The Four Hundred and Thirty-Eighth Post: The One Dedicated to Whoever Said “Better Late Than Never”…

…was a writer with a blown deadline.

As it ends up, Level Four Publishing really, really wanted someone who wrote a lot like Amy Tan and a lot less like me, although I got a nice rejection form letter. So, my plans don’t change much. I’m stoill going to work on the epic fantasy series and hopefully get a book out and done soon, then plod on to the next one…assuming I’ll still have the outline for book two finished lone before I finish book one.

Book one’s outline is already getting changed although it’s in ink and sitting on a table at home. I’m adding Arrosa as a seemingly permanent character – with her own chapter introducing her and everything. Hopefully, the fake out will be enough to shock the reader and keep them reading for the rest of the novel (at least). I can’t really kill any others, and if I kill the bunnies, my wife won’t speak to me ever again. I might get away with killing Inaki…which I’ll just keep that as a fall back.

Did I mention this was going to be an ambitious series? I might end up killing everyone and having everyone replaced before the series ends. Wouldn’t that be something? I’ve never read an extended series where each of the main characters was replaced one by one at some point or another. I don’t think there is a series like that. It might be interesting, reading a series and everyone get replaced. Maybe I should try that. Hmm…

At any rate – this Saturday, I have absolutely no social obligations. I have only the excuse of laundry and buying a new wireless router to replace the one that died a week ago to keep me from writing. I’m not going to play any games, not going to watch any movies (only when I’m working out, helps to pass the time) – I’m only going to write. I’ve got to take advantage of this time and try to make up for some last ground. I think I’ll split my time between “The Kyklos Saga” and “The Show Must Go On” because they both need work. I;ve got to redo the chapter I abandoned in “The Show” because I’m not getting the main character really dig into the unhealthy obsession he’s harboring. It won’t be that hard.  With “The Kyklos Saga”, I just need to finish introducing the bunny siblings and write the chapter with Arrosa. Try to give her something of a normal childhood before she mercilessly dies. Muhahahahaha…

That’s all for now, really. Outside of ordering more fountain pens (pictures forthcoming), there’s nothing really new going on. So – feel free to look to the right for books to buy, or look down a little farther and please, please, please get me some coffee. Have a good day and take care.

The Four Hundred and Thirty-Seventh Post: The One Where I Drink Scotch with Bukowski.

Well, I sent the writing sample and a cover letter (I am not good at cover letters. Please, God – let the read the sample before the cover letter) to Level Four Publishing and we’ll see what happens from there. If I get rejected – then nothing changes for me, really. I continue with The Deadly Barrows and try to get that going. If I am accepted, then everything changes for me. I’ll be under contract and making money for a change doing this (even more if they sell!). Might even be enough to get away from working for a living to writing. I figure they want 100,000 words every three months. With a five thousand advance, and if I just break even – that’s $20,000 a year. Enough to cover my expenses if I do nothing else but write.

If Level Four doesn’t drop me after one book.

That’s a possibility. I could be a New York Times bestseller. I could be a flop. At least I didn’t quit.

And that’s the one thing: it has never occurred to me that I should quit this. Sure – I’ll get roundly abused (‘more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war’ is how I look at it) by my writing group, but I’ve never thought about chucking everything in the air and saying “fuck it”. I look at the lack of sales, but I’ve never felt deep failure. I just need to find a better way to get my stuff out there. Is it stubbornness when I can’t conceptualize another option?

Why I number my pages…

Look at this blog. I think I only have two steady readers (Hi!) but churn it out as often as I can. I might take a “sabbatical”, but I don’t quit it completely.

So, I say to you all (all two of you, so pay attention) and I know it sounds trite and hackneyed but Do Not Give Up. Follow the advice of poet Charles Bukowski: “Find what you love and let it slowly kill you.”

Die for love, my darlings.

The Four Hundred and Thirty-Sixth Post: The One Where I Type with Crossed Fingers!

Originally I was going to talk about how killing characters to show how big and bad the villain was seemed to be cliched to me, then I happened to be on the LinkedIn and I found this ad for Level 4 Publishing. I read on and found something interesting about them.

What’s-His-Name! NOOOO!

They want writing samples.

One of the problems I have had with notion of getting an agent is that I have absolutely nothing concrete to show for it – a degree of some sort. I know some of you are going to say to go out and apply, but I say this: I can’t for…reasons…the kind I don’t want to get into right now.

Anyway, Level 4 Publishing gives you an outline, synopsis, and characters. From all of that, you have to give them 1,000 words. That’s it. You lay it out on the table and see if they like it. I like this. It’s fair. I have an equal shot against someone with a degree in English.

What’s even better – you get paid $5,000 right out the gate if they accept you. Granted, it’s not all at once, but it’s the usual “advance” and you get 10% net royalties afterwards which is pretty standard in the business. So far, none of the usual flags come up for me – I don’t pay anything, they’re up front about the rights to the books (they’re not mine), and they already have at least one book out. This might be the gateway I’ve been looking for to get into professional writing.

Now, when it comes to length, they are not messing around. 100,000 words. That’s about two months of work of you’re clearing 2,000 words a day. This is my only sticking place because I tend to write about half that and call it a day. While it would be nice to let it all hang out as it were, I am a little curious as to the pace they want. Their ad says I would have to be willing to work 10 hours a week – two hours a day on the weekdays, leaving my weekends to myself. An hour at lunch and an hour at home is no problem. I’d still have the weekends to pursue my other projects which are not making money right now, or I could work six days a week for only two hours and see if I can get some favor for working fast.

Am I going to do this? That’s the question. All I have to lose is…nothing really. I’m not putting forward any of my ideas. The company hands them to me and I run with them. Am I comfortable with the company owning the rights…even trying to get the book adapted for movies or games? Sure. Might help to get my name out there for my stuff. Do I think I’m good enough?

No. There is a reason why I have a dreaded day job. Am I ever going to get successful? Who knows? But if I don’t do something, I am going to be sitting in front of this laptop wondering what would have happened if I took the risk.

I did try to get an agent once at a writer’s convention here in Louisville, but it fell flat. She said that what I had given her (the first chapter of The Dreaded Day Job) wasn’t what she was looking for. That was it. No other words of encouragement, nothing. I think she was looking for YA, which I do not do. After that, it kinda cemented my will towards self-publishing…but if this works…

I think I am going to give it a try. Like I said, I have nothing to lose in this. They refuse me, I plug on and kill a character to show how bad the goblins are. I get accepted, I get a novel outline and synopsis, along with professional cred.

Wish me luck.