Even now, the sunlight begins to wane. We enjoy the heat and warmth as we prepare for the coming harvest, the inevitable culling. For some, those with their hands and roots deep in the soil, it is a literal harvest. For others, it is a harvest of ideas.
For me, much attention and energy has been going into Conclave: A Journal of Character and before that, ABNABooks.com. These lush literary gardens are filling with blossoms and fruits, and I anxiously await the Fall to see what we will take away from the crop.
The Fall is also my time to write, the time when I am most inspired, most driven to get the words on the page. I think it is all that lush darkness wrapped around me.
But now, in the warm Chicago afternoons, I will run with my children in the sun and try to cherish the warm breezes on my face. Summer is the time to enjoy our passions, to honor life around us, to celebrate the relationships we have. Even for those who are not sun-worshippers, many will miss the glow and light when it’s Wintertime.
“I am the fire that clears away the old
I am the holy light that guides you to your soul
I am the Flame Of Love for which you yearn
I am the sun that will always return.”
First the spark, the idea, the pull toward the blank page that compels you to turn away from the world to create something new.
You write and write and stare into space and write and write and drink coffee and write and write and distract yourself on the internet while the idea percolates in your head and write and write. Then at some point, you decide you’re finished. You print out the whole thing just to see what “the book” looks like. You show it around to trusted confidants.
You listen, smile, and bristle accordingly. Then you revise and revise and stare into space and revise and revise and drink coffee and revise and revise and distract yourself on the internet while hoping that this version is better. At some point, you decide that again you’re finished. You show it around again, and maybe mail yourself a copy (just in case).
This goes on for some time, maybe weeks. Maybe years. At some point you decide it’s ready. You’re ready. You struggle to write the perfect query letter and synopsis. You write and write and stare into space and write and write and drink coffee and write and write and distract yourself on the internet while dreaming of book signings and maybe a new laptop. You send off piles of queries to agents and publishers—some electronic, some paper. Then you wait.
Rejections trickle in. You keep track of them in a folder, maybe on a spreadsheet. You send out more queries, and you remind yourself that Ray Bradbury had about a thousand rejections over his 30 year career, and Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time was rejected by 26 publishers before being accepted by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
You revise and revise the query letter. You send out more batches and maybe start a new project or again distract yourself on the internet. You wait. Drink more coffee. Wait. Stare into space. Add more rejections to the folder or spreadsheet. Wait.
After weeks or months or years, you get an email or a call from an agent who loves your book and wants to represent you.
You do the happy dance in your kitchen and call your mother. Maybe you post it on your blog, or update your facebook status…”is finally published and doing the happy dance in the kitchen.” You talk to your agent, sign your agreement, and wait. Weeks pass, months pass. You work on the new project or again distract yourself on the internet. You wait. Drink more coffee. Wait.
The agent updates you with rejections. Maybe you decide to edit the manuscript, maybe you try smaller presses. You wait.
Finally (or so I’m told and have read in fairy tales), finally your book gets accepted and PUBLISHED.
But this is not “The End.”
Dennis Cass has a wonderful little video interpretation about what often happens next. Check it out:
One reason we started ABNABooks.com was to create a place for not-yet-published and already published writers to promote their works. We drew from and built on the ABNA community that grew out from the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. I keep hoping that we can find a way to generate buzz. Maybe we need to explore other options of promotion as well…like those suggested by Cass. We need to promote our promotion site.
Maybe we need a video…
One of the gifts to come out of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award experience has been the community of writers. Although the forums on the Amazon.com site will most likely disappear after Amazon announces the winner on April 7th, the ABNA authors will have a permanent home on www.ABNABooks.com
ABNA Books currently has over 80 authors participating on the site, 55 authors on the forum, over 69 published books and 75 not-yet-published books.
This month’s ABNA Books online newsletter features the first column by ABNA Books feature columnist Ian Thomas Healy, as well as new columns by ABNA authors Rebecca Crandell and Tom Maremaa. We have several other “firsts,” as we feature an author interview with April L. Hamilton, who is paving new ground with her IndieAuthor movement. We also have Leah Davidson’s Book Review of 78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published And 14 Reasons Why It Just Might, by Pat Walsh.
Be sure to check out the newest featured published and not-yet-published books by ABNA authors, and stay tuned for the latest news.