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Posts Tagged ‘Fallen Cloud Saga’

Kurt R.A. GiambastianiBack when I had a writing career, I was given some advice. I was having lunch with my agent and the editor of the Science Fiction Book Club. (My first novel, The Year the Cloud Fell, had been a featured alternate at SFBC.) When the conversation swung around to my work, the editor said, “your books have too much history.” My agent nodded, sagely, as if this was the most obvious thing in the world.

I’m very good at not reacting immediately to bad news. It’s a defense mechanism, really. Treat me with rudeness or disrespect, tell me my dog died, or drop a pithy little bomb like “your books have too much history,” and I shut down. The smile stays up. The amenities and little etiquettes are still observed. Platitudes and small talk continue to be exchanged. “How nice.” “It was a pleasure meeting you.” “Until next time.”

Meanwhile, my inner child is weeping, my reptilian brain has fled for a safe, dark corner, and my intellect has gone all blue-screen on me.

“Too much history”? That’s like telling Mozart his music has “too many notes.”

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Since my most recent book is self-published, some doors are closed to it. Most newspapers won’t look at it; most reviewers won’t consider it. To an extent, I understand this. I mean, let’s be realistic…there’s a lot of crap out there in the self-published world and they don’t want to be neck-deep in it. Restricting the input to mainstream publishers is an easy, broad brush stroke way to keep the crap to a minimum. E-books have an even harder time.

Likewise, most awards are heavily weighted toward the mainstream publishing world. The exception to this, at least in genre fiction, are the smaller, “niche” awards. I’ve allowed myself to dare to dream, and have submitted Beneath a Wounded Sky to two such awards.

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Well, that two week’s vacation went by in a blitz. It was very productive, with the last two books of the Fallen Cloud Saga hitting the streets, but boy, could I have used another week…or month.

Now that the hardcopies are available, I realize I have made a classic mistake. It’s all part-and-parcel of the difficulty in switching from my author hat to my publisher hat. The author in me just wants to get the book out there and get it into reader’s hands. The publisher (an admittedly weaker part of me) wants to get the best release, the best buzz, and the best notice which helps get the book into more readers’ hands.

So, this classic mistake is to rush “to print” at the detriment of any sort of planning and release strategy.

But all is not lost.

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I am not a procrastinator, in general, but I do indulge in what some might call “creative prioritization.” You know: the fun stuff first, the not-so-fun stuff next, the tedious and boring bits dead last. I can euphemistically refer to this as putting the “most bang for buck” items up front or go all corporate and say I’m going for “the low-hanging fruit” first, but I’m not fooling anyone, least of all myself.

I’m just delaying the inevitable, and in editing, the inevitable includes the dreaded, stupefying, and largely useless practice of Spell-check and Grammar-check. I’d skip the whole damned process if it consistently came up with nothing, but it doesn’t.

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Yesterday (okay, very early this morning) I submitted the final content for FC books IV and V to the CreateSpace “submission review” process. As I’ve mentioned before, this process finds a lot of formatting errors such as text beyond margins, low-DPI graphics, unembedded fonts, and so forth. It’s a good review process, and it encourages the author—through feedback, easy-to-follow help guides, and forum discussions—to submit the highest quality work to achieve the highest quality product.

Up ’til now, I’ve assumed this was a mechanical review process, but after the response I got today, I’m not so sure.

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Kurt R.A. GiambastianiI’ve fallen down on the job, here. My excuses are many and diverse—I’m on vacation, I caught a cold, the Giants are in the NLCS—but I can still say that I’ve kept my priorities straight. I may not have posted here each weekday (my stated goal), but I did spend time every day editing my MSS for the Fallen Cloud Saga re-release. So, there’s that, anyway.

In re-editing the MSS for FC:I-FC:IV, however, I noticed two distinct patterns.

The first pattern I noticed was an increase in my cockiness as an author. This is not a good thing as it led to stupid artifice and ill-thought-out departures from established conventions. I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten over that one, as I’m now correcting all those “artistic decisions.”

The second pattern was a decrease in editorial attention. This, also, is not a good thing. Unfortunately, the two patterns exacerbate each other—the cockier I got, the less my editor cared to work with me, and vice versa. It’s a chicken-and-egg argument, determining which came first, but I also know that by the time we got to FC:IV, the publisher had decided my numbers weren’t good enough and closed the book on the series, my editor was looking for a career change, and I was the last one to know any of it.

So, what does increased editorial disinterest look like? (more…)

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Kurt R.A. GiambastianiI’m on vacation, so naturally, I am working on my book(s).

My wife chides me. Work has been in a furor for over a month and I haven’t had a day off in three solid weeks, so what do I do on my first day off? I finish the edit on FC:III and start the copy-edit/formatting process. This is fun? This is gearing down? This is taking time off from work to…work?

Actually, yes, it is.

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