So I was all set to write a silly little post about my CT scan and playing Sorry! while drinking with friends, when I log into Twitter and it's blowing up about Ray Bradbury. I don't have details yet, but he appears to have died last night or this morning. Most of my reading of Bradbury's work was done when I was just starting high school. For me, his work was one of the first that felt truly poetic. The imagery was strong but not overwrought, and he told fantasies and fairy tales and morality plays that drew pictures in my mind that are still there today. I remember reading "The Veldt" and getting shivers. "Something Wicked This Way Comes" still has a place on my pared-down bookshelves, and I pull it out every time I want to bathe in that golden light of a child's summer. "The Martian Chronicles", "Dandelion Wine" - the list seems endless. I remember "The Small Assassin" as the first story that really gave me honest chills, especially since he claimed in the forward that he remembered things from when he was just days old, lending veracity to the story. The man was a mountain in the SF/F community, deeply hued and populated with children and adults fair and foul, dark and light. The man's legacy is astounding and humbling. Time to pull out that slim tattered paperback and dive into summer.
I'm fortunate enough to live in the lower half of a duplex, so for me, summer is often cool and breezy on the inside even when it's damp and burninating on the outside. The last few days have been like that, fans barely lifting the curtains. The morning came earlier than I wanted, mainly because the porch light outside my bedroom window stabs me all night through with fluorescent daggers. I need to get to Target for blackout curtains. Anyway, today was my first CT scan since going off chemo. It mostly passed me by with not much more than a wibble to my morning. I'm more annoyed that I had to drink contrast fluid (gross) and now need to drink about twice my normal water intake to flush it all out. The news will probably be good. If not, then ... not. I'll deal with it. Today's book stuff included looking at the summary from the editor, for which the lovely Dari is advancing me a loan. I'm very positive about this, and look forward to making the book even better than it currently is. I also got to pick and choose some aspects of the online marketing campaign, and was delighted to find that I can do most of them myself. I need to get this blog moved to www.akuzenski.com, and also get the website itself up and running. I'm lucky to be able to go to friends for this sort of thing. I'm hoping that I can discuss the trailer video with my videographer friend this weekend, and potentially have the kickstarter campaign taking donations by the end of June. It's amazing what happens when you finally decide to do something, committing [...]
Lots of things have been going on lately, all of them good. I think. First off, I am well on my way to creating and starting a plan to self-publish my first novel, Prisoner of War. Title negotiable, but I haven't heard a better idea. I've met with a publisher that bills itself as a "mentoring publisher". The selling point is that they try to make it easier for authors to self-publish. One major con is that they want a chunk of change up front, and I'm not sure I really need the hand-holding. I certainly know more about what I'll need to do and who I need to contact. I am planning on working up a budget spreadsheet (dear lord grant me the patience to do this right), and once the cash figure is focused, I can start the kickstarter campaign. But before I do *that*, I need to have the campaign ready to go. I need a book trailer video, text for the campaign web page, and thank you prezzies all lined up pretty and perfect. I have fuzzy plans for the vid, but I have already lined up a huge resource for that part. The text should be easy. The prezzies have been trickling into my brain. Things are actually moving. I'm so freaking excited that I'm actually going to do this, I can hardly sleep. It's awesome.
I mentioned the marketing/publishing lady in my last post - things have progressed since then. I'm meeting her this Friday to discuss actual pricing and meet with a potential editor. Holy crap, things are moving fast. 0.0 I'm also looking into Kickstarter and other crowd-sourcing websites that may be able to help me pull the money together to do this the way I want to without acquiring more debt. It involves a lot of creativity, as well as skills I don't have but have access to via my friends. I am both extremely excited and deer-in-headlights terrified. On another note, I'm going to try to work some reviewing into this blog, since I do so much reading. I'm working my way through Anathem by Neal Stephenson again, but that may not be the easiest starting point. We'll see. I'll at least post *about* the novel, which I love enough to have in hardcover format. More to come.
The conversations with Dari the publishing facilitator have gone well enough that I'm actually starting to total up the amount of money I'd need to do this. And wow, it is in no way pretty. Good cover art is, in my mind, totally essential. I have more than one book that I stopped to examine and eventually buy 100% due to the cover art. I've seen plenty more that made my brain gag a bit that could have easily been good novels, but I didn't spare a second glance due to the horrid design on the cover. Bottom line - I'm not going cheap on the cover. It could make or break a project. Cover art and design: $500 - $1000 Editing is another essential. No one writes the perfect novel on their first try, and *everyone* can benefit from a skilled editor who understands the genre, points out logical problems, and clears the work of clutter. Professional editor: at least $50/hour Next up, typesetting. This is something I could probably do myself easily, if I were willing to put in the time and purchase the software. However, I have no experience other than reading a lot myself. Not sure that's enough. Typesetting: at least $50/hour And finally, something I know very little about: marketing. The use of a professional planner coupled with the nearly incalculable worth of that person's network is again, something I shouldn't skimp on. Marketing plan: $500 - $1000 I may be eating ramen for a while.
I've got a lunch appointment with a publisher today. Or rather, a publishing facilitator. We'll see how this goes. The woman is obviously a sales type and very excited about working with me. She's bringing in a typesetter as well. Of course, I'm going into this with a healthy dose of skepticism. I do not want vanity publishing. First off, I can't afford such a thing. Second, the idea makes me feel like I'm cheating. If I can't do this on my own merits, I shouldn't do it. But of course, I'm also full of anticipation. I would do a dance of joy to get published and have people read my brain. It's the dream of every wannabe author. I've been writing bits and bobs since I was 14 or so, and even though the early stuff was all Mary Sue and silly stale tropes, it was always something I really wanted to do. It makes me wish I'd done creative writing in college rather than theater. It's really what I'm suited to. Anyway, results forthcoming. I'll have more information after that meeting, and I'm glad of it.
Which sounds like rhyming slang for writer's *block*, but that's not the purpose. Hopefully, it will not end up as a new method of cat waxing for me, but we'll see. I'm an unpublished author, looking to remove the modifier. I actually have an appointment this week with a company that facilitates self-publishing, but I am also seeking traditional representation. We'll see how all this goes. More to come later, of course. I'll have excerpts and bits and bobs on the writing of things later on.