After several weeks of health crises and periodic traveling, I'm trying to settle back into some productive work this morning. The medical stuff resolved itself, the awards banquet resulted in several new friends and a very nice bronze medal, and we've taken care of visits with both real family and Lions family. No more excuses!
Yes, I know it's a "holiday," but this is not one a historian can bring herself to celebrate. It's lovely that our postal carrier gets a day off before the onslaught of Christmas-season catalogs, but except for that, I can't bring myself to celebrate this particular escapade. 'Nuff said! I'm not ready to launch into a rant.
So back to the work. Late last night, I put the finishing touches on a new website that celebrates my next publishing venture. I'm working on the final articles for my book on self-publication, and I've vowed not to start any other new projects -- or work on any other old one -- until this one is out the door. The Second Mouse Gets the Cheese: Cracker Crumb Trails through the Thickets of Self-Publishing is on the way!
The book is a compilation of blog posts that trace the journey I've made from writing stuffy academic monographs to learning to be a self-published novelist. It's been quite a trip. I'm not particularly good at taking advice, so I've had to learn my lessons the hard way. I've made a lot of mis-steps, failed to recognize the obvious, over-worried about things that don't matter, and come close to giving up at times. At one point several months ago, I shoved the carton of unsold copies of Beyond All Price into the nearest closet, unwilling even to look at them any more because they represented a year of labor with nothing to show for it. And then! Something clicked! Within the same week, that unsold book received two book awards, and the following week it started to climb the Amazon charts.
I can't now claim to be an expert on writing or on self-publishing. I still have much to learn. But I'm hoping that my experiences will save some of my readers from making the same mistakes I did, and that you will be able to avoid a few of the traps that snagged me.
I know that several of my readers and friends are now gearing up for National Novel Writing Month, which starts in November. I wish you luck, but I won't be joining you this year. That's one of the lessons I've learned: I'm not very good at speed-writing. But while you're cranking out your 1667 words per day, I'll be plodding though an edit of the new book. And when you finish with your keyboard marathon, I hope "The Second Mouse Gets the Cheese" will be ready to tell you what to do with your newly-created 50,000 words.
So there's the goal. I'll be bringing out the book first as a trade paper edition. It will sell for $10.95 and be available both on my websites and on Amazon. That version is for those who want to dog-ear the pages, underline the ideas that strike a familiar note, and write comments in the margins. Shortly thereafter, it will come out as an inexpensive Kindle edition, for all of you who have converted to electronic readers. Look for both to be available before Christmas so that you can give copies to all your writer friends.
For now, you can visit the new Second Mouse website and check out the table of contents. If you like, you can leave your name and contact information in my opt-in box, so that you'll be the first to know when the book is ready. Or, if you like, you can pre-order your copy on the website and save a bit on the retail price. I'll be back here frequently to post some new articles that are going into the book and to report on progress. If there are topics you are really hoping I'll cover, please leave a note in the comments below.