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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

STRATEGIES FOR PUBLISHING

The Library of Alexandria


I've been looking in to various publishing possibilities for "Shadow of the Lion".  After speaking to the agents and a few other publishers I realize that most of them insist on only 120,000 word count for a publication.  This would mean chopping Shadow by 3/4 which would simply ruin the story.  So instead of stressing over this dilemma, I've decided that perhaps the best route to take would be self-publishing
through one of the accredited self-publishers (there are 3 top ones), such as Lulu.  This would mean I'd have to check the page count, not the word count.  It would also mean I won't have to wait perhaps up to five years to see this book out in print.  I simply can't wait that long.  For one reason, I'm not getting any younger and mainly, the theme of the story is pertinent to today's world.  And I feel that this novel, which I worked so hard on for all those years, deserves to have an audience NOW, not five years from now or at the whim of a traditional publisher. 

I'm doing my research into this.  I've spoken to a couple of friends who have published through Lulu and they are very satisfied.  I realize that to make an impact, it means I'd have lots of marketing to do and some investment.  For this I'm even willing to forgo my yearly trip to Greece.  Another friend mentioned that she does marketing and would help me.  And I have a lot of connections around town where I could arrange book readings etc.  So that part of the self-publishing doesn't seem a problem to me.  I like the idea of the book being listed on Amazon and the option of doing an e-book as well, as this is a big trend these days.

What I would like is comments from any of my readers who know more about this process than I do.  Have any of you had experience with this kind of publishing?  What do you advise? I am in the process of doing another round of editing and then I'll turn the manuscript over to a professional editor.  I also need to write the foreword, afterword, glossary and bibliography for it.

If I self publish I want it to be as perfect as a traditionally published book.  I'm even going to consult with an artist friend about designing a cover for it.  Now I need to find out about IBSNs and copyrights and whether the publisher provides those.  I'd appreciate any input you can give me. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

DOING BATTLE WITH WORDS

Wall painting on tomb believed to be King Philip's, at Vergina, Greece



I'm doing battle with words right now.  My first gruelling session left me feeling totally depressed and worn out.  Having to chop so many words from the text of "Shadow of the Lion" is not only discouraging but, after having spent so many long hours writing the story, it is a painful exercise.  But, it must be done!

By the end of the first 'battle' I was so depressed I was even having nightmares about it.  So for now I have backed off and I'm planning new strategies for the second attack.  I will eventually have a professional editor take over, but for now if I have to kill my babies I'll do it myself no matter how it wrenches at my soul to do so. 

Yes, there are passages that were part of my character development and probably don't need to be there.  Many of them I have already cut only to realize that the word count was barely going down and after all that work I had only destroyed 156 pages!  Now I am taking a much closer look:  asking myself if the scene is absolutely necessary to keep the story rolling and the tension building.  I've also cut some points of view, and a lot of places where characters were reminiscing about things.

There are certain things I won't cut:  both my critique readers and others in my workshop group have said "don't cut the elephants".  I also want to keep the women's voices strong.  And there are a couple of major characters (generals and the Persian court advisor) as well as the villain who must stay.  The story is also about Alexander's young son, Iskander, who was his only legal heir so it is important, especially in the later part of the novel, that he has a strong voice. (I decided to cut some of his points of view when he is little). 

I always wanted to pitch the story to a main-stream publisher but now I realize that to do so I'd have to cut 3/4 of the story and that simply won't work.  So my alternative is to look into self-publishing.   For one thing, I don't have years to wait and neither does the story. It needs to be out there now, because much of the theme pertains to situations in the world today. 

So I will rally the 'troops' and forge onward.  After all, this is the story about a famous conqueror and his generals.  Of course, they managed to bring Alexander's dynasty down in the end.  But I won't let them bring "Shadow" down too.  Somehow I will find a way to cut enough of the text not to spoil what is an important and exciting story!