I have a very specific topic on the agenda.
As you may know, I've signed up for Vampire Books For Blood, a charity organization where authors pledge to donate funds to the American Red Cross and Canadian Blood Services based on the number of vampire-themed books they sell during the month of October. I have pledged to donate $1 for every copy of Hell Comes to Hogtown.
(If you haven't heard about it, you will - I'm going to keep up on it for the next four weeks!)
I thought this was a stellar idea. It's a great cause as well as great cross-promotion between a number of authors in a similar genre (at last count there was over 40 authors and publishers participating). The charities win, the authors win and hopefully readers win by discovering new books and writers they enjoy. It seems like a perfect situation for everyone involved.
So why am I worried?
I am convinced that come the end of the month when I tally my sales and go to make my donation to Canadian Blood Services, I'm only going to be giving them, like, two dollars, and it's going to be hugely embarrassing. I mean, I'm used to lousy sales numbers, that's been my reality for the last two years, but to pledge to the world that I'm doing this and then announce exactly how many people bought (or did not) buy my book, well, that's something else.
I'm already checking my bank account to see how much I can pad my donation to make it less shameful.
You should definitely check out Vampire Books For Blood. It's a great cause, and if you're vaguely interested in vampire-themed fiction at all, there's a ton to choose from and surely something to slake your thirst. You certainly don't have to buy my book; but please, considering picking up something that catches your eye.
And if you're a writer who has your own vampire fiction, there's still time to sign up!
Fitz is a broke night manager for a grubby comic book store. His only friend Dee is a drugged-out, womanizing pro-wrestler. Together they’re the most pathetic losers on the face of the planet. Their lives cannot possibly get any worse.
And then they’re implicated in the kidnapping of the prime minister’s wife.
On the run from the cops, Fitz and Dee discover there is something far worse than the RCMP stalking the dark streets of Toronto. They are being hunted by an ancient demon of unspeakable evil with an insatiable taste for blood... or maybe it’s just your run-of-the-mill giant murderous hobo?
Either way, life in prison might be better than whatever the creepy drifter has in store for them…
IWSG October 5 Question: When do you know your story is ready?
I am ABSOLUTELY not the right person to ask about this, as I have gone back and edited everything I've ever published (one of the advantages to our digital age of self-publishing). Most of it was minor things for typos and such, but I may or may not also be in the middle of a massive revision of one of my previously-published works. But those are just rumours.
Also, everything I've ever submitted to other publications has been terrible. Anytime I've gone back and looked at things I've sent in, I've shaken my head in shame. "What was I thinking? How did I think this was ready?"
That being said, I think you'll know when it's ready. Hell Comes to Hogtown was ready, I think, and I felt pretty good when I hit the publish button. The changes I've made to that one after the fact are very minimal, because I felt like I put in the right amount of work to get it where it needed to be. I also had huge help from outside sources, mostly my amazing editor Amy Allen-Macleod, and my wonderful wife, who pointed out some very key things that fixed a number of problems in the plot. After all these years you really think I would listen to her more often.
If both you and the people you trust think it's ready, then it's as ready as it's going to be.
The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group here.