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Month: June 2012

Traditional & Indie Publishing: Weapons in the Author Arsenal

I finally finished writing my second novel, Portrait of Woman in Ink: A Tattoo Storybook on Saturday. Yes, hooray. No, hold the champagne. Now is when the *really* hard work begins: engaging my beta readers, rearranging stories, revising, and editing, editing, and more editing.

Not to mention, deciding how I want to publish, revising my shameless query letter, and beginning the soul-sucking process of sending out queries to publishers. As faithful fans of the Kelly Hitchcock literary flavor know, I self-published my first novel, The Redheaded Stepchild. I don’t have anything against traditional publishing, I just grew tired of the querying (and rejection) process and believed what everyone turned around and said about it – that it wasn’t marketable enough. Yes, this was a nice way of saying “Your first book is about you, which is a little self-indulgent, don’t you think? Plus, you know no one gives a shit about you, right?”

Portrait of Woman in Ink is quite a bit more marketable, I think, and has a much more focused appeal (for those not familiar with the literary adventures of Kelly Hitchcock, it’s a collection of short stories about women and their tattoos). As such, I think it’s more geared toward a more traditional publishing road to perdition. Since this site is wholly my personal ramblings, I feel no shame in saying that it is my personal opinion that authors should not limit themselves to one method over another: self publishing versus traditional publishing. How can you extol all the virtues and bitch about all the drawbacks of each form if you haven’t done them both?

I’ve traditionally published shorter works – short stories, poems, essays, but I have yet to traditionally publish a book. I want to give it a try with Portrait of Woman in Ink, even though I know it’ll be a soul-sucking process full of rejection and self-loathing. Why? Because it’ll be worth it. And yeah, when it goes out of print and I am 80 years old (but still hot), I’ll turn around and self-publish it. By that time, I’ll have a rabid fanbase of no less than 37 people who crave the Kelly Hitchcock literary flavor with a ravenous bloodlust, except for word blood.

Also, I turned 30 last week. Go me.

What do you think? Is it truly an “Us V Them” (indies vs. traditionals) world out there, or should all serious authors dip their feet into both?

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The End. No wait… The End. No wait…

For my money, the hardest part of writing a book is figuring out where to end it. With my first book, The Redheaded Stepchild, it took me nearly two years to figure out an ending. The book was chiefly about the complicated relationship I had with my ex-stepmother, and even when that relationship was over, it wasn’t really over in my mind, so pinning down an ending was difficult. Even though I could pinpoint our last interaction, it still didn’t feel like “the end” in my mind. So I did what any writer does when they don’t know how to end a story: I picked an ending, and I went with it.

I’m working diligently on the last chapter of my current work in progress, Portrait of Woman in Ink: A Tattoo Storybook, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to end it. Why? Because this last chapter is the chapter about me, and I don’t know this particular story of my life ends. For those of us who write autobiographically, or semi-autobiographically, as my case may be, endings are unbelievably hard to write. What’s keeping from finishing my book is the decision to either wait to see how my story shakes out, or just make something up.

What do you think? Is making up an ending cheating? Or do I pick an ending and go with it?


Six Sentence Sunday 6/3/2012

It’s another Six Sentence Sunday, and happy summer to y’all! Today, we meet Jenna, the main character of the first story in Portrait of Woman in Ink: A Tattoo Storybook. Jenna is getting ready to get a tattoo with her father and sister, and is reflecting on her complicated relationship with her mother.

Jenna was a spitting image of her mother, especially in this photo, but the similarities ended there.  Her mom just didn’t get her, and never had.  She didn’t get why she’d want to go to college when she could marry her high school boyfriend and settle down in the picturesque Ozark hills.  Jenna thought those days had passed long ago; maybe it was why her mother was the only one in the photo who actually looked like she fit in the era they were simulating, who didn’t look like she was wearing a costume.  If it weren’t for the fact that she looked so much like her mom, she might’ve second guessed her parentage.  But not her father… he got Jenna, so much that he’d sacrificed his marriage to their mother to keep the kind of closeness they’d always shared.

Thanks for dropping by! Be sure to check out the other talented peeps at Six Sentence Sunday and drop them a line, too.

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