The McManual

Blogging my little heart out in poetry and prose.

Tag: someotherville

Getting a Kickstarter Campaign going.


When I heard about Kickstarter.com, I thought it sounded cool, but I didn’t realize that I would ever use it.  Once I went to the website and started exploring, though, I saw that Publishing is one of their categories.  I got really excited, because I have a novel that I completed and that I had been  planning to publish. 

My problem was that I didn’t know really how to publish, and I certainly knew that I didn’t have enough money to publish it.  My original plan had been to go ahead and publish e-book versions, because that is very inexpensive, and then if I generated any money I was going to use the money to do a paper book launch.  But… that would, I think, have deflated any excitement about the launch, and I’m not sure that it would have had any chances at being reviewed by anyone.  

I still am not certain that it will ever be reviewed, but at least with Kickstarter, I will be able to launch all the platforms at the same time, and to me that seems better.  

Creating a project on Kickstarter is easy.  The website is very user friendly and I had no problems navigating around to the different pages and no problems with putting in my content.  I did get some help with the video, thanks to my good friend Josh Kortas, because for some reason the video I took of myself with my phone wasn’t that great. 😉  And you don’t have to do a video, although I believe your chances of getting funded are better if you do.  

Anyway, the whole site is easy to use, you can go back in and edit easily, there’s not problems with that. My thing is, it did take me a long time to do everything because there’s just a lot to say.  There are the rewards to decide upon, and to word nicely… I went to a LOT of other novelist’s projects to see what they were doing for rewards, and I found that the rewards descriptions were sort of dull, so I went back in tried to make mine reflect my voice, rather than just listing what people would get.  I don’t know how effective that will be, but I felt better about it.  

It’s a little intimidating to make a bunch of promises of what people will get for sponsoring, but it’s fun, too.

The other parts just seemed to write themselves – pretty simple, really.  Describe the project, tell what you will use the money for, and make up good rewards.  It took me about a month to get it to where I like it, and I think that’s fine.  Less time, and I think some parts would have felt unfinished.  More time, and gosh, you can second guess yourself to death. 

I submitted my project, “Someotherville: A Novel” last night, and it should be approved soon *unless I did something wrong* and then I will launch it through the end of Sept ’12.  

I was thinking that I want more than just an online presence, so I made up a postcard with the cover art on one side and a blurb for the book and my cover artist, Katherine Clayton, who is participating in the LOLA art crawl event this weekend, is handing them out, and I am sending them to friends and acquaintances this week.  Whew.

Meanwhile, I have a full time job, which I should probably go to right now, so bye – thanks for reading!  Sheila 

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Facing Fears


So as I dink around on the internet, I notice that there are a lot of inspirational sites.  I love to go to those sites and read articles with catchy and hopeful titles like ‘100 ways to be fearless.’  I have spent hours (over years, of course) reading these types of motivational writings on the web.  It’s the interweb version of going out for a paperback self-help book, and now that I think about it that explains why I haven’t bought a self-help book in a while.  It’s not that I’m not still trying to help myself. 😉

My most recent reason for a good self help book is this:  I have noticed myself becoming fearful over tasks that are not very difficult, but that would help me in my writing career.  See, what I’m trying to do (other than keep my day job) is start a small publishing company and publish my novel.  The novel is done.  There are a couple of finishing touches that need to be completed, but it’s done.  And I have an artist working on the cover.  And I have a publication date – June 12, 2012.

I feel like the big stuff is in place.  But now for the small stuff… and there’s lots of it.  Most of it is stuff that I just have to do and it doesn’t involve fear at all.  What I am fearful of is really asking for anything from anyone.  I am fearful of asking for help.  I don’t know why I feel this way, the people are welcome to say no and I don’t mind too much if they do, it’s just the asking.  I don’t like asking for help.  I guess that’s where the fear comes from – I don’t want to seem like I am helpless, so I don’t like asking for help.

The help that I need is that I need to find someone literary and well known to read the book and give me a comment that I can put on the back.  Actually, now that I write that, I don’t know whether I even really care about that all that much.  I see at the bookstores that there is a trend right now to have quotes from other authors right on the cover of a novel.  I don’t like that at all.  I think it looks more like a magazine or a sort of throw away book if you have a quote on the cover.  But I wonder how much people are influenced by those kinds of quotes when they are at the bookstore.  There’s no sense being prideful about how the book looks commercial if you want it to be a commercial success, is there?  I don’t know.  As a reader/book buyer, I would prefer just a regular cover.

Well, I seem to have gotten off track in this post.  It’s definitely not what I sat down to write.  I got distracted a couple of paragraphs ago by the needs of dogs and husband, so now the title doesn’t fit what I have written…  but I really don’t feel like coming up with a new title, so I’m going to try to swing this bus around back to facing fears.  Asking people – old profs, famous people that I’m vaguely connected to through friends, and famous people that I have no connection to – for help, that’s my fear.

I did write to three famous people.  Woody Allen, Steve Martin, and Garrison Keillor.  I wrote maybe 6 months ago.  I got a nice letter from Keillor’s people saying they read my letter but that he didn’t have time to read my novel, one from Allen’s people that said he doesn’t have time to work on anything but his own projects, and the other day I got an 8×12 envelope with an autographed copy of a Steve Martin headshot – no note.  I guess the answer was no. And you know what?  It didn’t kill me that none of them said yes – I didn’t think that they would.  But I remember being very scared to even write the letters.  But I did it.  Maybe when I’m writing these notes to other people, I can just remember that the three that I really really wanted all said no, so now other no’s won’t be so bad.  Hmm.

Or maybe I put my book out without a celebrity quote on the back.  That’s probably what will happen.  And I’m fine with that.  I probably have a lot more important things to worry about, like how to get an ISBN number, whether I want a QRcode, getting an author website going, how to get the right fonts… etc.  Oh and right now I’m afraid that I will be late for work if I don’t get going.  Thanks for reading.  Sheila

Pride Day


I know, I know, I’m supposed to be writing my memories of Michael Jackson today, but the only thing I have is that my cousin had the Thriller album, and I loved it so much that I got my parents to buy it for me for Christmas in the seventh grade.  And one of my other friends had his pictures up in her locker.  She kissed his picture, and I remember being shocked.  I think kissing a photograph is very intimate.  Silly, since it’s one way, but that’s how I still feel.

What I am actually writing about today, after the non-related intro paragraph, is Gay Pride in Minneapolis.  As you may know, it’s set mostly in Loring Park, across from the Walker Art Center.  I love that area – Loring Park, the Irene Whitney bridge and the Sculpture Garden serve as the setting for the climax of my novel, Someotherville. *ahem, still seeking representation*  There’s something about Loring Park that is just very comfortable.

I can’t say that I had any Earth-shattering insights, it was just a nice day where I met a lot of nice people. I was especially gratified to see that there were at least three booths specifically for Transgender people.  I have had the honor of serving several Transgender students over the years, and I’m glad to see that their community is being served by at least a few non-profits.

I also thought it was great that such a wide variety of Minnesota was represented.  Corporations, small independent artists, churches (lots of churches.) and in the middle of religion row, a booth from Minnesota Atheists.  A man was holding a ‘hug an Atheist today’ sign.  I was so happy to see him that I did run up and hug him.  So did Jay.  The people running the booth said that they were working hard to present a positive image of us.  It seemed to be working.  We are definitely joining that group.

I also saw students and old friends, signed about a dozen petitions, picked up great resources for future students, walked through a well-done exhibit about the history of homosexual persecution and ate a falafel.  It was a great day.  We are still waiting until Gay marriage is legal in Minnesota to wear our wedding rings, but Jay and I held hands alot, and for once it felt like our Gay friends were free to do the same.

I have to close now, but a big thank you to the organizers of Minnesota’s Pride events this year – it was really great.

Wondering where to go with my novel.


I just got some good feedback from a good friend of mine about Someotherville, and I now feel fairly confused. I was really surprised by her feedback – she loved the parts about Joan, didn’t like the story within a story at all.
At first I was slightly defensive because I was hoping that the two stories would meld together in the end, and it would be obvious or feel inevitable that it had to happen the way it happened. But this was not how my friend felt about it.
As we were talking it through, I remembered that the part where she really didn’t like it was the same part where I didn’t know what to do next, and so I pulled something extreme out of the hat. I think that at the time of writing it, I had it in the back of my mind that I could always change things and that it would be best if I just forged ahead.
But now I am second guessing whether I could go back in and change the story within a story to either have more details about the secondary characters *which I should do because I do go on about how secondary characters are pivotal, and we often end up caring about them more than the main characters* or whether it was a poor choice for the story within a story, since it’s so weak – I mean, who really cares about a spy story? Cold war stuff is completely played out – when it was the 39 steps or whatever, it was fresh because people didn’t know what was happening or why. Now it really is a stereotype, a stock story. Alias…dollhouse… and those are just recent examples.
There’s only a certain kind of friend that can tell you that something you wrote is gimmicky. But now that it’s said, I guess it is a little. It was a quick fix for a long term problem, and it shows.
So not to be too mean to myself – that’s not what I’m trying to do – but I’m trying to convince myself that i do need to dive back into this pool – it can be better. Arwin, Cece and Katrina need to have more substance before they will ever seem real to people. I am heartened by the fact that someone thought Arwin seemed real. That makes me happy.
Now I need to tend to the rest of them. Maybe it’s a matter of pride, I really had thought I finished a book in a month, with only needing minor rewrites. Now if I go back in and make major changes, that is no longer the case. Yeah. Pride is foolish. Do I want this to be something that is read and cast aside as being mostly really good, or do I want it to be better than that?
Obvious answer. So now I know the task ahead of me – I don’t know how I’m going to do it – or whether I should do it – funny…I just had a moment of feeling exactly how Joan felt – she didn’t know if she should write her project either, but she felt compelled. And I feel compelled. So there you have it. The adventure begins again.
Ha.

Getting Back Into The Swing Of Things


Good morning, all.

This will be a short entry as I only have about five minutes to write. I don’t know how it’s possible, but I completely forgot that I have a blog and that I had committed to write at least a few times a week. I think I actually said I would write every day. Ha. So I managed to forget, but I have been writing.

I wrote a novel over the summer this year. I like it, but now I have been tinkering with it a bit too much. I really think some of the changes are good, and then there are some random paragraphs that I know I need to go back and take out. I really like the first 30 pages, though, so I think that’s progress.

I am slowly letting people read it and give me feedback. At first that was giving me panic attacks – Jay could read with no anxiety on my part, but anyone else and I was in a state. Two of my friends read it, and a few students started it, but I don’t think any of them finished. Or at least they haven’t said anything.

It’s a strange thing to have a book written and not know what to do with it. I have been sending out letters to literary agents, but honestly , and this isn’t the anxiety talking, they seem swamped and I read that they typically receive hundreds of query letters a week. It seems that knowing someone, an author, agent or editor, is the way to go.

Or I could take classes at the Loft in Minneapolis. Problem with that is time. I don’t seem to have any to spare. So maybe that will have to wait until summer, and who knows? By then I’ll have forgotten that I wrote a novel at all, but you can bet I’ll still be writing on my blog! (I hope!)

See ya, thanks for reading!

Sheila

PS if you want to see the first little section of SOMEOTHERVILLE, my novel, you can check it out at http://www.sheilamcmahon.com

🙂 Sheila

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