I Can’t Feel My Face (When I’m With Your Manuscript)

While this blog was originally created to share my experience of teaching English in Korea, there were times, both before and after my VERY brief experience (two weeks), where I would mention the fact that I was working on writing a novel.

A post I started, but never finished and uploaded was entitled “A Cabin in the Woods” where I go into detail, using numbers, about how the process works and why it’s important to jump into an ambitious project “with both feet.”

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(Not “feet in face”! WITH BOTH FEET! Oh, whatever.)

I may publish that post one day, but it was scheduled for months ago, at a time when I was still pouring lots of hours into the project. Today, the unpublished novel or manuscript (as they say in the business) is mostly done, and I’m just reading it through one more time to get it ready for my editor, Michael Mohr.

Now, I know what you’re likely thinking at this point: “Completed a book? Good for you! So…when can I get my hands on it?”

The short answer is “I don’t know. Maybe 2017? If all goes well?”

But the long answer touches on the journey a manuscript goes on to get published, and since there’s no room for all of that here, I’ll just transition into the“update” part of this post.

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(“Stand by for update, bzzt.”) 

First, we’ve got to backtrack a bit. Around June or July I submitted a very substantial rewrite to my editor. Completing it was one of the most intense parts of my life so far, and I came very close to having a breakdown. I’m (kinda, sort of) embarrassed a bit when I admitted this in an email to him:

confidence snipping

 (Aaaaaaand speaking of confidence we’ll cut it off there.)

Looking back I attribute that to the pressure of creating something whose quality will knock him on his ass combined with the schedule of working on it every single day, for 2-4 hours straight, right after I’d gotten up and eaten breakfast. It’s also important to note that I was in-between day jobs at this point, so I HAD to work on it every day, because (and this could be the subject of another post entirely) once you’re working full time it’s EXTREMELY easy to make excuses not to work on the manuscript (MS for short) once you get home.

Anyway, throughout this whole process I had a timeline in my mind about when it would be completed, when Michael and I would be done working together, when we’d be submitting, and on and on until the publication date. So I pushed myself to hand it to him late June / early July (I really should stop being lazy and look up the actual date, lol) and he returned it to me on August 7. But during that time I was extremely anxious, because I knew that anything less than “This is absolutely amazing. I can’t feel my face when I’m with your manuscript” would spell failure and doom and depression for me. But luckily, I accomplished my goal. After reading the first 3 chapters he emailed me praise, did so again when he was halfway through (all of which he never does; he says all comments for when he’s done) and when he had finished he sent me an editorial letter that opened with this:

Michael Mohr praise

 (As always, click pic to enlarge if necessary.)

But it wasn’t just him. After my editor I had a friend of mine who reads my stuff take a look at the manuscript and text me this:

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So needless to say I was in a pretty good place. Not bouncing off the walls with excitement (I’m saving that for when I sign a publishing contract) but because I was able to breathe a sigh of relief for the first time in a long time.

Phew.

Ever eager to move forward, I asked Michael when we could transition into the final line edit (where he’d simply go through the MS to check for spelling, grammar, and sentence structure) so we could move on to submissions.

This is where I got hit with some not-so-great news. He can’t do the line edit until mid-October because of his schedule, meaning I’d probably get the completed MS ready for submissions in early November. Unfortunately, November / December is considered the Red Zone when it comes to submissions, meaning it’s the WORST time of year to submit, owing to everyone in the industry taking lots of time off and falling behind on their work.

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(No. Not THAT kind of red Zone.)

In short, the current plan is to submit my completed manuscript on January 4, 2016, the first Monday of the year. October will be for the line edit, November will be where we prepare the submission materials (cover letter and synopsis) as well as compile a list of desirable literary agents, and December will be a break month.

It’ll all be coming together over the next couple of months, and I’m hopeful that everything will work out. Of course, I will be using this blog to provide updates, so be sure to stick around for news.

Otherwise, that’s all for today. Let me know what you think about this drawn-out process with a COMMENT below, and as always, be sure to SUBSCRIBE by email so you don’t miss a post.

Thanks for stopping by,

J. F. Seegitz

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