Not Quite A Year

It’s been a while, but this sleeping cat has awakened and he’s decided to gear up the old blog again in anticipation of his upcoming publication.

In my last post, I mentioned a bit about the new project,, HARMON CREEK. There will be more about it coming later. The best news is that it will be released in June of this year. That gives me not quite three months to get off my duff and dust off my blogging and marketing skills.

To get started, I’ll post about the story, sure, but also about the marketing and publishing process. For today, I’ll say that part of the delay in posting was due to my decision to actively pitch to agents and other publishers. It’s not that I’m dissatisfied with the publisher of my first five novels, it’s more along the lines of this was something I’d never even tried. Understand, querying is a lot of work. I sent out dozens of queries but only had one positive response and unfortunately that was received after I had all but given up on the process and submitted to my current publisher. Ah, well. I gave it the old college try (although in my creative writing classes in college we never covered queries).

What I learned, was that you should definitely do your homework and pay close attention to what individuals say they are interested in. Even more important, stick to the guidelines they provide. I know that likely half of my queries failed because I didn’t notice the term “double spaced” (which drastically reduces the amount of text they are requesting) and although I personally think that is so “pre-word processor” — well, the rules are the rules. My bad.

The what, though, that is where a lot of prospective authors fail. The category of “what” is a moving target and can change with the wind. It is whatever an agent thinks publishers can be convinced THEY can make a lot of money on — if they pick this manuscript. Usually it follows currently successful trends and has very little to do with the actual quality of your story or of your writing (although a negative impression of either or both of those can sink you pretty quickly). I won’t comment on the “what” I perceived, but take under advisement: I suspect tails of survival from war-torn Ukraine will soon be a must-have on the lists of agents and publishers. All I’m saying is — pay attention and don’t get your hopes up if your hard work falls outside the current trends.

All that said, smaller publishers, although they still want to make money, can be a little more forgiving in the trend department. And, who knows? YOU might be the next trend setter. I can say with a great deal of authenticity I was dressing grunge in the early 70s long before grunge became a trend. I still do, for that matter, but that’s another story entirely. Oh, and never forget self-publishing, but you can’t skip the same steps publishers take to prepare a manuscript for publication. More on that later as well.

Anyway, after almost a year, I’m back, baby and ready to share.

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Thomas Fenske is a writer living in North Carolina USA. More info about him and his work: http://thefensk.com

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