I’m getting ready to publish my manuscript about ‘The Kingdom Within’ as an eBook. I haven’t settled on the title yet. My plan is to self-publish as I don’t think traditional publishers will be interested. This book is in a unique genre all by itself.
I’ve been told in my book appraisal that the manuscript is so different that it may struggle to find a market. The blend of memoir/fantasy fiction/devotional theology is extremely unusual. Despite what has been said about publishers looking for fresh vibrant voices, they don’t actually want too unusual a book, since it is too great a risk for them in a marginal market.
I understand that and look forward to the self publishing adventure.
Cath Dunsford, my publishing consultant, really helped me kick the ball off. I gave her the first three chapters on paper whilst working on her computer. Then she asked for the rest, saying “First impressions are always important when considering a text for assessment for publication as well as subsequent readings of the full manuscript.
I have read the text you left me already – so gripped I could not put it down. Many have written memoirs and about abuse but none, in all my 40 years of work, have ever related the close guidance of the Bible to finding a way forward in quite the way you have. The writing is utterly beautiful and very moving. It is compact and powerful.”
Her feedback got the book going as I really respect her. She is a published author and literary associate of Witi Ihimera, the author of “The Whale Rider.”
I’ve had the manuscript edited. There’s a bit of a back-story finding Marie Anticich, my editor. She’s a journalist and editor for some Christian magazines. I got led to her through learning the sound desk at church!
The back-story: Why, oh why did I put my hand up for a job best left for the boys? That’s what I asked myself when I started doing the sound. I’m a computer technician, so buttons and knobs don’t frighten me. I thought the sound desk would be easy enough to learn. I also thought the Lord wanted me to volunteer for it! Well you know what ‘thought thought.’ Sound practise was okay – but I made all sorts of mistakes during the church service the first few times. Anyway it’s all good because the church has survived my efforts on the sound desk, I’ve learned a new skill, and it led me to the book editor.
Marie is a bit of a sergeant major, but I really appreciate her and the manuscript needed her criticism. Marie told me about the Caleb award, a book competition that Omega Writers were running in 2013. The competition fee included a book appraisal. That was the next piece of the puzzle.
The book appraisal said “the constant reference to ‘the Princess’ actually detaches the readers slightly from the story, instead of allowing them to walk in her shoes. Instead of the massive emotional punch certain scenes should carry, the real conflict is muted because of this detachment.”
So I’ve changed ‘the Princess’ to ‘Joanna’, keeping the viewpoint in the third person.
I was advised to tell the reader more of who I am and aim for reader sympathy. Taking Marie’s advice, I changed the first chapters with that in mind. Then she said I was too sad and no one likes a victim! So it’s been back to the drawing board; and now (hopefully) I’ve got the mix right.
Here’s the overall comments so far:
Omega Writers: “This is a really awesome story with a fabulous blend of unusual elements. It has the potential to wield a strong and powerful impact if the issues of ‘show don’t tell’ are addressed.” (I hope I’ve addressed those issues.)
Dunsford Publishing: “The quality and beauty of the writing in the preface really draws the reader in and it issues a warm invitation to come ad share this amazing journey. You have really achieved a stunning work of writing, here, Jo.”