There Comes a Prophet: My Publishing Journey
Guest Post by David Litwack, Author of There Comes a Prophet
Let me explain. I wrote two novels thirty years ago, trying to perfect my craft. Now they sit in a dusty cardboard box, monuments to my efforts. I failed but learned a lot.
It took me two years to complete There Comes a Prophet—my third novel, but the first in this new stage of my life. I had a lot of fits and starts. Hemingway once claimed he wrote thirty-nine drafts of For Whom the Bell Tolls. When asked why, he responded: “Getting the words right.” That’s what I tried to do over many drafts, get the words right.
When I thought it was good enough, I began submitting the novel to agents. Thirty-three rejections later, I gave up and moved on to my next novel, The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky. I read somewhere that to be a good writer, you had to invest ten years and a million words. I figured I was half way and was determined to plug on.
My skills were getting better. The Daughter was much more tightly written. I became fanatic about never wasting a word, constantly monitoring word counts as I wrote. I followed the advice of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of that gem of a book, The Little Prince: “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
Now it was The Daughter that needed time to incubate, so I went back to There Comes a Prophet to see how it read. To my chagrin, I found the earlier novel not nearly as well written as The Daughter. I sharpened my digital pencil (figuratively speaking) and began three rigorous editing passes, cutting down Prophet by almost a quarter. I found I’d lost nothing and the novel was a much better read.
While I was hard at work, the publishing industry was undergoing dramatic change. Big publishers had laid off a lot of their talent during the recession, yielding to the financial imperatives of their corporate masters. Many of these good folks went off and formed small and mid-sized publishers, leveraging the latest technology and without the overhead of the big guys. This allowed them to take the accountants out of publishing and pursue their love of literature.
The Indie revolution was born. The reading public was tired of being spoon fed formulaic fiction written by a small stable of brand-name authors. Just as movie goers wanted more than big budget, risk-free cinema, readers were hungry for original works by new authors who didn’t necessarily fit the mold. I researched this new breed of publisher and found some who specialized in my genre. With a vastly improved novel and a changed industry, it was only a short time before I received a contract.
Now, I have two new books nearly done and am already taking notes for a fourth, which will be a sequel to There Comes a Prophet. The million word mark is within sight. But it won’t be the end. It is, after all, a journey.
There Comes A Prophet Giveaway
Enter to win one of ten physical or ten ebook copies of There Comes a Prophet!
Who among us will cast aside a comfortable existence and risk death to follow a dream?
A world kept peaceful for a thousand years by the magic of the ruling vicars. But a threat lurks from a violent past. Wizards from the darkness have hidden their sorcery in a place called the keep and left a trail of clues that have never been solved.
Nathaniel has grown up longing for more but unwilling to challenge the vicars. Until his friend Thomas is taken for a teaching, the mysterious coming-of-age ritual. Thomas returns but with his dreams ripped away. When Orah is taken next, Nathaniel tries to rescue her and ends up in the prisons of Temple City. There he meets the first keeper of the ancient clues. But when he seeks the keep, what he finds is not magic at all.
If he reveals the truth, the words of the book of light might come to pass:
“If there comes among you a prophet saying ‘Let us return to the darkness,’ you shall stone him, because he has sought to thrust you away from the light.”
Check out Candace’s Book Blog for all the rest of the tour stops and thanks for stopping by!
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