It seems like so many people are taking unusual paths to publication these days. When I heard about Shawn Kupfer, I knew I had to have him as a guest, because I think you’ll get a kick out of his story. Shawn’s novel, 47 Echo, goes on sale at Carina Press next week.
There’s that old saying “Writers write.” And it’s true, for the most part — but it doesn’t say that they necessarily finish anything. Sure, we might sit there, scratching away into our Moleskines or pounding away at our keyboards, but there are times when you just can’t finish a story to save your life, try as you might.
That was the case with me almost two years ago. I’d started several projects — a follow-up to a novel I wrote in 2000, teleplays for a season of a sitcom, a feature film script, a couple of novels — but I just couldn’t manage to finish anything. I’d sit down at night with the full intention of writing the next great story, but. . . nothing.
I was way into Twitter at the time, as I recall. And I saw people using it for a variety of purposes that weren’t expressly instructed on the packaging, so I figured: why not a novel? I could sit down every night and put down another part, and maybe someone would read it, though probably not. And that, in February 2009, is how I started The Twitter Novel Project.
My first book was a crime thriller called White Male, 34, and something strange happened while I was writing it. I kept working on it every night. I’d set the goal of putting down at least 500 words a night, and I was sticking to it. Part of it was because people were watching, as I gained a handful of followers early on. Part of it was the challenge, as I’d told myself there was no way I’d be able to keep up that level of output.
I would have been happy just to finish that first novel, to get it to 50,000 words. It ended up at around 64,000, and I immediately began to think about the second one. It would have to be something completely different, something I’d never seen anyone do before.
That second novel was 47 Echo, which Carina Press will release in just a few days on January 17. I finished the first draft of the book, out in public with about 2,000 people watching, in October of 2009, and Carina acquired it about six months later. It’s a strange way to get a publishing deal, I suppose. . . but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I’d love for you to come by and visit me on any of the 47 Echo sites: the Web site, the blog, or the Facebook page. Oh, and in case you’re wondering: Yes, I’m still tweeting novels 140 characters at a time over at the @Tweet_Book Twitter page, and backing the story up nightly at the Twitter Novel Project blog.
Thanks so much to Tia Nevitt for asking me to come by and tell the story on her blog. Make sure to read Tia’s own fabulous work The Sevenfold Spell from Carina Press!