So you’ve written a book and it feels daunting to send it out into the world? Maybe even just looking at all of the options for finding a home for it are causing stress? You don’t want it to end up in the wrong metaphorical hands with a publisher seeking to do it harm. So, what do you do?
Here are a few of the things I’ve learned, as a writer seeking publication over the past few years:
Self-publishing can work
There are several good resources available for making this happen –
Now Amazon even has its own line of publishing platforms you can get picked for and that’s largely how people are gaining recognition and getting 1000s of reviews (books which would’ve never been discovered just 7 years ago!)
2.) Don’t feel you need to reinvent the wheel.
You might not even need an agent (oops! I said it), if you go a different route.
When in doubt, seek publishing databases supplied by places such as Poets & Writers at: PW.org
Agents can really help get you noticed
1.) A great “agent” resource, especially if you write Christian Fiction is at: Michael Hyatt’s website
2.) If you’ve already found the agent you dreamed of, finding/securing an established publisher is the next step. Please always remember there’s nothing wrong with small, indie, or even hybrid presses. And often, they can supply larger %, offer personal feedback, and run promotions much the same way as larger presses.
One last word – If you have the time (and budget) to attend a conference in your neighborhood definitely block time on your schedule to go. It can be a real boost to morale and help in that ever-so-helpful department of networking. You never know who you’ll meet.
Ex: I plan to attend one in Chattanooga this fall and it previously helped me get introduced to Ron Rash, Roy Blount Jr., and a bunch of other writers who’ve helped me immensely!
Here are 3 more exciting “writerly” events happening this summer:
“If everybody read Wendell Berry, I believe we’d have a shot at being more decent.”
Hope to see you at one, or all of these times!
Following last month’s update about the release of my next novel, Swimming the Echo (5.30.17), I wanted to give another little update regarding the WHEELMAN paperback version. I’m currently in the works for finding a new cover design for it, and I’ll try to share that look (and its reprinting) soon!
In the meantime, the e-book version is alive and kicking OVER on Amazon FOR 2.99!!
Thanks for reading.
Fun times abound.
If you travel somewhere, there’s about a gazillion warnings the CDC will throw at you. (I know they’re trying to do their job.)
And airports will inevitably warn you against bringing a contaminated fruit across the border. But, the list is crazy long now.
What was the last one you saw when you traveled abroad?
I think I was asked about 5 times one morning whether I had a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in my pocket or not. I kept shaking my head and thinking about how much that company probably regrets going live with their product.
Flammable. Watch out! Everyone might die!
And I read signs before we boarded the plane about airborne contagions, and I saw about one hundred (all men) in line to board a plane to Las Vegas with face masks on – not making eye contact with a soul.
And I was asked if I knew whether I was headed to a country with Zika infestations. My wife and I, of course, were.
The cold shoulder of travel. A few lines were check marked by the customs lady. We went West, South, and then more West, unsure of whether a mosquito bit us or not.
The signs in the airport said to take precautions against birth defects, etc., if you came into contact with a disease.
(No wonder Orwell’s 1984 is the most downloaded book online today.)
I’m still unsure of what (if anything) bit me last Christmas. But, like any good American, I’ll wait for the inevitable – for question marks to become periods. For rest to come and end the worry.
They’ve all gone to bed in the beds of their choices. – Dr. Seuss
Searching for the band BareNaked Ladies on a school browser and immediately regretting it.
Discovering the face of Jesus in a slice of rectangular-shaped pizza in the school cafeteria.
Purchasing pencils, pens, & paper out of one of these:
Losing more oxen than you care to remember on The Oregon Trail.
Eating a nutritious pack of Gushers to curb your appetite before lunch.
Eating the other pack of Gushers before making it into the lunchroom.
Using your lunch money to buy Fruitopia out of the machine.
Playing Candystand & Nabisco World Mini-Golf in class.
Wearing JNCO jeans you got at Goody’s, because it was absurd not to. (Plugg Jeans were a nice backup.)
Metal choker necklace – check.
Hair glue – double check.
A worn in pair of Airwalk sneakers – always.
Forming a WINDBREAKER club afterschool.
“It is impossible to read too much, but always keep before you why you read.” – Oswald Chambers
Think about your favorite album of all-time.
From lyrics and liner notes to catchy choruses and amazing guitar solos.
Now, think about the memories attached to each track on the album.
That road trip you wish never ended. The youth group church van. That one time you were grilling out with friends.
A lifetime of firsts took place with that revolution of ten to twelve tracks.
If you’re older, maybe it was vinyl (or eight-track). Slightly less old, a cassette tape deck with worn rewind buttons from playing the favorites again and again. Even newer folks, a compact disc with scratches all over the disc not because you weren’t careful with your favorite but loaning it to that one careless joker caused the disc harm and now it skips every time. Millenials & beyond, maybe the mp3s and iTunes and streaming gadgets have profiled your favorites as a result of playing the same album tracks so many freakin’ times. Regardless, we all have the album in mind and we know the track progression like we know our own souls.
For me, it was a small, Nashville-based band and a self-titled album with a couch on the front of it. My peers in school were immersed in this disc non-stop. I still remember picking it up from a Christian bookstore and sitting in a blue van on my birthday. Mom asking if it was the right one. Me telling her it was the only one.
That album got played to death. (I’ve replaced is more than twice.)
Fast forward to 2008, my wife walks down the aisle to the final track from that album, What Will Your Anthem Be?, done up in a beautiful piano rendition by a best friend.
Move on to present day, my church grants me access to create music playlists and of course the couch album is featured more than a couple of times on the intro and outro set list.
Two decades later and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight to my obsession with it. What about your playlist? What still provides goosebumps every time it’s cycled through and you’d never imagine hitting the ‘next’ button? Why is it so important to you?
Here are the lyrics to What Will Your Anthem Be?:
When the glitter fades, It fades so fast
What really lasts, what will the anthem be?
Did we sing of rock and roll?
Did we sing if sacred souls?
Has the heart and the harmony met pleasingly?
When the flicker fades, it fades so fast
Nothing is left. What will be legacies?
Cause guitars burn you see
Recollect no memories
Of the lights and the cheers and the human vanity
Should I give?
Should I sing some rust?
Pity me for my golden lust
This one’s for the lily
And this one’s for the rose
Here it is, let the truth be told
Here it is, we would like to know
Here it is, what will the anthem be
What will your anthem be?
What will our anthem be?
What will the anthem be?
Well, standing 500 feet away from him, I should say.
But who cares? We were in the SAME auditorium for a concert. His concert.
Did you know Kevin Costner even played music?
I didn’t either, but Leah said we had 2 tickets (to paradise) & a Kevin Costner concert – compliments of her workplace.
So, I did what any red-blooded, Tin Cup/Bull Durham/Waterworld/Dances with Wolves/Field of Dreams/The Untouchables/Robin Hood-watching guy would do: turned to Spotify for help.
I found Costner and his band Modern West. Of course, I dug the moniker. Kevin Costner was a living, breathing Western to me. Always had been. His name (like Eastwood’s) is synonymous with awesome. He’s Joe Cool. Pre-Camel cigarettes cool.
We got gussied up. My wife, me, and two friends. Saturday came, and we went to see Costner perform.
It was a black tie event. Naturally I wore a blue one. Kevin Costner wore boots, I think.
While I didn’t recognize his music, (none of the songs were household tunes) they weren’t half bad. Costner requested the reverb be cut waaaay down and the spotlight to be cut completely off him. And, he sang like a bird and eventually closed the set down with Dylan’s Tambourine Man.
All in all it was a delightful time. Even though Costner never came over to our table and signed anything, I’d like to think he would’ve if asked. There were baseballs stationed on each table, and I wanted mine signed by Billy Chapel pretty bad. Similarly, none of us on the back row received a Costner wink, but we still felt included in Modern West’s concert.
If you have the time, check out Costner when he’s not on the big screen. He’s Joe Cool, people. Here are some upcoming dates:
|08/24/16||Kevin Costner & Modern West in Alexandria, VA||The Birchmere||United States|
||Time: 7:30pm. Address: 3701 Mount Vernon Avenue. Buy tickets|
|08/26/16||Kevin Costner & Modern West in Poplarville, MS||Brownstone Center||United States|
||Time: 7:00pm. Address: 101 Hwy 11 N. Buy tickets|
|08/27/16||Kevin Costner & Modern West in Ocala, FL||Circle Square Cultural Center||United States|
||Time: 7:00pm. Address: 8395 SW 80th Street. Buy tickets|
WHEELMAN signing ~ 3/5 (Saturday) 2-4pm ~
Bring a young adult reader with you. It’ll be fun. There should be donuts and coffee available, too.