My novel, Weather Vane is The Cost of Weather now, thanks to a suggestion by an administrator at Author Salon, a remarkable and unique new service available on the web. I was invited to join the site as it was being developed. The process of joining proved to be the first challenge. Not in a bad way; quite the contrary. This is a site dedicated to helping writers, both fiction and non fiction, hone their manuscripts to perfection, so its requirements are exacting and demanding. What makes the site unique is that it serves as a forum not only for writers to interact, critique and so on, but it is also a marketplace for acquiring editors and agents to “shop” for new authors and new work. The administrators have earned tremendous respect from the movers and shakers in the industry. Editors and agents know that by the time writers are sitting in front of them to pitch their work, the facilitators have slapped them into shape; they are ready. So this is an online version of a pitch conference – an ongoing one – but with many added features and in-depth analysis of each author’s work. Through the process of putting the aspects of one’s book into the various categories and elements on the site, one is reminded every so often, that if you don’t want to do the work, this isn’t the place for you. They aren’t “nice” but they are clear. Only serious and dedicated writers are welcome. And because of their reputation and what they are striving to offer to publishers – if you aren’t up to snuff, then you may be asked to leave the site. That’s right – they aren’t Canadian!
Well, the news is that the site is up and running, open to submissions. So far, a few of the people I connected with at the Algonkian pitch conference are my “friends” on Author Salon, and I’ve made a couple of new ones. The genres are varied, and there is a part of the site where authors are invited to create their own peer groups within their own genres. It’s just getting rolling, but it promises to be a challenging and rewarding experience.
The Cost of Weather is also now in the capable hands of Robyn Read for a substantive edit. I hired Robyn because I realized that no one has read this thing in its present state from start to finish, and I’ve been buried in it for three years: adding and subtracting, birthing and slaying until I honestly can’t see it anymore. I needed wise, impartial perspective. Because I have doors being held open by a terrific agency and a major publishing house, I want this work to crackle and pop. With the help of Author Salon and Robyn that might just happen.
It’s a new publishing world out there. None of the old methods or rules seem to apply. But I don’t think that it’s a cause for despair. In the last short while three of my colleagues have received offers either for publication or representation. And, there are so many new and exciting routes available. It takes work and dedication – far beyond the arduous task of the actual writing – but in the end, if the writing is good and the story is sound… there is hope. And it seems to me that the advent of all the new methods of reading are more a cause for celebration than fear. More readers. More books. Sadly, not more time, though… that seems to be a constant… as the stack of the books beside my bed that I want to devour seems to grow rather than shrink.