The lazy days of my summer turned into a frenzy in the last month. Getting two books into production, distribution and then into the marketplace, with all the promotion that’s necessary to support them, is CRAZY. (Note to self: Never do two back to back again!)
I live ten minutes from a beautiful beach, but didn’t hit the sand once this summer. (But true to freakish form, though it was rainy, wet and cool all summer, as soon as school started, it got sunny and hot–so I guess I still have some time!)
This year, though, it wasn’t about enjoying the summer. It was about getting the books done.
STEALING FIRE was finished in late June, went live on Amazon in early July (#2 in its first 12 hours – yeah!!). The paperback was out two or three weeks later, though the official publication date was August 31st (to give reviewers lead time).
MEANWHILE… virtually as soon as I finished work on STEALING FIRE, we went to work on CAMELOT (official publication date is October 31st). What I thought would be a quick edit turned into a full-fledged revision, but I hope readers will love the result. We were able to correct a couple of minor historical errors no one else was likely to notice (but they’ve bugged me for ten years; I’m happy to have them changed!) In the process, though, we really came down hard on the extra fat in the book, cutting everything we felt could go. The result is 100 pages SHORTER than the original–yes–a full 25,000 words less. And you know what? I love the new version even better than the old one.
There’s a famous story that when George Kaufman, the playwright, died, the eulogy over him was said by his partner, Moss Hart. (Their most famous play together was THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER.) According to the story, when Hart got up to speak the eulogy for Kaufman, he pulled out a set of notes, and the first thing he said when he faced the audience was, “I can just hear George saying, ‘It needs cutting’.”
Well, that’s me. Kevin Finn (my writing partner) swears I say everything twice. I hate to admit it, but when I saw his take on the novel, I understood what he meant. It’s a great object lesson. And while I didn’t love cutting some of what we finally threw away, the truth is, we only lost one full scene from the original manuscript–and the novel has much better pacing because of it.
But bleeding as we slashed words and sentences (and, sob, paragraphs) STILL wasn’t the end. Clicking the ‘Send’ button to return the corrected galley to our publisher wasn’t the end. Approving the cover art (which we wrangled about all summer) wasn’t the end. Even writing the blurb for the back cover wasn’t the end.
It’s not enough to write the first draft, send it out for comments, address those comments in an edit, check for historical accuracy, polish it, get it accepted for publication, get it through production and then get it into the marketplace. Sigh.
Oh, no. THEN… you have to sell it.
So literally without pausing for celebration (or sleep) after turning in all the final work on CAMELOT, I went back to the material I needed to prepare for my upcoming book tour(s). There are two for STEALING FIRE–the first starting with a Super Book Blast this Friday–and continuing through the end of October. There are two for CAMELOT–starting at the beginning of November and continuing through January.
That’s a lot of material to prepare.
I finished the last of it (I think) for the first STEALING FIRE tour (through September) on Monday night. At 11 pm.
But don’t get excited–because I have yet to revamp my website, write a press release for CAMELOT and turn in the material necessary just to START the process on the CAMELOT tours.
This is the writer’s life. And I’ve been truly experiencing it–really experiencing it–for the very first time.
I’ve had books published before, but the amount of work required from me has never been as all-encompassing on any of them as now. And while I really believe in a pro-active approach where the writer is involved in all phases of publishing, it does have its moments where you feel like you’re drowning.
And then, if you’re like me, you get nasty and defensive. Charles Dickens never had to tweet; why do I? Did anyone ever ask Shakespeare for his website address? And who refused to buy John Steinbeck’s books because he didn’t have a blog? Yeah. Take THAT, Jane Austen.
As someone pointed out to me this morning, living a dream also means living the part that isn’t so exciting. And for me, knowing that’s part of it makes living the dream, somehow, a lot more real. I like that. I think I’d be suspicious, even optimist that I am, if every moment of my working day was unmitigated sunshine.
A writer’s life, above all, has to be real. Sometimes that’s the only way you know you’re living the dream.
STEALING FIRE on Amazon:
FORWARD TO CAMELOT: 50th Anniversary Edition on Amazon:
And if you’re willing to read and review CAMELOT on Amazon, B&N.com, Goodreads and wherever else you’d like to post about it, email me for the URL and coupon code for a free copy from Smashwords (expires September 30th): firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy the writing life!