I have said here before that I didn’t plan to become a writer. I won’t repeat myself (but seriously, I didn’t plan it) I simply thought of a story and, undaunted, wrote it. Then, lacking humility and self-preservation, I told people (including someone who was an editor) about it, thereby forcing the situation. Voila, writer with a finished book. That book was Bright.
Then in 2013 I entered NaNoWriMo, which is the acronym for National Novel Writing Month, which is November, and banged out 30,000 words of the story Fly, The Light Princess Retold. I didn’t win NaNoWriMo, that requires 50,000 words, but I finished that book and published that book and really really like that book. Winner or not.
Then for NaNoWriMo 2014 I wrote 50,000 words for the upcoming release—Violet’s Mountain. That book has been ready to go for months and months, but I love it so much and yeah, I’m afraid to let go. Coming soon, promise.
Now, here we are on the diving board staring into the deep end of the swimming pool, checking the sping on that board, ready to jump. The wind velocity and direction are good. November is here, NaNoWriMo is beginning. I’m ready with a book, the third in the Estelle Series. My ipad is charged up, I’m excited. That is literally all I need. Correction: All you need.
Because maybe you have a book inside of you too? You’ve been thinking about writing it, the story is percolating, the idea is blooming and all the other overused metaphors, and that is unimportant, because what is important is sharpening yor pencil and/or charging that laptop and being ready to write.
50,000 words in November. Maybe it sounds difficult, but it’s not. Tell the world you’re going to do it and you’d be surprised how the world conspires to help you finish. Or maybe you don’t. Worst case scenario: you don’t. And (like me) you end up with 30,000 words that becomes a book anyway. What have you got to lose?
I’m HD@Hdknightley.com, add me as a writing buddy and let’s do this thing!
This book wasn’t easy to write. I was nervous. I wanted to know where Estelle went next, what she dreamed of, who she dreamed with, and yes, does she get to keep kissing the hunky William, but I was worried I might break the story, get bogged down, or I don’t know—blow it.
I’m happy to say that the first reviews are in and I didn’t.
I decided that book two would be a big adventure and a rescue. Estelle of course would be the heroine, but she needed a side-kick, so I chose Angela (you met her very briefly in book one.) So Beyond is two girls on an adventure. Hopefully that doesn’t spoil the story too much.
Here’s a pinterest page so you can get the feel: pinterest.com/hdknightley/beyond
It already has a review:
“I had greatly enjoyed reading Bright but I didn’t have such a visceral reaction as I did when reading Beyond. I can tell when a book is good when I get stressed out and anxious while reading (that’s a good thing) and I can’t put it down to go to sleep because I’ll end up tossing and turning thinking about it instead. By the end of this book I practically had no nails left!” – J.B. Fox
The kindle version will be free from October 14th-October 18th, 2015. I’ll remind you. But if you want to get the paperback version, here it is:
Thank you. I’m writing the third of the series now. And moments away from releasing a romance, Violet’s Mountain.
My book, Beyond, could use your nomination: Beyond (Book Two of The Estelle Series) on KindleScout and if you already have, thank you, heaps.
My journey through the world of self publishing has been full of lessons, many difficult lessons. I promise to spend some time writing about what I’ve learned in the near future.
But in the near present, I’ve learned that every time I write a book, (that’s about every 6 months), I’ll need to spend a couple of weeks or more re-learning how to publish and market that book. Things are changing lightning fast. And what worked in February of this year is something totally different in August. It makes things, um, exciting.
In the Spring I came across Kindle Scout, did my research, and passed. I was, on the one hand, happily self-publishing and, on the other, mailing agent queries. I didn’t want or need to enter a popularity contest for a publishing contract. I was above that kind of thing, and uninterested in a third way.
Which is odd for me because ‘third ways’ are kind of my thing.
After the agent queries didn’t work out (I sent an excerpt of Violet’s Mountain, which is AWESOME, yet didn’t even get one response out of twelve. And I’m not talking about positive response, I’m talking about any response at all.) Perhaps it’s my gender? But then again, like a good girl, I’ve hidden my gender behind the initials in my name, right? But not even one response? Not one?
The truth is there are too many books being queried and not enough people to read them all. I get it. The gatekeepers are swamped. They built the gate and it’s too small, so there is a literal chaotic press of people trying to get through. It’s ugly. And so, to deal, agents and publishers create instant biases:
- “Not interested in more books by women.”
- “Vampires are so three years ago.”
- “If the query doesn’t grab me in the first three words, I pass.”
- “If I read another story about quirky cancer kids I’ll scream.”
- and lastly, “If the author self-published before, then, of course, pass.”
I revisited Kindle Scout when I finished my sequel to Bright . I was doing my ‘What’s Changed?’ research and this time thought, This is an interesting way to get to the front of the line at that gate.
These are the basics:
Kindle Scout is reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It’s a place where readers help decide if a book gets published. Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing.
There are some great articles about Kindle Scout. My favorite is, Kindle Scout, the pros and cons of Amazon’s new crowd-sourced publishing program I decided I was okay with the cons. And because it’s all one big experiment, why not?
I very much liked this take on Kindle Scout:
If novels presented on the Kindle Scout platform are solely selected as a popularity contest, we all lose. Authors, readers, even Amazon. What we need are active readers selecting those works that are truly deserving of a publishing contract, helping to sift through some of the slush and promote great work and up-and-coming novelists.
I agree—this might be a great way to turn off those gatekeeper biases and help more writing, from more voices, through the gate—by readers vouching for the books they’d like to read.
So if you haven’t yet, please go over to Kindle Scout and nominate my book, Beyond. And while you’re at it nominate a couple of others. It’s fun! And if you nominate a book that becomes published, it will appear (like a miracle) inside of your kindle-reader-thingy. My book *I hope I hope I hope* in your kindle, because it’s published by Kindle Press, and it would all be thanks to you!
Thanks dear friend for reading all the way to the low down bottom of the page,
Estelle and William, speaking in Beyond (Book Two of The Estelle Series):
“I hate talking at these things. The low-key ones are bad enough but with all this hoopla, yes, I’m nervous.” I took a deep breath and pulled at the middle of my dress to get more air in. An action that was futile.
“You’re getting better and better at speaking in public, but it hardly matters. You could stand and say turkey, turkey, turkey, and the citizens of New City would applaud and say yours was the best speech ever.”
“Aren’t we trying to win them over to our point of view?”
William sat up straighter and turned his head and stared at me, stared so much that I grew self-conscious and then gulped and giggled. “What? Do I have something in my teeth?”
“You are absolutely beautiful. I know it doesn’t matter to you, you hardly care, but seeing you like this takes my breath away.”
“Oh,” I said, not at all capable of a response.
He took my hand in his. “You always looked like this before, when you were just a New City girl, or if not this exactly, put together, dressed, done up. You were pretty, don’t get me wrong, but you looked just like everyone else. Put together in all the same ways. Normal and the same. Now you wear your farm look, and you’re pretty then too, but this—tonight—wow.”
“Stop William, You’re making me blush.” I batted my eyes because I liked to be complimented. I remembered once, what seemed like forever ago, when I departed the farm in a dress and William hadn’t even noticed me or didn’t mention it if he did. This little speech made up for that. Definitely.
William said, “Sure. I know. I think I’m just trying to prolong some alone time with you, but I was thinking…” He paused, his familiar pause, the one where the gears turned, the one just before he said something that would end up in his writing someday. “All those days of sameness makes this night, you even more spectacular. Because it’s different. You’re different. I feel sorry for the residents out there, with their fancy clothes and their big hair. How can they get excited about all this, when they see a version of it every single day? It made me think that one of the biggest problems with New City is really a problem of sameness.
“Ever the philosopher.”
“Okay, I’m off track. I want to kiss you, but I won’t be held responsible for mussing your display.” He motioned about my face. “Suffice it to say, I want to.”
Have you nominated my book for publishing yet?
It hasn’t been in Hot and Trending all day, I’m dyin’ over here. And tell a friend!
Violet’s Mountain tells the story of Violet, a mysterious young woman who lives atop a giant mountain of hoarded things. By day she is a heavy machine operator, piling more things up and up and up. By night she adorns the top of the pile with welded steel, sculptural whirligigs.
She builds, she creates, she welds, she lifts heavy boxes, she drives cranes, she’s a total bad ass.
But in the story you barely get to know her, before everything shifts.
Instead you get to know Lala, her cousin. Violet has been her guardian, but as Lala puts it, “I can’t leave her, she’s so arty that she forgets to eat.”
You meet Benjamin, the young man who falls in love, and wants to charm Violet down from the hoard, and take her away to the city.
And you meet Edmund, the surfing environmentalist, heir to an oil fortune, who wants to rescue her and doesn’t know how. He rocks her world.
The story is about love, duty, and rescue. Love in spite of our shortcomings. Duty to family over all else. And rescue in spite of ourselves. And whether, when your world comes crashing down, you can find forgiveness for the one who caused your collapse.
The first round of beta reading is done. Thank you Melody, Melissa, Mara, Fiona, and Isobel. I believe Violet’s Mountain has fans already. I’m making some changes and then it goes to the proofreader.
While my new book, Violet’s Mountain, is being beta-read (by Mara, Mel, Melissa, Isobel, and Fiona, thank you!!!) I took a few moments to work on the cover. I have been posting the results on my facebook page and have narrowed it down to two.
I haven’t created a professional blurb yet, but here’s a quickly jotted down synopsis:
Edmund and Benjamin are brothers. They surf, alot. They are also wickedly rich, not in the self-made manner, but in the inherit-it-all-and-don’t-care manner. Except Edmund, he’s an environmentalist.
They’re on an extended surftrip when they come across a mountain of hoard. The mountain is a gigantic trash pile, like 10 stories and a quarter mile, of collected things. The hoard belongs to one extended family who collects and collects and collects, and is tended by a young woman, Violet.
Violet is a hardhat wearing, crane driving badass, who tends her family’s junk with unwavering commitment. She also sculpts whirlygigs and adorns the top of the pile with their spinning beauty.
Her cousin Lala and her father live with her on the pile.
Benjamin and Edmund take one look at Violet and fall in love. They want to rescue her from the preposterousness that is the hoard. They want to…but should they? And when it all becomes too late, and trouble spills, who will be left living alone on the summit?
This book is a romance. check.
It’s got rich hotties. check.
It passes the Bechdel test. check.
Violet is a strong character (despite needing a rescue) yet she does the rescuing in the end. Did I mention that she’s a welder? checkedy-check!
Have a choice, opinion? Leave it in the comments ;o)