Great Expectations: A Published Novel

I’ve been meaning to participate in one of The Daily Post‘s daily prompts for a while now, and this one seemed like an excellent one to start on. The prompt is as follows:

Tell us about one thing (or more) that you promised yourself you’d accomplish by the end of the year. How would you feel once you do? What if you don’t?

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, or if you’ve ever seen any of my “Accountability Wednesday” posts, you probably already know the answer. I have four goals for the year 2014, and of those four the most important one is to completely finish and publish my zombie apocalypse novel, Nowhere to Hide.

Look! I've already got the cover made up!
Look! I’ve already got the cover made up!

My other goals are are important to me as well, but this is the one that I feel I must accomplish, even when I don’t feel at all like working on it. A little while back I officially decided (if only in my own mind) that I am going to self-publish this, my first ever novel. I did a lot of research and weighed a lot of pros and cons, and what really brought me to a decision was the timing. For the past few years zombies have been kind of a big thing – there are tons of movies, books, TV shows, and video games that have taken advantage of that trend. But that zombie love is on the downward trend. If you want to jump on the zombie bandwagon, the time to do so is fading, and fast. And that’s why traditional publishing isn’t really an option. Even if I did manage to snag a contract with one of the big publishers, it could take months or years to do so (since many publishers insist that they be given exclusive chance to check out your manuscript before ultimately rejecting it), and even after all of that the traditional publishing market is extremely slow. If even half of the sources that I’ve read are telling a quarter of the truth, even after scoring a contract you can expect to wait years for an actual physical copy of your book to be printed. In all that time, zombies could easily become the last thing in the world that people care to read about.

Thus, it’s self-publishing for me, at least this time. But even with that decision made, I still have to, you know…finish the manuscript. I’ll give myself a few props: the story is written, edited, and beta-read. What I’m currently struggling with is the last set of edits, which includes a couple of small revisions that I’ve been struggling to get myself to work on. The problem, I think, is that while I believe these changes will make the story better overall, I also dread actually having to make them because I’ve never done such a thing before. In the past, when I’ve decided that something in one of my stories required changing, I would – though it’s outrageously counter-productive – re-write the entire thing. I’m not sure why, but I find it extremely difficult to change something in the middle of the story. I can change it as I approach it, via a complete rewrite, but actually going into a chapter in the middle of a story and taking stuff out in order to put other stuff in…somehow the process eludes me. It’s like novel surgery, and I haven’t been properly trained.

And yet, I’ve sworn to myself that it is going to be done, and while I’ve given myself the year, I would really like to see it done by October so that I can promote sales for Halloween.

How will I feel once I’ve done it? Outrageously good. Productive. Like an entrepreneur. Accomplished. I’ll feel like a real author.

If I don’t get it done? Well, let’s just go ahead and not find out, okay? Okay.

15 thoughts on “Great Expectations: A Published Novel

  1. My goal is to have something published by the time I’m 30. That gives me a year and ten days at this point >_<.

    Revisions are tough. I have an entire novel that needs some serious revisions to hold its weight, and I freeze up almost every time I open the document. Even if you can only do ten words at a time, though, do those ten words.

    Can I give you some feedback about your cover? I had the opportunity to attend a workshop about effective book covers a couple years ago, so I want to pass the benefits on to you!

    It's good, thematically, but it's not eye-catching. Partly because the text on the cover (both the title and your name) blend into it too well. One trick I learned in that workshop is to look at a thumbnail sized image of your cover and see how much of it is clearly legible. Because, especially if you're self-publishing, a thumbnail is what you're going to have to catch people's eyes with, since most self-published novels are sold digitally. I can barely see your name on the cover now, there's no way it's legible in a smaller size of the image. And your name is just as important as the title.

    Also, I wonder if the cover would be more enticing if it tied in more with the title of the book? Like a close-up of someone's feet as they're running away, or even a bloody, smeared hand-print?

    • I’ve already missed 30 by a few months. lol Just sayin’. ^_~

      I definitely get what you’re saying about the text on my cover blending in too much. I actually thought that when I was making it, and what I wanted to do was to have a glow or an outline or SOMETHING actually AROUND the words to make them POP, but at the time I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to do that. (Photoshop…could they have designed it to be more confusing?) That said, I’ve actually recently figured out how to make those sorts of adjustments to text, so I’ll definitely go back and fix up that problem before I actually use the image. 🙂

      As for the image on the cover itself…I’ve had a handful of comments like yours, and I get what you’re saying, but the image will actually make a lot more sense once I’ve had the rear-cover summary all figured out. Without revealing too much, the guy on the rooftop is the reason that there is “Nowhere to Hide”. 🙂

      Thanks very much for the feedback, though! It’s very nice of you to share what you’ve learned! 😀

  2. That’s a wonderful goal. I’m sure you can do it. A couple of things I’ve found helpful, 1) set a timer and write for 15 minutes, 2) use asterisks to mark the places that require additional work and then search only for them to avoid the areas that are fine, and 3) copy the portions that require changes to a blank page and write an ‘excerpt’ from your book. Then past the changes over the part you’ve removed.

    I love zombie novels and look forward to reading yours. Good luck.


    PS: As Rebekah Loper suggested, more contrast on your book cover would be grand. I do like the spookiness and the fonts.

    • You know, it’s funny…I always suggest to other writers to use timers and alarms to get themselves writing…but I’ve never actually done it myself. lol Maybe I should actually try that for a change. XD

      I like the idea of cutting and pasting the portions to change. That might help me visualize a little better since I have such a hard time looking at the manuscript as a whole and gutting it. :\ I’ll give it a try!

      I do hope you’ll read the book when it’s finished, and I definitely hope you’ll enjoy it! I tried very hard to write the kind of book that I would enjoy reading, so hopefully lots of people will share my reading tastes. lol

  3. […] Let’s see what other have written in daily prompt: […]

    • Right now I’m focusing on Amazon, via CreateSpace (I want to have print copies as well, if only because I want to have my own physical copy of my first book). 🙂

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