Sunday, August 24, 2008

Three Years...

Today roughly marks (since I don't remember the exact date I wrote the first word) three years of working on my first novel, The Incredible Origins of the Onyx Sun. What an amazing journey it's been. From writing the first word in Cambridge, MA... finishing the first 80,000-word draft in Palo Alto, CA... nine rounds of edits... soliciting eleven agents... the months of waiting for responses... Writers House initial interest... ultimate rejection by WH and the ten other agents... deciding to self-publish to prove the market demand for my book... working with Rudy on the initial cover drafts and character sketches... copyrighting my book... getting a SKU... listing my book in Bowker's Books-in-Print... finding my first typesetter... letting my first typesetter go after an unacceptable end deliverable... finding another typesetter... soliciting fifteen printers in the US... narrowing the list to three and negotiating a lower price between them... picking one and excitedly waiting six weeks for my advance review books... losing my cool when one of the printing machines broke... learning not to ever lose my cool... receiving 1,000 advance review books late at night in a friend's garage... beginning the onerous but rewarding process of finding 500 reviewers to read and review my book... the months of sending out over 500 books... receiving feedback from hundreds of readers, young and old... receiving some glowing feedback on my book ranging from "One of my favorite books besides Lord of the Rings"... an entire 4th Grade Class's favorable review... pre-orders of fifteen books for one reader (a teacher) alone... integrating this feedback into three additional full edits of the entire book... realizing the Onyx Sun is the only book I've ever read twelve times... also realizing I don't mind editing that much when it makes my book better... working with Rudy to craft 36 new images for the inside of the book (one for each chapter and a few at the start)... also working with Rudy to design the web site imagery... days spent coding the entire web site myself... writing a new epilogue exclusive to the final hardcover... working with my advance review book typesetter to typeset the final hardcover... watching my book return to me in final digital form with all the proper typesetting, SKU numbers, and images, ready for printing... re-soliciting quotes from nine printers this time... evaluating their responses... now.

Clearly, it has been a long journey from that first word to now, where I stand on the threshold of printing my final book. Much remains... finish the dynamic sections of the site... finalize a printer... adjust the cover to fit the new dustjacket... wait two months for the printed books.... create marketing collateral and press releases and... line up speaking engagements while I wait for the books... spread the Onyx Sun as far as possible... use this popularity to sign a publisher/agent and... grow the Onyx Sun universe through at least four more books!

I am as excited for the road ahead as I am proud of the path behind me. This is one of the longest but most personally rewarding projects I've ever worked on. It just gets harder from here as I invest more time, money, and faith in the potential popularity of my book, but the all the positive early feedback I've received is pushing me forward. In many ways, the arduousness of this journey is solidifying my focus and passion as each milestone conquered make each future one seem more attainable.

On to a wider audience and the expansion of the Onyx Sun universe!