Motivation

journey of a single stepIt’s tough to get motivated sometimes.

But, where do you find motivation when there is so much work in front of you?

During NaNoWriMo, I sat down daily and wrote. I hit my goal number of words or more each day. Every day was different. Some were easy. Some were hard, desperately hard. But, at the end of 30 days I had a complete first draft. NaNoWriMo provided the motivation. A deadline loomed and I had to get the work done.

I lived by deadlines for many years as a journalist working small newspapers. The work had to get done. If you missed the deadline, the story didn’t run, or was incomplete. If you couldn’t make the deadlines, you risked your job, your paycheck. A lot of motivation there. That’s one reason I’ve done well with NaNoWriMo. The deadline kept me focused.

But, now I have the rewrite, edit, revision, and rewrite leg of the job in front of me. This is hard work and a lot of it. There is so much to do it seems overwhelming. It’s hard to get the motivation to sit down and get to work. Where do I start?

First, break it down. Set a schedule and work on one chapter at a time. Or, one scene at a time. Start at the beginning.

Breaking down a job to smaller, bite-sized chunks makes it look less daunting. Get this chapter rewritten. Take a break. Come back and work on the next one. Pretty soon, you’re on the last chapter.

But, that’s just the first pass. Now you print it all out and hand it to your first reader. You can take a break for a while until the suggestions, corrections, and revisions come back from the first reader.

Then it starts all over again.

Revise, revise, revise

As with the first pass, break it down again and start working through it. Chapter by chapter. Scene by scene. This should go more quickly since you now have a second person’s marks and revisions to work against.

When you get to the end this time, you think you’re done. Right? Wrong.

Now you package up the work and get it to an editor. Since I use Scrivener, this means compiling the work to a format an editor can accept. For this, I compile to a manuscript format and export to a Word document (.doc or .docx). This phase gets you ready to submit to a publisher or agent, or self-publish. In the past, my editor would mark up the work and send me two or three chapters at a time. I’d make the corrections, revisions and rewrites as required and send the updated material back.

This process worked well because we took a part of the work and dug in, then moved on to the next part. We didn’t try to tackle the whole thing at once. We still worked through the book more than once.

This can all take several months. Yeah, the first draft took 30 days. But, that was a solid, directed effort, with my internal editor turned off. The rest takes a lot more time.

And, guess what? If you submit to a traditional publisher and get accepted, you’ll work with another editor and revise, revise, revise. Even if you self-publish, you may go through a few more revisions before putting the book up for sale.

Get motivated.

Keep writing.

 

 

The Journey

Sudden Mission is “edit complete” and in the hands of the proofreader. The cover is done and is great. The team book manager and the Vox Dei project manager are working on some marketing things. I wrote up a dedication and an acknowledgement. I have a press kit. This week, electronic copies of the book go out to bloggers and reviewers. We have a date for the proofread to be complete.

It is the latter part of June, as I write this.

On March 1, 2015, I completed the submission of Sudden Mission to Booktrope‘s Vox Dei imprint. A friend recommended I take a look at them and try submitting the book there. They have a new publishing model, she said. I checked out the web site and read how they use a team approach with talented people from all over the country to fill the various roles in the publishing process. It was worth a shot, I thought. What could I lose? After all, I had several rejections from Christian publishers and agents to date. One more would just add to the pile. Yeah, I was pretty discouraged at that point.

“You’ll hear something in a few weeks,” my friend said. Well, I submitted, then put it out of my mind and went on a planned trip to Arizona with my wife.

After a wonderful time at the Grand Canyon and visiting Sedona, AZ, we were in Surprise, AZ, when on March 16, the contract offer email from Booktrope arrived, followed shortly by a nice welcome email from Heather Huffman (the Vox Dei imprint manager). I was stunned.

Here I was, traveling. I did not have access to my original document and needed to find a Starbuck’s to get online. I found one, got a large mocha frapp, and sat down to log in and read the contract offer. A couple of hours later, I got through everything and sent a response that I would accept. This kicked off the acceptance process and a couple of days later I was back in the Starbuck’s, getting online and working through a Docusign process.

Once we got home from the trip, I was able to complete some of the other tasks, like getting the complete manuscript uploaded to the team site and filling out my 1099, and started working with Heather Huffman to put together a team. We found a great editor in Brandi Midkiff and we were off to the races.

A wrench got tossed into the works when we got down to editing. I had a long trip planned in May, going to Philadelphia. I would be on the road about three weeks and the edit complete date was just a few days after I planned to be back home. As it turned out, I wasn’t able to do as much work as I’d hoped during the trip, and we had to bump the edit complete and release dates a couple of weeks. During the trip, Scott Deyett offered up the cover concept and it was incredible. Everyone on the team liked it and he started work on the final version.

Once back from that trip, things happened quickly and we got the work wrapped. Last week the book got packed off, with dedication and acknowledgements, to the proofreader, Sophie Thomas.

So, the work I know how to do; writing, rewriting, re-rewriting and making corrections, is done until Sophie brings back the results of the proofread (sometime between now and July 10). I will now be at the mercy of the book manager, Kathy Marks, who will be arranging whatever marketing things we need to do. I hope she is patient with me.

Somewhere in here, I think we’ll do a cover reveal–man, you gotta see this cover! I’m almost more excited for everyone to see the cover than I am for everyone to read the story.

The release date for Sudden Mission is set for August 18, 2015. This is the day before WordCon 2015 (Sasquan) starts here in Spokane, WA. That’s right, folks! The World Science Fiction Convention for 2015 is right here in Spokane this year. The cool thing is, I’ll be attending a science fiction convention for the first time as a published author.

I’m sure these last weeks will be full of interesting things to do as we prepare to release the book. For me, I’ll still be working on the second book, Nasty Leftovers, which I hope to submit to Heather before summer is out. Kathy may have me doing some blog tours, coffee chats, and twitter chats.

The team at Vox Dei is a great group of professionals and I want to give them their due. They worked hard and gave their best effort and Sudden Mission is a better book for it. The Booktrope model is different, but it beats trying to do all this work yourself, and it is much better than a traditional publishing model. As an author, I get to chose the team and work very closely with them. They have a stake in the outcome and care about the quality of the work. If you are an author looking for a publisher, or are unhappy with a current publisher, you should check Booktrope out. I can only thank God I did.

Thanks for listening. Keep writing.

 

Working With a Team Online

This will be short. I’ve spent much of the last couple weeks building and working with my team at Vox Dei and they are great. We should get a date to finish edits soon, then get the work to a proofreader.

We are hunting a cover designer and things seem to be going together quickly. It is very exciting!

Also, there may be good news regarding the short story, New Kid, soon. Stay tuned!

Keep writing.