Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 1: Day One

I titled this post “Day One,” but it’s not. It’s actually day, like, 5,000 or something. So, for this first entry, I’ll just say who I am, what my project is, and what I’m hoping to do with this blog.

The goal of this blog, and everything else I will be doing, is to log my progress self publishing a novel (and hopefully the progress of generating interest to the point of getting picked up by a brick and mortar publisher for the trilogy, and eventually book deals, fame, and ongoing liposuction so I can sit poolside at expensive hotels eating and drinking and wallowing in excess like the capitalist pig I have become).

Ok, mostly I just want to make stories and entertain people. I want to feel the joy that comes from seeing someone really carried off into a world I have made. The writing is the best part, honestly, and it’s not about money (I’m not saying I don’t want money; I do), but I have continued to write for thirty-some years without getting paid. Writing truly is the joy. But nobody writes in a vacuum. If writers didn’t want someone to read their work, they wouldn’t write it down. They’d just think it. So, this is my quest to get one of my books read.

The novel is called The Galactic Mage. I first wrote it about ten years ago. I sent a query to Warner Books from which an editor by the name of Devi Pillai requested the synopsis of the trilogy and three sample chapters from the first book. The response I got back said, “…while we love the concept, the writing doesn’t quite work for us.”

Sad face.

So, there I was, with a concept that the publishing house “loved” and writing that they didn’t. The Galactic Mage was the second novel I had written to the point I could submit it, so by then I was used to getting turned down and already had a wall full of rejection letters. However, unlike any rejection I’d gotten before (outside of my very first, which is a story for another day), this rejection was the closest I’d ever gotten to getting a book accepted. And not just accepted, but accepted by a monster of a publishing house. So, while you might think I was dejected by this rejection, I wasn’t. I mean, I was in a way, but mostly I was totally inspired. I’d made it through the slush pile. Someone recognized how awesome this trilogy is. It’s a freaking killer idea. (It is, I’m telling you. A movie, for sure… but alas, I know, everyone says that, so, it’s meaningless. Etc.)

So, what I did was go to school.

At that point in time, all I had was my high school diploma. I was literate and articulate having grown up with very literate, well educated parents, and having read pretty much constantly as a kid, but that is not the same as knowing how to write well. That rejection from Warner Books set my determination to go find out how to write better. I wanted to learn how to do it right so that when I sent the book back to Devi Pillai and to Warner, the writing WOULD “quite work for them.” I was not angry at them; I was mad at myself for sucking. So I went to school.

I finished my bachelor’s degree in English in 2007 and started right in on my master’s in creative writing immediately after (which I should have come December of this year). About a year into my master’s program, I rewrote that novel from scratch. Literally from scratch, starting from a blank page one and not even referencing the old edition. It’s ten times better now. A thousand times better. As far as I can tell, Devi Pillai is no longer with Warner Books, and, frankly, I’m having trouble figuring out where Warner Books got absorbed. Maybe they didn’t get absorbed anywhere. It’s hard to say, but regardless, the entity that I originally submitted to, and the person, appear to be gone.

A shame.

So, in the three or so years since I rewrote it, I’ve been submitting it. It takes six months to hear back from the big publishers. I, being a moron and a believer in doing what is right, do not submit to multiple publishers. I know I should. I should think of myself and screw them. But I don’t. I was raised that we, as humans, should be able to do business on a handshake. Honor is internal. That sort of rot. So, I submit to one at a time. Same with agents. One at a time. And, one by one, six months at a time, the publishers reject my query letters, the agents don’t have room in their line. Nobody has even looked at this book. Not one person (not counting my wife, a few family members, and an English major friend—they all loved it, but of course, that sort of thing doesn’t really count).

So here I am.

So, the title of this blog entry is “Day One.” And, for my purposes, it is Day One of me formalizing this process. I will publish my book myself. I have already contracted an amazing artist to do my cover art. I will reveal her name later because she deserves at least one blog post dedicated solely to her work, and will probably get far more (I’ve actually just finished sketching my rough idea out for her this morning—and no it’s not my daughter for those of you who know me). I also have a number of amazing friends who are going to help me with the formatting and other stuff related to getting the book made. In addition, I’m hoping to use what I have learned working in sales and currently at a marketing company to help me drive sales. So, I’ll be covering the publication process and the marketing side.

I have decided to go with Createspace (’s publishing arm). I read up on a number of Print on Demand (POD) houses, and even made an account at before deciding on Amazon. If you are interested in what finally swung my final vote, here is the link to an article I read by April Hamilton that really did a lot of the hard work that I just didn’t know how to do (view the article HERE).

So that’s it. It’s begun. Wish me luck. Bookmark this blog and follow the journey if you are so inclined. I hope you do.


  1. Good Luck, John. Can't wait to read it! - Reilly

  2. I hope to buy it from the bookshelves one day. Good luck.

  3. Good luck, John. See you at the CreateSpace community site!

  4. I will read it - despite my weird love/hate relationship with Science Fiction/Fantasy. Wishing you only the best. Good luck, God bless, and write a ton!

  5. Finally . . . it's a terrific book and doesn't it feel good to finally make the leap? I wish you all success and I can't wait to buy my very own copy.

    L.T. Fawkes

  6. Good luck! I will definitely read it, looking forward to it and to your future posts here.

  7. WHOOHOO! YAY! I had to come by and leave my mark. :) Good Job! Good Luck! :)