TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL

3 Sep

Too soon to sit on

Is everyone’s life like mine?  Full of half-finished projects?  This chair was in my childhood home.  When the seat fell apart and had to be ripped out,  I ordered a kit of directions and new cane and started in.  That was July.  It’s slow going.  No sitting on that chair for a while!  

And then there’s the necklace I’m beading for my daughter’s October wedding.  After I make three more leaves, it will be pretty, won’t it?  Ah yes.  All good things take time. 

Also not done: Last Monday, I printed out submission guidelines for five literary journals that accept  memoir.  However, according to my critique readers, the essay about artichokes and getting to the heart of things isn’t ready to send.  Years of writing on that essay, and it’s getting close.  But it’s not quite done.

On Wednesday, my latest book, Second-Chance Summer, was rejected by Albert Whitman.  My very nice editor says she STRONGLY objects to this decision  (Thank you, Wendy, for saying that.) because this is the very book the editors asked me to revise for them in February and I mailed to them in April.  It was to have been the fourth in the Katie Jordan series.  No chance another publisher will be interested, so do I drop it into the drawer with other books in progress?  Wendy suggests I rewrite it with a different protagonist.  Do I want to do that?   Whatever I decide, the book is not yet done.

Well first, I need time to grieve about this.  I love that book.  Kids have asked for more Katie books, and this one, in my opinion, is the best of the four.  Deeper, more developed, more important! than the first three.  I’m biased, heh, heh, but I’m right!

On the other hand, I no longer believe what I learned in Girl Scouts –  that we must always finish what we begin.   I’m now capable of starting to read a book and slamming it closed after fifty pages because it doesn’t hold my interest.   I’ve begun quilting or stitching embroidery projects that for some reason I lost passion for and then gave away — unfinished.  Living with cancer, knowing that my life may not go on forever (true for everyone, but ominously true for those of us who have cancer), I’ve lost patience with that old rule of finishing everything I begin.  “Off with their heads,” the Red Queen shouted when something annoyed her.  Forgive me.  I seem to be turning into a red queen.  

Do I decapitate Second-Chance Summer?

I grieved for my novel through the week, but now that it’s Monday, a new plan is creeping into my brain.   THIS book is surely the perfect candidate for self-publishing.   I don’t yet know how to do that – to create an e-book or one that is Print-on-Demand.  It’s time to learn.  Linda and Liz recommend Amazon’s Create Space, and the Kindle e-book.  The cover will be important, so I’ll contact the illustrator who drew the sweet covers for the three paperbacks.  Will she say yes?  Can I afford her?  Hope so.  

So I’ve decided.  Second-Chance Summer gets its own second chance.  And once it’s published, I’m hoping the other three books will carry the news of it to readers.  

The chair seat, however, may be in danger.  My arthritic fingers are finding that those canes resist more as they tighten and as I move to the later stages of weaving them.   Besides, unlike the essay and the novel, I didn’t build the chair from scratch; it didn’t grow from the tiniest idea into thousands of words, thousands of ideas that needed to be crushed and blended, molded and shaped into coherence.  

Still unwearable

September is the deadline for another unfinished project – this little vest that needs seams and ribbed edges with buttons and buttonholes before the child can wear it.  October 6 is the deadline for the wedding necklace.  As I bead and knit, I’ll puzzle over how to take my essay and my book to the next levels.

Any words of wisdom about self-publishing? 

Are you out there?  I’m listening. 

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12 Responses to “TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL”

  1. Mariana Mace September 3, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    Anne,

    Yes, by all means, explore self publishing. YOU like the book, I like what I know about it, you’ve heard that young readers want one. There you are.

    Unfinished projects – you know where I stand on that. I think living in the present and the future is way better than trying to resurrect the past. And I may be able to show you a trick that would make the chair. If that doens’t work and you really want a finished chair, let SOMEBODY ELSE do it.

    Have fun at Sisters,

    Mariana

  2. Mike Kinch September 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    Sorry about the rejection! I’m surprised they didn’t accept it. Maybe self-publishing is the way to go.

    • annewarrensmith September 13, 2012 at 11:16 am #

      You and I have weathered many dry periods. I’ll let you know what happens with the self-publishing thing if you ever need to go that route. In the meantime, keep those books you’re writing in print! I really like The Blending Time. May there be many more sequels.

  3. Ann Marie Etheridge September 3, 2012 at 11:48 pm #

    Yes, I am out here! And such a thought provoking post, Anne. Four unfinished pieces…chair, necklace, book and vest, themed around half finished projects, with a note about living with cancer. So I made a list, with two columns, “with or without cancer.” I began with your unfinished projects, and added my own list with the same heading. There was little, if any signifiant difference.
    1. Chair…you did not make it from scratch, as you commented. I vote with Mariana to get someone else to finish it.
    2. Necklace…almost done. Lovely gift to finish.
    3. “Second-Chance Summer”, definitely self publish. No need to recreate when kids have asked for more, and your heart tells you it is the best of the four!
    4. Tiny vest…too sweet and adorable to not complete with your own efforts.

    We will all be gifted to hear folks’ commentaries about self-publishing. You have had a REAL publisher, and a reverse concern from most of us out here, hoping to see our work in print.

    Might you share with us the five literary magazines that accept memoir????

    Yet another Red Queen…Ann Marie

  4. Mar September 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    First, my condolences, Anne, on the rejection. I am SO pleased that you are considering self-publishing. I too, recommend createspace. I have published one book for myself there and helped two others do theirs (my mom and our friend Liz). I think you can still do it at no cost. But the most important thing about doing it yourself is that you are the one in control of every decision. After waiting for months and years to hear from editors, I REALLY enjoyed that!

    Publishing is easy; promotion not so much. But traditional publishing requires a lot of work on marketing, too. So, go for self-publisning! You can do it from the comfort of your own office. Createspace keeps improving the process and offers lots of help.

    I really enjoyed your post and am so glad you have decided to blog!

    • annewarrensmith September 13, 2012 at 10:53 am #

      Mar, CreateSpace should hire you. It’s great to hear from someone who has been there. I may call you for help . . .

      • Mar September 13, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

        Yes, I thought later I should have said let me know if you have any questions!

  5. Rebecca Smith September 8, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    As one who has too many unfinished projects to count, I appreciate your words of wisdom about not feeling like i have to finish all of them. Even though many have been tucked away in drawers or pushed to the back of shelves for years, I still have the weight of them not being finished on my shoulders. Before we move next year, it’s time to say goodbye to all but my most favorite. Then i can start more!

    • annewarrensmith September 13, 2012 at 10:51 am #

      Unfinished projects DO weigh us down, don’t they? But, on the other hand, let’s think of rainy days to come, and how we might find the perfect project to work on and maybe even finish. Like money in the bank. It’s the same with the writing in my files — pages and pages waiting for me to discover again. And I can’t help but think that the next time I pull them out, I may see what it is I really wanted to say. Our jotted-down thoughts can become more meaningful in light of what’s going on in our lives right now. I’ve just revised and sent out my essay about artichokes, an essay begun several years ago. So glad it was there in the files. Waiting.

  6. ERNEST rICHTER September 16, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    DEAR A.NNE ……..SINCE I AM CURRENTLY ENGAGED IN ANOTHER CAMPAIGN TO BRING ORDER INTO MY LIFE , I FEEL MILDLY QUALIFIED TO COMMENT ON THE PROBLEM OF UNFINISHED PROJECTS. STEP ONE, I BELIEVE, IS FINDING THE TOOLS USED IN FINISHNG THE PROJECTS. THEREFORE I HAVE SPENT THE LAST HOUR SEARCHING FOR THE GLASSES I WEAR WHEN I USE THE COMPUTER, BUT NOW THAT I HAVE THEM I FIND I HAVE NOTHING WISE TO SAY ABOUT UNFINISHED PROJECTS. ALL I REALLY WANTED TO DO IS VISIT YOUR WEBSITE AND SAY HELLO. ERNIE ( A VERY UNFINISHED PROJECT.)

    • annewarrensmith September 16, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

      Ernie, if YOU are an unfinished project, I’m in excellent company.

      • Ann Marie Etheridge September 16, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

        Great respond to Ernie, Anne. Ernie is one of my favorite people, and
        I cherish the fine writing feedback he gives me on this memoir of mine that
        seeems to go on…and on…and go!

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