Not feeling well & About publishing

Such a long day ahead of me. It’s only 2:00PM.  I work until 7PM.

I think I need another Relora.  More pain relievers.

Maybe I need to switch to something stronger than Ibuprofen to escape all this… like .. a morphine overdose.

I’m sore in more ways than my body knows how to express.

I managed to get through the entire day yesterday without pain killers or stress reducers or depressants … well, save chocolate.

Today is not so nice to me.

I wonder how I can get my hands on some of that fresh Afghani opium I keep hearing about in lists of things Bush didn’t do right.

My life is not so nice to me.  I won’t talk about most of it, out of courtesy to those involved, but I will talk about some of it here.

I’ve been finally, for the first time, reading about how one goes from author to published author, and it is disheartening and encouraging at the same time – but mostly disheartening.  Definitely need an agent.  I already knew that.  It was part of why I went the self-publishing route, though that is a complex conversation in itself.  Been reading about how to get a good agent, how to apply to agents and agencies at all, and … this is part of the problem.

Most everything I’ve read assumes I’ve got just the one book I’m trying to shop around, and frames how to try to get an agent around trying to find the person to sell that one book.  What I really want to sell is myself as a product; I write books, and since I had my first book self-published roughly 14 months ago I’ve put out three more, and have embarked on an ongoing series with my latest.  I doubt I’ll find a guide that tells me how to express that to an agent in a way that comes across reasonably.

Worse than that, all these guides think I should know what my book is about and – they emphasize this more, and it is more of a problem – what books/authors on the market are similar to my book.  And to be able to select agents based on their having represented similar work before.  And to be able to express what my book is about in a sentence, two max.

And I don’t know how to do that.

Do you?  Have you read my book(s), and know how to sell them (sell me as an author) in one or two sentences?  Let me try:

Lost and Not Found details one man’s journey all the way from being laid off from his mundane corporate job to becoming the author he truly dreams to be by following his attempt to write his first novel within the challenging timeframe of only four weeks.  As his story unfolds we get to read what he is writing and can see the relationship between the author and his work unfold until his life literally unfolds around him.

Dragons’ Truth is not just the coming-of-age story of a boy who meets a dragon and the way the dragon’s teachings change his life, but also represents a sort of allegory about some of the problems with the separation of the common man from higher education and the world of academia.  It is suitable for young readers as well as adults.

Untrue Tales From Beyond Fiction – Book One is an introduction to a series of books that take place in a world where magic and psychic-like powers exist but are overlooked by most people, and centers on a teenage boy of remarkable magical and mental powers as he is introduced to a world that had been hidden from him his entire life by ignorance.  This series is not intended for younger readers, and Book One alone details issues such as the boy’s burgeoning sexuality, a teenage pregnancy and attempted abortion, a violent and potentially deadly magical attack, and a mysterious kidnapping.

How’s that sound?  Am I getting worked up over nothing?  Are these descriptions too ‘salesy’?  Too long?  Too brief?  Too vague?  Too specific?  Should I mention that LaNF ‘contains some fantasy elements’, or would that pigeonhole it?  Should I use Larry and Trevor’s names in the descriptions of the books they’re in?  Am I finally getting better and describing my books?  And once I get past this step, how long until I stop worrying about being able to sell my work?

Because here’s another problem:  My books are already published, sortof.  I mean, obviously, you can order them online as e-books or as paperbacks, and I’ve sold (some to myself, to gift) dozens of copies of my books in paperback to people in person.  And I don’t have the distribution channels or armies of sales reps or a publicist (or a budget) to get my ‘published’ books into the market the way traditional publishers do, and that’s a lot of the point of pursuing a traditional publishing route; to get the books out where people can buy them so I can make some money so I can write full time.

But how do I position them to agents, and how do they position them to editors?  Can I just give them finished, bound copies of the books along with a letter explaining what I’ve already begun, and that I’m definitely open to further revisions?  My guides so far all suggest sending queries and pages via FedEx or equivalent, so if I’m spending that much just to get a letter to them, the extra cost of a paperback book versus a few printed pages is absorbable.  And would it create a problem, or make me stand out better?  I obviously don’t want to send out a free book with every query letter, but for agents I was seriously interested in, the benefit of winning the agent is far, far greater than the cost of the book and the shipping.  And perhaps by explaining the POD status of my books and offering a free copy of the title of his or her choice in my query that will be handled reasonably, eh?

I said there was something encouraging too, didn’t I?  I wonder what it was.  Maybe that I’ve gotten farther than most by actually finishing more than one book, by actually doing reasonable copyediting already, by being a different sort of person than the authors the editors and agents and publicists and such are writing about having to deal with in important ways like having patience and understanding that I’m not the only author they’re working with and that it’s all about making money.  Once I get in, the publishing industry should love working with me.  Convincing someone that my books will make money…  Hmmm…

I suppose I’m calmer now than I was at the start.  I’ve been working on this between working (our database is running extra-slow today) for almost three hours now, I should be.  The pain relievers weren’t working after the first hour so I took more, and that seemed to help.  I should probably have taken more Relora, too.  Anyway, I’m going to keep researching getting published, and very soon I’m going to start making a long list of agents I’d like to represent my work, so that I can start applying to them.  Maybe no Gamecube in January – maybe my money will be going to sending out queries.

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Author, artist, romantic, insomniac, exorcist, creative visionary, lover, and all-around-crazy-person.

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