I write a column called "The Red Pencil" for the Historical Novel Society's Historical Novels Review. This is an editing column that compares an early draft with the published version to show readers and writers how the author went from initial idea to final book.
One morning in April I woke up and decided that I’m going to win – not run, win – the next bad water ultra-marathon race. For those of you who don’t know what this is, it’s a 135 mile foot race through Death Valley during July in which temperatures reach 120 degrees during the hottest part of the day… in the shade. Some people prepare all their lives and never finish. It’s considered the toughest foot race in the world.
And I am going to win it.
(Before you throw your computer, read it.)
I am sure than many of you lit your manuscript on fire and threatened to give up writing after looking at the New York Times best seller list around March 2011. Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and her book, A Shore Thing, made the number 24 spot on the New York Times best seller list. Believe it or not she has another book out titled Gorilla Beach, which, despite the several one star reviews on Amazon, still sold around 9,000 copies in its first four weeks.
Writing and publishing a book is a feat equivalent to conquering Mount Everest. The equipment, the years of training, and the hardship to stand on top of the world take a lifetime of preparation. It’s an epic adventure worthy of a book within itself. But what we constantly forget is that you cannot reach the top of this behemoth without one key element: