I've been working on publication for a long, long time now. I believe my first short story rejection is dated sometime in the 80's. Yea. A long, long time, indeed.
There have been hiatuses from time to time, when I either didn't feel anything was good enough, or I was between duty stations in the Navy, or I was just plain too busy or away too much of the time to constantly send things out in the mail. This was especially hard before the advent of e-queries.
I've also recently been thinking a lot about epublishing. It certainly seems to be the way of the future. I've been doing copious amounts of research on the subject, and it's frankly quite intriguing. The royalty margins are better, that's for sure. I also have more creative control over what I'm putting out there, and while that may not always be a good thing, at times even the pros don't get it as right as they could. And, perhaps the most enticing part, it allows publication of stories that might never otherwise see the light of day.
It's a lot of work, though. If I'm to do it right, there's no cutting corners. There's no putting out a less than quality work. If I'm in, I'm all in. And that means editing it and refining it until I'm sick and tired of it, and then handing it over to a pro to do the same. Then back for additional edits and tweaks.
And it means getting a professional cover for it, one that will hopefully set it apart from the other self-published stuff, and help it compete with the big boys. Which brings us to the progress I noted in the title. I'm pleased to be able to say last night I got a sneak peek at what the cover for Separate Worlds is going to look like. I won't give away too much, but the digital designer who's doing the cover mailed me the initial base from which he's making the cover, and I was much impressed! It's a work in progress, but so far it looks excellent. It's going to be a great one, and a critical part of the publishing process.
I've said before there are only a few things needed, besides a great story of course, to propel book sales. Marketing is an obvious one, and we'll talk more about that later. Another is the jacket blurb. That's often the only real snapshot of what's inside the book a reader gets before buying it or putting it back and walking away. I'm working on that part. The other thing is the cover. People are drawn to professional-looking covers, because it suggests a professional book. And even if the book isn't produced by one of the big six, having a professional cover does a lot for it. Not only is it harder to tell it wasn't published in New York, it suggests that care and professionalism were put into the book. It suggests the author took the time and effort to put out a quality product, and that's what readers are looking for.
So it appears I'm well on the way to solidifying one of those areas with exactly the professional quality I was looking for. We'll see about the rest. For now, things are looking good. I have a long way to go, but in the end I will be confident about the product I'm putting out.