Sunday, December 22, 2013

Getting back to business

I'm not going to lie...I let myself get lazy in my writing career. Whether it's been a needed break or if I just slacked off the last two months, I don't know. But what I do know is that it's time to get back on track. This coming March marks one year since the last release in my Primordial Guardians™ series. I had planned to write 3-4 books in that series during 2013, and I've let myself down in that regard. Yes, I've worked on other projects, and I've spent some much-needed and much-appreciated time with those that I love, but it's time to get crackin'.

Even if I can't find that energy or time right now, I know the time is fast-approaching. Soon, my little family will be experiencing a shift-change, I guess you could say, which will allow some alone-time. In the past, I've used that time for writing, and is how I wrote three full-length novels in less than a year (pre-baby, but three novels nonetheless). So if I can't squeeze in that time now, I know it's coming up.

On a side note, while I have not been keeping myself busy with writing, I have been tossing around marketing ideas. As we all know: writing the book isn't enough, we authors have to market them too.

I've been trying some different things to get my books in more people's hands. Since I self-published The Highlander's Curse, I've been able to drop the price and see how it affects my sales. For the paperback, I dropped the price from $10.99 to $8.99, and I lowered the eBook first from $2.99 to $1.99, and now I have it at $0.99 until the end of 2013. Since I self-published it, I can see its progress as often as I want, so it's been an interesting test. Come 2014, I'll decide what sale price I want to set my book at. If I don't see much of a difference in sales, it may just go back up to $2.99, if not more.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I've written a what?

I finished my book about a month ago.  It was the tenth revision/rewrite that took me around three and a half years to reach.  I completed the life goal of writing a book, a real novel with over 75,000 words.  It's no longer an idea or a dream.  It's my reality: I've written a book.  Now what?

That was the question I asked myself each day for weeks after this great milestone.  Now that I had a completed project, what was I supposed to do with it?  I knew I wanted to publish it and that I wanted to get it to the public as soon as possible.  But I also knew it wasn't ready to throw on Amazon.  It needed to be polished, worked over, worked on.  I knew there were grammatical errors and syntax problems that needed to be resolved.  I wanted to be sure I tied up all the plot points, that my character development was at its finest, that my world-building was at its peak.  With all the things I knew, there was only one solution--I needed an editor.

If writing a book was a daunting task, finding the right editor seemed like hiking Everest.  I sat in a dazed state for another few weeks, immobilized by the idea of scouring all of the professional editing world for that one editor who would make my work the strongest it could be.  Somehow, through my catatonic stupor, the thought came to me that my goal wasn't complete.  I wanted to become an author and not just an author who wrote books, but an author who shared my books with the world.  I was only halfway there.

I had to keep going.  No one ever hiked Everest without preparation and determination.  I had to start somewhere.  That somewhere was with research.  There are so many to choose from: copy editors, developmental editors, all of the above...and the price range is all over the charts.  Sifting through the editors that didn't meet my needs, narrowing down my list to just a select few I believe will help me take my writing to the level I want it to be at.  It's time to prepare a query to send to my first choice and I've made a list of backup editors.  I'm prepared to make my investment to follow through with my goal and become the writer, the author I've dreamed of becoming.

It all started with a step.  Everest doesn't seem so daunting anymore...

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Deleting Distractions

This may or may not have been covered before, but I want to testify of its brilliance. Now, distractions can be anything; kids, animals, youtube, facebook, food in the pantry, the neighbors burying a body in their backyard, or the front room needs rearranging. Get rid of them! Now, I'm not saying send the kids and dogs over to go help the neighbors bury the body, but I am saying, find a way to get rid of them so they wont distract you from writing. For me, social media is a HUGE distraction. I love/hate social media and it doesn't take long for, "I'll just check facebook really fast before I start writing." to turn into a solid hour on facebook. I'll admit it, yes, I have spent a solid hour commenting, liking, and staring/scrolling aimlessly at my stupid newfeed. AND FOR WHAT? Nothing, I tell you. For many reasons, I decided to delete the facebook and twitter applications from my phone. They are obviously still accessible, but getting rid of the direct line definitely helped keep me away. Since Friday, I have written 8,500 words in my novel. Keep in mind, I have not been making much progress thus far... because of distractions. Now, that was just for me, but I encourage all to find what these distractions are and get rid of them, even if its just for a few hours so you can dedicate that time to your project. Happy deleting!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

When in doubt, talk it out!

Telling a story isn't like other hobbies where you know exactly what to do and how to do it. You've got to create something entirely from scratch. If it sucks, it's your fault. If it's awesome, it's your glory. Either way, you need to develop good habits to help you learn and grow as a writer.

The first thing I hear when listening to other authors give advice is to just finish writing your book. But if you've ever tried this you know it's a lot easier said than done. What happens when you've set a deadline for yourself and you push aside all plans with family, your homework, reading that amazing book, cooking dinner, and any other distractions just so you could write? You pull up your computer eager to knock out some major word count and...nothing.

This is where I use the, "When in doubt, talk it out" motto. Turn to your writing partner (if you don't have one, get one. Or two, or three) for those times when you get stuck. Talk to them about the scene you're trying to write and what comes next and I promise as you talk about it, you'll be able to unfold the details that seem to elude you.

If you're the writing partner being called, make sure to ask a lot of questions. Look for gaps in the scene transitions or plot. Make sure the scene is propelling the story forward and that the characters are consistent. Let your partner explain things and most the time you just have to sit back and listen, asking a question here and a question there.