It has been just under two weeks since I announced on Twitter and Facebook that I have written a book entitled Detour of Me for which I plan to seek an agent and publisher. This is the first time I have mentioned it on Pretty All True, so apologies to those of you who missed those earlier statements, and . . . umm . . . guess what?
I wrote a book!
The outpouring of support and love thus far has been overwhelming. Thank you for that, by the way. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I have also gotten a lot of advice, which I have summarized for you today so that you might get a better sense of where I am in this whole process. This is all off of the top of my head and represents the mere paraphrased tip of the proverbial iceberg of helpfulness.
Here we go:
1) The publishing industry is dead. Self-publish.
2) The publishing industry may be changing, but self-publishing is just piling your book on top of a mountain of self-published garbage. Get an agent.
3) But don’t get a shitty agent.
4) Make sure you have a platform from which to sell this book.
An orange crate is not a platform, Kris. What? A diving platform is for becoming rapidly submerged from a great height. So no . . . you may not use a diving platform.
5) Make sure your blog has 30,000 (or 50,000 or 75,000) hits per month.
What do you mean you don’t take comments anymore? What do you mean you are pretty sure your numbers are nowhere near that amazing? What do you mean you don’t actually know what your numbers are? You do have some readers, right?
6) Get out there and start hiring yourself out for speaking engagements.
Wait, that social-anxiety thing is real? Seriously? What do you mean you don’t attend blogging conferences? What do you mean you are better in writing than you are in person?
7) Get out there and establish yourself as an expert.
You must be an expert on something. Seriously? No, there is not a big call for experts on avoidance. And even if there was, you realize you would have to show up to talk about the avoidance, right?
8) Get quoted in the newspapers or reputable websites as an expert.
No, being quoted because you have been arrested is not what I mean. If it was a high-profile case, maybe. What sort of crime did you have in mind?
9) Get published somewhere impressive with some of your shorter works.
Win some contests. Win some awards. I’m not sure how this has not occurred to you.
10) Network with other writers who have agents.
What do you mean you don’t trust women? What do you mean you don’t trust people? What do you mean you don’t network?
11) But be careful, because published authors are a selfish bunch, and they want to see you fail.
12) Write a single-page query letter of three paragraphs, and be sure the second paragraph both captures the story of your book and the essence of your personality as a writer. Expect reactions to vary.
Yes, that’s great! You need to tighten it up a bit, but that’s great.
No, you missed the boat completely. Try again.
Were you even paying attention when I told you how to write a query letter? This is not a query letter.
13) Write a two-page synopsis of your book, single-spaced, that captures the entirety of your book. Expect reactions to vary.
What is this, exactly? You need to give some thought to the kind of book you wrote.
I want to read this book. This is a fabulous synopsis!
I can’t even tell what your book is about from this synopsis. You’re clear on the meaning of the word “synopsis,” correct?
14) Be true to yourself and your writing.
You need to choose one voice. Why are you using more than one voice to tell this story?
Who is your target audience, exactly?
Find another book that is written like you say you meant to write this book, and then do what that author did.
You need to get some other opinions.
You’re at a bit under 100,000 words, which is good, because that means you can get rid of a lot of this shit.
I really wish you had included a scene about redemption and apology.
Oh wait, this is a memoir . . . you can’t just make stuff up . . . my bad.
I know it’s a memoir, but maybe try using third person.
Cut out all of this – you are boring me.
It needs to be funnier.
It needs to be more dramatic.
Use shorter sentences.
15) Build your social media presence.
You need more Twitter followers. You need more Facebook fans. You need to establish a presence on Pinterest. You need to establish a presence on Google+. You need to check out this website . . . and this one . . . and this one. Open comments again. Engage people. You do understand blogging is about engaging, correct? What do you mean you don’t consider yourself a blogger? What do you mean you are burned out on social media?
16) Your book isn’t a collection of blog posts, is it? Because no one is going to publish that.
OK, but you are not The Bloggess. Yeah, you’re not her either. Or her. Or him. Your book is not a collection of blog-posts? Whew.
17) OK, so it’s a real book. You haven’t strayed too far from the formula that has made you successful on your blog, correct?
Uh oh. Hmm. Uh oh. People like to laugh, Kris. Put more funny in there. Maybe some more stuff about your dogs. Or your kids. Maybe just put some more stuff in there that is a little less . . . you.
18) Also, stop putting fiction up on Pretty All True if you want to market yourself as a memoirist.
19) Marketing? Ever hear of it?
20) Be more like someone else and less like you.
Be like The Bloggess (but without the red dress and road-kill). Or Scary Mommy (but without the scary thing). Or Allie Brosh (but without the cute drawings or the cliff-dive into depression). Or Dooce (but without the photography and the divorce). Or Snooki (but without the drunken incoherence). You don’t even realize that you should have hyperlinked all of those women’s blogs, do you?
21) You’re going to have to learn to be vulnerable; you can’t do this publishing thing alone.
Unless you self-publish. What do you mean you are very bad at asking for favors? What do you mean you view requests for assistance as weakness? What do you mean you don’t trust people? What do you mean you don’t network? Listen to me – You are going to have to be willing to be vulnerable.
22) Wait, what? Oh my god, are you sure you want to say that in your book?
OK, there is vulnerable and then there is insane. Maybe you just want to print a few copies out for your daughters. No need to tell everyone this story. You sure you are ready for the fallout if you make this public? How are you going to deal with the inevitable editing of such a personal story? You know how you like to be in control of everything. Is this all true? Really? That’s fucked-up. You realize this is going to change how people perceive you, correct?
23) I hope you’re not looking for money and fame.
Because there is none. None. At all.
24) Have confidence in yourself and in your writing, because others may not. It is entirely possible that people will offer opinions on your manuscript and its likelihood of publication even though they have not read a single word of it.
It will probably take you years to find an agent.
You may be able to find an agent, but a publisher? Nope.
I’m not sure anyone who doesn’t love you is going to want to read your book.
Brace yourself — You are going to be rejected all the fuck up and back.
I’m not sure how a single narrator is supposed to have two entirely different voices.
Think about for whom you are writing and then write with them in mind.
Maybe this story is the one you needed to get out of your system so you could write a real book.
I’m not a big fan of your poetic voice.
If you go through all of this and end up self-publishing, that’s going to feel like a failure, don’t you think?
You overuse and incorrectly use ellipses.
Do you not have a single clue about how to format a manuscript?
Watch it with the humor . . . not everyone gets you. At all.
I am offering you constructive criticism; don’t get your panties in a bunch.
Just because you are proud of it does not make it good.
Maybe just print it out and give it to your daughters as a Christmas present . . . save yourself a lot of grief.
25) So have confidence in yourself and in your writing, so that others will as well.
You have magic.
I see who you are now.
I love this.
I have never seen someone do a thing so well.
Finally, and this is the most important thing of all — Have fun!
Plus also? Snort!
I have written a book.