Rather than go with traditional publishing, I chose to self-publish. It’s not a decision I made lightly. I did many things before I went down this path…
Step 1: I wrote a novel. Now to be clear, I am not talking about THE MAN IN THE CINDER CLOUDS, I’m talking about the first novel I wrote, FATE’S GUARDIAN, a 120,000-word paranormal thriller.
Step 2: I queried and was rejected. Eventually I earned a request for a partial from a popular agent. Unfortunately he didn't request the full manuscript. But I gained something from the experience: great feedback and inspiration to keep trying.
Step 3: The experience also forced me to swallow a bitter pill: I needed to re-write FATE’S GUARDIAN from scratch. I started into that process, and was amazed at how much better my second attempt was. I was learning, and practicing hard to get better at the craft. I was a writing machine. I even started writing a new book, a satire about the end of the world. I woke up early to work on FATE’S GUARDIAN, and I worked on EARTH’S END in the evenings.
Step 4: I read news that a long-time children’s book editor had come on board with a reputable New York agency. I dusted off a 500-word picture book manuscript I had written for my children years before, a silly little story about a boy named RUDY TOOT-TOOT. Rudy was born on a bean farm, and he had a special talent. Something someone who eats beans everyday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner would be expected to do. He can fart.
The query and manuscript caught the agent’s attention. She liked the premise, but thought there wasn’t enough to it. It was worthy of something more; Rudy’s toots needed real plot consequences. She advised I try to expand it and stay in touch.
Step 5: Several thousand words later I had a fledgling chapter book. I queried again, and was offered representation…but with a caveat. While I was on the right track, my story still felt like a small part of a larger work, and my agent asked if I could put more into it.
Mornings and evenings were dedicated to Rudy, and after 13,000 more words I thought I had it. Rudy had moments of literary glory, moments of humor, and moments of learning. What it didn’t have was cohesion. I was trying to be too many things, and my agent told me as much.
Step 6: They say real writers re-write, and since I hope to be a real writer one day, that’s exactly what I did. I followed my agent’s advice and my gut instinct and found the voice of the story, fixed character inconsistencies, removed an anti-climax and wrote a great ending. I had it critiqued, and my readers thought it was ready. My agent agreed, and RUDY TOOT-TOOT went on submission.
Click here for Part Two: The Arrival of Cinder Clouds...