It's done! This week has been crazy. It seems like when my writing life ramps up, the rest of my life feels left out and rises to meet it. So I was overtaxed in my "real job" this week as well as during my at-home (supposedly non-working) hours. But, the end result (besides having to go the office on Friday...grrr) is that Men and Martinis is back with the publisher, and finally at the proofreading stage! That means -- if all goes as expected -- that we'll meet our publication date! (I'm not sure if I'm allowed to publicize that date, but it's in early early December!) This book, as I told my publisher the other day, has at times felt like the book that would. not. be. What started as a poorly conceived twenty thousand word novella morphed -- over the course of about a year -- into a series of 75k novels. They are based -- very loosely -- on my own experiences, which you would think would make them easier to write. But that wasn't the case. I got caught up (often) in the way things really were, versus the way things needed to be for my characters and the plot to work.
Despite some early indecision, I have to hand it to Swoon Romance. The editors and publisher there saw potential in my original idea and patiently helped me mold it into something we can all be proud of. In some cases, they dragged me kicking and screaming toward the goal. :) But I'm happy to be there now.
I learned a LOT during this process. Some of that was due to the fact that I wrote and published two other romance novels while this was all going on. And a lot of it was due to the fact that my publisher/editor were patient with a new author, and willing to give me the space I needed to learn.
Here are a few of the things I took away from this initial effort:
- Other eyes on a MS are CRITICAL. Whether it's beta readers or editors, having other people sanity check your plot and characters is the best thing you can do for a book.
- You are not always right. Even when you feel something deep in your gut. There was one scene in this book that I clung to. For some reason I wanted this scene to happen. In my head, somewhere back in the dark, it made sense that it would happen. But after three people read the book and left me comments along the lines of, "WHY would this happen???" I was able to say to myself, "what if this doesn't happen?" And the story suddenly made more sense. Maybe this falls into the category of "kill your darlings"...
- Patience is needed. I don't have much of this. But with any version of traditional publishing, it seems that to enjoy all the goodness that it can bring, you must put up with some silence, too. And I'm learning about that. I want everything to happen NOW. And that isn't the way this works. And maybe that is a good thing, too.
Anyway, Men and Martinis is on the way! I can't wait to share the final product with you!
Time to start working on Book Two in the series...