That elusive first draft has been teased out of my fevered mind and I have given both mind and keyboard a couple of months to recover. But what now?
I'll be honest; this is usually the point at which I flounder. I find myself proud at having got this far but conscious that the manuscript isn't quite right and that more work is needed. After a while, with the sum total of zero publishers or agents banging on my door to snap up my work of genius for a gazillion pounds (I'm not bitter!), I end up grinding to a halt, unsure what to focus on next. The pattern then ends and restarts with me consigning the manuscript to some forgotten corner while I turn to the next amazing idea.
Not this time.
Going back to the question of what's next for The Infernal Aether, let's think about what I really need to turn my collection of words into a publishable piece:
1) A good critical review by an impartial and brutally honest third party, pointing me to what to change, cut, expand.
2) A good edit, to iron out those rough edges and errors.
3) A nice, striking cover and finish, to draw the reader toward it.
4) An outlet through which the finished product can be offered to the world.
5) Marketing, to let people know it's out there
6) Counselling to keep me sane which we edge over the finish line!
7) Some way of paying for all of this.
Long time readers will remember my contact / collaboration with @dlmackenzie on this site, which has widened into something called Fictivity Press. Things have continued to rumble on over the past months and something has developed which I'm pretty d--n excited by...
In terms of what exactly is Fictivity Press, I'll let them say it in their own words:
"Fictivity Press is an entirely new approach to self-publishing, leveraging multiple techniques to provide indie authors the professional services they need at little to no cost. We use genuine project management principles to ensure an organized prepublication process and a successful launch. We arrange bidding for all of the various aspects of your project to ensure high quality and great value. And we leverage crowd-funding techniques on your behalf to defray most or all of the costs.
"We will evaluate your manuscript, build a genuine time-bound, budgeted project plan, help you assemble a project team, guide you in creating a dynamic author platform, and craft crowd-funding campaigns to raise the necessary funds. In short, we'll prepare you and your book for a successful launch at dramatically lower cost. In fact, you may pay nothing at all for our services ever and you'll keep all of your royalties."
...and before you ask, no I am not on commission...! ;)
Assuming you don't have a publisher already, the first six items in my above list can of course be bought individually for varying fees, whilst crowdfunding is increasing common to fund such projects. In the past I've researched and sourced individual bits of the above, but without a proper focus it's been too disjointed and unfocused - as a result it has fizzled out very quickly.
For me, the draw of Fictivity Press is that they will project manage the whole process, from crowdfund through to selecting the team, and so on. It's something a bit new, a bit different, and there's going to be plenty of learning along the way. But I do pledge to blog throughout on my thoughts, experiences, mistakes, and maybe even the odd triumph. That way, I hope that maybe you can learn from what I'm going through and we can all come out of this with something special.
We're getting dangerously close to the launch date of the campaign - pencilled in for Friday 7 March. We're busy working on some stuff to supplement the campaign, and do watch this space - there are some very exciting times ahead!
In the meantime, if you'd like to know more, head on over to the project page.