From the first, raw draft to publication. Whether through traditional agent/publisher or vanity press. What is your story from first draft to publication? And make sure you don't skimp out on where you had your celebratory dinner(s). (Yes, this is where you get to show off).
Well, for me, personally that seems like an awkward place to start. When I finished my first draft I was in a wierd place in my life and I think the story needs a little background.
I was losing my fucking mind. I had dropped out of college and been playing professional Halo for a year and a half, I had sponsors, I won local tournaments, I did a lot of good marketing. But pro Halo needs a team, and I had never been able to get anyone reliable to work with me, the problems with the team got really bad and where I ended up was at Orlando in September of 2006 at a MLG tournament with a team of completely random dudes, I was a utility player, I put the three shots in before my teammates finished kills, I got the flags, I devised the strategies, I got the sponsors and took care of travel and accomadations. So I was not happy to be topping every statistic with this team in the games we lost at the tournament, a team where I am the All Star player was not going to be a working team, and I was out everything I had put into Orlando, where the sponsor money had started to run out and I had to put the hotel on my credit card. I had something of a nervous breakdown,
Canadian Border Patrol apprehended me trying to flee the US, sent me back. After which I was always frustrated and getting more and more depressed until I ended up in a mental institution.
So, scene set, after the mental institution I went to live with my parents for a little while, and while I was there I decided it was time to start writing a novel, I had known for a while that I had to eventually write a novel, I had tried it several times before and at that point in my life I felt like I had two options, call it quits or start writing. I wrote about the things in Greensboro that I missed. The dirty alleys, the happy go lucky stoners, some of the ideas I had had there, and the philosophy that had become in my mind entangled with my experiences of that city, living on my own for the first time, since I was then at my parents house.
When I finished the first draft, it was rough, if you can get a plot out of the list of words there then good luck, I couldn't, and I didn't. It was meandering, it ranted, it was a disaster when I think about it now.
But I was very proud of it, and so I showed it to my father. He had always proofread my short stories and so I thought he might be able to help me figure it out. He told me that he did not want me to use him as a reader anymore on the second draft.
So, I took this thing in a whole new direction, kept a lot of the atmosphere, I mean, the dirty alleys adn abandoned buildings, the freedom of nobody watching you, a lot of the ideas were still there, but all of the sudden this became a business, these people were growing and selling huge amounts of weed. And they were hiring people, people to water the plants, people to clean out the gutters, people to generate the electricity on stationary bikes. And then the antagonist finally arrived, so to speak, in the biker gang who began to terrorize them, who totally changed the story and required many a rewrite.
And all of this time after my first draft I spend my nights at my parents house in a trailer in their front yard (they got this trailer to go camping in, like a little RV. They caught me smoking weed in the bathroom one night and I was banished out there eternally, I still have to sleep there when I visit for holidays) smoking salvia and writing outlines, trying to get the story right.
So, I get back into university, I move back to Greensboro, I get a job and start paying my own rent. In fact, on top of that I start selling weed to research the story, I'm doing outlines every night still, rewriting scenes, doing character profiles, trying to tighten up the story.
And probably like a year into this I start exchanging manuscripts with other writers, using sites like AQConnect and write.com, I start catching my chronic grammatical errors, the run on sentences, I do like 20 or so such exchanges from all over the place, all sorts of demographics, I'm hearing a lot of good things about the story and getting a lot of good advice so I start marketing it to agents.
So I market to agents for two years, 2009 and 2010, after the Tea Party insurrection of '09 and the debacle over the healthcare reform I realize that these Upright Citizens in their Quixotic Culture War have a lot in common with my own antagonists. I start trying to market it differently, I try a number of strategies and hundreds of agents.
To no avail. So I start the whole endgame with grammar and form editing. Going over every line, trying to get everything right. And when it was done with that I uploaded it to smashwords.
Celebration? You shouldn't celebrate a self published book. You have too much work left to do.
The Funny thing about that is that I did in fact have a pool party to release the album when Perhaps 2 Klever came out with Abortion Clinic Music, and I am much less talented/experienced as a musician.
This is the forum for bragging. So give us the name of the book you uploaded to Smashwords.com. And provide the link.
I know, but there's already a thread for it in the self promotion forum. The name of it is Upright Citizens