Holding My Breath

Well, after eight months of taxing my brain, working six or seven long days every week, and tossing and turning every night with plot ideas and twists and turns, I’m happy to announce that Resuscitation, the sequel to They Never Die Quietly, is completed, edited, and in my agent’s hands. 

Now, as you might imagine, comes the most agonizing part of writing: Waiting. The way the book-publishing business is today, volatile and uncertain, particularly for “brick and mortar” bookstores, the birth of E-Books and print-on-demand has changed the whole landscape of book publishing. For newcomers like me, the competition for publishing contracts is ferocious. New writers face a perplexing catch 22. Without a track record (a strong following and above-average sales), it’s nearly impossible to get published. But if you aren’t published, how do you establish a track record? All I can do is hope that some acquisition editor out there falls in love with my manuscript. 

Another issue a novelist faces after completing a book is a profound sense of disconnect. Think about this. For eight months, I literally lived with my characters; not just when I was writing, but nearly every conscious moment. These are people I created with multi-dimensional characters. They felt happy, fearful, regret, love, anger, vulnerable, sad, confident, and confused. I had a relationship with each and every one of them. And now they’re gone. It’s as if they all boarded a plane and it crashed in the Pacific Ocean. They can’t move forward, grow old, get married, find a new career, or chew a piece of gum. They live in my memory, but they stand frozen in time, held hostage by the words on each page of the book. Even I, the writer, wants to know what happens next, but there is no “next” unless they live on in another book. It’s an eerie feeling. Perhaps that’s why many novelists like James Patterson write a series of novels focused on the same hero, like Alex Cross. Guess I have to chew on that for a while.

Maybe Detectives Sami Rizzo and Al Diaz will live on.

8 Comments

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8 responses to “Holding My Breath

  1. Ken

    Actually I believe all your characters crashed on an island in the Pacific Ocean in which they all believed they miraculously survived. However, after years of trying to escape the island did they finally discover they were actually dead, and the island was some form of earthly purgatory.

    • Daniel

      You should channel your vivid imagination into a novel. Or are you already working on one?

      • Ken

        I keep working on the idea of one. I just need life to slow down for two seconds for me to actually start writing one! As I am sure you are aware the idea part is the easy breezy part!🙂

        • Daniel

          Yes, it’s easy to come up with plot ideas. Just watch the news or read the newspaper. What’s hard is putting those ideas into engaging words and creating interesting characters. But trust me, I’ve been writing fiction since 1993, and you never have enough time to write. One excuse after another keeps your fingers off the keyboard. Once you start, however, and the words pour out of your head, believe me, it’s like a runaway train!

  2. Veronica

    Just curious, but why are you trying for a traditionally published contract when you have AmazonEncore? From what I’ve heard, you’ll make more money with Amazon and sell more books than you will through a big 6 publisher.

    Why bother?

    • Daniel

      It’s complicated. However, for a number of reasons–some pure politics–publishing through Amazon Encore makes it very difficut to get a book into the brick and mortar stores. And even though on-line sales are growing every day, it’s still tough to do big sales numbers without a presence in physical stores. I will say this. My experience with Amazon Encore was very positive. And I will likely publish my second novel through them.

      • Veronica

        Did you see that Karen McQuestion has sold over 100,000 copies of her AmazonEncore book since August?

        I know from talking to a couple big 6 editors about how books are selling that they’d be thrilled to move 10,000 copies of a book, nevermind 100,000. Seems to me that the only way getting a book in stores is going to increase your sales is if the publisher decides to throw a ton of money behind the book, but even that doesn’t always work, so chances are they won’t bother.

        At least with Amazon you know you’ll walk away with an extra $20K, more than any advance you’d get from a traditional.

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