I had a hard time settling on a title for today's blog. Some of the runners up included Derailed and Back To The Drawing Board.
You see the general theme, I'm sure.
Today I was going to blog about the goals I was going to set for the month of May. They were going to include how I was going to not only hit but surpass the 100,000 word mark in Second Nature. I was going to write about the other goals I planned on setting (I can't be any more specific than that because I hadn't actually set any other goals. But I would have.).
But I'm not.
Instead, I am going to attempt to describe to you what's going on with Effigy. This involves the announcement of the suspension of one of the yearly goals I set back in January. You know, the one where I was going to finish writing Second Nature by the end of October. Well, here's the thing about that goal: there's a chance I may not be doing that at all. Back in January, when I set this goal, I also gave myself an out: "If there is any movement on Effigy, all bets are off."
Turns out, I am so smart because there has been movement on Effigy.
Of course, it's not exactly the movement for which I'd been hoping. That movement would involve contracts and publication and a summer home in Bar Harbor (you know, in the wildest of my fantasies. I'm normally much more down to earth). The movement of which I speak is more in the backwards direction.
It happens from time to time. I consider a manuscript to be complete only to come back to it after a certain amount of time and declare it not quite as complete as I had originally thought. Generally, this manuscript is Effigy.
And here we are again. If this was a National Lampoon movie, it would be the European Vacation one where Chevy Chase keeps saying, "Hey, look, kids! There's Big Ben!"
If my friend Mike is reading this blog, he might be groaning and banging his head against his desk at this moment and, if that's true, I am very sorry for it. It really wasn't my intention. And plus, the whole thing may be all for naught as I cannot be sure of my feelings at this moment. There's a chance this is just a knee-jerk reaction which will fade during the hours of reflection I plan to spend on this decision this week.
Here's the deal: Effigy, my beloved Effigy, is a very long fantasy novel that is having trouble attracting the attention of the people I'd like to attract. Its current word count is 195,202 words (the mainstream standard is often considered to be around 100,000 words). It's also the first book of an intended series. It's not a stand alone novel. This limits the number of markets open to an unknown, unconnected, unpublished author such as myself. In addition to that, times are tough for the traditional publishing scene. Some publishing houses have put a freeze on submissions entirely. In other words, as hard as it was for someone to be published before, it's even harder now.
So I am contemplating making a change or trying out another route. Here are my options, as I see them:
1. Self publish. Walt Whitman did it. Emily Dickinson did it. Mark Twain self published Huck Finn. Even Jane Austen did it and it turned out all right for them. The industry has come a long way in a short time. Pros: I retain the story rights. I get final say about everything in and about the book. Cons: Hard to make money going the self publishing route. Of course, it's hard to make money going the traditional route too. And, I don't write for the money or fame or fortune (which is good because I have none of those). I write, therefore I am.
2. Try and turn Effigy (the the books which follow) into two or even three shorter novels. Pros: it'll no longer be a nearly 200,000 word behemoth of a debut novel which could possibly make it more commercial and appealing to the publishing industry. Cons: Instead of trying to sell a publisher on the idea of a series of four currently planned titles, I would instead be trying to sell a publisher on the idea of a series of like twelve planned titles. Plus, I'd actually have to come up with titles for each and every new book. And let's not even start on the number of synopses I would have to write. Ugh. When I put it like that, I don't think I much like this option at all.
3. Turn Effigy (and the books which follow) into two or even three shorter novels and self publish them. Much fewer synopses that way.
4. Keep doing what I have been doing. You know, because it's been working out oh so well.
5. Do nothing. Write for myself and only myself and my small circle of fans. Nothing wrong with that.
So what's a girl to do? Honestly, I don't know. This is why I am going to use this week, and probably the next one too, to explore and play around with the manuscript. Maybe I will break it into three parts just to see how it feels to do it. I'll do more research into self publication and maybe just chuck it all and go work on my garden. My garden really does need a lot of work.
The important thing to know is that I am not giving up writing. I think I am physically incapable of doing such a thing. That, and jogging around my neighborhood.
P.S...my Wii Fit Instructor showed up this morning but was apologizing for having stayed out too late the night before. Seriously?? Does anyone else have this much trouble with their Wii Fit Instructors or is it just me?