I began doing “a day in the life” blogs in January in response to a 30-day challenge from the Rave Reviews Book Club (@RRBC). I missed one day and my negligence eliminated me from the challenge. That’s okay; however, I have been remiss in adding more blogs to this site. Mea culpa. I should have been producing more content.
What I want to discuss here is the publishing process. I have several writing projects in the works right now, and I’m anxious to get them into the public eye. One is Stealing Home, a sequel to my first novel, Empty Seats. At least, it began as a sequel. What it evolved into is more than a follow-up to the story of Jimmy Bailey and his baseball friends in Single-A baseball. Set mainly in the Boston area, it follows Jimmy and his sister Debbie after Jimmy gets out of prison.
Another project is a simple rom-com, tentatively titled, “A Few Bumps.” Two strangers have a chance meeting on an airplane during a snowstorm. One is on her way to Hawaii to be in her best friend’s wedding, the other is headed home to Kansas City for Christmas. Both live in the Boston area. The storm grounds the airplane industry for a few days, preventing her from flying to Hawaii. He invites her to stay at his family’s enormous house and spend Christmas with them. His upper-crust mother isn’t too keen on the idea, but the rest of the family is open to having her company. He begins to fall for this woman, while his mother, on the other hand, has other ideas about the “kind” of woman she wants for her son.
I have a couple of short stories in the works and am also working on a few memoir projects. I’m also expanding the Empty Seats concept with individual books about the lives of Bud Prescott and Bobby Mangino–novellas about where their lives got following their minor league baseball experience, to be called The Empty Seats Series. And I’m working on a children’s book, but that one will remain a mystery at this point.
Now…The question is, how does a writer like me, someone who doesn’t have an agent or a publishing company, get this writing out into the public eye?
Writers have an entire process called “querying,” through which they send introductory letters and samples of their writing to agents in hopes of attracting representation and possibly a big book deal with a sizable financial advance. A writer might send hundreds of query letters and never hear a word back from an agent or publisher. That doesn’t mean the writer has no talent. what is can translate into is that the particular agent or publisher isn’t interested at that particular time in the subject matter or genre presented in the query material. Sometimes, on the other hand, a writer will receive a request for more information or even a full manuscript for review. That’s when the querying process is a success for that person.
Since I’m in my eighth decade of life (I was born in 1948), I decided to go the self-publishing route. I write, engage an editor and a proofreader, a cover designer, and pull everything together. It’s a lot of work. If I were to have an agent, that person would make those arrangements for me (i.e., hire an editor, proofreader, cover designer, etc.), and I would sit back and wait to hear from those professionals about changes I would have to make to fit their standards. Then I would sit back and wait until they arranged for speaking tours and media appearances to promote my book.
But I produce and sell the books myself, either directly, or via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or independent bookstores. Hard-copy books are available in an “on demand” format. I will have a few on hand at my home, but if people order from an online source (aside from my own website) , those books are only produced when an order comes in.
I have to arrange my own media and bookstore appearances, and do whatever promotion and marketing I can do to inform people about my work. This may involved blitzing social media, sending out press releases, and anything else I can think of to publicize what I do.
This is hard work. This is what agents do to earn their livelihood. This is why writers spend hundreds–maybe thousands–of hours creating query letters and hoping they will be successful in coming under the aegis of an experienced agent. I have resigned myself to knowing that I’m a little on the (ahem) older side for this and will most likely never convince am agent that I’m worthy. But I believe in my writing and will keep going until I can’t any more.
Thanks for your support. I appreciate you all.
(Spring Training Media is my self-publishing moniker…)