I’ve made a fairly big decision about my second baby – Lucy’s story. I’ve decided that I will be self-publishing this novel. It might not feel like a big decision to most – but it feels big to me.
There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is because of my experience with the publication of my first book. As a debut writer, especially, there is a lot that is out of your control. Understandably. (But also, of course, frustratingly.)
I started writing this manuscript, my love letter to Scotland (my first, I guess I should say – there will certainly be more), on July 1 of 2020, though the idea came to me much earlier than that. As with my first book (and each book since), I “casted” my characters to help give me a static idea of what they would look like. I wrote out the (tentative) outline of the story. Then I got to writing.
The first full draft of the book was 60K. [chuckles] I was SO eager to get to the Scotland part of the story that I absolutely RUSHED the rest of it. I was left with a skeleton of a story. I immediately went through the manuscript to fill it out – to slow down the parts that I had rushed. I ended up somewhere around 76K. Better – but still short. I decided then to call on my trusty beta readers – asking them specifically where they would want/need more. With their help (I did a revision after each of the three sent their comments back), I ended up with a story of 83K that I absolutely loved. A story about family. About identity. About journeys – both metaphorical and literal.
I, however, still had no title for it. [chuckles flatly] Titles are the worst. For a brief moment, the title was Luminous. Also, it was Looking for Lucy for a bit. And a few others. I finally landed on Wherever Would I Be, which has stuck.
I did spend some time querying, to no luck. There were a number of folks who liked the story, but for this reason or that felt they weren’t the right ones to champion it. (Doesn’t matter how it’s framed, the rejection still smarts, right?) I did submit to RevPit just to see if there was interest. And this is where the seed of self-publishing officially took root. One of the editors I had subbed to wrote me after the announcements were made (I was not chosen) about the connection she had to the story and gave me some feedback on the pages she had read. What she wrote made me feel like she understood the story.
I reached out and asked if she would do a line edit for me. I sent along a sample chapter, and her response, again, made me feel like I could trust her with the work (she said it didn’t need a line edit and offered what her plan would be). I said yes, we signed a contract, and now I’m awaiting her email (which should arrive today). I’m looking forward to seeing what she had to say and for a chance to jump back into this story again.