Sunday, May 9, 2010

Starting my first book - The Mother of All Viruses

Happy Mother's Day.

As a matter of fact, my first book, The Mother of All Viruses, is dedicated to my late mother, and my second book, The Lost Art of Magic, is dedicated to my wife, who, while not the mother of my children, has two children and four grand children.

I said in my first post, that I would elaborate a bit on my first book, so here goes.

We had just left California and moved to just outside of Phoenix. Soon after moving to Arizona, I started working just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Being away from home left me with a lot of free time, too much time to be occupied by playing golf, so I started writing again.

When I first sat down in front of my computer, I wondered how in the world I would ever write 80 to 120 thousand words when the most I had ever written was about 17 thousand. I mapped out a story outline and added some parallel sub-plots and created more characters than I had ever used in a short story. In actual fact, I think I probably created more characters than most authors would advise, at least those that count words and statistics.

I had not invested in any tools to help me at this point, I just started writing in Word. I wrote more or less in a stream of conciousness mode. Even though I had an outlin of sorts, I actually found myself waiting to see how some scenes would turn out. My grammar had significant problems, and I knew this. It improved slightly as I went along, but I always figured it would go to a copywriter for editing anyway. I had a lot to learn.

My wife was a big help. She read my pages and got caught up in the story, and hated those times when she had to wait for more pages. When I finally type 'THE END' on the last page, I started looking around the internet for places to submit it. The first place I found was a Literary Agent that immediately whisked it off to a publisher who wrote back and said that a contract would be coming.

If you are a budding author, and learn nothing else from this blog, learn this: IT IS NOT THAT EASY!

The Agent was a well known famous SCAM, as was the publisher. They offered me a Joint Venture (which is another name for Vanity). I was initially suspicious because they were my very first submission. Plus, I learned that it is somewhat difficult to sell larger novels, espeially for new authors, and this one had grown to over 160 thousand words (so much for me fear of reaching 80 thousand). I found some very useful websites that listed agents and publishers to avoid, and there they were.

Having learned that this book's size might be a problem, I shelved it for a while and wrote my second book which landed at a more workable 93 thousand words. I continue to edit my first novel, and in fact am almost done with my revisions. When I finish the revisions, I will try to shop it around again.

To be honest, between the current financial climate, and the changing publishing world, it is easily possible that I will be shopping five different novels around before I finally make a sale. But, what else do I have to do? I keep writing, editing, and once a month I try to sell some stories and whatever books I have.

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