To everyone who read, commented on, or passed along word of the first two chapters of Broken Magic (which you can find here and here): Thank you. I don’t break out the bold lightly. I’m an italics sort of guy. The bold is for you, to show you how much it meant for you to stop by and participate. It really and truly helped, and I can’t thank you enough. High fives and cookies for everyone.
Where does that leave me and my novel? Let’s start with the novel.
I have two choices with Broken Magic. I can send it out to more publishers and agents and see where that leads. Broken Magic is, and always has been, a bit of a hard sell. Especially for a first novel, it doesn’t have the kind of showy plot features that make it easy to pitch. It was the book I wanted to write, and I love it dearly, but it’s not doing my any favors with publishers. The other option is that I self-publish. I’ve been circling that idea for the past 6 months, and while I’m not opposed, the idea of marketing my novel makes me want to lie down and sleep. I’m a terrible marketer, and if I go the self-publishing route, I need to stop being terrible. I have absolutely no idea how.
I’m planning on doing both. Or, at least, continuing to query while I look into doing it myself. I hope to have another query or two out this weekend, and while I wait, I’m going to look into my options for self-publishing. Advice on the latter would be appreciated. The important thing is this: Getting it out in front of people has made dealing with Broken Magic urgent again. A mixture of hopelessness and despair had been sapping my will, and I was starting to hide from it. This has shaken something loose. I’m going to take advantage of it. Like, now. I’ll keep you all in the loop.
What about me?
Here’s something I never expected to happen after I finished my first novel, especially before it even got published: It really, really psyched me out. Though I’ve written a fair bit since, I’ve made no meaningful progress on a second novel. Not for lack of trying, either. There are two projects between which I’ve bounced. All I’ve got to show for them are piles of notes. Why? While Broken Magic is by and large a quiet, low key thing, it has a special distinction. It was the first time I wrote something that sounded like me, through and through.
You spend the first million words you write chasing your own voice. You can hear it when you think a story through, but the words that end up on paper, for a very long time, are a corruption. The voice you hear in your head rings clear as a tuning fork; you know when what’s on paper is off key. Broken Magic, whatever its other merits or flaws, was when everything fell into harmony, and when I finally saw myself in all the threads of the tapestry.
It scared the ever loving hell out of me. Because what if I couldn’t do that again?
Broken Magic is closer to the bone than I usually write, which probably made it easier to make friends with my prose and get it to play along. There’s been a voice ever since, asking if the only reason I got this one right was because I’d cannibalized so many of my own neuroses in its construction. Broken Magic isn’t a story about me, but it’s a much less obfuscated look into my head than I normally write. What if that’s the only reason it worked? What if I can’t find myself again when a story requires more smoke and mirrors?
I know that’s nonsense. But it wormed its way in and only time and distance dug it out. For the first time since Broken Magic, the heartbeat of that next novel is loud and clear, and hasn’t slipped away regardless of my other work and writing. That means it’s time to write again. Not something I intend to throw away (and, yes, in the last year I’ve written two novellas I never intended to publish; don’t ask), but something that matters.
That’s where I am, and that’s where Broken Magic is. If I haven’t said it enough, let me say it one more time. Thank you, so much, for the support. I didn’t expect this all to help. It did. Thank you.