Tuesday, May 24, 2011

An Army of Angels: A Rocky Road

This novel has bedeviled me almost as much as Chasing the Wind did. I foolishly assumed that the second book in the series would be far easier to write than the first. Logical assumption, right? It might have been, had there not been other factors to consider. My first fourteen novels were conventionally published. I only had to write them...and do some interviews and booksignings. And even those were arranged for me. Chasing the Wind was a struggle because it went through a long evolution from the idea I originally conceived to the book Collin and I finally self-published in 2008. When I first showed it to people I knew in New York, they loved the idea, but usually said, "This is a movie, not a novel."

I showed it to a producer I met through a mutual friend, who agreed. I registered it with the WGA and attempted to write a screenplay--but I soon discovered there was so much I wanted to do with the characters and the story that simply would not work in a screenplay. I put the screenplay aside and went back to writing the novel.

By the time Collin and I finally made the decision to self-publish, I had forgotten about one very important thing: the advertising, marketing, publicity and promotion would now rest solely with us--or, to be more precise, with me. I was fortunate in that I wasn't exactly a novice at promoting my work. I'd learned a great deal about all of these things from the best in the business. What I didn't know was how to do them in the brave new world of the internet. So here I was, trying to write one novel while promoting another. I was no longer enjoying the luxury of having the whole day to write. Any author who self-publishes wears many hats and has to learn to juggle them. 

I always wrote my novels like a quiltmaker makes a quilt. By that I mean I never wrote a book from page one to the ending. I wrote whatever scenes I wanted to write when I wanted to write them, then stitched it all together, so to speak. I've found I can no longer do that. For one thing, my memory isn't what it used to be.  I'm not twenty-five anymore, and I take seven different medications every day. So, with all I have to do, something had to give. 

I sat down and put together a scene-by-scene outline, a roadmap to keep me on track. Every morning, I make a list of everything I have to do that day, including things necessary to promote my books. So far, it seems to be working....


  1. I've done the very same things...written scenes when I wanted (usually the best scenes), writing them first, and also doing the things that we all need to do to self-promote our works. I'm a little lost with the marketing thing...I've said it before that I couldn't sell water to a thirsty man...but, I'm putting myself out there. I'm doing all that I can. We all are.

    I can't wait for this continuation of Chasing The Wind...Army of Angels sounds fantastic. Of course, it helps to have a son who is a great graphic designer!

  2. Good blog! I await Army of Angels with, as they say... great expectation!

    I like that analogy of writing like a quilt maker... I've done a bit of it by writing ahead here and there, but for the most part I've been going with a linear approach.

  3. I can only write a story in a linear fashion -- I think I envy you.

  4. I am so impressed !
    So much to do and only so many hours in a day.
    I wondered how you wrote your books.
    Starting at the first page and then working you way to the end or as you said your quilt maker approach.

    If you have the time can you post on how you are promoting your book without the Publishing Company behind you ? I would be interested to read how you are handling that. Such a huge undertaking.

    I am so with you about the taking seven pills a day part... I do the same and it interferes with my daily life where I now write down what I need to do that day to keep me on track or I become a slug.

    I am not writing a book, although I am illustrating one and making several hand made books of my haiku and photos... so I have a outline but I work more like your quilt maker approach. My book is more illustration, small amount of type.

    Remember to sleep once in awhile !

    cheers, parsnip

  5. Norma, it's nice hearing how you piece your stories together. I think I've been conventional from start to finish and as far as publishing...well I'm not there yet. :)

  6. So that's why your writing is so great - like making a quilt, with all the love it takes.

  7. I found this post very honest and informative. I'm in the last stage before self-publishing my first book, nonfiction, and can relate to some of the struggles you mentioned. I'm looking forward to reading more about your journey with this novel.


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