Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Review Copy / Series Title! / Misc.

This last week I've had the pleasure of sending the finalized manuscript for Wandering City Blues to about a half dozen websites for review.  Obviously it's an 80,000-word book so those will take some time to come back - but they're out there, out of my hands and being perused by scrutinizing eyes.  To be honest, it's as exciting as it is nerve-wracking, for several reasons.

I wholeheartedly believe in everything I write.  I spent 11 years working in retail and at this point in my life I've had enough of pushing a shit product in which I don't believe for the sake of making a buck.  So I always told myself I'd never fill a book with any crap, let alone crap I'd pretend was better than it was so I could pocket your $10-15 and tell you to kick rocks.  I've mentioned before the profound impact that book sales have on me.  With minimum wage what it is, there are people who have to work two full hours at their job just to pick up one of my titles.  The fact that they choose to trust me with their hard-earned cash in hopes of being whisked away on an adventure in that special way that only books can is...well, it's humbling.  So I sincerely try my best to entertain, to give pause and make the reader think about his/her world just a little.  Whenever it's "new book release" time, or close to it, I'm elated to have the chance to do it all again - to experience the reader's reaction to these weird little stories I dream up, to have someone race up to my table at a show and geek out over something that started with that hateful blank page and blinking cursor in Microsoft Word.  It began with that, the writer's blank canvas or marble block with a statue waiting inside to be chipped out to freedom, and the connect and hype that comes with the reader's in-person review is (excuse the cliche) all the high I need.

So keeping in mind that I try my damnedest for years on end to deliver a paperback for you to enjoy, and now I send it out and there's nothing else I can do to change it, I get pretty nervous.  The critic's job is to analyze the efforts the writer has spilled onto his/her canvas and to judge where the writer has succeeded and failed, to say what works and what doesn't.  On the selfish end, negative reviews can impact sales.  Far be it from me to "get rich or die trying," but I do wish to continue my business of authorship and book sales and I do wish to provide for my kid.  If a reviewer ends up panning something of mine, I risk losing out on the money I could make to keep doing what I want to do for myself and my family.  But this is not a complaint about the reviewer, nor the post-production process of a novel.  It's their job to find out where I may have screwed up and to hold me to task for it.  I'm responsible for the flaws and imperfections my work may have and I deserve to face the music for them, as all authors do.  This brings me to the other end of negative reviews: the selfless end.  If my work has problems and gets jeered by whichever critic on whichever site, I really beat myself up for having overlooked whatever earns their ire.  Mistakes happen - that's why we have editors - but in my journey to be the best writer I can and to make the best books I can, it's frustrating to me that I can make an obvious mistake - and in my opinion, anything that's a mistake in my own work is an obvious one.  I made it from scratch; I created that mistake along the way.

So whenever I see that there's a review of my work, even before I read it, my heart races and my blood pressure spikes and I can hear my heart pumping in my ears because I want my work and the review to be good.  Like I said, it's a very conflicting thing sending the reviews out.  You can't lose if you don't play, but you can't win either.

Anyway.  Review copies are out to several websites and podcasts and all I can do now is wait for them to come back and hope for the best.

In other news, I needed a name for this colossus/fog/beast-city sci-fi series and I've settled on Fogworld.  It may seem a bit on-the-nose, but I'm really in love with the image in my head of these titan cities surfing on the 1,000 feet of deadly tangerine-colored gas that lazily blankets the globe.  With the leviathans' legs and (sometimes) lower bodies covered by the mist, their upper bodies and backs - with their neighborhoods seeming to drift above the danger - are like leaves floating on a pond or a pirate ship sailing the ocean.  Fogworld is a representation that ultimately, it never ends.  So Wandering City Blues will be Volume One of the Fogworld Series.  Or Fogworld, Book One...or something.  I still need to Google how to name all that shit before we go to print.  Don't worry; I'll get there!

I spent most of my weekend on my phone, emailing and IM'ing reviewers (see above) and managing non-manuscript stuff for WCB.  I have a lot of cool additional content that will be included in the book - and some audiovisual content I'm not quite going to unveil yet - so now I'm working hard on all of that.  I've also been formatting WCB for paperback and I've gotten four chapters in out of 13.  I decided on fonts, font sizes, layout, margins, page size and other stylistic stuff with story headers, chapter titles, the table of contents and so on.  This coming week I hope to finish 100% of the internal copy for the book, including the aforementioned bonus content and laying out the paperback itself.  Then I'll just need the jacket image/design and an ISBN and this badass bitch will be ready to deliver in late October!

We're getting there, friends.  Thanks as always for sticking with me through this incredible process.  I hope it's been as entertaining as it has been educational and informative.  Did I mention that the coolest stuff that will ever be on this blog should be coming up in the next three or four weeks?  Stay tuned!

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