Transition: From editor to author…

No, I’m not quitting my day job. If you’ve hung around here for awhile, you may have seen me talk about my self-editing workshop, Before You Hit Send, or may have heard some of the authors who’ve taken it talk about it. Well, after giving the online version for a year and a half, and having participants ask me about PDF versions, I’ve realized the next natural incarnation of this is a book. I’ve been planning it for awhile, already have a lot of extra material not in the workshop ready (or planned) for the book. But what I don’t have, is a publisher.

See, Carina doesn’t do nonfiction, and Harlequin does a broader scale of nonfiction for women, and my project definitely falls in the niche category. I believe there’s a market for it, and that I have a pre-existing platform. And I have the material, 2/3 of a manuscript and um, lots of time to work on the project (sarcasm, people!) So, naturally the next step is to find a publisher. I thought it might be interesting for some of you authors out there to hear someone from within the industry running through the exact same process you do.

Step 1: I have the book… Now what?

Here are some of the questions I’ve been asking myself… Should I get an agent, someone who specifically deals with nonfiction projects? I don’t even know if an agent would take me on for one, very niche project, but an agent who specializes in nonfiction would definitely know more about the publishers I need to approach than I would, since I live mostly in the fiction world.

Or…should I do my research and find a list of publishers who have published this type of book before, and send them a query and proposal?

And..if I do that, do I utilize my contacts so I don’t go through the normal slush pile process, or do I go through the regular submissions process?

Should I self-publish? I have a platform and a brand, and the percentages are lovely… For what it’s worth, I ruled this out almost immediately, though after serious consideration. I don’t have the time or the energy to do all of the things myself a publisher can do for me: a qualified editor, cover art, formatting–especially formatting for a nonfic project–sales venues, etc. I’m someone who needs and wants a publisher, and not just because I essentially AM a publisher but because I just can’t even contemplate doing it myself. It makes me want to curl into a small ball and sob.

Or maybe I should just slap it all together into a PDF and give it away to those people who take my course, and not worry about publishing it:?

So there you go, some pretty normal, “I have a book, now what should I do” questions. Maybe it doesn’t make you feel better to know that someone in the industry goes through the same process you do, but we all know…publishing is hard! There’ are no easy answers. And what’s the right answer for me won’t necessarily be the right answer for you. That makes it even harder, doesn’t it?

 

 

Computer catastrophe

As many of you who follow me on Twitter know, I had a computer catastrophe yesterday in the form of a hard drive failure on my MacBook. The computer started giving me the spinning beachball of death around 11am, and no amount of restarting, repairing of permissions or otherwise would get it to let me run even one program for more than a few minutes. Thus, we road trip’d to the nearest Genius Bar last night (depressing that I had to go to the Apple store and my trip didn’t end with an iPad2), only to be told that my hard drive was “in really bad shape”. So bad that they didn’t even want to try and wipe and reformat it. They just want to replace it. Unfortunately, they didn’t have one of my drives in stock, so it had to be sent out for repair and I may not have it back until next week. Mac withdrawals!

There are several pieces of good news here. The first is that I’m a freak about maintaining good backups. Backing up is actually its own lesson in my Before You Hit Send Self-Editing Workshop, I think it’s that important. And since I practice what I preach, I’m fortunate to have backed up my iTunes files to Josh’s computer, have my entire hard drive backed up by Carbonite, and have all of my important, must-be-able-to-access files on Dropbox. So I can continue to work (on a backup PC laptop we had) while my computer is being fixed. Any lost time comes in having to set up the new computer, not from lost files.

The second good news is that I had bought Apple Care for my MacBook before the warranty expired last year. It seemed like an expensive investment to me, but Kassia Krozser @booksquare had told me when I bought the Mac to be sure to get Apple Care. So I did, and I’m extremely glad. Instead of having to pay for the new hard drive (and possibly new CD drive, as that wasn’t working properly either), everything was covered under Apple Care. That made things a little better.

The last piece of good news is that we are a multi-laptop family and I do have something else I can work on, and take with me when I leave on my travels on Friday. Now that I’ve mostly got this laptop set up with all of my most-used programs, I can get some actual work done the next few days. Whew!

So, all around, although I did have a computer crash that’s taken up the better portion of two workdays in time lost, it could have been much, much worse on any number of levels. Please take it from me: back up your computer today (yes, a computer crash can and will happen to you. It’s practically inevitable) and if you don’t have AppleCare on your Mac, and it’s still under a year since you bought the Mac, please go invest in Apple Care!

Cooking the Books: @BookEndsJessica’s Pink Vodka Sauce

A tried and true recipe from Jessica Faust of BookEnds Lit Agency. She said she had a lot of recipes to choose from, but this one is such an old favorite that she had to share it.

Pink Sauce
–typically called Vodka Sauce, but when you have kids everything comes down to color.
Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter
1 medium onion diced
1 medium carrot, grated finely
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 cup vodka
2 28-ounce cans of whole tomatoes, diced.
2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
Directions:

1. Heat butter in a large heavy pan. When bubbles have ceased add onion and carrot and saute until soft, about 10 minutes.

2. Add garlic. The more you mince the garlic the stronger the garlic flavor. I like using a garlic press. Add thyme and red pepper. Cook for about 1 minute.

3. Add vodka and cook down until almost dry. About 10 minutes.

4. Add diced tomatoes with their juices. Simmer uncovered 30 minutes.

5. Add cream. Simmer uncovered 30 minutes.

6. Salt and pepper to taste.

We typically serve over a pasta like ziti or penne and I love to serve roasted eggplant on the side.

Jessica Faust is a literary agent and owner of BookEnds Literary Agency where she represents a number of award-winning and bestselling authors in the areas of romance, mystery, women’s fiction, young adult, fantasy and nonfiction.

Jessica has been a regular columnist with Romantic Times magazine and taught at New York University’s Continuing Education Program, been recognized as Agent of the Year by the NYC Romance Writers of America chapter, and maintains daily blog posts on the BookEnds Lit Agency blog where she regularly dispenses advice on publishing.

You can contact Jessica directly through the BookEnds web site at www.bookends-inc.com  or follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BookEndsJessica.

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