands. Do I really want that? And to be honest, winning a literary competition is no guarantee of commercial success. It’s readers’ recommendations and word of mouth that make best sellers. Fifty Shades of Grey is a perfect example.
My decision then? Looks like I’ll be releasing an ebook as soon as my second lot of proofs come back from CS.

If anyone has an opinion on this, please comment. I'd love to know your views.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Traditional Publishing or Doing it Indie?

I’m in a quandary.
Isn’t that a lovely word? Hardly ever used nowadays, so I thought I’d add it to my repertoire.
Anyway, as the title suggests, that’s my dilemma.
Image by me!

I’m faced with a decision. Do I pursue my original course and publish my debut novel with CS, then release it as an ebook on Kindle by the end of August, or go the traditional route, and find myself a publisher?

Anyone who’s familiar with my blog, would know how I decried the power of the Big Five publishing houses, and the time they take to answer author submissions – if they ever do. The lure of going it ‘indie’ is a great temptation. Yet, deep down, what author doesn’t want to be accepted by the experts in the business, earn that coveted book contract, and enjoy the ‘legitimacy’ of being published by a ‘real’ publisher?
Yet, very few writers experience that, and those who do probably had to wait years before finally seeing their books on the New Releases shelf in their local bookstore. And isn’t that what we writers want? I know I do. I dream of it! And if I self-publish, that's not going to happen. Oh, it'll be available as an ebook, but to walk into a bookstore and point to a shelf with my book on it and say, 'I wrote that,' is inestimable!
Image courtesy of google Advanced search free to reuse

Today I entered my manuscript in a competition aimed at finding a new Aussie author. Even though my book is due for release at the end of this month, I couldn’t resist the lure of trying one more time. The last competition I entered, I came runner-up. Maybe, this time it’ll do better. Who knows?
I also sent it off to a well-known editor, who has the ear of publishers in this country. If she likes my manuscript, and sees the marketing value, she’ll recommend it.

So, back to my original quandary. Should I hold off self-publishing; wait those four to six weeks for my manuscript to be assessed? Wait till December when the results of the competition will be announced, or hang it all, and go indie?

If it’s the former, than I need to change the date on my book trailer on Youtube.

I hate life-changing decisions!

If anyone has any suggestions, I’m listening.
Should I wait or go ahead with self-pub on CS??????

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Plants Come Here To Die

Up until a year ago, I lived in a three-bedroom inner city apartment, close to shops, schools and public transport to the city. Everyday, my letterbox was inundated with leaflets from local real-estate agents asking if I’d be interested in selling. People were desperate to move into an area that was close to their work as well as the best cafĂ© culture in Sydney.

But, for all its attractions, it was also - what I termed – ‘Concreteville.’ The only glimpse of greenery came from the dank moss that grew alongside the apartment building, or the struggling weed, which had somehow taken root in the cracks between the brickwork and the stone pavement. And there it hung on for dear life. Not even a cyclone could dislodge it!

From all the apartments in that complex, mine was the only one with a south-facing balcony, meaning sunshine rarely made an appearance in winter, but in summer it became the equivalent of Death Valley.
In spite of all my endeavours, my pot plants didn’t stand a chance. Poor things died from lack of sunlight, over watering (I could never work out how much water was too much), or dehydration. I tried planting shade-lovers, damp absorbing plants, desert flowers… nothing thrived, except that courageous weed clinging to the brickwork.
I began to admire its tenacity.

Illustration by me!
As if that wasn’t the only thing my poor plants had to cope with, my balcony also had one other disadvantage - it enjoyed the best scenic view of the shared concrete car park. Which meant, they had to deal with the carbon monoxide spewing from my neighbour’s cars, as well as the jet fuel that airliners regularly dumped on this part of the city on their way to the airport (no matter how many times they denied that fact, in the papers.)

It was also one of the reasons why I rarely enjoyed outdoor meals on my balcony. Too often it became an exercise in survival from carbon monoxide/lead/diesel/ airline fuel poisoning!
Needless to say, the French doors were almost always closed. My plants were on their own.

I actually reached the stage where I’d ask my local plant nursery to show me the ‘immortals’ section – you know, the plants even my non-green thumbs couldn’t kill! Eventually I gave up and planted rocks and plastic flowers that nothing could kill. I figured they could survive a nuclear holocaust, so they’d be perfect.

So, all those years, I fantasised about owning my own garden; away from the noise of traffic, pollution and thundering jetliners overhead.

Until, one day, I bought a house on the coast with not just one garden, but two.
But, that’s another story…