With the exception of a short story called Pirate’s Booty that I posted on this site in 2012, I have stuck to topics that revolve around the writing and editing process. I seldom referred to my own work by name; however, last Tuesday my wife and I had our first novel published and I would like to write about our experience.
Exposure was my wife’s idea. She wanted the story to be sexy but funny, and she wanted a villain you’d love to hate. She approached me with the outline and asked if I wanted to put my zombie book on hold (again) and co-author the story with her. I liked that it took place in and around a movie set and jumped at the chance to work with someone who had already proven herself as a keen writer and a ruthless editor. (I used to call her Darth Beta).
Once we were accepted by Omnific, (our first choice of publisher, and not just because they initially published Gabriel’s Inferno), we were contacted by the managing editor who immediately asked us to find fifteen thousand words to cut. Challenge accepted…we cut twenty-two. Once we got the hang of it, it was easy to see what was unnecessary versus what was supporting the story.
After our big “cutting” edit, we were assigned an editor who worked with us for the next four months to prepare the story for publication. He had us re-think almost every aspect and pushed us hard to explore all avenues, but always treated us with respect and an open mind. As a result, we are much happier with the final result than we had been when we first submitted the manuscript.
The most amazing thing about the whole process to me is the realization that only six weeks ago we added a small scene to the middle of the book. This was done to better examine a character’s response to something. The fact that some passages are two years old, while others are less than two months old, is mind boggling to me. It reads seamlessly, of course, but I’ll always know and it’s just a bizarre feeling.
Now that the book is out we are in full PR mode, but have spoken to each other about the importance of not letting our Facebook and Twitter pages become one endless plea to buy our novel. We have all had that author in our timelines who does nothing more than program “gremlins” to give themselves a shout out every thirty seconds, and it’s not an account you usually wish to continue following. That’s not to say that one shouldn’t use their social media to remind fans and friends of their projects, but it’s possible to do so without drowning them in links to Amazon.
Writing professionally is like playing poker – it’s not a single pot that keeps you in the game; it’s consistent winning. We are both already working on solo novels for publication and hope that one day we will be able to devote ourselves to the profession full-time. If not this book, then maybe the next. But, if nothing else, we are growing closer as a couple by working together, and we’re growing as writers by listening to the good advice given to us over the years.
I hope that Wordslinger has been dispensing such advice, and now I am in the position of putting my money where my mouth is. Exposure is the result of two years of work by a dedicated married couple who just wanted to produce a fun and funky read with super steamy bits and more pop culture references than an episode of Robot Chicken.
If you’ve read this column and always wondered if I follow my own advice, or if any of it will work, I urge you to let Exposure speak to the success of discipline and dedication. (As well as having a wife that writes half the book).
In closing, I’d like to share an excerpt from our novel…
We wish to begin by thanking Becca, Elli and Sue, all of whom volunteered their valuable time and talents. They read this story and provided feedback at nearly every stage in the writing process. From the beginning, their commitment and enthusiasm for this novel has been nothing less than amazing. They invested as many months into this story as we did, and did so from behind the scenes. This is why Exposure has been dedicated in their names.
Thank you to Nina for her guidance and support. She has been instrumental in the publication of this story and we extend our heartfelt appreciation. Thanks also to Mina Vaughn for generously providing advice early in the submission process. She steered us in the right direction, and we are grateful for her assistance. We also thank Carmen and Chris for their friendship and help during a critical time.
We have enjoyed our collaboration with Omnific and especially wish to thank Nina, Lisa, Elizabeth, Colleen and Kimberly for their hard work. Special thanks go to our editor, Sean, for taking us on and showing us the ropes. We consider ourselves fortunate. We’ve enjoyed working with him and everyone at Omnific and look forward to doing so again in the future.
Writing has brought us closer together as husband and wife, but also required much of our time and attention. Our friends and family deserve more thanks than we can adequately provide. Over the past four years, there were moments when those closest to us raised an eyebrow or two, but no one ever discouraged us from the journey. For that, we will be forever grateful.
Finally, we wish to thank E.L. James and Sylvain Reynard. Their stories sparked our own creativity while their friendship and support have enriched our lives. Many thanks for all they have done for us.
And of course, no list of thank you’s would be complete without thanking those of you who choose to give our book your time and attention as readers. We’re excited to finally share Exposure with you and we hope you’ll enjoy the story.