Change of Direction (Also: Artist Needed)

I’ve put the as-yet-untitled SF novel series on the back burner for a while. Here’s why:

I sent out queries to agents for Smoke & Mirrors a while ago, but I was waiting on one particular agent because there was a note saying she was closed for submissions until September. I’ve been checking her agency’s web site every couple of days but it’s now mid-October and there’s no change. Last weekend I made the decision that if she still wasn’t accepting after another week (i.e. yesterday), I’d forget it and self-publish.

So that’s what I’m going to do. Starting today, I’ll be compiling all the individual chapter files into one manuscript, then I have to get it formatted to Smashwords standards. I’ll also have to create a second version of the same file for Kindle Direct Publishing (that copy will have slightly different legal text in the front matter), and a third version for print (which will have the page links replaced and it’ll have headers, footers, and page numbers added). It sounds easy, but actually getting everything correct takes quite a lot of work. I expect it to take a few days at least.

But that’s not all. For one thing, I still have to decide on a title. Smoke & Mirrors was always just a working title (not least because Neil Gaiman has a book with the same name). I have another title that I’d really like to go with – but unfortunately it’s very similar to the title of a collection of SFF stories by a well-known author. On the other hand, it’s not exactly the same, and that story collection is close to fifty years old. I’ll be checking into the legalities of that before I can make a decision.

The other thing it really, really needs is some good cover art. I have a couple of ideas for the kind of thing I’m looking for, but I’m no artist so I need to engage a pro. Someone who can read the story synopsis and maybe come up with an image that captures what the book’s about. So I’ll be getting to that sometime in the next few days, too.

Back to the subject of the as-yet-untitled SF series…

As I mentioned in the last couple of posts, day-job work has been frantic for the last two or three weeks. It finally (we hope) came to an end Friday night, when the last of the code changes had all been tested and the whole package got pushed out to the public-facing production system. Unless someone spots something wrong with it over the next couple of days, we’re done with it. But the real problem from my perspective is that spending ten-hour days on it meant that I didn’t have anything left when it came to working on my own projects. As as result, while I did make a little bit of progress on the timeline of the first story, I pretty much lost my momentum.

To be honest, spending some time on the mechanical process of getting Smoke ready for self-pub will actually be a chance to catch my breath and recharge a bit. By the time that’s done I’ll be ready to get back to the timeline with some fresh energy.

Enough for now; time to grab a fresh coffee and make a start.

Until next time…

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