Next steps and a friendly writing PSA

It’s been almost three weeks since I have finished the final edit of Weeping of the Willows. Since then, I haven’t played as many video games I wanted, but I did go down to Indy to attend Mo*Con. And if you’ve been on my FB, you’ve been seeing other ways I’ve been celebrating.

I’m now sitting down and looking at what I need to do to send this novel out. One of the first things I realized was that aside from get my novel out now now NOW, I had no clue where to start, how to do it, when to do it, or what I would be doing while the novel was on submission.

What I needed was to become organized. I needed direction.

I needed a submission tracking system.

Before I went full-time, I used to keep track of all my short story submissions in Outlook. It had been super useful. But then my job became more intense and my short story output sank so low so that I was only able to work on the novel and the occasional short story and novella novelette. Those I were able to keep track through Gmail, Submission Grinder and Habitica.

Now that I’m in my new position at work, I bring my laptop with me for writing, which means I don’t need to work across scattered apps. I also have more time to dedicate towards writing, and I have the headspace to actually plan things. With the novel being done, I need a new record management program, something more robust to keep track of queries and deadlines, and also help me get back into practice of writing and submitting short stories, as well as help me to brainstorm the next large writing project I have.

So I’ve decided to resurrect Outlook. Truth be told, I’ve always had it on my laptop for work related things, but I hadn’t opened my personal PST file since 2014. Initial impressions:

  1. I had a running list of over thirty short stories I had started but never finished. That startled me, because I don’t remember being that prolific in my writing. It’s a nice surprise, and it tells me that I can be that way again.
  2. It was also nice to see that I kept notes on the revisions of the novel. Granted the notes go back to 2014, but still that’s five years that I have been working on the final draft of my novel. It’s nice to have a record of that history.
  3. I’ve completely forgotten how much I changed Outlook to make it work for my needs. I made my own task forms, I created my own custom fields, I created my own views so that I can one click of a button, I could show which stories were being worked on, which stories I decided to trunk, which stories were rejected and needed to be sent out again, and which stories had been accepted. I was an Outlook wizard. Seeing that made me feel good….

…until Outlook saw that I had opened an old folder and rather than wait until I moved the old data to the new folder, it instead updated the folder and in doing so, wiped out all the tracking information and submission notes for every story that I’ve ever done, including the novel notes.

anime-freak-out-gif-8

Okay, so now here’s your friendly writing PSA reminding you that backups are more for just stories. If you use any project management or tracking software, be sure to back those up as well. So after I picked my beating heart off the floor, I turned off Outlook sync, went to my backup, restored the old files, moved them to the proper new folder, turned the sync back on, and now everything is backed up and fine again.

OH DEAR GOD FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY PLEASE BACK UP YOUR SOFTWARE I CAN’T STRESS THIS ENOUGH REALLY I MEAN IT BACK UP YOUR SOFTWARE BACK UP YOUR FRICKEN SOFTWARE GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

So Outlook’s up and running, and according to my novel’s task list, the next step is for me to start researching and compiling a list of editors and agents. How will I do it?

Uhhhh…that would be the next post. Although suggestions would be appreciated (hint hint)

Willow Update: THE LAST ONE (unless it gets picked up)

It’s done.

The final revision of my novel is done.

I’m all done.

I started writing this in 1994. On April 28, 2019, I completed the final revision of the novel. During that time, I wrote, rewrote, tossed out, threw away the novel entirely. Started over. Revised. Finished. Threw it out again. Started over one last time, revised, went through hell, came back, and now it’s done. It came out to 140K, which is a little more than I wanted (I was shooting for 120K), but overall, I’m pleased with the word count.

Second book should be easier now, right? Right? Hello??

Part of me is freaking out and going oh-no-i’m-done-what-do-i-do-now and running around in circles. But the writer me, the short story me, the one who has sent out hundreds of submissions and racked up sales, is grabbing the panicking me and saying, “Stop. You already know the next step. It’s okay. Take a deep breath, do some celebrating, and then, do the thing.”

So I’m taking a week or so off to recuperate. Clean my house. Play some video games. And then there’s some things I need to do:

  • I still need to format my novel, which means compiling it from Scrivener into Word, then spell check and format it.
  • It’s finally, finally time for me to start researching agents.
  • I need to put together a list of said agents. I also have a couple of publishing houses I plan to submit to outright, but it’ll be good for me to look for an agent who can negotiate well.
  • I have to put my synopsis together, which will also include doing one for the whole series. And yes, Weeping of the Willows is the first book in a series (I was hoping a trilogy but I had to split this book in two in the initial draft, so at the least, it’s a 4-book series).
  • Then, the query letter.
  • And lastly, start submitting my book!

I don’t know how long it will take. I don’t know if it will get picked up by a publisher. I don’t know if I’ll run out of options and publish it myself. I don’t even know if I just shrug and say, “well, it was a good learning experience,” and I just never make it public.

But I can honestly say I wrote and finish a novel. That’s a huge thing to celebrate in itself. For all of you who had stuck with me this long, thanks!

In the meantime, I can finally, finally, start considering my next project. Stay tuned!