Friday, October 31, 2014

Taking a Leap of Faith
Well after much thought I've decided to self-publish.  As in my previous post, sitting around waiting is crazy. So I'm not going to do it anymore.

As a self-proclaimed unapologetic NON-risk taker, I've got to stop playing it safe and just go for it. So yesterday I set the plan in motion.

After editing the book yet again, I managed to clean it up quite a bit and removed another 2,800 words. Typos, grammatical errors, mistakes, etc.  Knowing the book by heart, I hadn't read it a long time.  So with fresh eyes I started it from the very beginning.  And I was kind of stunned at how many errors there were.  Not that I thought it was perfect, I was just surprised at the stuff I missed.  Simple stuff too.  YIKES!

Anyway, now that that is complete.  There's a whole process of formatting it to put it up on Amazon so it can be read digitally.  Amazon has provided a step-by-step guide...thank goodness!  Not that I thought I would just upload the book and presto it's available to be bought.  But I also didn't realize the little things that would need to be done with it.  So I'm totally learning as I'm going through this.

My goal now is to have it all ready in the next few days.  Then I will set my "baby" out into the world.  Hard to believe after all this time, I'm actually going to do this.

It's daunting but at this point I have nothing to lose.

- The Delusional Novelist

Thursday, October 16, 2014

What Am I Waiting For?
So the other day I received my 14th rejection from one of the original agents I had sent a query/synopsis to.  I mailed that at the end of June, so it definitely took much longer than I thought to get a response.  At this point I had pretty much resigned to the fact that I wasn't going to hear from the rest of the group.

Which means there are six agents from the original 20 who I haven't heard from.  And I emailed four more a couple weeks ago and haven't heard anything from them...yet!  However, all of those stated that I would not hear anything unless they were interested.  So though I'm not technically folding in the towel I don't have a good feeling about them either.

I've begun to seriously research self-publishing and all that's involved.  I wasn't delusional (no pun intended) in thinking that self-publishing was done in one easy step.  There's definitely more to it than that.  But I feel educating myself on the workings of it is a must.  As it's looking more and more like the route I'm going to take.

To say I'm nervous about putting my novel out there would be an understatement, as it took me a very long time to allow people I know read it.  It wasn't the criticism I was afraid of, it was more because it's my baby, something I created and setting it free so to speak is scary.  But if this is what I really want to do, then I need to make it happen.

I've sat back for months waiting to hear from agents and I have to ask myself...what am I waiting for?  When it might be time for me to stop sitting on it and put it out there myself.

Oh what a conundrum!  *sigh*

- The Delusional Novelist

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sinus Surgery

Back in 1994, at the ripe old age of 23, I had Endoscopic Surgery on my sinuses after suffering with numerous sinus infections.  In fact, I was so bad I felt like a walking infection.

My sinuses were filled with polyps and cysts, so much so that the Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon was shocked when it was time for surgery, because though an CT Scan had shown the problems, there was a good 12 month span from the time I had the scan done to the time I actually had the surgery.

The surgery was only supposed to be about an hour.  But because my sinuses were beyond horrible, it ended up taking 3 hours and I bled something awful.  And the worst part of that surgery, the packing afterwards.  Which resembled oversized cotton tampons.  What was so bad about these harmless things that helped stopped the bleeding?  Getting them removed a few days post-surgery after the blood had practically glued the "tampons" up into my nostrils.  I almost passed out the pain was so horrible.  It was worse than the actual surgery.

Anyway, after all was said and done, I could breath again and my sinus issues disappeared, for awhile that is.  My ENT said because I lived in New Jersey, I'd always have sinus issues due to NJ's not-so-stellar environment.  But this is where I lived so I'd have to deal.

Jump ahead to 2004, when I again began having sinus issues.  Had a CT Scan done and was told there was minimal thickening but wasn't anything major.  And that my ENT could do surgery again where he would go back into the sinuses and just sort of clean them out.  Wouldn't be as invasive as the first one.  But it was clearly my choice, there weren't any polyps or cysts, so I thought I didn't need the surgery and hoped the infections wouldn't get too unbearable.

Jump ahead to 2013.  The sinus infections were back pretty regularly and when I'd get one, they were flu-like.  Meaning they'd knock me down for days.  But I was stubborn and was willing to stick with rounds of antibiotics.  Until in December, when I got to a point where I had a hard time breathing out my nose and felt crappy ALL the time.  In fact, my left nostril was perpetually blocked.  Talk about frustrating.  Well, I went to the local CVS Minute Clinic for a dose of antibiotics but the nurse practitioner suggested I see an ENT instead.

So in January of 2014, I went back to my original ENT but he no longer did surgery, so I ended up seeing a different doctor.  He ordered a CT Scan and the results showed that the dreaded polyps had returned ten fold.  One of those polyps had grown so large, that is was blocking my left nostril hence the reason I couldn't breath.  He put me on Prednisone and a Neti Pot, to see if the polyp would shrink.  But stated, I was probably looking at surgery, cause Prednisone was only a temporary fix.

And with that, on April 2nd, 2014 I had my second endoscopic sinus surgery.  And let me just say HALLELUJAH I'm so glad I did.  Because I felt like a new person afterwards.  Even better, my new ENT used dissolvable packing, not those hideous tampon-like things.  Granted, having that crap drip out of my nose for a couple months after surgery wasn't fun, but that was a much better alternative.  Like the first surgery, he too had to do extensive work, as many polyps took up residency there.

My prognosis...because I'm prone to polyps and had them at such a young age, there's always going to be the tendency for them to return.  So every other day, I'm using the Neti Pot saline irrigation along with an asthma medication that I dissolve into the saline solution.  The asthma meds apparently help keep polyps at bay.  I also have to see my ENT every 6 months, just to stay proactive.  Because if by chance a polyp shows up, the doc can take care of it right away.

I'm currently six months post-op and I'm still feeling great.  It's nice being able to breath normally and to not have to blow my nose a 1,000 times a day or worry that every time I get a cold that a sinus infection will surely follow.  Should have had the second surgery a long time ago, but at least I finally did do it, and have absolutely ZERO regrets!

- The Delusional Novelist

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

To Sequel or Not to Sequel?

In researching first-time novels, one of the biggest points I apparently missed was that a first-time novel should stand alone.  Meaning it should have a conclusion that wraps up a story.  No loose ends.

Well mine does that...sort of.  My novel can absolutely stand alone.  Leaving the reader to use his/her imagination on what happens next.  But pretty much from the get go, I always knew how I was going to end the story, and wanted to leave it open for a possible sequel.  Mind you, when I first began writing it, I was only writing it for fun.  Never thinking I'd actually ever try to do anything with it.

So without spoiling the ending, I felt there was more story tell, but can't really go into specifics for those that haven't read the novel.

Some people have suggested I write an entire different story and either nix the sequel or go back to it.  But what if my novel gets published, regardless if I do it myself or a publisher does, I would prefer having the sequel ready to go as well.  Just in case.

Guess I will add it to the list of how clueless I am in regards to writing novels.  But I'm learning as I go along.

- The Delusional Novelist

Saturday, October 4, 2014

In Search of a Literary Agent - Part 2

Rejection, Rejection, and more Rejection!

That’s pretty much how my search for an agent is going.  When I researched agents, the consensus was it usually takes up to 8 weeks, if not more, for one to respond.  If he/she chooses to respond that is. 

So to my surprise, I received two responses within a couple days of the date I mailed them.  To open the mailbox and spot my self-address stamped envelopes staring back at me, to say I was excited was an understatement.  That said, I was fully prepared for rejections.  Which was a good thing cause that’s what I got.

The first two were actually my query letter sent back to me, with handwritten responses on them.  And both said, “Thanks but not for us.”  No mincing of words that’s for sure.  I wasn’t discouraged, maybe a little disappointed but there were 18 more to go. 

The next two came via email.  And both of those were much more encouraging.  Though rejections as well, they at least said they liked the story but again wasn’t right for them.  And for me not to give up. 

Four rejections…16 to go.

Throughout the summer I’d get a response here and there with one rejection after another.  And what began as pure excitement to see my self-addressed stamped envelope sitting in the mailbox became something I dreaded.  In fact, I got to where I’d cringe when I’d see one of my own envelopes.  UGH!

Anyway, there was one who absolutely loved the story and though she didn’t handle mainstream (as she pictured it as) she recommended three other agents who might.  She stated that she felt the characters and actually saw it as a potential movie some day.  Which to me was a huge compliment.  So yes it was another rejection, but I felt good about that one.

So how many responses did I get back?  A total 13 out of 20.  And the last few I received at the end of August were simply addressed to:  Dear Author or Dear Writer.  Which made me think they didn’t even read what I sent.  It felt like a stock letter, cold and to the point.

During this process, I’ve learned you better have a thick skin, cause the rejections are many.  But the one thing I took away that’s positive is that not one of the responses said my story sucked.  Which is a good thing.  And for the most part, I was told not to give up. 

And though I haven’t given up.  I’m beginning to think that self-publishing might be what the future holds for me.  Which I’m completely fine with.  I just wanted to try the traditional route first.  And if that doesn't pan out then at least I have the option to self-publish (a luxury authors didn't have years ago).  But for now, I’ve sent out a few more queries via email, and maybe one of those agents will take a chance on my novel.

We shall see.  

- The Delusional Novelist 

Friday, October 3, 2014

In Search of a Literary Agent - Part 1

After I finally had a completed novel and edited it a couple times, the next step was to seek a literary agent.  Because from what I've learned is that publishers do not want you sending them anything directly, you basically need a middle person, hence an agent.

So I signed up for which lists and updates numerous agents around the country/world.  It also informs on what each agent is looking for from an author.  For example, some request a synopsis while others want to read the first chapter or two.

And when I say synopsis, they don't want a two sentence description like one would find on the back of a book, they want a full blown "spoil the story" kind of detailing.  And they want roughly anywhere from three to ten pages.  Which when I first sat down to work on the synopsis, I had no idea just how difficult this action was going to be.  But was relieved to find out that many famous authors loathe this process, so that made me feel somewhat better.

Anyway, it took awhile but I managed to explain my entire story in 10-pages. Which in all honesty I think was too long but I couldn't decided what to take out so I just rolled with it.

Agents also request a query letter, which basically gives a brief description of your book, along with some information about you.  Since I'm a first time author with limited writing experience, my query wasn't exactly going to light the world on fire but I figured it wasn't too bad considering I was figuring this out on my own.

So at the end of June, I mailed my synopsis, along with a query letter, and a self-addressed stamped envelope to 20 potential agents.

I crossed my fingers and waited for the responses.  

- The Delusional Novelist


Been a Long Time!

I haven't updated this blog since January which is really sad.

But over the past year I fell into a social media funk.  I got to where I had no desire to be on the internet other than to look up stuff and read news.  I stopped tweeting on Twitter, cut way back on Facebook, and obviously neglected this blog.  Not sure what caused the funk, but I think I'm slowly getting out of it.

For starters, I finally tweeted after not doing so for over a year.  And I didn't say anything remotely interesting, but I just needed to break the ice and put myself back out there.

I noticed I lost a lot of followers which was expected.  Who the heck wants to follow someone who never tweets?  What would be the point?  But I perused twitter and started following some people that I wasn't following before, and some decided to follow me back.  Which in a way has now put the pressure on me to actually keep tweeting regularly.

Which is exactly what I plan to do.

I'm also going to update this blog more regularly.  And post on some significant things that have happened since January including where I'm at in regards to trying to get my novel published and what I've learned in that process.  *sigh*

So, my goal is to put myself out there and hope for the best!

-  The Delusional Novelist