I haven’t checked in here for a couple of weeks, but my efforts toward publication continue. I finished that pass of copyediting I mentioned before, and with a drink or three to bolster my courage, I posted the first few chapters of it online, along with an invitation to read the whole thing. It was only to my small circle of online pals and acquaintances, so response wasn’t staggering, but it was a step, and I took it.

I also attended a second meeting of the critique group, including bringing printouts of my first chapter to be read. That was another big step, exciting and somewhat mortifying, but good. I got some worthwhile feedback from it, and see some ways to improve the story. I think that having other writers focus on a single short chapter (the group works in roughly 2,000-word chunks, which happens to match my chapter sizes pretty well) will give me a different kind of feedback than I hope to get from more casual reads of the whole thing.

I have another meetup with that group again tomorrow, and have my second chapter printed out and ready to go. This time it includes a short statement with introductory context, and I’ve stapled the pages; I’m learning how this works. However, my whole novel is 83 chapters, and this group meets about every other week, so I don’t think I’ll spend the three-plus years it would take to run the entire thing past them.

Which is partly why I’ve also gotten in touch with a possible critique partner. We haven’t quite managed to arrange an introductory meeting yet, and even that is just to see how we get on and if we might be able to help each other out. But I found his contact info in a listing in the Writers’ League’s “classifieds” (which is a Google Sheets doc; not fancy, but workable), and his interests and genre sounded like a fit, so we’ll see.

Last but not least is something I feel pretty self-conscious about. But it’s a small step that I took partly for the symbolism of it, and if I’m documenting my journey here then I guess this is part of it. After last month’s Third Thursday panel talk, I met a guy who had attended the Agents & Editors Conference last year. He said he wished he’d had business cards to hand out to the, well, agents and editors he met there. So I looked into it, found that for $15, Vistaprint would sell me a box of 100 (probably about 98 more than I’ll ever give out), and decided, what the hell. I thought I was official before, when I used my Writers’ League discount at BookPeople, but forget that. Now I have little cards that say it: Chris Grayson, Author.