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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When she’s not hanging out at Writers in the Storm, you can visit Fae at FaeRowen.com or on Facebook at Fae.Rowen. Fae also blogs at YA Outside the Lines on the fifth of every month.
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.
Copyright © 2023 Writers In The Storm - All Rights Reserved
I'm thrilled for you! Your cover is gorgeous. Hooray for hard work and a finished product!
Thanks so much, Chris. You've taken a little of the "freak out" edge off my morning.
"And then the world will know what goes on inside my brain. To a very private person that’s freaking terrifying." Yep! Great post. Congratulations!
Thanks, Gail. Since I started writing just to amuse myself, I never put all these pieces together...until now.
So appreciate your sharing your journey -- the thrills and terrors of putting yourself out there. Great post for a yet-to-be-published writer who loves to read rip-roaring great stories. Good luck!
Thanks, Louise. You'll be here soon, hopefully with less freaking out.
Wait, what! LESS freaking out -- can't wait!
Of course, you'll have less freaking out because you've been reading and learning how to do this!
Thanks in no small part to those who are willing to share their own journeys!
You know I can't relate to your freak out - I'm a too-open book (read: over-sharer). But I get it - and I'm SOOoooo proud that you've done it!
People, I've watched this book progress from good to fan-freaking-tastic! You're going to want to read it....
Tiffany is a Whiz!
Thanks, Laura. Once I calm down, we'll do the jump-and-down happy dance.
Excellent description of a long process for your successful book. For what it's worth, in my opinion, anyone who completes their book is successful...but the royalties sure help reinforce that... :o). The cover is quite good and catches your eye. Congrats and good luck.
Thanks for reminding us that finishing a book is a success. Deranged Doctor Designs gets the kudos for the cover art. It took eight tries to get it right, but my second book's cover took only three small tweaks. They really get what I want.
I'm so proud of you, Fae!!! I'm loving my advance copy and just blown away by what you and Tiffany have done together. I predict big things...
Thanks, Jenny. Tiffany worked hard to mine the real reason I wrote this book and made my revisions "bleed red" onto the page. One of my favorite editorial comments of hers was, "Well, look at you—emotion on the page! :)" I do love those smiley faces!
Congratulations, Fae! And I totally get your freak-out. I've felt the same way for each book. Always a scary hurdle to get over but it's fun on the other side! Good luck with the launch. :O)
Thanks, Colleen! I needed that "other side" reminder. A few weeks ago Laura suggested that I contact you for your professional help—and I don't think I've had a meltdown with her. I could be wrong...
Ha ha. You mean meltdown help? Hmm...I'm seeing a blog in there...or maybe a book? Managing Writer Meltdowns!
Absolutely! Where do I pre-order it?
Ha ha! :O)
Wonderful cover!! And congratulations! I totally understand freaking out. Two weeks ago I did my final pass on my February debut and I have to confess sending it to my editor was one of the hardest things I've done. I knew after I sent it, the book wouldn't be 'mine' anymore. The next time I saw my baby again it would be a real book and anyone who picked it up could read it. A dream come true but still scary.
Thanks, Carrie. And congratulations to you, too! Giving the book to the copy editor was my wake-up call that the next eyes would be "strangers." That's when the freak-out really started. Before that it was just so-much-to-do stress.
Fae...As an unpublished writer preparing to start the querying process, I can see myself ready to freak out at the same stage you are now. Why? Because as an introvert, I can TOTALLY understand how scary it will be to bare your soul (or at least the workings of your mind) to everyone. For me it would compare to walking down the street naked...except that would make everyone else physically ill. LOL Best of luck...and btw, love your cover.
Thanks, Beverly. Walking down the street naked, yep, not a good thing for me either.
Fae, congratulations on releasing your first book, and hooray on not letting that editor in San Diego get you down. 🙂 And...what a great post. Your comment about the fear of letting other people see the book and what that means is so on point. My first book comes out October 11, and I am likewise, completely freaking out. BUT, the good news that I've heard from those who have done it before, like some friends who are doing well in Indy, is that the advantage of finally having it out there is that finally, having readers actually see your book and come to love your story is a pretty powerful thing when you're mostly used to critiques and the (sometimes) nasty inner editor as the only readers who see it. So, wishing you all the best, and hopefully you find some time to squeeze in some celebrating in amongst the freaking out - because it really is wonderful that your book is finally coming out for the rest of the world to meet it. 🙂
Thanks so much. S.C. And congratulations on your October 11 debut! We can do virtual hugs to get us through. And thank you for the reminder "...it really is wonderful that your book is finally coming out for the rest of the world to meet it."
great post. i feel your pain. i know exactly how it is. thanks for sharing your publication process.
Thanks, Libby. There's nothing like shared pain...
I so want to feel your pain, Fae! One day, I will. LOL! I'll be preordering your book on Oct. 1st!
Thanks so much, Barb! You'll have your debut. I'm betting sooner rather than later. And I'll be one of the first in line for yours!
Congratulations!! Your editor comment made me smile. I pitched to one recently and she said I "wasn't mainstream enough" and "too Southern." Really?? Not everything that emerges from their mouths are gold nuggets of wisdom. LOL
Thanks, Debbie. Well, before I went to that convention, my friend, a Hollywood producer and owner of a CGI company, gave my book to a Hollywood screenwriter (big-time Oscar winner). He called and asked if I'd sold the book. I told him no. He said when I sold it and got movie offers (!) to tell the people who wanted the rights that he wants to do the screenplay. I'm hoping for one of those Pretty-Woman-after-shopping moments. Ha! Except I don't remember the editor's name. I just want to see my characters on the "big screen." (I wrote a nice part for Hugh Jackman! And one of the main characters could be any Helmsworth brother.)
"Big mistake. Huge."
Yes, that. 🙂
Congratulations! The cover is phenomenal!
Thanks, June. As is my updated website! And my marketing "playbook" once I get there...
Don't freak! That's brilliant!
Thanks so much, Jo! Most of the time I don't feel so brilliant, but I keep going.:)
I think freaking out is a natural reaction to realizing everything you have to do and committing to get as much done as well as you can. I freak out a few times during the lead up to each book release. I've come to consider that panic part of the process. My best way of dealing is to make a to do list and pick something and dive in. Usually when I'm doing it, things become less scary. It's the moments before I dive in that are the worst.
Yes, Kourtney, when I think of everything that must be done, I'm at my worst
I'm about to release #15 and I NEVER manage to stay calm. Freaking out is all part of the process, I'm convinced! HUGE CONGRATS!