Yesterday, I finished the first draft of a high-fantasy novel I’ve been working on titled Any Port in a Storm. Hooray me! This draft came in at 107,324 words, and took about eight months to write in total, not counting several long breaks I took to write a pair of unrelated novellas and several short stories. This is a big improvement over my first novel, which took eighteen months to write. Still, it is never an easy task cranking out a couple hundred pages of text, and the overwhelming response I received from my non-writing friends was (along with several rounds of free drinks) something along the lines of, “Well, the hard part is over.”
While I understand what they’re trying to say, the truth is, finishing a draft is just the start of the journey. Now that there’s a book to try to sell, the real work begins, the part where other people step in. This is the point where forces almost entirely outside of your control determine the direction and ultimate fate of this little manuscript you’ve been slaving away at in the privacy of your head for so long. This is the part where opinions other than your own carry enormous weight, especially early in your career.
However, do not fret. As with everything in life, there are steps you can take to maximize your chances at success. And so I’m starting a new, ongoing blog feature called “After the Draft”, where I’ll do my best to catalog all the steps Any Port in a Storm goes through on its quest to land in a bookstore near you. I’ll report on the process of revisions, finding beta readers, writing query letters and synopsis, and the inevitable march of rejection letters, all with the goal of getting that elusive “Yes.”
Along the way, I hope to find guest-bloggers in the forms of other authors who can relate tales of their debuts, agents who took a chance on an unknown writer, and editors who took the red pen to someone’s first novel. I have no idea how long this series will go on. For comparison, my first novel, A Hole in the Fence, has been looking for a home for more than two years.
I hope you’ll come back to witness this little book’s epic journey, come what may. As for today, I’m going to go wash and detail my car and motorcycle, because I’m all written out at the moment. Tomorrow, however, it’s back to work.