It’s My Party…And I Don’t Have to Cry

Interesting week on the march toward publication. Good news, bad news, more good news.

Good News: Utter elation following a visit with my former professor of Humanities and Women’s Studies. She stated “I would be honored to read your manuscript” for a possible cover endorsement. Additional elation when my beloved University of Houston at Clear Lake asked “if I would consider” doing my book launch at the university. Really? Really?! To say I was honored at the proposal would be a profound understatement. I was invited to discuss this further next week, and you can bet I will be there.

Bad News: Received my first “conventional, traditional” editorial review from my publisher. To be succinct, the reader completely missed the focus of the novel. I guess, because it begins with a helicopter crash with an unknown outcome, she considered it “an adventure story.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. That is like saying Steel Magnolias is about diabetes. Or Gone With the Wind is about civil war fashions. I politely reminded this editor (not the same one who read the book) that my story is call The Offshore Triumphs of Karla Jean. Notice the plural. Not just the one triumph. Anyway, I went round and round trying to explain a complex story about human challenges and behavior that include themes of sexism, addiction, bad theology, issues with children and above all redemption…but alas. I was told, “Well, if you want it to be marketable, it needs more peril and action.” Geesh.

But!

More Good News: I am an indie author! What this means is that I get to say “Thank you for your professional input. I will take it under consideration. Now let’s move forward with my story!” Over the last fifteen years or so, I have heard countless authors complain mightily that their publishers insisted they make wholesale changes to their story’s premise, or risk loss of publication. And that is maddening to an author. Your creative labor, tears, blood, planning and sweat get ignored because an editor you’ve never met says, “Ya know, it could use more action scenes.” But not with indie publishing. You are the editor and the final word. And that is Good News Indeed.

However, and there is always that “however.” Just because you write an amazing story, that is possibly fit for publication, it does not mean you are ready to do so. My next blog entry will talk about what it takes to prepare a manuscript for publication, and it is monumental. You can’t skip important steps. And there are many steps. Until then, in the words of my generation, keep on keepin’ on.

Indie Author Before It Was Cool

In early 1996 I finished the first draft of a first novel then titled Brookline, Texas. For the next four years I queried, submitted, revised, ground my teeth, queried, submitted, revised, pulled out my finger nails, queried, submitted revised…oh, I failed to mention got rejected DOZENS of times. I had all but given up when something called iUniverse came to life. It offered print on demand technology, soon to be known as POD, and for about $600, a way to publish my book. Since I had easily spent far more than this on Writer’s Markets, Jeff Herman’s Guides, copies, supplies, and postage, it seemed like a no-brainer. So…in what seemed like no time my book was published, beautifully, professionally and finally. The new title became The Edge of the Grace Period and it is still quite available all over the place. I have a small but interested following, and plan to offer them more.

In just a few months from now I will be publishing again with iUniverse. The Offshore Triumphs of Karla Jean is a companion novel to the first one, however, it completely stands alone for new readers. In eleven years time the publishing world has been turned upside down. And in just the last two years “self-published” has become “indie author.” I briefly considered going the traditional publishing route. I sent out exactly one query to a nurtured contact, and got exactly zero response. So…here comes another “indie” novel from Dorothy Hagan. It is my fervent hope it is enjoyed by many readers.