Sunday, July 6, 2014

Slush Pile (Part Two)


Welcome!

I hope you're enjoying the new look of the place. I thought since I was making more of a concentrated effort to be more active on here that I would change up the look a bit.

Any and all feedback welcome.

You might also notice a few other changes to the site as well. For starters, I've added a sign-up for my newsletter. I hope to use this more in the future once I'm generating content on a consistent basis to send subscribers free stories and some other cool things, like first looks into the stuff I'm working on.

To the right you'll also see that I added a word counter for the current story I'm working on for Camp NaNoWriMo (more on this in a moment). I figured this was another way to keep me honest in finishing up the project and getting it self-published.

Okay. Back to Camp NaNoWriMo. If you don't know what this is and you're a prospective writer I can't recommend this highly enough. Here's the deal, every year in November writers sign up for NaNoWriMo and try to complete a 50k word novel in a month. Each year I tell myself this is something I'm going to do, but get about a third of the way and just finally tap out. It requires a lot of discipline and a pretty rigorous schedule when it comes to getting your words in.

So, when a friend recommended giving Camp NaNoWriMo a shot I felt that it was a much easier undertaking. So far I've been right. The word count can be whatever you want it to be and the pressure to finish isn't as extreme. In addition, prior to the start of "camp" you can join writer cabins to keep everyone motivated. I think this has been my favorite part as everyone in my cabin is churning out a lot of words and inspiring me to work twice as hard.

The project I'm working on is called, "Ghost Box," a creepy tale about a guy named Boyd Dwyer who has made some bad decisions and hasn't ever really had to answer for them. I think a good ghost story is one where the past doesn't go away, it just bleeds into the present. I like characters who are forced to explore whether or not they can get away from the things they've done and who they were.

All right, that's about as much as I'm going to say on that. Hopefully look for it soon.

In my last blog post I talked about dedicating more time to writing and trying to be more disciplined with it. I can report that two months in things are going pretty well. Now, I've named both these posts "Slush Pile" for a reason. Part of my decision to be more focused with my writing came another decision to start self-publishing my own work.

I came to this decision from two different avenues. The first was I was visiting a friend in New York who is an assistant editor for a small publishing house. As we were getting ready to leave for lunch I noticed in her office that her ENTIRE desk, and the floor next to her desk, was covered in thick envelopes. Not to mention there were boxes filled to the brim with the same type of package.

I inquired about these and she told me they were manuscripts she needed to read for work. The kicker was that those were just ones that had come in over the last few months. She also mentioned that just about all of them would be rejected and maybe 5% would make it onto her boss.

I kept trying to wrap my head around this. 5% is pretty small compared to the number of manuscripts there. I thought about the work in the past that I've submitted for publication and I imagined my work sitting in a box with a thousand others that made up the slush pile.

The second avenue was I really started to do some research into the benefits of self-publishing. It is something that I've long been against. I think I fell into the common misconception that it wasn't legitimate, but after doing some research into it I discovered that it offers everything that traditional publishing doesn't.

What appealed to me the most was the chance to be in complete creative control of a project. Everything from choosing cover design, editor, and supplemental material. For someone like me who grew up listening to punk rock, I instantly fell in love with the DIY aspect of it. As a writer there's nothing I want more than to build a readership. I never got into writing for any monetary reasons, I just did it because I love it. I think self-publishing gives me a chance to do that.

I'll be exploring more of this in future blog posts as I'm sure the path will involve a lot of trial and error.

Till next time, have an A1 day!

Author's Note: Between writing this blog post I went to get some groceries. The cashier I had was griping about how she doesn't have A/C or a pool and is contemplating tying little fans under her armpits to keep her cool during the summer. No idea why or how she thinks this will work, but I figured I'd share all this with you. You're welcome.