Come Along With Me As I Write My Novels
(And a lot of other new writing experiences too)
Ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement! I have taken a big step forward in my dream to publish my novel, The Cube, and have signed on with a hybrid publishing firm called Windy City Publishers.
Windy City Publishers is a local company that came highly recommended to me by a fellow Chicago Writers Association member and #WritersQuick5 alum. WCP is a woman-owned and woman-run business that has been helping dreams come true since 2009. The woman who owns it is an author herself, so she understands the writer’s point of view. I have really enjoyed getting to know them and their business model.
So, what does this mean for me? Well, I’m so glad you asked!
First, (and for those of you who know me well, you’ll understand why I think this is rad) they use an online project management tool to keep track of our work. So, I can log in at any time and know what my to-do’s are, what their to-do’s are, all our communication is tracked in one place, all of our shared documents are in one place -- it’s all very organized and well-run.
Second, it means that I’m in the midst of completing all the tasks I need to complete to have my book published (in paperback and e-book format) by sometime this spring or summer (fingers crossed).
Finally, in case you haven’t noticed, it means that shit just got real. I’m actually doing this. And pretty soon you’ll all be able to read my book. Which gives me both utter delight and MORTAL TERROR.
For the moment, I’m just going to focus on my to-do’s. At first, I had a lot of basic setup information to provide them, and now I’m working on formatting my word doc in a way that allows them to easily put it into the typeset for the paperback. Actually, let me rephrase that. Formatting my word doc is what I should be working on, but I haven’t actually started yet… because the second I start formatting my book the more real it becomes and I, apparently, need to take my time in doing this.
So, to give myself time to emotionally adjust but still be productive, I have been doing all the other things on my to-do list like writing my author bio, writing my acknowledgements section, taking notes on marketing ideas, etc. All of these things need to happen, I’m just doing them in the order that my brain (and heart) will allow me to do them.
I’ve also been busy working with my friend Glenn on my book cover and my friend Adam on all the graphics that are in the book. Both of those endeavors have been immensely gratifying and emotional. The first time I saw the first draft of the book cover, I got goosebumps all over my body. It’s been so much fun to tweak it and see what’s only been in my head come out as a beautiful image. And seeing my name on a book cover. Lawd, help me.
And revisiting the graphics has brought it all back. All the planning. All the plotlines. All the ins and outs of what makes this novel tick. We had to revisit the graphics for a bunch of reasons. Partly because they were done in color, so we needed to re-do them in grayscale for the paperback, but mostly because some of the graphics in the book are really compilations of the original graphics. So, as a shortcut, in my neophyte ways, I made the compilations by putting the originals in a word doc they way I wanted them, and then took a screenshot of that, and used that screenshot as a rudimentary jpeg placeholder. That worked for the time being, BUT, that won’t do for the final version. So now Adam is helping me make the compilations for real. Thankfully, he’s as detail oriented as I am, so he has taken all of my crazy instructions in total stride.
Aside from write-ups and graphics and dreaming of my book being out in the world, I’m also trying to re-imagine my website and starting to move things around in preparation for the fact that I’m actually going to have something that you all can buy and sell. (EEEEEEEKKKK!) Changing my webpages to say “Coming Soon!” wherever The Cube was mentioned made my palms sweat. That’s normal, right?
Finally, and I hate to admit this, I am rewiring my brain to be as proud of self-publishing as I would be of traditional publishing. And that’s taking me a hot minute because for some reason I still feel like I came just short of my goal. But I know I didn’t. I have so many role models and friends that are producing their own art and work. I’m proud to be in that camp. For all my friends that are putting out their own books or movies or their own music or their own blogs or podcasts, or starting their own businesses, I think it is just the best. Somehow I need to hold myself up the same way I would hold up any of my friends in a similar position and say that producing art is producing art. Whether it comes with formal book sale and a fancy publishing house label or whether it comes from a small shop via hardworking women supporting each other to put indie books out into the marketplace, it’s all meaningful and it’s all good (and when you put it that way, doesn’t the latter sound pretty rad anyway?).
When I had my first call with Windy City Publishers, I told the owner that I’m not looking for fame or fortune, which is totally true. I simply want to take this story that I love so much and share it with all of you.
So, here we go. I’m checking through my to-do list and I will keep you all updated on a regular basis. Please stay tuned for more details… because eventually… this is going to culminate in a book cover reveal, a book release date, my first sale, and the most photos ever posted to Instagram of a book… EVER.
Love you all. Thanks for continuing to support me in my journey. 2018… the year that it happens.
We are almost two weeks into 2018 and I’m still chasing my writing dreams. I have two main goals:
As for Amache’s America, it’s a pure joy to write and it keeps me writing every week. I love the characters, I love the story, and the one chapter a week goal seems very attainable to me. It’s also a source of great positivity in my life. I love seeing it listed under “Most Popular” on the website homepage and it’s now consistently listed in the “Featured” section as well. I also get reader feedback and it’s all been so kind. It’s a joy to have people read what I’m writing and know that they are enjoying it.
So… why finish it then? Why not just have it go on and on? Well, because for this particular serial novel, I do have an end in mind. I might start another series on Channillo when this is done that is more open ended, but for this particular tale, I know it has a beginning, middle, and end. The end I can picture for sure.
Plus, I’m going back to the Writing Workshop of Chicago this summer and I’m hoping, after upping it to one chapter a week, Amache’s America will be complete enough to pitch it to agents by then. After more than a year of researching the market, I think a female-driven, Japanese-American, personal story has a better chance of getting picked up than a male-centered, high-concept, sci-fi novel does. In fact, recently I contributed to the #AsAmCreatorRollCall hashtag on twitter, a lovely effort to help promote and lift up Asian-American creators in 2018, and it felt good to step my toe into the waters of the diverse writers community. There’s a big call right now for diverse voices. And hey, guess what… that’s me!
Side note: I’m also looking forward to the conference this summer because I won’t be so nervous and it won’t seem like there is so much riding on it. It will be nice to go in with more confidence.
Now, back to The Cube. Self-publish you say? After all of the posts about query letters and agents and wanting to see my book on bookshelves? I should clarify that I’m actually hoping to work with a hybrid-publisher… and when I get further down that line I will 100% share my experiences will you. But, here’s the long and short of it:
So, I’m starting my hybrid-publisher research and am declaring that 2018 is the year. This is the year it will happen. That I will make my dreams come true. That I will have my own book. In my hands. And that people can buy it and read it. Man. That just sounds so frickin’ cool.
2018. Time to focus. 2018. The year that it happens.