I ran through a succession of nearly-identical Twitter headers last year, editing the date they contained over and over, as I raced towards, then overtook, and ultimately left for dead my arbitrary book release date. I was suffering a crisis of confidence and the critique process was, shall we say, not fucking helping. The self-doubt metastasized and slowed the editing process to a complete halt. Over the summer, concurrent with relearning the art of meditation, I questioned whether or not I wanted to continue to publish. I didn’t dream of not writing (that would be absurd), but I did wonder if I was cut out for publishing, given my hypersensitivity to critique and my gnawing social anxiety.
I did decide to continue to publish, but from a slightly different angle. Not with the image of a traditional author as my goal, but just for fun, as a hobby, without the marketing push that made me consider seppuku when I put out my first book. Removing the elements of publishing that had hurt me in round one also removed much of the immobilizing dread round two was causing. Armed with some highly recommended self-editing books (such as the immensely helpful Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne and Dave King) I began a complete re-write!!! (Yes, this really calls for the dreaded multiple exclamation points.)
And then, one – one! – chapter into my rewrite, this happened:
Had I not stalled myself to the brink of crashing my book would have been in the wild as this movie was showing up on shelves in Target (where I recoiled in horror at confronting one in person not a week after that tweet), confusing the hell out of (admittedly very few) people, and making me go HULK SMASH. Suddenly it seemed like a great thing (and not a giant downer and Herculean task) that the first two items on my check list were 1) Get new cover art and 2) Get new title. Before I even knew of the existence of the movie I had been slashing away at my book, reevaluating everydamnthing, and I had determined that, eye-catching as I found it, both the title and the cover were too spooky. The campy-ness I had intended hadn’t come through in the final product. The overall impression was “this book is trying and failing to be horror” when the message I wanted the cover to give was “this is a silly book that is smart and fun and not full of itself.”
Who knew I could be so happy about a couple of setbacks?
So, the update: I haven’t decided on a title, I have only a nebulous idea for artwork, and the rewrite got derailed by a road trip to Yellowstone (which I should really blog about …) and some oral surgery with bonus complications. TL;DR: I have no idea when this sucker will be out. (Quit asking! Authors hate that.)