Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hail the Fortress

I'm pleased and honored to join the "Writing Fortress" of Cedar Fort authors. At first I just admired this group from afar, later I started visiting some of the authors' individual blogs, then I actually started commenting. Because of this blog, I've been able to "virtually" run into first-time novelists like myself with releases over the next 60 days including Maggie Fechner, Don Carey, and Cheri Chesley. I look forward to meeting them all in person in the near future.

Our publisher, in my opinion, has provided us with some unique opportunities. Their willingness to take a chance on new authors is obvious, and in my case they took on a book rejected by all the other market publishers. In fact, their initial response to me was also a rejection, but it included enough useful feedback that I was able to revise and resubmit it within a month into something they could accept. My experience with the editors and designers has been nothing but positive. When I browse through local bookstores, I can always pick out the CFI books before I even see the logo. They're the ones with the artful, textured covers and varying sizes that stand out in contrast to the books by the largest fiction publisher in our market whose books, let's be honest, have a certain sameness to their look.

I've been a writer in hiding. By the age of eight I was creating my own picture books, my drawing talent nonexistent but the stories themselves flush with a vivid, adventurous imagination. This ease with words continued through high school and into college, where I majored in English and had dreams of taking the Nobel prize in literature.

Alas, real life intervened and I realized that there was a bit of competition for the Nobel prize. Also, I would need to get a job that paid real money if I was going to support my growing family. I parlayed my college degree into a career in business and kept little more than a pinky finger in the literary world (besides reading hundreds of books, which was always a habit) for many years.

Then in 2009, I realized that middle age was less than a stone's throw away and I had no published work. With massive determination, I temporarily abandoned the massive multi-volume epic fantasy I'd always dreamed about, and decided to finish the little story set around a Salt Lake City formalwear shop that had haunted me for 20 years. On January 1, 2010, the manuscript was in the mail to 7 publishers, and I held my breath.

I exhaled about a minute later. Otherwise I would have asphyxiated, since two months elapsed before the first response. No, No, No, No, No, No, Maybe -- If you'll consider making these changes. Thankfully, the requested changes did not interfere with my theme or my voice, and I gladly made them and resubmitted. then on May 11th, the email came from Cedar Fort. I sat and looked at it on my laptop, unable to make sense of it, as if an unknown species of insect had somehow crawled into the LCD screen and died there, an enigmatic specimen that could not be fathomed by my limited mind.

Fathom it I eventually did, and life rolled onward, though for me it was changed forever. I've discovered a community of writers, who share not only my talent but my religious beliefs and standards. These are some of the finest people I've met, online or off. I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you on a bi-weekly basis, and will continue to enjoy that socialty that we all need as we struggle through the travails of giving birth to luminous new works of fiction!

Michael Knudsen


Steve said...

Nice post Michael. I look forward to reading your posts on a regular basis and I'm excited for your book to come out. Good luck.

Rachael Renee Anderson said...

Welcome, Michael! Like Steve, I'm excited to get to know you better.

Rebecca Talley said...

Yes, welcome to the blog and to the wonderful world of publishing.

Stephanie Black said...

I'm looking forward to your book!

Don said...

Yay! More Y chromosomes in the fortress. Glad to have you aboard, Mike. It's been great getting to know you over the 'net, and I look forward to meeting up in person.

Heather B. Moore said...

Authors are great. I used to be a huge fan of many authors, and now it's exciting to say some of them are great friends.