Whither ‘Tea in Crimea?’

Whither ‘Tea in Crimea?’

If you’re part of the David Kopf cognoscenti, you know that I’ve already written a novel. And, if you’re one of those insiders, you’re probably wondering where the hell it is. Well, I owe you an explanation.

Back in 2014, I penned a serial fiction blog that mirrored events playing out during the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine and Russia’s subsequent invasion and annexation of Crimea. That story was called “Tea in Crimea,” and while it was a passion project with a limited audience of friends, I realized after completing the final installment that I had written the basis for a pretty decent novel.

During 2015, I stitched those installments into a single manuscript, and then went into beta reading and editing mode. I received volumes of absolutely on-point input and advice that I incorporated into the novel. I then shopped that manuscript draft around to agents for a bit, but despite my best efforts, it didn’t resonate. Ultimately, I concluded in 2016 that self-publishing the novel might be the best path to follow.

However, if I was going to self-publish, I wanted to do it right. While the initial feedback from beta readers was invaluable, I also knew as someone who edits for a living that the manuscript needed a really good line edit from a literary expert who could tear apart sentences as well as story structure. I needed someone who could see both the forest and the trees — and keep me from getting lost in the woods in the process.

That person was William Boggess. William works with New York Book Editors and I credit him with really taking my novel several levels higher during the editorial process. While I’m a different editorial creature, I really respected his talent and his professional knowledge. William has worked on a number of high-profile novels from big name authors, and I was certain I was in expert hands. Moreover, I got the sense that he cared about my manuscript nearly as much as I did.

In fact, after I had incorporated William’s edits and used his mentoring to rewrite several portions of the novel, I was so happy with the result that I decided to put a pause on self-publishing and give querying literary agents a final shot.

I did this, I’m sure, to the consternation of multiple people, including the magnificent Tony Millionaire, who illustrated a cover image for the novel; Nicholas Hope of Classic Capture, who shot my author’s photo; and Andrea Meredith, who generously set up the initial Tea in Crimea blog and hosted it on her business server. I also did this knowing that I would be ticking off a number of family and friends who have been supporting me and expressing their eagerness to read my novel.

That “final shot” at querying missed its mark. I researched agents even more extensively than before and took great pains to ensure I was making the right appeals to the right people, but for whatever reason my pitches didn’t reach out of the slush pile and grab any agents by the collar. Ask any author about blind querying a manuscript, and they’ll tell you it’s a maddening and potentially demoralizing crap shoot. Well, I crapped out for a second time, and opted to walk away from the table.

This means I have resumed the process of preparing “Tea in Crimea” for indie publication. Tony’s illustration and Nick’s photo are being worked into the final cover design. I’m scouring the manuscript like a paranoiac one last time for stupid typos and missed copy edits. Then it’s time to put the package together for print and e-reader versions. There’s also a mess of paperwork to do in order to establish my imprint (well, to do it the right way, that is). And then it’s on to pre-release promoting and general drum-banging.

But to my family, friends and people who have been working on and supporting this novel, know that you have my genuine gratitude for patiently waiting through my thick-headed learning curve, and that forward momentum on the project has resumed. “Tea in Crimea” is on its way. Many thanks.