Monday, January 24, 2022

The Crooked Knife

 I thought it might be fun and helpful for me to write down my impressions of this part of my writing journey. I have spent years writing posts that talk about trying to get here and it would be easy to dust off my hands as if to say this job is done. But it is not done. Like the fox in the I Ching hexagram 64 - Nearing Completion, I can see the shore, but if I am wise I will not rush this last part, or I risk misfortune. 

At first, however, one must move warily, like an old fox walking over ice. The caution of a fox walking over ice is proverbial in China. His ears are constantly alert to the cracking of the ice, as he carefully and circumspectly searches out the safest spots. A young fox who as yet has not acquired this caution goes ahead boldly, and it may happen that he falls in and gets his tail wet when he is almost across the water. Then of course his effort has been all in vain. Accordingly, in times "before completion," deliberation and caution are the prerequisites of success.                                                         The Richard Wilhelm Translation


a fox I met in Labrador...

So where am I with The Crooked Knife? By the end of this month the editor will send the manuscript the two of us have been working on to the publisher. He may require another copyedit or he may give it the go ahead. This week is the final big push with the words on the page in other words. Then I have to let go of it. I thought I would be sick of the darned thing by now, but I am not. I am like the Golem holding on to the ring, muttering my precioussss.... 

Working with the editor provided by the publisher has been an extremely satisfying experience. She is young, very young, and very sharp. She gets the book and everything I want for it completely. I've always enjoyed the revision process but it is one I've usually done alone. Back a couple of years ago I decided that CK was worth investing in and I worked with another young woman, Kate Juniper from Juniper Editing and Creative. I hired Kate to do a comprehensive edit and an analysis of the project as a whole. This was a very scary step for me to do and it paid off tremendously - but more on that later.

So, next weekend, when the manuscript flies away - what then? I have already begun designing a launch campaign with the third young woman in this story, Willa Creighton. I've known Willa since her first breath and am very excited that she is joining me on this journey. She understands marketing, and as a creative herself (singer/songwriter) particularly in the arts scene.  We have designed a website which will be linked to this blog, and all my social media sites. 

I have renewed some professional memberships and joined some new ones. I have read extensively online to see what is done in this new world. My publisher, Boulder Books, is an independent book publishing company headquartered in Newfoundland and Labrador. I like that they are local (Atlantic provinces, Canada) and small. With the small comes close care but no big budgets for getting the word out. From what I read this is pretty normal even for the bigger publishers out there. I'm okay with this. I was in arts management many years ago and still know that if you want the word out, you better wear out your own shoe leather before expecting others to do the same.

We think the book will be ready to launch by June so have planned accordingly. I will do three launches - one in North West River, Labrador, where the book is set, one in St. John's, where the publisher is, and one in Halifax, my home town.  Before that we will do a social media campaign to encourage people to like my facebook page and preorder the book. We will also start putting feelers out for media possibilities. Writing about the North is of interest, also the fact that The Crooked Knife takes place on a reserve is a hook. The book involves several social issues that are of interest right now - environmental racism, the resource curse apparent in Labrador, and the one I wrote the book to highlight - the vulnerability of youth on reserves in Canada. My personal hook is that I'm 70 and am having my first book published. Ageism is a real issue in our world and the thing is that everyone who lives long enough will encounter it at two periods in their lives (or maybe more)!

So that is that for this post. There is so much more to talk about, but I fear wearing you and I both out so will stop here. 

If you have any questions about my publishing journey I would be happy to entertain them though to call me even a newbie is a bit grand!



Liza said...

This looks like an excellent and thoughtful process. So looking forward to witnessing your publishing journey.

Margot Kinberg said...

I am so excited for you that you've gotten to this point, Jan. The journey from idea to publication is unique for everyone, I think, and I think we can learn from hearing about one another's journeys. Thanks.

Elwaleed Ahmed said...
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