Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Journal of a Novelist by Renae Kaye

I’ve told my story before – of how I came to be a novelist.  I like the word “novelist.”  It has the meaning of “one who writes literary prose” but novel also means “interestingly new and/or usual.”  I like wrapping the two of them up.  I’m a novel writer.  And you can choose which definition of novel you like.

My story to be a novelist really took root in January 2013.  I decided I’d write myself a book because I wasn’t enjoying the stuff I had been reading.  So I took the bold step in deciding I would write one for myself.  One that would never be published because I wasn’t good enough for that, but one that would make me laugh.  I’d never tried to write a book before.  So I sat down and typed out a book I lovingly call “Windmills” which was a MF romance.  I’m still working on publishing it now.  But once it was finished I started working on Loving Jay because I really did want to read MM romance, so I tried writing that.

I started writing Loving Jay in April 2013 and finished it in 12 weeks.  Then I showed my BFF, and with her encouragement I actually told NR Walker (one of the Australian MM writers I’d contacted and she actually talked back!) that I’d written a book.  She basically said “Send it to a publisher – what do you have to lose?”

So I did.  I swear I need a bravery award for that.  By sending your manuscript to a publisher you are saying, “I think this is good enough to be published.”  And I wasn’t sure. 

Six weeks later Dreamspinner sent me a contract.  Three days later I began to believe that they hadn’t accidentally sent it to the wrong person.

In October 2013, I signed a contract with Dreamspinner to publish Loving Jay and decided that I would jot a few notes down in a little orange journal book I have – just major milestones that I went through on my journey to be a novelist.  I thought it would be amusing to transcribe parts of it out to you so you can laugh too.  I've only edited parts out that pertain to me keeping a record for tax purposes.

[From my journal…]

October 2013
 - signed contract for “Loving Jay” with Dreamspinner Press.

8 October 2013
 - Received my advance.  Cool.

27 November 2013
 - received 2nd contract for “The Blinding Light” with Dreamspinner.  Over the moon!

3 December 2013
 - received advance for TBL.  If they’re silly enough to pay me…

5 December 2013
 - Have been told 1st edits are coming for Loving Jay about 3rd of January.  Excited but scared.  Sent forms away regarding availability to DSP.  The Shearing Gun is finished.  Will wait & re-edit around Xmas.  15k into untitled WIP.  Features a MC who was a victim of child sex abuse.  Why did I pick such a hard subject?

6 December 2013
 - If Loving Jay makes any money over my advance, I should see some money in October.  Due for release in April-May, royalties paid quarterly, but must wait for DSP to receive money from Amazon.  Hope LJ doesn’t bomb.  Nervous about 1st edits – what if they hate it?
 - Found $5 in my purse.  **smiley face**

18 December 2013
 - I’ve applied for copyright for TBL.  Still haven’t received certificate for LJ.  Still waiting for my ITIN too.

January 2013 2014!!
 - EDITING LJ!  OMG.  Much harder & soul destroying than I thought.  Not completely happy with changes made to the story but I guess my editor knows best.

10 January 2014
 - received my ITIN.

23 January 2014
 - Sent back 2nd edits of LJ.  I’m now calling the story “Hating Jay.”  I have re-read so many times I think I can recite it word for word.   Funny what the Americans pick up on:
            Flat white
ßhad to describe what one is.
            Milo, paracetamol
ßhad to explain.
            They also wanted me to stop using the word “footy.”
            She had problems with what is a bucks night, a hens night & a middy.
            She wanted to change “come” to “cum.”  I refused.

21 February 2014
 - OMG!  DSP have accepted TSG!  I’ve signed but I’m now really nervous.
            Loving Jay: Due out Apr-May
            The Blinding Light: Due out Jul-Aug
            The Shearing Gun:  Due out Aug-Sept
- It took me 8 solid days of working for 2x edits on LJ.  Plus blurb stuff & cover art stuff took more time.  I’ve yet to get proof reads or galley proof for LJ.  So now I need to do all that twice over in the next 3 months?  Plus proofs?  When the hell will I write my next book?

24 February 2014
 - I’ve finished Safe In His Arms.  [BFF and beta reader] has problems with it.  I’m really unsure about it as it is a little different from previous work.  I can’t even think about it at the moment.  My head is so full.
 - ATM I’m re-editing TBL before the editor gets it.  Now I know the things I am doing wrong I thought I would fix them before the editor has to.  It will enable her to concentrate more on the other stuff & maybe produce a better quality mss.

8 March 2014
 - received proof of Loving Jay.  Oh, wow.  Reality!  I have a week to check it.  If there isn’t too many mistakes to correct, then that will be it & they will assign a release date.  What the hell constitutes “too many mistakes”???

14 March 2014
 - FREAK OUT!!  DSP have sent me vellums to autograph & write a brief message on.  HELP!  What do I write?

17 March 2014
 - I’ve created me a website.  SCARY!

20 March 2014
 - Heard from Paul regarding the cover of The Blinding Light & also [editor] saying she is starting editing.  THEN – OMG!!!
            Release date!!
 - I’m on DSP’s website!  There is my book.  My author profile has been up for a couple of days.  But FREAK!

LOL – as you can see I freaked out a lot.  You can see why my BFF started calling release days “Freak Out Fridays.”

I hoped you enjoyed this little peek.  Next week I’ll show you the next couple of entries.  Re-reading them brings back all those nerves.  How much I wanted it to be successful but didn’t believe in myself.  How little I knew and how much I had to learn.

(For those who don’t know – an ITIN is an identifying number for US taxation purposes as I have to pay tax to the US.  Is it wrong that I pay tax and Trump doesn’t?)

I also laugh that I was happy about finding $5 in my purse.

How to contact Renae:
Twitter:  @renaekkaye


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  2. I'm amazed you were able to produce all your books so quickly, especially with the editing you describe....!