Miss Terry and my other proofreaders all went the extra mile, like they always do, and finished with my latest book, Strawberry Slugbug, Monday evening. So yesterday I went through the manuscript making their corrections and getting it formatted to publish.
It’s always a crap shoot as to how long Amazon’s Kindle publishing program takes to make a book live after it is submitted. I’ve seen it take as long as three days, but usually it’s much less time. I would say 12 to 18 hours is the average, but they really surprised me yesterday and had it live within less than three hours! And here it is, with a cover by the talented Elizabeth Mackey.
This is my 32nd book, my 22nd novel, and the fifth book in my John Lee Quarrels mystery series. It came in at 84,441 words, not counting front matter and the teaser first chapter for the next book in the series at the end. That makes it my second-longest book, only Big Lake Lynching, the second book in the Big Lake mystery series, was longer at just over 100,000 words. Most come in around 75,000 words.
Of those 32 books, all 22 novels came out in the last seven years. That’s not to say I wrote them all in that time, because I wrote the original Big Lake book back before Terry and I became fulltime RVers in 1999. It sounds like a story, but I actually dreamed the whole book over a series of dreams that continued for about four or five nights. It was like I was watching a miniseries in my head while I slept. Every morning I would tell Terry about this crazy series of dreams I was having. She kept urging me to write it all down and finally, on a snowy weekend I sat down and wrote it in just over two days.
Then I sat on it for 14 years. Because, though I had spent much of my working life publishing small-town newspapers and had written literally millions of words, I had no faith in my ability to write fiction. Finally, after Terry and my buddy Greg White nagged me to put the book up on Amazon as an e-book, I did it just to shut them up, having no idea if it would ever sell a single copy.
And even after that first Big Lake book came out, and then made the New York Times bestseller list, I still kept thinking it was some kind of fluke. Back when Big Lake was selling like hotcakes, we found ourselves parked next to an RVing couple we had known for a long time. The husband had always been one of those cynical types, and he advised me not to begin feeling too cocky because there was no way that kind of success would last. He predicted that my next book would fall flat on its face. That second book, Big Lake Lynching, remains my second-best selling title, outsold only by the original Big Lake. So I guess the moral to that story is, “Oh yeah? Just watch me!”
So what’s the next project? Today I need to get my author’s newsletter ready to send out, and then I will start on Big Lake Wedding, which I want to have out by the end of the year. But I’ll be honest with you. After writing the teaser chapter to the next John Lee Quarrels book yesterday, which will be titled Sweet Tea And Jesus, I’m really looking forward to getting into that one, too. But it will probably be after the holidays before I can do that. I really do need to clone myself.
Thought For The Day – At what point do you stop looking good and start looking good for your age?