It’s Done, Sort of

I did it!  I finished the first complete draft of my cancer poetry book.

Well, maybe ‘finished’ is the wrong word.  How about, “decided I’d written enough and stopped writing.”  I’ve discovered this with both software engineering projects and writing – you don’t really finish, you just get to a point where you stop working, and ship it.

That’s where I’ve gotten to on the book.  I completed all the poems I had on my list to write and I’ve done a number of editing passes.  Heather has done a couple of editing passes on parts that were in progress and given me valuable input – corrections and suggestions to improve.  I’ve thought about adding more or rearranging the thing, but part of me just needs to be done with this project.

So, I am declaring “done.”

Well, with the first draft phase.  Now it is time for the real scary part of a writing project – sending out for editing, review and general public scorn.  Yes, I specialize in drama and self-criticism.  It’s very easy for me to get into the, “Well I knew it was crap, so I’ll just burn it now,” syndrome when I do get feedback.

I am getting better at it, but it is still work.

I’d very much like to see my manuscript turned into a book you can buy.  I think I know the basic steps, but still – you run into the problem of rejection.  If I send this book around to publishers, likely it will be rejected a lot before anyone would publish it (assuming a publisher exists who would publish it).  I was reading an article the other day that said JK Rowling was rejected something like 33 times before someone would publish Harry Potter. It’s a common theme for a number of very good books – ones much better than mine.

Not sure I am strong enough for that or if I want to take that much time out of my life to write all those query letters, send them, track them, follow-up, etc.  There isn’t much of a market for this kind of writing so what to do?

The other option is self-publishing.  Doable, easy, and just a few dollars out of my pocket and my book could be for sale on Amazon in just a few weeks.  Then my family, friends, fellow bloggers, etc could click and buy it (either the paperback or e-book or if I really had it together, the audio book).  I just might take that route since the purpose of this book was never to get famous, sell lots of books or validate my skill as a poet by getting a traditional publisher to agree to print it.  The point has been to finish it and write what I need to say.

Still, the book is now in that scary state where I have to start showing it to others before I can proceed down either path.  I am a good writer.  Good enough to know that my work can’t be put up for sale without some serious editing by people other than me.  I have family and friends who will edit and give me honest feed back, but at some point I’ll have to send it to professional editor – a thought that scares me.

But, I am not at that point yet.  I am still making a few decisions about where to go from here with the project.  I know many of you have been through this process yourself, if you’ve got any suggestions, please leave me a comment – I’d appreciate any input you have.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress.

I likely won’t be writing much this week as I’ve been at the keyboard a lot the last couple of weeks and need a bit of a break to recharge and think about my next writing project.  I’ve three different projects running through my head and will pick one to start on while the editing wheels turn on my poetry book.

Till next week,
Andrew

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I work in the high tech world doing software release engineering Then I got prostate cancer Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
This entry was posted in Poems, Prostate Cancer, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to It’s Done, Sort of

  1. Hi Andrew. Thank you for liking my poem Breakdown! Best Wishes. The Foureyed Poet.

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  2. restlessjo says:

    Debbie (3 well beings) seems to pretty much echo my thoughts, Andrew. Just remains to wish you luck with whichever way you go. You needed to write it, and you’ve done that, so congratulations. 🙂

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  3. Congratulations and I wish you all of the best in getting published. 😀 I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

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  4. When you speak of needing a break I know what you mean. The only true test of your writing is public acclaim, isn’t it? The rigors of agency rejection are just another form of flagellation on the journey to a greater truth, but really the only way to travel. Self-publishing is not the answer.

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    • Andrew says:

      Possible – but it might not be this book. I’ve got others in my pipeline that might be better suited for that kind of effort. Still, I am sorting through the various small presses that print this kind of thing.

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  5. I am excited you’ve reached this point! Kudos! I think the choice of traditional or self-pub will be yours alone. There are lots of pros and cons on both sides. I eagerly await your decision.

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  6. I don’t know any serious writers naturally endowed with an abundance of confidence, Andrew. Editors are accustomed to that and your job is to find an editor you trust, and then at last temporarily, put your ego on stand-by and just remember they have a stake in the outcome, too, so only want to give you the best of their advice. I wish you well in this process and allow yourself time to take a little pleasure in so much progress. I’ll look forward to the final product.

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    • Andrew says:

      Yup, we writers do seem a fragile bunch sometimes. And I guess that’s the trick – an editor I can trust. While I have couple of trust folks scrubbing my manuscript for obvious errors, I am going to start that search for an editor. Something that at the moment feels a bit daunting, but has to be done. Thanks for your kinds words.

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  7. Congratulations. Best wishes and hope your book is published soon.
    Shine On

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  8. koehlerjoni says:

    I don’t know much about the publishing world, but I do know this. When my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer, all we found to read on the subject were clinical discussions, Q and A type books, and research reports from journals that were extremely difficult for laymen to wade through. I think any source of “human” information about an issue that affects so many people is needed in the world. I wish you all the luck in the world in getting it published. If I had been able to find a book like yours two years ago, I would have clung to it like a port in a storm.

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    • Andrew says:

      Thanks for your kind words.

      Prostate cancer is one of those things that most men don’t like to talk about or write books about. I only know of a handful of blogs on the subject and no books written from the patient’s point of view. I know of a couple of men who have great stories to tell, but have been reluctant to write – even when I offered to ghost write for them. Maybe I can start a trend.

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  9. I’m still in the “gathering” stage, myself, but I applaud your ability to get to the point you are at now. If I can be of any assistance, you know where to reach me….RJV

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    • Andrew says:

      It took a bit of perseverance to keep going. I was ready to give up on the whole thing a couple of times. I’ll be in touch, thanks.

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  10. There is always a market for every book you just have to find it. Good luck with your submissions

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  11. Congratulations on “knowing” you’re finished. Is it pointless to try to self publish material that has already been posted on a blog, I wonder? Do you have any advice re that, Andrew? Thanks!

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    • Andrew says:

      I my case, only a couple of the poems in my book have been published on my blog – mostly just to do a little test to see if anyone would like it. Other than talking generally about the book, very little has been published anywhere else.

      I seriously doubt anyone would pay to reread my blog posts. However, you could use your blog as starting point for additional writing.

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