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!!!!