It’s been nine months since The Woodcarver’s Model came out. This is a time where the sales generated from marketing and promotion have tapered off, but other forms of sales take hold. Since the book has been on the market for some time, there is now a body of reviews and ratings that create credibility for the book. As a result, other groups start to take an interest in the novel, including book clubs and libraries.
As of this writing, The Woodcarver’s Model is now being carried in libraries in Canada from coast to coast and is slowly being discovered by American libraries. Book clubs are starting to enquire about autographed copies of books, and if they are local, they are interested in having me attend their book club meeting (which I am delighted to do).
The general window of ebb and flow for a single release is two years and then sales on the book may become reanimated if a new book is released (because readers want to find out what else the author has written), or a new version of the book comes out.
In my case, this August, my next novel will come out, and a matter of months later, the audio version of The Woodcarver’s Model will be released ensuring that there are always ways to keep fans interested.
So what about that next novel? What stage is it at right now?
Mann Hunt was signed to a contract at the end of 2022. The manuscript draft was reviewed not only by the publisher, but also the lead editor to ensure it met their needs, was well-written and held the promise for sales. In the case of Mann Hunt the book is part of a series, which means that by the end of 2023, I will be submitting the manuscript for the second novel in the series, and by the end of 2024, the final novel in the series will be in.
At present, the manuscript for the first novel is with the chief editor who is making notes and checking for errors, commenting on structure, looking for slips in point of view, and ensuring that it is clear who is speaking which line of dialogue. The process is a detailed one, and only the first of several steps of editing. At some point in the upcoming few months, the editor’s notes will come back to allow me to make the appropriate revisions. The cover art for the novel will also soon be coming my way with options to choose from and the opportunity to give feedback. A cover is important, as the right image can make a big difference in the level of interest in a book.
So while I await my edits on Mann Hunt, there is time for writing on the second book in the series. But there is another project that is also taking up some time.
Around the other writing, I have been working on a youth novel called Not Not Normal. I finished a draft close to the end of 2022, but I wanted to do a full revision on it before submitting it to the publisher. I am in the process of completing that revision (in the hopes that I can submit it for approval before the editor’s notes on Mann Hunt come back).
So the process of writing is a continuous one. And the cycle of getting a book out to the public ebbs and flows with each new release. And each time a new book is released, there are more opportunities to reanimate interest in previous novels.
To provide a sneak peek at the process, here’s the first chapter of the youth novel in its unedited form.
Jordan laid out two pads of paper, two pens, two pencils (sharpened), and one pink, one green and one blue highlighter. Glasses were set out for water—the meeting was going to be in Jordan’s bedroom and he only allowed water in there. It was 7:30 in the morning and Emma was due at nine to have a planning session for tomorrow’s events, tomorrow being the first day of grade eleven at Playter Heights Secondary School.
He looked at everything. Something wasn’t right. First, he straightened the pens. It still didn’t feel right, so he replaced the pencils with two that were the same length. Still not… It was the highlighters—“No! Stop it right now,” he whispered. That’s what he told himself when he was getting… fussy. Jordan quickly pushed everything out of order.
For a full minute he stared at the visual chaos, then, without thinking, straightened one pen, then another, then the pads of paper, until everything was as tidy as before. He sighed. Was he ever going to be normal? That’s all he ever wanted, ever dreamed of—to NOT be a freak.
The phone rang with a double chirp indicating a call from the intercom at the front door. Mr Swan, the daytime doorman, must have been away from his desk. He usually let Emma in without question.
Jordan buzzed her in and thought about when they had first met at Westford Middle School after he’d transferred there in grade seven. He had found himself being regularly bullied for being small, quiet and the new kid in the school. Jordan remembered cowering as he was surrounded by a taunting mass of grade eights, then the sound of a single, high-pitched yell followed by the screams of boys in the crowd. As Jordan had looked up to see what was making the sound, he’d seen a skinny girl with carrot-orange hair, grinning wildly. The braces on her teeth had gleamed in the sunlight, as she’d cut through the crowd on her inline skates, weaving in and out running into as many toes as she could. In that moment Jordan and Emma had become the closest of friends, and Emma had become his protector.
Within a few minutes there was a knock on the door and Emma let herself in.
“Good morning Mr Shepherd,” he heard her call out to his dad as she kicked off her shoes.
“Hello Emma,” his dad mumbled from the living room sofa where Jordan knew he would be sitting, staring at yesterday’s newspaper.
Emma greeted Jordan in the hallway that led to his bedroom. “Morning!” she said, giving him a hug.
She always hugged him, even though he shuddered when she did. He thought she did it on purpose. Jordan wasn’t a touchy-feely kind of person.
“Come on,” he said, prying himself away from her, then headed down the hall to his bedroom, a space where every wall was covered in neatly shelved books.
As they sat down on the bed, the carefully laid out meeting supplies shifted. The pens and pencils rolled out of place. Jordan immediately reorganized them, but they rolled away again. As he reached for them, Emma gently touched his hand. “Maybe we should sit on the floor.”
They moved off of the bed and Jordan got the pencils and pens all safely lined up, just the way he liked them.
“First off, this year we have to change the name of the group,” he said.
“And that’s important, why?” Emma asked.
“No one is going to sign up for a book club called Bookwormers. It sounds like a parasitic infection.”
“It’s a high school. No one is going to sign up for it no matter what it’s called.”
“The book club has members.” Jordan protested.
“Four of us. It’s not so much a club as an…accidental gathering.”
“And it won’t grow if we don’t have an exciting name.”
“What would make a book club exciting?” she asked.
“Latin,” he said, with confidence.
Emma thought for a minute. “You mean like Froy Gutierrez?”
“That hot Latino guy from Hocus Pocus 2.”
Jordan crossed his arms. “No. Not Latino. Latin. Like the language.”
“You are never gonna find a date if you think Latin is sexy.”
“I said exciting, not…sexy, and that’s why I propose we ask the school to rename it…X-Libris.” He held up a sign that he’d run off on his printer.
Emma said nothing. She just stared at him.
“It would be like a play on Ex Libris… You know, like on book plates.”
Emma looked lost.
Jordan grabbed one of his mother’s books off of the shelf and opened it to the inside cover. He showed her a printed sticker that read ‘Ex Libris Janice Franco’. “It means, roughly, ‘From the library of Janice Franco’. That was my mother’s name before she got married. I was thinking of changing the name of the club to X-Libris, like—formerly from the library. Like a book’s been liberated from one person’s private collection. We’ll be setting the words free and into the world!” Jordan felt excited.
Emma continued to stare at him.
“What? It’s pretty…dope!” he said.
“When you say that, it doesn’t sound right.”
“Okay. Cool then.”
“You, my adorably nerdy friend, have no idea what cool is, do you?”
“Well, X-Libris is better than Bookwormers! We might even get picked on less. And we may be able to expand our membership.”
“Who knows—by the end of the year we could have…five!”
“Well, I think you should make your case to the school librarian first thing tomorrow morning. Tell him just what you told me. I think you can convince him.”
Jordan said, “Maybe you could ask him?”
Emma stared at him. “No. Now, let’s get out of here. I’m taking you out for coffee. It’s our last day of freedom before school starts.”
Emma said, “You’ll be fine. And you’ll be fine tomorrow. Now come on, let’s go.”
If you want to become more involved in the journey of any of these books, there are several ways to participate and interact!
If you have a book club (especially if you are in Toronto) reach out and I will see if there are ways to make the experience more interactive for your members.
If you are interested in finding the book at your local library, make a request, which will allow members of the book club to access the work for free. Don’t know where to start? Reach out to me, and I will help you find the appropriate way to contact your local library.
And if you have read the book and enjoyed it, please take a moment to review the book. Reviews make a huge difference in how many libraries and book clubs take an interest in my work.
I look forward to sharing progress on all of these books, and next month I’m going to start profiling other authors. In March I’m excited to interview author Kristian Parker (who has 13 books to his credit). You can find out more about him by clicking here.
Until next time, thanks for reading, and I can’t wait to share more of my writing with you in the upcoming year.
The Woodcarver’s Model is published through Pride Publishing.
To buy a copy click below