finishing what I began {Consumption, a novel}

Last year I joined the throngs of people who set out to write 50,000 words (a short novel) over the course of the month of November. The rules of NaNoWriMo are simple: begin writing a new novel on November 1 and write 50,000 words before December 1.

This year I'm a NaNoRebel. I'm not writing a novel, and I'm not starting anything new. I'm not keeping track of my wordcount either. But I am working on a novel — the novel I wrote last year.

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If you haven't already read the beginning of my novel, Consumption, you can do so here.

I had intended to release the whole thing as a serial here on my website, but certain monumental life changes got in the way. Plus, to be honest, I didn't like how the second half was turning out. Something was missing.

So I let it simmer all summer.

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I know what the second half was missing now, and I'm using the month of November to finish what I started.

Still, it's been hard to return to this project. I have a tendency to mull over all the ways I don't love it instead of focusing on what I do love — those things that made me begin writing in the first place. I'm choosing to remember now. I'm choosing to use the coming month to mold this manuscript into a masterpiece. ...Or at the very least make it into something worth reading ;)

Don't expect to be able to buy the book in December; there's a lot that goes into making a book beyond simply writing it. I'm not promising a particular release date yet, but know that I want to get this book in your hands as soon as possible.

You can help me to do just that.

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Two ways you can help make this book a reality:

First, if you've begun reading Consumption, help me remember why this story is worth telling. Use this contact form to share why you want to read more.

Second, if you want this book to have a professional cover and perhaps even interior illustrations, buy my other books. The profits from the {classic wrap skirt} sewing book and the collection of poetry, my heart poured out will help fund the art for this novel.

how (and why) I made Consumption a purple cow

The first time you see a cow, you notice it. But after driving past dozens of brown cows, they cease to be exciting. If a purple cow shows up, though — now that’s remarkable.

 

Seth Godin’s 2003 book Purple Cow initiated me into the world of marketing. In it, he makes the case that in order to sell something it must be literally “remark-able.” The idea or product needs to be easy for people to talk about and share, and it has to be remarkable enough that people want to talk about and share it. Like a purple cow. If you saw one, wouldn’t you tell somebody?

Marketing has been a hobby of mine ever since reading Seth’s book. There are all kinds of marketing ideas out there, but the best ones boil down to one thing: focus on your audience.

And so, when I set out to write and publish my novel, Consumption, I set out to create a purple cow that will better the lives of the people who read it.

A novel is a brown cow in a field of brown cows. The first step toward creating a purple cow was to make my novel different, but I didn’t want it to stand out simply for the sake of standing out. I wanted to make my novel outstanding in a way that would benefit my readers. So instead of writing twenty-some normal chapters, I broke my novel up into eighty-one vignettes that are easy to read, even in our internet culture of short tweets and digital screens.

Now that I have written Consumption, I’m using “purple cow” concepts to guide how I publish it. Brown cow novels are published in their entirety as ebooks, paperbacks, or hardbacks. My purple cow novel will be published here on my website as a serial, one vignette at a time. The story takes place over the winter of 2016-17, so my audience can read the story as it unfolds, beginning tomorrow under the full moon on Karina’s 18th birthday.

Choosing to publish Consumption online for free this winter makes it easy for my readers to share it. If a vignette touches them, they can share it on social media. If they know someone who would enjoy the story, they can text them the link.

Consumption won’t be available for free forever. Eventually it will become an ebook and a paperback that people can buy in order to support my work. By then I will be on to creating my next purple cow as I come up with more ways to make the lives of my audience better. Because in the end, that’s the point of a purple cow: providing people with something that makes their own lives more remarkable.

why you need to start marketing your book before it's published

You have a story to share with the world. A story that will breathe life into the people who read it. The thing is, it’s not quite ready to publish yet.

So you put your head down and write and rewrite and edit and revise. When you finally have a beautiful book to share with the world, where are the readers? Are people eagerly waiting for your book’s release? Are they as excited as you are that your book is available to them to read?

They should be.

And they will be if you have prepared them.

It’s never too early to begin building readership. Before writing a first draft or even an outline, you can begin to build relationships with people who will eventually buy your books.

Good marketing is exactly that — building relationships. If there are people in the world who want to read the sort of book that you are writing, you have a responsibility to find them and tell them how they can get their hands on this book! Marketing is not a necessary evil, it’s a gift to your readers.

Of course, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about marketing your work. The right way focuses on the readers, and the wrong way focuses on yourself. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing more on this topic. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it! I’ll also send you a guide that I wrote: {3 ways to stay inspired when you don’t feel like writing}

Would you like to read Consumption?

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Karina’s story begins under the full moon of December 13, 2016. Would you like to read her story as it unfolds?

Consumption started years ago as a short story. This autumn I expanded and rewrote it, turning it into a novel of vignettes — that is, instead of twenty-some chapters like a book would usually have, Consumption is made up of 81 vignettes (or mini-chapters).

 

vi·gnette

(vinˈyet) noun
A brief evocative description, account, or episode.

I will be publishing this novel in a more “traditional” format before long, but in the meantime, I want to share Karina’s story with you. Since it takes place over the winter and spring of 2016/17, I am going to release the vignettes on my website as they occur, as a serial. So on December 13, 2016, you can read the first vignette under the same full moon Karina sits under.

 

se·ri·al

(ˈsirēəl) noun
A printed format by which a single larger work, often a work of narrative fiction, is published in sequential installments.

If you’re subscribed, I’ll deliver these vignettes straight to your inbox!

If you haven't already read the summary of Consumption, {click here.} Today is the last day to vote for my story and let New Wrinkle Publishing know that you'd like to see this novel published! Just click the ❤️

an excerpt from Consumption {a novel}

Last week I told you that I'm writing a novel called Consumption. This week I decided to share an excerpt, so without further ado, meet Karina:

 

New moon means a dark night. Karina only ever uses the one light near her bed, so when night falls early she feels her way around in the dark and turns in before eight. Sleep comes easy, but it doesn’t stay. Midnight blackness suffocates, paralyzes… but it is almost a welcome feeling. At least she doesn’t have to breathe, doesn’t have to move. Breathing so shallow and being so still makes her pass out again, and surely her breathing returns to normal when dreams she won’t remember take over.

New moon means winter break is almost over. Winter break’s end means back to school. Back to school means back to people. Karina makes herself stop thinking about it.

She enjoys the dark night alone.

So alone. Like the nights from her childhood. Hiding under the covers in the darkest of dark because if she could convince herself that she was choosing the darkness she could forget that even if she faced her fears long enough to steal across the bedroom floor to the light switch, flipping it up wouldn’t last long. Dad liked the darkness, so Karina learned to embrace it too.

She would comfort herself, cuddling her books, whispering to them of the new friend that would join them in the morning. Eventually she would fall asleep dreaming of being carried away to the new world in the new book. That was the real reason she loved them so much — the books took her from her dark reality into colorful worlds of adventure, where the people always lived happily ever after, even if life wasn’t perfect. As she grew up she learned that you didn’t even need a happily-ever-after to have a satisfying ending.

Will her ending be satisfying? Or is that just a perk of fiction, where a meticulous author crafts and controls the characters so that the ending comes together in a way that makes you breathe deep and smile?

In this world of random chance, can she even hope for a beautiful ending?

 

Want to read more of Karina's story? {Click here} for a summary and another excerpt. While you're there, vote for Consumption and let New Wrinkle Publishing know that you'd like to see this novel published! (You can vote once every twenty-four hours.)