Monday, December 22, 2014

My Ideas Are Too Big

Another Christmas season in [retail]. After this weekend I am so tired. I don't wanna do jack shit. I need to create a submission packet for the new trilogy, but I am having such a hard writing a synopsis. So much stuff happens and it's all so BIG I can't think of how to shrink it down to a digest.

I need to get this out there, but what's the point? Nobody will just take a whole series from an untested author.

This is my problem. From the beginning of my journey as a writer, my ideas have started off big. My first attempt at a short story ballooned into this 200,000-word monster of a novel! I worked my way backwards, learning how to be more concise, how to tell shorter stories, how to use fewer words to tell a big story.

I have gotten much better at this over the years, but most of my ideas just keep going and going, and before I know it I've written a series! I have a 365,000-word story that I've been pitching as a trilogy, plus the new trilogy that lasts about 300k words! It has happened to me twice! A single story just keeps going and now it's a monster nobody wants to touch!

Even Felix was supposed to be a series of superhero mock-adventures. I had so much fun writing it I made plans for for two sequels before the book was even published. But with the poor sales, I realized I'd be hard pressed to persuade someone to publish sequels.

Huvek is kind of the exception. It was the moment I became conscious of the reality of publishing and decided to do something standalone. I had a pretty big story in mind, but everything it wants to say is contained completely within 100,000 words, which is a triumph for me!

Length is not the only issue. The 365k-word project takes place in the late-cretaceous, and is about dinosaur civilization. The 300k-word series is nonhuman aliens with only one human character in it who doesn't even have a role until the second book! I've heard from others that stories which focus on nonhuman characters (or don't have a single human being in them) are unmarketable. To that, I say bull-fucking-shit-and-then-some-!!! That would explain why so many publishers shy away from these, but I think it's more basic than that. Publishers don't want to work with big stuff from new authors.

With no contacts in the publishing world, and no successful small credits to my name yet, I'm kinda stuck. It's enough to make me give serious thought to self-publishing. Sometimes I think it's the only way I'll be able to get my stuff out there. Professional markets are so hard to crack, I'm almost 32 years old with no career prospects, and time is moving by so fast. A reminder that my life is ticking away, and I need to accomplish something fast before it runs out. Why should I wait for somebody else to decide I'm good enough to publish?

But self-published books still get no respect, often for good reason. Thanks to computers and the internet, it's harder than ever to get noticed because so many other people are doing the same thing I'm trying to do. At least if I go through a publisher, I'm one in a hundred-thousand with a tie to a target audience. Self-publishing would make me one in a million, standing completely on my own with no ties to an audience.

So I keep trying to succeed at something small and standalone, hoping that leads to an opening for my big projects to come out properly. It's the only plan I have until something changes.

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