First of all, as you may know, I've spent 2011 trying to get my third novel Badge published or represented by an agent. This has not come to fruition. It hasn't been for lack of trying. I've submitted the query for Badge to 103 agents, eight indie publishers and a couple of contests/grants. Some people rejected the novel because its subject matter would make it a difficult sell. Others found Badge, the main character, unsympathetic. I've taken this latter criticism to heart and have gone back in to find ways to make him more palatable. The thing I like about rejection (there isn't much) is it can awaken me to problems with the book, which I can fix, thereby making it stronger. The same exact problem surfaced with Hote late in the writing of both of my previous novels. I always leave my characters a little too edgy. I want them to be a little abrasive because I want them to get your attention; there's nothing worse than a character who does too little. Also, it's fairly easy to roll back abrasiveness, which usually just involves a deletion or line change here or there, and more difficult to make a character more active and in-your-face, which for me requires complete scene rewrites. So, I've gone back into the novel and rolled back some of Badge's edginess. (Don't worry, he's still edgy.)
Also, Badge is still out there at several indie publishers, and there's a grant I'm still hoping to corral with it.
So, what's my plan for Badge moving forward? I could give up and self-publish Badge right now. This is about when I gave up looking for a publishing partner for Ghost Notes, and I would certainly like to get Badge to my loyal readers, who have been good enough to let me know they're waiting for it. This would be a relief on many levels.
But here's the deal. These novels take too long to write, and I can't just self-publish book after book and expect to grow my readership. I need help on the marketing end, if I can get it. So I've decided I will also dedicate 2012 to finding Badge a publisher. I need to exhaust every possibility of letting someone else publish this thing before I go it alone again.
The worst part of this decision is that my readers will have to wait another year to get their hands on Badge. This sucks, but that's how it is. I don't like that there are people out there dying to read Badge, but I can't sell this thing short. It's too good, and it's too important to me.
Still, loyal reader, I will make this guarantee to you right here, right now:
One way or another, Badge will come out in 2013.
I know that's not much consolation, but it's something. I can even see a scenario where Badge is out in the first quarter of 2013, but I reserve the right to change my mind that. Stuck Outside of Phoenix came out in 2003, Ghost Notes in 2008. Publishing Badge in 2013 would mean I'll be publishing a novel every five years, and that seems the least you can ask of me.
So 2013, one way or another.
As far as other writing goes, I've had my most prolific year ever. (Funny how that happens when you're not tied to writing a novel.) I will complete 52 writing projects in 2011--yes, one per week--and I've already published about half of them. I still have many short stories and nonfiction pieces out there in the world, looking for homes. My guess is you'll be seeing some of them in the first part of 2012 at The Nervous Breakdown and elsewhere. You can bet I'll keep you posted on all of my exploits here at the blog, at my website, at my Facebook page, and through Twitter.
Other good news? 2012 will see the production of Stuck Outside of Phoenix the Movie! Filming is scheduled to start in early 2012, and it should be in the can by May. More on this in the next week or so.
I also have an idea for a new novel, which I'll start in January, and all kinds of essay projects planned. You can expect long personal essays on things like Van Halen, YouTube, and watching Van Halen on YouTube. And maybe a few more things about Van Halen and YouTube.
So, enjoy the holiday season, and know I'll be around in 2012 doing what I do. Drop me a line if we haven't touched base in a while, unless you're going to chastise me about Badge not coming out until 2013. Okay, even if you are.
Yours in laying down the law,
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