Frequently Asked Questions Regarding My Book Deal

So it’s been a few days since I made the announcement regarding my book deal with HarperCollins Canada for Nowhere Wild. For about an hour after I posted that original blog entry, I had the shakes. My hands wouldn’t stay steady, and I had a hard time talking. The shaking has now gone away, but the excitement is still there. I can’t wait to get back working on that book!

I’ve had a few questions that have popped up, and I’ll answer them here, as best I can.

Question #1: When is the book coming out?

I don’t know the answer to that one yet. It takes an incredible amount of work and coordination to get a book to market, and I still have some work to do on the book itself (i.e. more editing). As soon as the date is locked down, I will definitely post an update here.

Question #2: Are you quitting your day job to write full time?

No. It may come as a bit of a shock to people not familiar with the publishing industry that most writers don’t make very much money. And the money, when it does come in, doesn’t come in consistently until you’ve got a long tail of books earning royalties and a bunch more in the write-edit-publish pipeline. Unless I win the JK Rowling lottery, I will continue to earn the bulk of my income writing software for the foreseeable future.

Question #3: Is the cover image for Nowhere Wild on the site going to be the cover image for the published book?

Probably not. That photo was taken by my Aunt, Anne Stratton. She graciously allowed me to use it to help make my site look more professional. The cover design was done by Jerome Petteys.  I think it looks fantastic, and fits the book really well, but the publisher will decide what they want the cover to look like.

Question #4: How did you get a publisher?

Like I said in the original blog entry, my agent, Sally Harding did all the hard work. I just wrote the story. Once we agreed the manuscript was ready for an attempt to find a publisher (which is a huge step from its first draft), we talked about what approach we wanted to take—what market we thought it fit into, what kind of a publisher we wanted, what kind of an editor we wanted. This discussion is just one of the many valuable aspects  of having a good agent. Sally did an amazing job of walking me through the process, and presenting options. I think she found the right fit for this book, and for me, with HarperCollins Canada.

Question #5: When will the book be available in <insert country name here>?

The topic of publishing and distribution rights is enormously complicated, and I am just beginning to get a grip on it. Be sure that Sally and I are working hard to make sure that everyone who wants a copy of Nowhere Wild, can get it legally. Again, as we work out the details for each country / language, I’ll post details here. Obviously, the more buzz the book generates in the coming weeks and months in multiple countries, the higher the likelihood it will be available everywhere, so feel free to pass the word to friends and family about my site and my book.

Question #6: Will there be a book tour?

I don’t know the answer to this one yet. I will definitely schedule readings / signings in my local area when the book is released, and do whatever I can to promote the book. But as a debut author, it’s difficult to know this far in advance if the investment in larger scale personal appearance efforts will pay off financially. If you are a bookseller / librarian in the Puget Sound Area, and would like me to appear in conjunction with the release, please contact me.

Question #7: What recommendations can you give to a young writer just starting out?

I could spend hours talking about this, but I’ll just give a few brief points that I think would help every writer (young or old):

  • Write every day. I wrote on the train to and from work for the better part of three years. There is always time to write, even if it’s for just twenty minutes.
  • Pick up a copy of Noah Lukeman’s The First Five Pages. Read it. Do the exercises. Work on your book. Read Noah’s book again. Work on your book. Sooner or later, what he says there will become old habit.
  • Find a group like the Pacific Northwest Writers Association in your own area. Go to their monthly meetings. Learn about the whole writing / publishing process. You don’t have to know everything about everything. But you should know a little about everything in the publishing process. This is a business. Make it your business, and realize that to get published, you must be good at this business.
  • Find a good freelance editor who you trust (i.e. Jason Black). Pay them for a full manuscript review at least once. Listen to what they have to say, even if it is painful to hear.
  • Read John Scalzi’s blog entry  He usually says things much better than I ever could, and this entry should be in his hall of fame.
  • Don’t write to become famous or to make a lot of money. Write because you love it. Write because not writing for more than a few days feels like you have abandoned a puppy in a mineshaft. Save the puppy.

Question #8: What’s next?

First, I am finishing up an edit of one of my other manuscripts so I can pass it on to my beta readers. I should be done that today or tomorrow. At some point in the next few weeks, I should receive notes from my editor regarding changes to Nowhere Wild, so then the work begins on that story again in earnest. I also have another completed manuscript that needs a full edit. I have two full length book outlines for future books already done that I want to review. And I have another book that I need to do a major rewrite on. So I don’t think my next few months will be boring.

Other Questions?

If you have any questions I haven’t answered here, let me know. I love writing about writing just about as much as I love writing, so these are really enjoyable entries to put together.

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