In twenty-five days my debut book, P.R.I.S.M. will be available for pre-order.
And I am freaking out.
For so many reasons.
Of course, I have the usual lists of tasks to complete. Marketing is the sad loser for garnering my time and efforts. I know I'll pay for that later and bump up its priority.
For now, I'm still focused on putting out the best book I can, even though it's been through four rounds of editorial review with my amazing editor Tiffany Yates Martin. Two more days until I receive the final copy-edits before I make the last set of changes to a book I started in 2012 and finished in 2014. It went through I-don't-know-how-many complete edits before I sent it to Tiffany a year ago.
You'd think I'd be better prepared for this. I wrote my first book in 1994, with no intention of ever trying to be published. I was just waiting for the release of my favorite author's next book, and an English teacher friend suggested I write my own book. (Would you make that suggestion to a mathematician?)
P.R.I.S.M. is my fourth completed novel. Last summer at RWA San Diego I pitched it to a publisher (she asked for a full) and a "new" editor, who asked a couple of questions and said I clearly didn't know anything about writing and that she'd pass. She was the only person I've ever pitched who didn't ask for whatever I pitched. (I'm no good at querying, but I'm a danged-good pitcher.) Luckily, because of years of previous experience and a significant number of contest finals with this manuscript, I was able to laugh at the editor's comments and not be crushed.
I spent the rest of the conference attending Indie publishing workshops and panels. A week later I decided to self-pub my books. I thought the first one would be ready for Amazon around Thanksgiving. 2016. I planned to have the second one ready the week before Christmas. Ha!
I had said two years before, at RWA San Antonio, that if I ever got the chance to work with Tiffany Yates Martin that I'd grab it. I'd attended both of her workshops and had been highly impressed. I contacted her about editorial services. Her calendar was full until that fall, but I sent her the middle ten pages of the book to see if she thought we'd be a good fit. We signed a contract and set up dates for three editorial passes. While I waited to send the book to her, I did a total revision. Again.
Now my book couldn't come out until 2017. I decided June would work well, with the second book going up in July and the third in August. Great summer science fiction romance reads, right? Okay, I will admit I am overly optimistic at how quickly I can complete revisions. But my main objective has always been to put out the best work I possibly can, and I believe the investment of time has been worth it.
I started looking at book covers and websites in late 2016. I engaged June Stevens Westerfield to update my website, help me with my brand, and design a logo. (Love them all!) Sherry Ficklin helped me with social media and marketing. I listened and learned about the value of social media from Laura Drake.
The truth is, if Laura hadn't worn her cheerleader outfit like that little girl wears her princess outfit in the father-does-laundry commercial I wouldn't be freaking out now, because I'd still be thinking about sending out queries or deciding if I should send the full to someone who'd asked for it. Last month we worked up a calendar for what needed to be done, and when, for the rest of the year. (Bless you, Laura.)
Last January I signed a contract for a book cover and promotional materials. (Did I mention I love my cover?) This summer I started blogging with a group of Young Adult authors, YA Outside the Lines. Yesterday my teen crush blog went live there.
In the next twenty-four days I have a cover release, the final revision, formatting for all platforms-including paperback, sending out ARCs for reviews, and social media stuff. There are more things on the calendar, but I won't bore you.
It's enough to make anyone freak out, right?
But as much as there is left to do, that's not the real reason that I'm freaking out. The real reason is that in twenty-five days people will be able to pre-order my book. It will be delivered on October 26. And then the world will know what goes on inside my brain. To a very private person that's freaking terrifying. Most people think they understand me because they know my personal "story."
I believe that writers put themselves into every corner of their books. Those who know and love the author the most will smile a secret grin when they read, because they will see the very personal pieces that slipped through the cracks into a new manuscript. Maybe I thought that writing science fiction would keep those personal analogies at bay. Now I'm not so sure.
My characters are real people, real humans, with thoughts and feelings and relationships just like yours. Like mine. And after a bazillion revisions, I've seen just how many of my hopes and frustrations ended up splayed between the pages for the world to see.
At that is why I'm freaking out.
At what point in your writing career have you freaked out? How did you get through it?
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P.R.I.S.M's debut release
After losing a global war to Earth’s megacorporations, the government and military leaders, along with Earth’s worst criminals, were exiled to Prism, a barren planet. For twenty-five years the prisoners have survived on scant supply shipments.
Seventeen-year-old O’Neill likes her life on Prism. Everyone expects she’ll marry Cal Reagan, her best friend. But she’s not ready to give up her independence.
Jericho Montgomery, son of the wealthiest man on Earth, arrives on Prism to negotiate a shipping contract, determined to deliver a winning proposal to secure his future and his mother’s legacy.
What O’Neill learns from Jericho challenges everything she believes about her future. Jericho falls hard—for the starkly beautiful planet and for O’Neill. But he uncovers old secrets that put their future in jeopardy. Can they unravel the lies and find a way to build a life together?
P.R.I.S.M., a young adult science fiction story of survival, betrayal, deceit, lies, and love, available for pre-order October 1, 2017.