So I go to check my email the other day and what do I find at the top of the list but an email from Baen Books. It took me a few seconds to figure out what it was all about. Then I remembered: about a year ago, I sent them a copy of the The Hall of the Wood for review; the email was a rejection of my novel. I think their guidelines mention "about a year" on their response times, so give them points for sticking to that. But it was still a bit of a shock to (finally) get a response back, especially since I'd forgotten I'd even sent my novel to them!
I wonder: why do we put up with such lengthy response times?
The easy answer is because we have to if we want to see our work in print. It's just one of the realities of the publishing industry.
The long answer is that we really don't have to put up with it at all. There are other mediums in which to publish our work: self-publish, POD, Amazon Kindle, our own web sites or blogs, our MySpace page, Facebook, lulu.com... the list goes on.
But this approach lacks something: validation. Anyone can write. Anyone can think their writing is good. But to have someone else read our "stuff" and approve... that's what we're striving towards. That's the golden apple. Not to mention we get something else that's critical to the success of our writing success: the marketing and resources of a "real" publisher. Now, maybe money isn't important to you, but for those of us who have hopes of someday doing the writing thing full-time, it's paramount.
So we put up with publishers' response times. Fortunately, most are much quicker than Baen's one year.
One year and two days ago as I write this, I first offered my fantasy novel, The Hall of the Wood, as a shareware download on my web site. The 'experiment', as I called it, has, I think, been a success. Over 2200 downloads, numerous comments (mostly positive), a (very small) amount of money received in payments. OK, not a smashing success, but a worthwhile endeavor nonetheless.
I was going back and looking at The Hall of the Wood and I realized something: it lacks presentation. I basically threw out the same copy I was sending to agents and publishers. They want a certain font and double-spaced lines and other stuff, whereas a reader probably wants to see something a bit more presentable and, most important of all, readable.
As of now, wonder or wait no longer, for I have re-packaged The Hall of the Wood into a most presentable work of fiction. Some minor changes here and there, but mostly just new fonts, cleaned up the headers and footers, slapped a new cover page on there, and some other tweaks. The end result is a more presentable product.
If you haven't downloaded The Hall of the Wood yet, feel free to do so now. I've dispensed with most of the requests for donations at this point. It's out there, for free, so download at your leisure. I always appreciate comments, good or bad.
Yep, getting back to it. The "it" being writing and my pursuit to get published. The software consulting project I was involved with for the past so many months is over, I just finished Robin Hobb's Renegade's Magic, and things are just getting back to normal all around. So normal, in fact, that I actually found some time to work on the first revisions of the rough draft of my second novel over the past weekend. I didn't make much progress, but I've started the process, and it feels good.
Also, I've dropped most of the pitch concerning my first novel, The Hall of the Wood. It's still in my fiction section, ready for download, but I've dispensed with much of the shareware idea. I did receive a small amount of money from a few readers, and for that I'm thankful. Hopefully it's a sign of the future when people will pay money for a real, physical book of mine. That being said, the "donate" button is still there, but I'm not forcing it on anyone. I still want people to download my book, and if someone wants to throw a buck or two my way, thanks. But there's even less obligation now than there was before.
Now, back to writing...