Saturday, March 12, 2016

Traversing the Trilogy - Where it all began

Over the next few months, I'm going to talk about what led up to my decision to self-publish The Domino Project trilogy. With the whole thing out there now, I'm going to reflect back on its road, and the things I learned.

The road to my decision

Way back in June 2011 I realized pantsing books wasn't working for me. I'm a very organized person, and really, should have known all along that I needed to be a plotter. After some research and adapting questions I found online, I ended up plotting out The Domino Project. Very loosely. After a couple of days, I had a long and detailed plot outline for Chameleon. Then I proceeded to draft out books two and three.

 That was my first mistake, but I'll come back to that a bit later.

At the end of 2011, with a complete trilogy under my belt, I began editing Chameleon (during NaNo I believe). By February 2012 I was mostly done with edits, and a few friends convinced me to enter Operation Awesome, and the very first PitchMadness.

I did - and had a ninja agent request from Operation Awesome, and two agents who wanted my full in PitchMadness... which evolved into an offer from one of them. Chameleon hooked my first agent for me.

Needless to say, I love this book. But it was only ever subbed out to five editors, and when my first agent left the business, my second agent wouldn't read it. I just don't think it was high on her priority list - after all, she didn't sign me with it. A lot of things happened that led me to the decision to put Chameleon out there myself.

In total I went through: 

  • Two agents 
  • Four submitted books 
  • Approximately 55 failed editor submissions 
  • With about 20 no responses 
  • But two of the responses got REALLY close 
  • One R&R that due to circumstances never got to me 
  • And about 20 of those 35 responses said my genre was bad market timing. 

Bad market timing has been my nemesis for years now. I do not write to market, and I don't know how to. I write the stories I would like to read, and hope they coincide, but my luck just isn't there and that's okay. I get it.

Chameleon is a labor of love. It changed a lot from its inception to the final draft. Of which there were about twelve. Which - and now I'll come back to it - means that books two and three sort of had to be mostly rewritten, and entirely reworked. Probably better to have done a round or two of edits before you draft that second book... Avoids a lot of labor later on.

Fun Fact: The Domino Project is not my baby. I adore it and the characters like a mom, but it's not my baby. That's a different book, one I hope to share with people in a year or so.

To summarize:
I wrote the books, I put in the effort. I've edited, been in the query trenches, been in submission hell and wracked up rejections.

I didn't want to wait another 5-10 years and hope that Chameleon's genre came back into the light, and then hope that an agent and an editor loved it. So, I bit the bullet, went over the manuscript with a fine tooth comb again, had all the books content and copy edited, professional covers and layouting done, and decided to put it out there myself.

And I'm damn proud of the books.

I'll go over the following things in the coming months:

  • Drafting & Editing
  • The Announcement and your todo list
  • Choosing editors (content and copy)
  • Finding a Cover artist and interior formatter
  • The pros and cons of Kindle Unlimited
  • The indie-stigma that permeates everything you do
  • And different angles to take on marketing
  • Perks and happy things!

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