Manuscript update

Sorry for the delay in posting. Time to get this manuscript published! I have two potential agents that have not responded, but I’m frankly tired of waiting so I’ve decided to move ahead. I have a beautiful cover, designed by some very talented friends, so that’s done. I need to find a copy editor to give the document a final scrubbing so if you know one, let me know. I named my “publishing house” and I bought ISBN numbers (I read that if you let the self-publishing service choose the number, that it actually belongs to them), I’m looking at the formatting and at the pricing structures in the meantime. I’ve gotten lots of good feedback on CreateSpace and so that’s what I’m going to use. I’ll write more updates as I have them!

Quick Update on the Manuscript

Drum roll….. the manuscript is officially on its way to a potential agent! I made final edits, added a prologue, and sent it off with all fingers and toes crossed. In an attempt to continue to build “buzz” for the book, I will continue to “tweet” regularly (my handle is martyalmquist) and will also continue to work on using social media for marketing without having it drive me crazy. This blog has now become an important part of my “escapism” to Paris so it serves my own selfish purpose, as well as hopefully introducing people to fun stuff in Paris. Please tell any friends who love Paris to subscribe! I’m hopeful a new chapter is opening for me…..

The Important First Page

I love to browse in book stores when looking for something new to read (a pleasure that is going the way of the dinosaur, unfortunately). My tried and true method for deciding whether to buy is often a quick read of the first page. It’s not foolproof- I have gotten books home that, once I get a few more pages into them, are not of interest, but overall it’s been a good “first test.”

In my latest round of editing my own manuscript, my friend and editor brought up the very thing that was worrying me- my first page doesn’t have the “oomph” it needs. My first chapter is mostly setting the stage for the later interactions, and as such, it’s “fine”, but there’s no punch. So I’ve decided to try a quick “prologue” describing an event in one sister’s life to give a little more “punch” to the start of the story. We’ll see….

Then the next step is to write a convincing letter to an agent and see if I can get the publishing world to notice me. Two good goals once we get through the crazy schedule around the holidays…


The Manuscript has arrived!

Well, I got my second draft back from my FABULOUS editor and now it’s time to get the last “clean ups” done and write my mega convincing cover letter to the prospective agent.  I’ve got my blog up and running to start to get some publicity, and have just started a Twitter account- martyalmquist is my “handle”- easy, right?

For those of you thinking of writing a novel, or who have started one, or who have written, and re-written one, an editor is KEY. I had done six or seven updates to my original, based on comments from friends, and I literally couldn’t stand re-reading it any more. But I knew it was still dragging.  Then came the moment when a group of friends said, “If you’re serious about this novel, you need to hire an editor.” And one friend actually had someone to recommend (because that was one of the reasons I hadn’t “gotten” an editor yet). The other reason was money. I had to be sure enough of what I’d written to 1) send it off to a professional and 2) be willing to pay someone to fill it with slashes and cross-outs and corrections. I was VERY lucky because the person she suggested 1) liked what I’d done and 2) thinks like I do so her suggestions and questions make total sense to me.

I’ll be working hard all weekend and over the Thanksgiving day holiday to get the manuscript and letter into shape!

Learning new “stuff” can be very tough

We just got back from visiting our son in New York. He’s in culinary school and is finding it both overwhelming and yet also incredible.  In talking to him about it, my husband made a great analogy. “It’s like learning a language. At first, absolutely everything is new, so your brain is completely overwhelmed by all the ‘stuff.’ It feels like you’ll never get it figured out- all the new vocabulary, the new pronunciations, even new letters, depending on the language.

Yet…. when you look back after four or five months, you can see how much progress you’ve made. All of a sudden you realize you’re now speaking in full sentences, maybe even full concepts! And you know lots of words…. lots more than you ever thought you would.”

Cooking school has been EXACTLY like that. There’s no way to be prepared when you start. It turns out you don’t know ANYTHING. You don’t know basics, like how to cut things up, how to prepare basic sauces, how to do what you feel like is the most simple thing. Any technique you had before, or knowledge you had before, goes out the window. You need to start over and learn it all again, and this time the “right” way. Now, after two months, he’s starting to realize he’s learned a TON already (but, of course, there’s a TON more to learn).

For me, this whole “blog” thing and getting my novel published has been similar- overwhelming and also incredible. I thought I would NEVER be able to write a whole novel- but I did. I started with some basic ideas of the plot and of the characters, and I made myself just start writing.  And a funny thing happened. As I was writing, characters’ lives became more clear. From personality traits to interactions, the “stuff” started to fall into place. And now, two years later, there are still moments in the process, just like there were in the writing, that are overwhelming and I wonder if I’m ever going to get there.

But you know what? I will………I can’t see exactly when, but I’m going to get there.