For those who might be a bit curious about the publishing process, I thought I'd go ahead and document some of the highlights.
- Tiger Hunting began as a NaNoWriMo project, November 2009. Here's a blog entry from that time period.
"It's a silly little thing, but I get a kick from entering my words each day and watching these little bars appear on my NaNoWriMo site. I am at 9,013 words as of day 4. My friend Cheryl and I have been sending daily check-ins. I think she's having as much fun as I am.
Believe it or not, this is only my 2nd time doing NaNo. I think the last time I tried it was 2001, and I've pretty much spent the last 8 or so years tweaking that novel, or some version of that novel, or some spin-off from that novel about related characters whom I thought might be more interesting to write about. In 2001, they did not have the cool bar graph function. I'm not even sure that they had a website."
- I did earn my NaNo badge that year, and then promptly filed that novel away and spent the next couple of years editing away at that 2001 project, or some descendant of it. On the first day of 2011, I suffered what I thought was a complete computer meltdown and spent about 24 hours believing I had lost most of my life's work. The next day, miraculously, the computer rebooted and I commenced backing up writing files like there was no tomorrow.
- Since NaNo 2009, I've completed a first, second, or third draft of perhaps one, two, or three novels. I have gotten into the habit of writing and revising until I frustrate myself enough to quit and move on to the next novel idea. The NaNo model, of writing a lot of material quickly, has proven for me to be the most effective way of getting a first draft complete. Revising? I'm still hoping to find the method that works best for me.
- Sometime in early January this year, I was visiting with my friend Cheryl and she asked, "If you could do anything, what would you do?" I presumed she was asking in terms of not having to worry about making ends meet... paying bills or thinking practically about feeding the children or keeping them clothed. And the answer, of course, is that I'd really like to see my name on the cover of a book or two in the local bookstore. So the next obvious question, of course... what's stopping me?
- When I pulled out the backup copies of my life's work... in fiction, at least, the NaNo 2009 project was the last one I would have expected to settle on as my first publishing endeavor. I had never titled it. I could barely remember what it was about. Reading it, in fact, was a surprise, page after page, as I tried to guess where I'd been headed. In fact, the story changed direction and focus several times, but after three years I was able to look at it objectively and I knew exactly where I wanted to go with it. It only took a couple of weeks of dedicated revising to come up with a draft I was willing to share with my friend.
- When Cheryl responded positively, I knew it was time to just get over myself and get this thing published. I completed another round of revisions and tightened up some pages where the pace of the story slowed. Reminding myself that perfect is not my goal, but a roadblock to getting where I want to be, I began the process of formatting my manuscript as an ebook (fairly easy, thanks to this guidebook) and coming up with an image for the cover (much more difficult). Here's an early version. It features the artwork of my daughter, Maddie Simmons.
- I ended up spending a couple of solid weeks working on the cover. At some point, I realized it was becoming yet another excuse for why I didn't have a book published, so I committed to an idea and then contented myself with "good enough" and moved on.
- As well, I decided that having a printed copy of the book was still important to me. I began the task of formatting the book for print, something I have considerably more experience doing, but it still took more time than I expected. I ordered four copies to proof and forward as Advanced Reader Copies to writers I hope might supply blurbs. Three of those copies were put in the mail this morning.
- I am currently aiming for a mid-April release!