The day I both looked forward to and feared is upon me. The day I finally kick my first baby bird out of his nest and make him fly out into the big bad world all on his own. Tuesday. Tuesday the 19th. Tuesday the 19th, 2016. A day that will hopefully not live in infamy in Rod’s little world.
My little cautionary tale wasn’t ever supposed to be this big. It was just supposed to be a little five to ten-thousand word story to include in an anthology my group was putting together. A tale that came about completely at random when one of my fellow Wordwraiths (Sarah) pulled a card from the deck of her Story-O-Matic, in the upstairs room of the coffeehouse managed by another fellow Wordwraith (Kristin)–the same room where Kristin held her book launch party for her first novel, “Capsule.”
We all got the same prompt. The premise was very innocent: a job change. A job change? What does that even mean? For days I had no idea what I was going to do with such a prompt. And when I finally got an idea, the first couple of thousand words I wrote, I scrapped. Oh I didn’t delete them, I never do anything as horrendous as THAT. I just tucked them away for a start to another story someday. Maybe. We’ll see.
But then it hit me.
I think I even had the title before I had the story. I’m sure I did; I always do. The Tesla Project. I like Tesla. He fascinates me. But he wasn’t going to actually be IN the story. This was supposed to be a short story. And not about one of the greatest inventors of our time. It was about a sergeant in the Army, something I can relate to. And he travels through time through an invention idea Tesla had but never saw through because he didn’t have the funding. Yeah, that’s it! This sergeant will get in all sorts of adventures, limited only by my imagination, because this is science fiction. Oh this will be easy! Let’s do this! Okay, got the first 2,000 words, no problem! 5,000. 8,000. 10,000. Okay, Rod, you can stop any time now…
But then the tale grew some more. Before I knew it, this thing was branching this way and that and developing all kinds of new story arcs without any conscious assistance from me.
I hate when that happens.
But I also love it; I’m already halfway through the 1902 edition (Part II) and have written the end of the 1945 edition (Part III). I’ve wrapped up the time travel story nicely at that point, so that’s where it’s going to end. I hope. But I hate it because those sequels and branches distracted me from focusing 100% on the 1975 edition (Part I). But I just gotta get all the ideas down on paper or at least in my voice notes or I’ll forget them! I know me. So here I am, now with three short tales that are in no way short. Try 20,000 words. Boy I hope my fellow Wordwraiths forgive me come time to put all these stories together in one book. I’ll make it up to them. I promise.
So now the day draws near. It’s amazing! It’s scary. It’s a bit overwhelming. Especially all the technicalities and preparation! So much I had to learn! So much I have still to learn! So much to worry about! Am I ready? Well, let’s see…
So now the story has been beta read, edited, and sent to Advanced Reader Copy, um, readers. Who, let me tell you, have done a wonderful job of picking my story to shreds! This should terrify me, this close to publication, but I’ve already fixed up all the things they’ve found and then some. It’s called “staying up until 3am every night.”
Hey, I still make it to work. I still get the kids to school. I still have time for my girlfriend. I still have time to help the kiddos with homework. I’ll sleep when I’m dead. So I’ve been up until 3am every night polishing the story, triple-checking my scientific and historical facts and research, and then polishing some more until it’s as shiny as can be.
And putting the final touches on my personal website. And setting up freebies to anyone who visits my website out of fandom or curiosity or pity (I’ll take any or all of the above). And linking my website to Mail Chimp for when wonderful souls sign up for my mailing list to get news of new stories and/or to just get to know me.
Then there’s the learning how Mail Chimp can work for me. Figuring out how the monstrosity that is Amazon.com actually works. Trying to decide whether I need an author page yet or not. Hoping beyond hope my ARC readers enjoy my story and appreciate my hard work (or at least the fact I tried my damnedest), and actually hop onto Amazon on launch day and give me reviews that may help to make a sale—even a free sale just for exposure’s sake—where otherwise a casual reader would just pass on by.
Then there’s the fine print. Like deciding if I want to sell my soul to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). If I really want to move my product in the first couple of days of its release, I’ll give in to the Beast that is Amazon and sign the next 90 days of my story’s life away to KDP.
Oh I will, of course.
I’ll take any benefit/handout offered to me this early in the game. Mainly because KDP will allow me to offer my book for free for anyone who wants it, at least for a couple of days anyway.
“WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU DO SUCH A SILLY THING?” you ask? Well, I care more about getting my name out there than selling copies right now.
A happy reader is a repeat reader. One who will come back. Why settle for $2.00 now when I can build a relationship with a reader who will return when I publish the sequels and finally reward me for my hard work by purchasing Part II and Part III? I learned that from one of Nick Stephenson’s video blog guests who has been very successful with just such daring tactics. I’m a soldier. I like “tactics.” 🙂
So! I’ve got the “back copy blurb” and the description all set up on Amazon. I’ve uploaded the really cool cover that Debbie over at The Cover Collection in the UK did for me (you’ve seen it already I’m sure). I’ve selected the little “KDP” check box. I’ve got everything set. Amazon is just waiting for me upload the guts of the book!
So I’m ready! I’ve been waiting a long time for this day to come; I’m more than ready!
No, I’m not ready.
I’m nervous. I have about 100 hours from this very moment to completely finalize the baby bird that is my first short story launch. 100 hours before I unzip my fly and bare my soul to the harsh world of critics and know-it-alls. Ugh.
But guess what? Those people’s feedback will make me a better writer. They will make my next book that much more awesome. I will make Lemonade out of those lemons I catch. Challenges can be obstacles or stepping stones; it’s all how you view them. I learned that from some stupid motivational poster in the restroom at work. Turns out it’s good advice that stuck. Well, played, boss. Well played.
So, bring it on. Damn the photon torpedoes! Full warp ahead!
Tuesday the 19th, 2016. The Tesla Project: 1975 on Amazon (see the books section of the site for a link Tuesday). Watch out, big bad world. Here I come.
-Rod and the Wordwraiths