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Status Update - April 2021

Updated: May 28, 2021

Well, quite a bit has happened since my last update.

I got COVID.

I got hospitalized because of COVID. Nasty business. I spent seven days in an isolation room, in addition to the eight days I was sick prior to that. Most of February and March was spent recuperating, which isn't real conducive for writing. I'm back to normal now, but it was an unwelcome ride.

My descent started on a Saturday night (actually, a Sunday morning) with a tickle in the throat, and an intermittent cough; no big deal. However, being cautious, I went into one of the many 24-hour clinics that exist around here, and got an instant test. It came back positive.

It all started pretty mild. I had an occasional cough, body aches (these are nothing new for me), and a little fatigue. However, I got a slight touch of nausea as the coughing got worse. This led to me eating and drinking less, which led to dehydration. Then, it was a downward spiral from there.

The most puzzling thing about my experience is that no one around me caught COVID. No one around me was diagnosed with COVID. I live in a small home and me, my wife, and my kids are always around each other. Given the amount of time I was contagious and didn't know it, I was sure someone was going to come down with COVID. Between my family, church, a funeral I attended, and work I was sure I gave it to someone.

Nope. I was the only one to come down with it, thank God.

I'm back to writing now. I've banged several chapters of a novella I'm writing. Which then leads me to...

I've scrapped the previous novella I was working on. About 8 chapters in, and I just wasn't feeling it. It was missing something. The main character wasn't strong, and the events that happened seemed forced. If I'm not enjoying writing the story, I'm pretty sure you're not going to enjoy reading it. So, the free novella timeline is being pushed back.

The good news is that I think I've hit upon a fairly solid story. Chapter 1 went well, and I'm getting a bunch of new ideas to incorporate, which is a good sign. It, like the last attempt, is a sort of prequel for the book I'm trying to get published. I was able to recycle a few ideas from the previous attempt, which I see as a good sign. At the very least, my first go-around provides an appropriate backstory for the main character. It also provides a backstory for two other characters that are given a brief mention in book 3 of the Frankie Falawell series.

As for the book I'm trying to get published, there was a brief glimmer of hope that someone had taken an interest in the story. Unfortunately, I received the rejection a few days ago. I have been toying with the idea of a blog post of this particular rejection. I want to mull it over for a bit.

To that end, I am sending out the last batch of queries to agents, and then I'm done. I'm pretty much past any hope that a literary agent is going to pick up my manuscript and run with it. There are reasons for this, and that's part of the blog entry that I'm mulling over. I've started the process of querying publishers directly - those that take unagented manuscripts - which I'll pursue until around March 2022. After that, I'm going to self-publish.

A lot of people around me wonder why I just don't skip traditional publishing altogether. Part of that reason is finances. I will be in a better position to lay out funds for self-publishing in 2022 and to do it right. At this point, I have a workable manuscript but I'll need a full proofread, cover art, formatting and layouts. And then there is the matter of "swag" and "freebies" that I'd like to have made for promotional material. This leads me to my second reason...

Marketing. You know the difference between a successful book and a failure? It's all marketing. Unless your book is a complete dog, the more people you grab initially, the more people will come back for a second book, and then a third. Marketing costs money, and marketing takes time. So, while I vainly submit to publishers, I'm using that time to build my social media followers, and tapping various platforms.

So, that's where things stand at this point. I'll post more updates as things happen.

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