Old Endings, New Beginnings & Getting Down to Business

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Blank Pages In An Open NotebookFor about the past year I’ve been exclusive with Amazon’s KDP program. Initially I saw an upsurge in sales. Nothing huge, mind you, but a noticeable difference. Then I ran into some major hiccups. My ebook kept showing up for sale on other sights, making me not so exclusive, and KDP would kick me out of the program. I have my past with Smashwords and my very unfortunate past with Xlibris (horrific vanity publishing) to thank for that. Each time I managed to get my ebook removed from one market, I’d sign back up with KDP. Each time this happened, about four times in total, I found that I couldn’t recover and sales were even fewer.

I realized that I was probably going about things all the wrong way. Go figure, I’m new at this, and besides having little time, I’m lazy. I wanted to make selling my book as simple as possible. I also spent more time worrying about that book than I spent worrying about my current projects and about this site.

Along the way I also just got off track with my writing. I was losing my resolve and my hope. Then I came upon this fairly new and interesting podcast called Rocking Self Publishing hosted by Simon. I encourage you to listen to a few of the interviews. They are incredibly enlightening and educational. You will quickly learn just how generous other indie authors are as they share some incredible information about self publishing. A site that always helps set a fire beneath my creativity and give me indie author hope is that of Lindsay Buroker, author of The Emperor’s Edge series. Besides being a successful and prolific indie author she imparts some amazing advice over at her site.

So, I made the decision to make some changes. We are always changing aren’t we? It’s supposed to keep us on our toes, I guess, but to be honest, it tires me out.

  • I didn’t sign back up for the KDP program. What’s the point? Fewer venues means less visibility and fewer sales.
  • I’ve republished An Unproductive woman on Smashwords and as a result it will soon be available at many outlets. In this case, more is more.
  • I’ve come to the realization that I need to STOP avoiding outlining and give it an honest try. I’ve been pantsing myself into literary holes. I can’t seem to stay jazzed about a story or complete a story because I end up floating in space with no direction.
  • I’ve decided to start working with some internal deadlines. I need to complete one of the multiple projects I’ve started over the last year. Not having done so when I know that I am capable has dealt a blow to my writer’s self esteem.
  • I’m actively looking for reliable betas and reasonably priced editors. So if you have any suggestions please send them my way.
  • I’ve dusted of the picture I purchased over a year ago with the intent to use on a book cover. I’m using it as the background on my desktop to keep me motivated about this project that I wholly believe in.
  • I’m getting back to my old schedule, where I rise at 0400 to get some writing done.
  • I will take no prisoners or excuses.

See you at success.

Wow. That’s Really Good.

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I tend to scribble a lot

I say, I promise, I’m not sensitive. My feelings won’t be hurt. I want you to tear it up! Tell the truth. Tell me what if anything is wrong with this story and I don’t want you to hold anything back.

What do I get?

Wow. That’s really good.

Thanks for nothing. Just thanks.

At the risk of sounding arrogant, which I’ve often been accused of anyway, I already believe my writing is good. What I don’t believe is that it is perfect. So, when I’ve given my writing to someone for critique and input, I want some good to honest, this is what I think is wrong with your story, stuff.

Believe me when I say that if I don’t think your advice will work for me, I will not use it. I don’t expect you to have hard feelings about that, and I promise not to have hard feelings because you suggested it. But, “Wow. That’s really good,” doesn’t work for me. It is no help. You may as well have not read the story. I’m glad you were entertained but, really? According to some close sources of mine, my head is already swollen to the size of the moon, so do you really think I need you pumping it up even further? As a matter of fact, if you start pumping that hot air, I’m liable to think you’re lying and that the story flat out sucks.

I recently asked someone to take a peek at a story that I wrote over a year ago and for the very first time, I got some truly helpful feedback. It was so helpful that I am busily rewriting this story and am feeling more confident than ever about submitting it when it is done. This person told me that there were some really lovely parts, and that there were also some global issues that needed to be corrected. Free to take or leave this advice, I mulled it over for a couple of weeks, and along with some suggestions that I received via some of the good folks over at the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, I feel really confident about this story.

Uh oh. Is that my head that bumped the ceiling or the other way around.

All joking aside, critiquing, beta reading, inputting, whatever you want to call it, is serious. At least it is to me. And as ungrateful as I may sound, please just save it if all you have to offer is, “Wow. That’s really good,” because I already think its good. Otherwise I wouldn’t be showing it to you.

 

NaNoWriMo-NoNo

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I’m guessing it was about five years ago. It could be more. I made the decision to participate in NaNoWriMo. I was excited. I had a book in mind, which to this day I don’t recall, and I had done some loose outlining in preparation. I planned for NaNoWriMo a couple of months in advance, what I would write, where I would write, what my daily word count would be and how I would make up for any lost word counts during the week on the weekends. I told my co-workers what I had planned to do. I announced my intended participation to my family because their understanding is important, integral, necessary even in order to accomplish a successful NaNoWriMo. If huge chunks of my precious time were to be spent hidden in my room in bed with crooked aching fingers bleeding priceless words onto the keyboard, I wanted their blessing and support. I was alight with anticipation, sort of like the way one’s mouth waters when they know they’re about to eat something good.

Ah, I know. I over-dramatize a bit. But if you have ever participated in a NaNoWriMo or you intend to this year, then you can probably relate to the feeling. It’s a fantastic feeling, actually. You are pounding out your 50,000+ words while thousands, millions? of other like minded people are doing the same thing. Despite the fact that I won’t be participating this year, I get a little charge just thinking about that beautiful camaraderie. I relish that feeling now as much as I did then, even though my only NaNoWriMo experience was a whopping failure.

I had three problems.

  1. Absolutely no family understanding or support. If, like me, you’re the only person in your family who writes, then you’re likely aware of how little other people know or understand about the writing process. Sometimes the words flow and sometimes they get hung up like a sweater on a nail. To disentangle that precious sweater, you need more time and more effort and patience, and it is difficult to employ any of these when someone in the next room, or in the doorway, or standing over your right shoulder is asking you to do something and pretending they’re just too helpless to do it themselves. Yes, that too was a bit over-dramatic. A bit. A tiny tiny bit.
  2. Plot holes. My story, the one I can’t remember, had so many of them I kept falling in them and breaking an ankle or a hip. Exaggeration? Well, yeah, but I am talking figuratively here. Today I would say that plot holes aren’t really a problem. Today, I would likely just write right on through them and take my lumps along the way. This is NaNoWriMo, not NaPerfectNoWriMo. But then, those plot holes lead to problem #3.
  3. Self doubt. With little understanding and lots of plot holes and a whole slew of other barriers to my writing, some self manufactured and others not, I eventually gave up. Poo on me. Believe me, I blame no one for that failure. If I had pushed on and failed, well then, that would be acceptable to me. Honest attempts are meaningful and worthy. When we give up, we literally throw away the possibility of success.

I admire every one of you who decides to give NaNoWriMo a try. I admire that spunk and drive. One of these days I may give it a try again. It may even be this year, after all this is day 1, yeah? But, next time I decide to give NaNoWriMo a try, I think I’ll keep it to myself. I’ll just quietly chip away at those 50,000 words and see what I can come up with in those 30 days. When it’s all over, that’s when I will tell the world… or not.

Good luck my writing comrades!!!!