Friday, July 3, 2009

The Beauty of a Break

Ghost Notes the Audio Book is now available! You can order it here.

As you might imagine, I spend a lot of time thinking about the publishing industry. It's undergoing change, just like every form of business--certainly every form of the entertainment business. Music, movies, books, TV--as disparate as they seem at times--they're all just forms of entertainment, ways for people to while away a little time.

I'm in the final stages of writing my third novel, Badge, or Good Night to the Rock 'n' Roll Era, and it's better than anything I've written. It's longer than anything I've written. It's deeper than anything I've written. It's the novel that I couldn't even imagine writing 12 years ago when I started seriously pursuing the novel form. That's what working on your craft for a decade or so gets you: somewhere you wouldn't have been able to imagine getting to otherwise.

Naturally, I'm excited to get the show on the road, to get this thing out to agents and editors as soon as possible. After all, my previous attempts at getting published haven't gone so well. This novel feels special, like it might be the one that will push me over the edge and into the traditional publishing realm.

But I'm reminded of what happened with my first two novels. With similar excitement, I got my queries together and got the novels out there for the industry to see. This process involves a great deal of waiting, so while I waited to hear from prospective agents I edited the manuscript again. Annoyingly, in both cases, I found elements of the novel that really needed changing--which meant agents and editors were seeing a less-than-perfect version of my work.

And neither novel got published traditionally.

Couple this with an industry that seems to be in complete flux, and an industry that seems to accept less and less non-genre fiction all the time, and putting a less-than-perfect version of this thing in an agent's hands doesn't strike me as the wisest move I would ever make. These people are inundated with queries from people who want what I want, and they're looking for any excuse to say no. I can't afford to hand them one on a silver platter.

Ergo, I think I'm going to wait.

The current draft of Badge, or Good Night to the Rock 'n' Roll Era will be finished in September. At that point, I think I'm going to put the thing away for a month or two, do what I can to forget it exists, get away, do some traveling, move on to some other projects. Then, in December maybe, I'll give the whole thing one last read and see what pops out. If it's anything like my last two, there will be something--and I'm not talking a word here or there, something substantial, like the ending--that I would want to alter before anyone sees it.

There's nothing like a little break to make you see a thing more clearly.

Yours in laying down the law,


Buy Ghost Notes, the novel or brand new audio book.

Buy Songs from Memory, the album

Buy Stuck Outside of Phoenix, the novel

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