It's been a heck of a weekend!
Honestly, it's been quite the year for me. I've spent about five years telling myself, "Okay, THIS year I will actually buckle down and decide which self-publishing platform to use and which book to publish and I'll actually do it!" Whereupon I immediately second-guess EVERYTHING and chicken out and it doesn't happen.
That all changed in the summer of 2014, when the Facebook authors' group I was in put forth the idea that, as a group, we would compile and self-publish an anthology of re-told fairy tales (something I had just begun to adore, from authors like Marissa Meyer, Cameron Dokey, and Regina Doman) and--since I really enjoyed the group and there were a few unpublished members like me, so I knew I would be in good company as we all explored this opportunity together--I immediately agreed and resolved that I would meet all deadlines, I would do my best to follow the guidelines, and most of all, I would not back out, no matter what.
Which is how I ended up the "Last Author Standing" about a year later, when the whole anthology idea went to pot without even getting very far off the ground, according to the expectations of some.
But during that year, from the initial agreement, to the abrupt and unforeseen change of plans, I learned a whole lot.
I learned that re-telling a fairy tale was a lot like the way I wrote fanfiction. (In fact, I revealed in my launch party on Facebook this weekend that, at the beginning, when the anthology of re-told fairy tales was proposed, my response was, "Well... I have this Once Upon A Time fanfiction I wrote, based on the Little Mermaid...")
I learned that, while I had basically half a plot from the fanfiction, it was going to need a lot more detail to be my own re-telling, starting with the characters.
I learned that, even when writing a fairy tale, there are some things you do not take for granted, that the reader won't assume everything, and that writing a story requires a lot more thought than just putting words together to amuse oneself.
I learned that there is a lot of freedom in not having to research--but even then, the fabricated circumstances need to follow a logical pattern.
I learned that even when you read something 50,000,000 times... you still miss that dropped "the" or the misplaced comma.
I learned that there are more important things than a princess getting her prince that make a "happily ever after."
I learned that there are ways of saying what needs to be said, without spending a whole lot of words to do it.
I learned that sometimes you have to let go of "really funny" scenes when they don't actually help the story.
I learned a lot about character motivations, and how important it was for them to be understood in the heroes as well as the villains.
I learned quite a bit about what all goes in to a Kickstarter campaign, and how important it is to do your marketing well. (Even if the bulk of one's "marketing" is Hey I am writing a story and it's going to be in an anthology with a bunch of other stories from authors I don't really know but I've read stories by a couple of them and they are really good!)
I learned that self-publishing is a really huge undertaking, and should be regarded with all seriousness and it really helps when the one desiring to self-publish can devote all their energies to it.
By the end of 2015, it was pretty clear that perhaps we as a group had been a little too unprepared and had underestimated the logistical nightmare that is publishing as a group with too many discrepancies as to who precisely is in charge, and what the project would entail. It boiled down to one of the members who offered the services of his own publishing business, but by then, even those of us that remained committed could not withstand the curveballs of life cast at everyone, it seemed, but me. It came down to the realization that the anthology wouldn't happen... Then I get an email from Bill of Endless Press, the small-press publisher who would have produced the anthology.
Him: (paraphrased) I know you were really excited about the anthology, and I'm sorry that it won't happen--but I would like to offer you the option of publishing your novella by itself. Interested?
Me: SURE LET'S DO IT!
I signed the contract in December of last year, and so began a flurry of back-and-forth over GoogleDocs and email, asking all the questions that had bugged me so much and scared me so bad about the publishing process, of defending my thought processes and discovering that maybe the parts that seemed so "clear" to me weren't actually defined very well at all, of discovering even more about the dimensions of my characters, and of being driven nearly to distraction by worrying and wracking my brain over those parts that needed to be changed--but it took almost the entire year to figure out just what needed to change and how I was going to bring it about! Through it all, Bill conducted himself very professionally, and answered all of my questions, waiting patiently as I hemmed and hawed and procrastinated.
And here at last is the fruit of our joint effort. I am so proud, I could cry.
Princess of Undersea is available on Amazon >HERE<
If you use Goodreads, you can also add it to your reading list >HERE<
Lastly, please enjoy this "sneak preview" I put together myself!
Intrigued? I certainly hope so!
Stay tuned for more to come: a BONUS SCENE epilogue, information on what I'll be working on next--there's definitely more to come!
Catch You Further Upstream!