The Prep

The Prep

Last night I messaged my friend. All of my doubts about this book being “the next big thing”. I have the formula. I have the story. I have the target audience. I have suspense, and romance, and a lining of humor. But only 1% of books will get picked up by a publisher and go to print. I did not even graduate high school (I have an education, it just wasn’t “traditional”). I am terrified that the agent I want will look me over for a technicality. I want to call her and say “Girl, I’m writing YOUR book. I have what you’re buying.” Everything in me is screaming GET THIS AGENT! SHE WILL BELIEVE IN YOU!

But the truth is I am a 32 year old working mom of 2 kiddos. I work a 9 to 5 and make a good living punching the clock. I do not have a huge following. I don’t have a fan club. I have a handful of women that eat my book up faster than I can write it. They claim “you’re going to get published. no doubt.” but I do doubt. all the time.

I have gone to extremes of planning a book tour for a work that isn’t even done. I believe in it. I KNOW it’s good. It would be big without the traditional support of an agent, a publisher, and good marketing.

Last month I set a goal of writing 1,000 words a day everyday for the entire month. This would put my word count at 80,000 words: a solid word count for the genre of fiction I am writing. Yesterday I went to bed 250 words short. I felt defeated and clawing for ideas. I so desperately needed validation.

Today a few things happened. Someone walked into my office to tell me that they could not put my book down. They even had dreams about what THEY would do in the situation of the protagonist. She had hardly dipped her toe into the pool of the world I have created. I wanted to gush about how much would be revealed, but I maintained (If you’re reading this, I could really talk all day about it). I don’t normally do this, because after just a couple days at #1, I was put back in my place at #2 on the charts, I went and checked out the rankings and I WAS BACK TO #1!!!

You can read a very rough draft of Apparent Power at ChapterBuzz

So over lunch I punched out 1500 words. I made up for my deficient yesterday and remain on target to finish June 30th. I just needed a little validation.  Happy reading!


Dacia Arnold is an author that struggles to find a balance of work, motherhood, marriage, writing, and the occasional craft. Her first full length novel, Apparent Power, is in the works to be released December 2018. Dacia served 10 years in the U.S. Army as a combat medic and deployed twice to Iraq and often incorporates these experiences into her writings both fiction and non-fiction. She currently lives in Denver, Co with her husband, two children, and a fat beagle named Watson.

Reader Comments

  1. I hear you. And I think your book is so much better than mine (really). You’ve got the details down. You’ve got stuff going on with all of your characters and the suspense is fabulous. While I still struggle with lots of issues with mine (and this is a total re-write of my first published novel). But I’m reading other people’s writings and thinking “Oh, that’s what’s missing in mine.” So even though I scheduled myself to write 1500 words a day, it hasn’t happened. Some days are too busy sight-seeing, and too tired by the time we get done (It’s hot up here in the Panhandle Plains of Texas, and not going to be much cooler when we get to NM next week.) But you are an inspiration to me, Dacia. Glad you were able to make up for yesterday. Blessings to you.

  2. I think we authors are too hard on ourselves and we focus so much on rankings, ratings, and word count goals and those become the validation to the world of our worth even when it’s furthest from the truth.

    When everything is said and done, you need to stop looking at the numbers and focus on the story. And that first book is not the end of it. Once you’ve hooked a reader, they want the second book and now you have to have the second book handy. This is why some books end up getting chopped up because, in today’s market, an 80K book is too long. But chop it up into 2 and you’ve got sell-through with book 2 and 3 and 4 (the last 2 would be the original book 2 of your series also chopped up). It can all be so overwhelming.

    I’d recommend not worrying about that blog tour. Focus on your story and get it to its destination – that ending and if there is a chance for a second book, leave them hanging a bit with the promise of the second book. But there’s still editing to do and this is where many authors skimp on. I learned the hard way that it’s best not to skimp on it. Get the best editor you can find who handles your genre. At the same time, if you’re looking for a traditional publication deal, they’ll take care of the editing for you. Your challenge will be getting to query and getting that story noticed. There’s #pitmad now on Twitter where authors pitch their books in a one-day event. It’s crazy and I never thought I could distil my novel into 140 characters (even less when you factor in the hashtag #pitmad and whatever genre your book is) but I did it and a small pub house requested my novel. I balked at their contract though – 5-year hold of my rights and I only made 40% of net. I told myself I could do better on my own and passed.

    One step at a time. You’ll get there and you’ll be amazing. You are amazing.

    1. The agency I want and that is buying the genre I am selling, has a twitter pitch next week. I am not ready. I did prepare my 3 pitches though. I am adult to know the work is not ready to pitch and if I did try to cram 1,000 words a day and edit the first 50 pages, it would still be sloppy and I could very well miss out on getting the agency I want.
      Since you were successful, could you offer feedback on this attempt?
      Twitter Pitch #1
      #WF #SF Disaster unearths a dormant gene leaving a unique mother stranded trying to find her son before the government does #NLAPitch
      Twitter Pitch #2
      A dormant gene awakened in ¼ of the world. With the government hunting them, a mom must fight to find her son before they do #NLAPitch #WF
      Twitter Pitch #3
      A Mom treks 100 miles, avoids capture and tries to find her son before the government does after disaster unearths a dormant gene #NLAPitch

      1. The first one is strongest, I think. I also came up with this one:

        After disaster unlocks a dormant gene in 1/4 of the world population, a young mom must find her son before the government does #NLAPitch #WF

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