05 AM | 15 Oct

Embracing the Odd

Copyright http://stuffpoint.com

Copyright http://stuffpoint.com

This site is undergoing a redesign, thanks to the upcoming release of my new novel, TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON.

You might be asking, “why call your website The Oddest Duck?” The answer is pretty simple. THE recurring theme of reviews of The Tuning Station is that it’s a bit unique. I particularly enjoyed one that ended this way:

The story is a bit of an odd duck, which from me is NOT an insult. If you enjoy reading books that are a little different, you ought to give this a try.

I like to think we “odd ducks” add a little spice to life, shaking up the status quo. Full of surprising twists and turns, imbued with imagination, unafraid to look different.

Life is just too short to be normal.

-Chris

06 PM | 05 Oct

So, what’s up with my writing, anyway?

I’ve been horrible about giving updates lately. The last post on my book was a sad-sack response to a silly review nearly six months ago; let me assure you, I haven’t given up or lost hope just yet. The process of getting published is very slow.

It’s one of the best times for writers ever now. With Amazon’s amazing tools and command over the retail selling of ebooks, self-publishing is easier and more potentially profitable than ever. There are also many small, independent publishers springing up, looking for works that appeal to a targeted audience. The traditional model of finding an agent who will market you to the big 5 New York publishing houses is still relevant as well, although not (and never again) at their level of historical dominance. There are enough avenues so that anyone can get published, and if you’ve put together quality work you can find success.

That being said, THE TUNING STATION is a bit of a problem. I’ve targeted agents and heard nothing back. I’ve also sent the book to eight smaller publishers, of whom three have responded: “great, well-written book, but it’s not something we can target to our audience.” I seem to be in a chasm of too Christian for the mainstream, and not Christian enough for the Christian genres. There is almost certainly a publisher out there for me, but how long will it take to find it? And will it be better than self-publishing, anyway, where I’d earn more than twice the percentage per copy sold?

So, here’s my plan. I’m still waiting on responses from a few agents and four publishing companies; I’m letting them percolate through the end of the year (agents and publishers are being inundated these days, it can take six weeks to three months for them to consider your novel and you might not hear a peep from them if they pass). If I hear nothing, I start the self-publishing process in January; seek an editor and a cover designer, make the final round of edits, and put the book out on Amazon, B&N and a print-on-demand solution. No matter what THE TUNING STATION will be available in 2015.

I’m also undergoing a second round of beta readers. I should hear from the in the next few weeks. I need the book to be as polished as possible, especially if there is no intermediary between myself and the public.

Finally, I’ve started my second novel! It’s much different from my first, a fast-paced adventure targeted towards a Young Adult audience. I can’t give a lot away, but the elevator pitch is:

“Two young lovers from rival families, in a breathless search for each other through heaven and hell.”

…but it’s quite a bit more than that. A sci-fi/fantasy mixture of Romeo & Juliet, Tesla vs. Edison with a touch of Riverworld. I’m only 5K words in and excited to see where it goes.

Chris

01 AM | 08 Dec

Yes, I’m Still Writing a Novel

Wow, it’s been a long time since I wrote my last blog. Rest assured, my silence has not been due to an absence of activity, but of a lack of time. Having to make a choice between writing on my blog vs. writing my novel, the latter always won.

The good news is I’ve finished the first manuscript! In fact, I finished it in September. The final count was 110,000 words or roughly 300 paperback pages. When I typed “the end”, it was a feeling of incredible accomplishment; one of the things I’m most proud of. I’ll be even prouder when it’s all done.

Since that time I took some weeks off, joined a Writer’s Group, read my book cover to cover for the first time, and started the editing process. Reading was a bit humbling; while I am happy with the overall structure, it needs a lot of work. I’ve completed about 20% towards the second manuscript, and there’s a lot more to be done. I’ve already pared it down to 105K words, anticipating next version will be around 90-100K.

I’m not quite ready to reveal much about the book; I’d rather wait until I start dealing with marketing issues which should come after the second manuscript is complete. I can say this much, though: The name of the book is “The Tuning Station”, and its genre is “spiritual speculative fiction”.

What next? Well, first I’ll finish editing the thing. Then, hand it off to a selected set of beta readers (hopefully some of my writing group plus a targeted group of others who specialize in different subjects). I’ll start marketing, make edits based on beta reader response, ship it off to a professional editor for cleanup, and seek an agent/publisher or decide to self publish.

That all sounds so easy when you stuff it into one paragraph. The release date is unknown, though I can’t imagine it’ll be earlier than the summer.