Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Non-Post Post

This post is about not succumbing to the pressure to post just for the sake of posting something. If I post three times in a month, I’m doing well. I feel comfortable with that. The biggest obstacle to posting more often is that I never know what to talk about, so I ramble on about the first thing that comes into my head. This also happens in other social situations—and yes, blogging is every bit as social.

Yeah, as I’m approaching someone who I see standing alone in a group, I’m thinking of all the nifty conversation openers I’ve learned through the years—Get them talking about themselves being at the top of the list—but is that what I do? Noooo. I start blathering on about some ridiculous nonsense (usually self-deprecating humor delivered in about three hundred words without a breath between sentences) just to distract both of us from the awkwardness of talking to someone we are only marginally acquainted with, if at all. Not that it isn’t a perfectly legitimate way to socialize—Okay, aside from the wide-eyed, ‘what the heck is wrong with this chick? gawks—it works well in a forget-about-my-dignity, maybe-I’ll-never-see-them-again-anyhow sort of way, and it keeps me from having to come up with something substantial. And if my husband is in the mix, we’ve been known to devolve into a sideshow. The interaction—and I use that term loosely—may last less than five minutes—probably less than the time it took you to read this post. But it exhausts me for the rest of the day…

So, that’s really why I don’t post more often—aside from not knowing what to write about. Any suggestions? Anyone want to tell me a little about themselves so I can practice being a good listener? 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Who Are You?

Imagine you have washed ashore with a handful of strangers on a tiny uninhabited island in the middle of nowhere—stripped of everything. How would you be identified? Visit Rhemalda’s blog to read my first post, and ask yourself, “Who am I—really?”

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Sparkly New Title!

I just wanted to give an update on what’s happening with my novel. I’ve had several conversations with Rhemalda, via phone, Instant Messaging, and—new to me—Skype. After the initial awkwardness of seeing and being seen, Skyping wasn’t as scary as I imagined—turned out that the folks at Rhemalda look like my own species (though my face kept doing stupid things in the corner)!

Then there was choosing an author photo, almost as dreaded as the author bio. I have that stuff on my About J.B. Chicoine page right above, but, I don’t know, it just feels different putting that on an Author Page with a publisher. Suddenly all my potential photos look too goofy or too come-hitherish. When I read the bio for my blog, it seems silly, but the one I’ve submitted for my ‘official’ page sounds flat an uncompelling—or maybe it’s just me!

The real fun was picking out my official title! After an intensive, late night IM-ing session between me, the publisher, my editor (love how that sounds) and cover designer, we came up with some strong possibilities. The next morning none of them felt right—then I had an epiphany! Okay, it was more like my husband saying, “What about that one on the original list—but just the first word?—you know, Uncharted. It fits so many aspects of the story and it’s nautical. It’s got punch” to which I said, “Yay Todd!”

So, there it is, officially, the name of my debut novel, to be published on October 1, 2012.

Story for a Shipwright

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Publishing Contract!

This announcement actually makes a pretty nice follow-up to my last post on Persistence. I just signed a contract with Rhemalda Publishing for Story for a Shipwright! For a while now, I’ve been on the verge of self-publishing because I love the idea of having complete control over my work. But for my first venture into publishing, I hoped for the support of a traditional publisher. Given my cross-genre issues, and my increasing squeamishness with the Big House Publishers, I decided on the Small Press route. Rhemalda has a reputation for working very closely with their authors, which is the primary reason I chose them. I’m really excited to have progressed this far—follow-through does eventually pay off!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


So, you’ve heard about writers sending out queries to dozens of agents and receiving dozens of rejections. Rejection is part of the getting published gig. And not just dozens of rejections—I don’t even want to say how many I received over the course of nearly four years. I sent my first STORY FOR A SHIPWRIGHT query in December of ’08 and received my last rejection in August this year. I won’t say how many—lets just round down to 200. And it wasn’t that my query wasn’t strong (okay, probably my first 25-50 were terrible!) or the story was awful. I received an encouraging amount of requests for partials and my full manuscript with a lot of very positive feedback—just no takers. The problem? The market; that and my story didn’t fall into a tidy genre. I was told “this kind of well-made novel is almost impossible to sell in this horrible market”...“especially in these recessionary times.  It's that old thing about deserving to be published, but not yet being published.”

Yeah, it’s been really discouraging. I can’t say that it didn’t undermine my feelings about my novel and my writing abilities—I wondered if all the disappointment and battered self-esteem was worth it. Yet, it seemed that with all the time I had invested, I should follow through on my plan—if I’ve lacked in skill and knowledge of how the industry works and what genres are ‘salable’, I do make up for it in persistence. A large part of me feels the need to follow through once I’ve made a commitment. I’ve always maintained that I will publish one way or the other, and I’ll be proud of that. If nothing else, I know that we writers are a rare breed that combines imagination with commitment and courage. That’s a pretty cool distinction!

My motto has become: Just keep moving forward—and whatever you do, don’t look down!

This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Group, sponsored by Alex J. Cavanaugh.