I’m sure we’ve all heard the story of The Tortoise and the Hare. You know the story I’m talking about. If not, let me give you the Brown Notes version:
There was this rabbit, you see. And this rabbit was really, really fast. He was also somewhat of a braggart. You know the type, right? Those who think they are the best at everything and have no problem letting you know. Well this rabbit, he decided to pick on the tortoise.
Before we go much further, let’s give these two animals names. We’re going to name the rabbit Dennis. Why? There was this fellow I knew when I was growing up who liked to brag about all the things he could do, and Dennis was his name. For the tortoise, we’re just going to name him George. No reason. I just like the name. (I guess that’s a reason, eh?) Is that okay with you all?
Dennis constantly bragged to the tortoise about how fast he was and that no one–and Dennis meant NO ONE–could beat him in a race. But there’s more. You see, Dennis didn’t just brag to George about how great he was, he went so far as to put down George for being so slow of foot.
Now George was a kindly sort and he just shrugged off a lot of Dennis’s antics. But even George had his limits, and one day he grew tired of Dennis’s constant yip-yapping about The Great Hare Who Can’t Be Beaten.
“Dennis, even a great creature such as yourself can lose a race,” George said in his slow southern drawl–yeah, I imagine George to be a southerner, a country boy to the end.
“By who?” Dennis asked in jest.
“Well, by me.”
Whether or not George was bluffing Dennis will never be known because Dennis laughed out loud while holding his furry belly. I bet he went so far as to falling on the ground, and rolling about as tears streamed down his furry face. “You? You? Beat me? Well, why don’t you just try?”
George gave a nod and said, “Okay, Dennis. Tomorrow morning we’ll race from here to yonder (yonder being over there a hundred yards or so away where the apple trees were ripe with fruit) and I’m going to win.”
The very next morning they set out to race. All the other animals sat along the race route in their fold out chairs or on their pic-nic blankets. The kids ran around playing tag or Duck, Duck, Goose (a game the ducks and geese didn’t care much for). They had the media there, most of which were mocking birds, with their microphones and cameras, reporting on the big race. Odds were laid out by the bookies–hyenas with not much to laugh about except for the handful of animals who wagered the tortoise would win.
Then the race started. There was a pretty little cat named Sasha at the starting line in her cut off shorts and a T-shirt waving a green fig leaf flag, signaling for the competitors to take off.
And they kind of, maybe, sort of just stood there. George took a step and then another and another and had moved all of half an inch. Dennis, he didn’t move at all. He just looked at his watch and yawned and said, ‘You go right on ahead and get started. I’m going to take a nap.”
And that’s just what Dennis did. He found him a cozy little spot in the sun on the grass and fell right asleep.
George continued taking his slow steps and travelling not much more than a couple feet an hour.
When Dennis woke, he noticed George was only a few yards away, so he decided to run down to the all you can eat buffet and grab him some breakfast. He ate until his belly was full and his eyelids where heavy. Then he mosied on down to the start line again to see George wasn’t even halfway through the race. Dennis, being full and content from the buffet, decided to take himself another nap, and when he was done, he would jog to the finish line and be there in time for dinner and a midnight snack before George arrived.
That nap ran long and by the time old Dennis woke, George was almost to the finish line.
“Oh my,” Dennis said (well, he probably said something else that rhymed with duck or pit or ram, but that’s not really appropriate for this blog) and he took off running.
But it was too late. You see, George crossed the finish line by a hair in front of, well, the hare.
It’s been said George uttered the words, “Slow and steady wins the race,” when interviewed by the mocking birds later on.
You may be asking yourself, ‘why did he just tell us this story?’
I’m glad you asked.
I wrote a novel back in 2008, titled Cory’s Way. I’ve been working on it off and on ever since. Why so long? Well, I had the computer crash of 2013 that wiped out the edits I had completed. Then there were other projects I have worked on. Then there was the issue of confidence. I had never put a book out until January, 2012, and that was a short story collection. Put out a novel? How daunting. Then there was all the work–did I really want to put so much work into one story? Honestly, I didn’t.
Now, here we are, and for the last ten months I have worked on Cory’s Way, editing, rewriting, searching for cover art, trying to figure out a marketing strategy, talking to folks on how to do stuff I didn’t know how to do (and I’m still not so sure I know how to do some of them), having the cover created, editing some more, finding proofers, letting an agent read the story, building confidence and a bunch of other stuff. The release of Cory’s Way is getting closer and closer. However, personal goals for putting it out have came and went. I wanted to release it in July–on my birthday, to be specific. That didn’t happen. Then I shot for Cate’s birthday, which is in the middle of August. Yeah, you can guess that didn’t happen either. Now, I’m looking at a mid-November release, and, well, I’m not sure that is going to happen either.
But why? Why not in November?
Simple: it’s not ready.
The cover art has been created. The cover itself is done. The story has been edited eight times and proofed twice. Three separate rewrites have taken place. The forward has been written. The author’s notes and acknowledgments have been written. The bonus story at the end of the novel has been edited, rewritten, edited again. The book blurb has been written. The bio is done–but that may change before all is said and done. The entire book is completely put together. Formatting still needs to be done, and ARCs need to be sent out. And a release date–a concrete one–needs to be set.
With all of that done, why is Cory’s Way still possibly not coming out in November as planned?
Because, slow and steady wins the race, and I’m not sure the book is ready.
I can hear some of my friends whispering or even yelling, ‘If you keep going over it, then you will never put it out.’
I’ve heard that a few times, not with Cory’s Way, but with Southern Bones. It took me nine months to prepare Southern Bones, for publication, and another couple months before I was comfortable enough to put it out. But I eventually put it out. I eventually felt it was ready.
Here’s the thing: I know a few writers who are like Dennis. They are so ready to get their work out there that they rush through things and put it out, even though the books were not ready. Then they wonder why people are blasting the books or why they aren’t selling more. ‘It’s the greatest novel ever written,’ after all. They were in a hurry and that was reflected in the product.
I’m not one of those writers. I want Cory’s Way to be the best it can be. So what does that mean? That probably means I’ll read through it one last time. That probably means when I am done formatting it, I will probably go over every single thing to make sure it is right. I’ll probably go through every digital page, checking and making sure that all italics are there, that the fonts are the right size (and the right type). I want it to be right. Why? Well, first off, I want to put out a professional quality novel, but I also want the readers to be submersed in the story and have nothing taking them away from it–at least nothing I can control. I want the experience for the readers to be an enjoyable one. Because if its not, then the chances of the readers coming back and reading other works I have written, are going to be slim to none.
Slow and steady, folks. Slow and steady. I promise, I’m not like Dennis, but more like George, and in the end, I think the extra time spent on getting things right will make Cory’s Way that much better. And isn’t that what you want?
While I have you here, why don’t I give you the blurb for Cory’s Way? Here it is:
After his father leaves in the middle of the night, Cory Maddox and his mom, Gina, are forced to start over. Left alone while Gina tries to work her way out of debt, Cory deals with life as the new kid in school. Fleeing from the school bullies, Cory ends up under an overpass where an old homeless man lives. After being saved from the bullies, Cory and the homeless man, Mr. Washington, become friends.
But things don’t get easier for Cory. Children are disappearing from around the state, and the bullies haven’t forgotten his escape the first time they went after him. And there is something wrong with Mr. Washington…something horribly wrong.
Accompanied by his only two friends and the unlikeliest of allies, Cory sets out to keep a promise to the ailing homeless man. Will Cory and his friends find a way to keep the promise, or will the journey prove too difficult for them?
Intrigued? I hope so.
As always, thank you for reading. Until we meet again, my friends…
And here’s a sneak peek at the cover: