Tag Archives: Downtown Dandelions

Finding My Novels a Home

I’ve been thinking about novel writing lately. You can blame Jonathan Blundell and the little video chat we did a few days ago about my post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel, Least of These. You see, I’ve written three novels. Two have been self-published as rough drafts and one has seen a few re-writes and I’m wondering what to do with it.

Last night I pulled out my non-sci-fi novels and started reading through the first chapters. I liked what I read. I saw a few things here and there to improve (I’ll probably always feel that way), but I didn’t have that impending sense of way too much work to do to find anything salvageable. I enjoyed what I read, perhaps out of nostalgia for my own creation, but I also thought it was pretty good.

But the question I kept coming back to is what do I do with these novels?

Continue reading Finding My Novels a Home

Gmail Down? 25% Off Lulu Today Only

Downtown DandelionsYou may have heard about the big Gmail fail today when Google’s mail app went down for an hour and 45 minutes. It was a tech apocalypse of so-so proportions.

But it gets fun when on-demand publisher Lulu.com offered a 25% discount today only. Use the code “gmail” and you can get 25% off, up to $100 until midnight tonight. So what can you buy at Lulu.com? Well, among other things (like Wil Wheaton’s Sunken Treasure) you can buy my first novel, Downtown Dandelions.

If you’ve ever considered purchasing my barely edited, first stab at a novel, now’s your chance to get it for 25% off (that’s only $9.74). What a deal! I haven’t made much of an effort to pitch this novel, mainly because of the whole barely edited part (yes, it has typos). But today I thought, why not? Some of you might actually get a kick out of it. Some people have actually liked it. In fact, just last month a distant friend commented on Facebook: “I just read Downtown Dandelions on my vacation and really enjoyed it.” Nearly five years after it was published some people are still enjoying it, so why not pitch it again?

It’s the story of college students facing calamity and falling in love. Death and romance in one tidy package.

If you haven’t heard the back story on this novel, you can read up on it here. Essentially, I wrote it in a month as a part of the National Novel Writing Month. I spent a few weeks editing it (mostly for proofreading, it didn’t get a real edit) and slapped it together on Lulu.com so I could have an actual copy on my shelf, more for posterity than anything else.

So if you want to snag a copy at 25% off, you’ve only got a few hours left to do so. And if you’re cheap, you can also just download the free PDF.

Update: Looks like Lulu is having another sale for Labor Day weekend: 20% off up to $25 (code: WHITE) or $50 off $250 or more (code: GREEN).

The Downtown Dandelions Blog

I’ve started a new blog dedicated entirely to my new novel, Downtown Dandelions. So if you’re tired of hearing me go on and on about it, I’ve moved that conversation. Of course I’m feeding the new entries to the home page of this blog, so if you come here for your updates, you’ll still hear about it.

I hope you’ll check out the new blog. I’ll also be asking questions about the novel, talking about the process and calling myself a novelist as much as possible. The whole process of writing, editing, publishing and now marketing a novel is interesting stuff (at least I think so), and I’d love to hear what everyone else thinks.

The Smarmy Author

Well, as you can see from the photos, my novel came. As did my “Hello, My Name is Novelist” t-shirt, but that’s not nearly as exciting.

This is the Cafepress version of Downtown Dandelions, the more expensive edition, and it looks pretty good. I could probably nitpick about all sorts of things (I wish it didn’t have a glossy cover, I wish I had made the margins larger, I wish they hadn’t printed an odd off-center number randomally on the back cover, partially obscurring my url.), but for what it is, it looks pretty sharp. It does look like a cheaply printed book, especially if you compare it to everything else on your shelf. I won’t try to fool anyone. But considering that it’s the only copy in existence, it’s pretty cool.

I’m going to wait until the Lulu version comes before making an official announcement and recommendation as to which one people should buy. I expect the Lulu version won’t be as good, but it’s also cheaper. Maybe we’ll leave it as a toss up.

Continue reading The Smarmy Author

I’m Published!

Downtown Dandelions by Kevin D. HendricksI finally finished the “once through” (more like five or six times through) editing job on my first ever novel, Downtown Dandelions. After spending an entire day wrestling with PDF format and cover design, I’ve finally finished and uploaded my novel for purchasing.

You can buy Downtown Dandelions here.

It’s printed like any regular paperback book (hopefully), is 212 pages, includes all sorts of professional sounding stuff like a preface, acknowledgments and dedication. It’s retailing for $15.99 from Cafepress.com, and if that’s all you buy shipping is something like $4.

Downtown Dandelions by Kevin D. HendricksOf course just because the novel is up and available doesn’t mean it’s right. I would strongly encourage anyone wanting to order the novel to wait until I receive my copy. While I trust Cafepress, there’s a million things that could have gone wrong (especially on my end) that would result in a terrible looking product. I’d hate for anyone to slap down their money for my book and get something crappy looking. So please wait until I get my copy and confirm that everything’s good. I ordered it tonight, so I imagine it will be here sometime next week. And don’t worry, I’ll let everyone know when my copy comes. If you’re rash and impulsive, go ahead and order it–but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Also, when I placed my order I was given the chance to send $5 off coupons to five friends. I don’t know if they do that every time, but I would encourage you to send those coupons. If you don’t have friends to send them to that you think would use them, send them to me. You can send them to anything [at] monkeyouttanowhere.com, so just put in coupon1 [at] monkeyouttanowhere.com, coupon2 [at] monkeyouttanowhere.com, etc. I may be able to pass those coupons along to people who could use them (like my Mom), so I’d rather not let them go to waste.

Okay, that’s all. I’ve spent all day on this project (it’s 9:52 p.m. and I’m still in my pajamas) and I’m pretty tired. I’m hoping to revamp my Downtown Dandelions site in the next few days and make it all novel-y. So watch for that.

And thanks to everyone for their support with the novel. You guys rock. I never expected anyone to buy or read my novel (and I still don’t). Printing this thing has been more about self-indulgence on my part, but the fact that a few people actually want a copy is so cool. It blows me away that anyone would want to read my book. So thanks.

Downtown Dandelions in Print

Now that I’ve finished my novel, I’m thinking about what happens next. Today is the first day in 21 days when I haven’t written at least a page of text. It’s kind of weird. Not sure I like it.

My novel writing experience has been good enough that I will consider editing my novel and seeing what happens with it. I don’t really know anything about the world of novel publishing, but I’d love to see if mine has what it takes. Eventually I’ll solicit feedback from everyone who’s read the thing and see what I can do with it. I’m not expecting miracles, not expecting much really, but it seems worth a try. That kind of hardcore editing probably won’t happen right away.

Immediately, though, I am considering doing a cheap form of self-publishing through Cafepress. It’s basically print-on-demand, and would enable me to put my novel in quasi-professional paperback format for around $15 per copy. Yes, it does seem a bit pretentious, but hey, it’s my first novel. I’m allowed to be pretentious. I could also make these rough draft versions available to the public, though that would strictly be for those who want to curl up and read my novel but find a laptop to be a bit cold and sterile.

Such a self-publishing venture would probably require a small bit of editing (can’t let all those typos and missed words get through, can we?). There’s a few scenes I’m not happy with (or at least embarrassed enough to want to change for a rough draft printing) so I might spend the remaining days of November fine-tuning the draft. It wouldn’t be a real editing job, but enough to iron out the wrinkles and not thorougly embarrass myself if I find this paperback 20 years from now.

It would also require designing a cover. The image at the top right is a potential design I whipped up tonight. I could spend weeks perfecting a cover design and still not be happy, so I’ll probably end up settling for something. And I doubt Cafepress’s printing is anything worth getting excited about, so it’s probably not worth hours and hours of design time.

Basically a self-publishing deal would fulfill that tiny, prideful spark inside that wants to see my name on the cover of a book. After all, publishing is shit. I’m just happy I made it.

And what comes next? I don’t know. I definitely think I should write more. I should definitely do this novel in a month thing again, and I might not want to wait a year.

In the meantime I’ll be reading the adventures of Charlie Parker.

Hello, My Name is Novelist

Tomorrow begins the grand experiment. One month. One novel. I’m tired of all the anticipation. I’m ready to sit down and make it happen.

I’ve started a blog to chronicle my month-long novel and word count, which will go by the working title of my novel, Downtown Dandelions (Patent pending, patent pending, patent pending!). I expect my blog entries here to dwindle in the next 30 days, though if you don’t detect such a drop, you better head over to that blog and make sure I’m keeping up with the word count.

Earlier I had the idea of making myself a T-shirt that announced to the world my 30-day accomplishment, assuming I make it. So far I’m liking the “Hello, My Name is Novelist” idea. Though I’d be happy to hear your suggestions.

My movtivation is in full effect. The blog is set up. The caffeine is ready. Last night I e-mailed 77 people, encouraging them to mock me if I fail. The sun and the stars are even aligning to help me. With Daylight Savings Time ending (that’s how it works, right?) it’s getting light out earlier, and I actually couldn’t sleep past 6:30 this morning. I think that will only help me get up each day and tackle those 1,667 words (of course the hours of daylight will only shrink as the month goes on). I even wrote about my commitment in my church’s youth group newsletter, somehow covering the topic in my “When I Was Your Age…” column.

There’s nothing left but the writing. Let’s get it on.