Sunday, October 04, 2015

NaNoWriMo in less than a month -- already?

Hard to believe NaNoWriMo will so soon be upon us. Seems like just yesterday we were furiously writing novels, grabbing every spare minute to write another section, another paragraph, another sentence. Anything to advance our word counts and get to the finish line: 50,000 words in a month.

NaNoWriMo is good because it forces one to take time and do what writer's do: write. As a retiree, it's all too easy to slip into lazy practices - I'll do one more load of laundry...dust the dining this book - any excuse to avoid the BIC step (Butt In Chair). An event such as NaNoWriMo reminds us, if you want to write a book? You have to sit down and write a book.

Last year I worked on THE REVOLUTION OF CLARA SIMPSON, an historical romance. I'd started the research earlier and had some of it written before November. During NaNoWriMo, however, I added 52K to the story. When I finished it a few weeks later, the story ended up around 75K total. But for the November push, it would've taken a whole lot longer for me to get that puppy finished.

What happened to that manuscript, you ask? Let me tell you...

The book sprang from a conversation I'd had with C. J. Hollenbach, one of EC's original cover models. He's a sweetheart and, at the Romanticon convention, I remarked that he'd never graced the cover of any of my books. I told him I'd write one specifically for him, a book that would cry out for him as the cover model.

At one point, he was the model for Karen Hawkins' Her Master and Commander and I loved that picture of him. Dashing, handsome, romantic...yeah. I wanted to write that C.J., so I did. The Revolution of Clara Simpson.

But it didn't turn out to be an erotic romance. Historical romance, yes. Sweet romance, yes. Erotic romance? No so much.

That meant Ellora's Cave wasn't the right place for it. I could self-pub it (and still might!), but thought this might be the book to bring in a wider audience. So I sent it off to Carina Press.

Who promptly rejected it.

I sent it to Harlequin next. But, three months later, I contacted them again (since I hadn't heard from them aside from the initial auto-response) and asked if they were still interested. I got a very nice note in reply from Dieidra McCluskey, an Editorial Assistant, stating that their response time of 12 weeks is approximate and that my manuscript was being reviewed by their Historical Romance response team.

I haven't heard from them since. I suppose I'll send another email at the six-month period to see if I can goose it along, one way or the other. It's hard, having written a book that I know is good, to wait on others for a yay or nay, especially in this time of self-publishing when I could've had it out there already (let's face it, Mystic Shade wrote, edited and published two more books and I've written a Christmas story that's currently in edits in the time Harlequin has taken to decide!).

So I'll give them a courtesy email in another week, upon the six-month anniversary of my submitting it. I would very much like them to publish it, even though it means a smaller royalty for me (compared to self-publishing) because it means a wider distribution. More eyes on the book - and that's worth the trade-off. Why? Because that book will lead new readers to say, "I liked this. What else has she written?" And my entire backlist will get a boost.

So what's up for this year's NaNoWriMo? What book will I work on? Not sure yet. I have that fantasy I keep talking about and would love to get a chunk more written. But there is also a follow-up story to Clara Simpson's and I'm thinking I might like to give that a run. I have a few weeks yet to make my decision, thank goodness!

NaNoWriMo in less than a month - already. Have any ideas about what project you're going to work on?

Play safe,

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