Hello and welcome to the revamped WIP Wednesday, I used to do this when I first started but somewhere along the way I got rather lost. So I am taking this back to basics and each week I will fill you in on the projects I am working on though of course the amount of detail you get will depend on how far along I am.
This is a short story for a charity anthology, this is in the final stages of editing and is a holiday romance. I have to say I found it quite difficult, as you will all know love and romance are not my normal main plots in a story so it was challenging resisting the urge to slaughter everyone.
Another short story for a charity anthology, this again is for a charity anthology and is quite taxing, it has a dark, twisted undercurrant and deals woth disturbing subjects but is more realism than my usual fantasy which is making me push myself in different ways. The base plot for the story was one I wrote for a different anthology which was never published and fits very well with the required subject for this anthology.
Is yet another short story, this is the first story for my Patreon, normally I will only have two projects running at once, however, because the first two have run over from last year I am having to work hard these first few weeks. I will confess that at this minute I am still undecided if all the stories will be a the same genre or just in a similar vein. I was initially thinking of making this double up as eventually eing the second volume of ghost stories but it may be that I make is more of a general horror genre, I would like to tie in some of the stories with the month they appear in so we shall see.
This is the novel I am working on currently The Role Of The Dice, I am really loving this story and will elaborate on it more next week once I have at least one less project to tell you about but for this week I will share a graphic for it…
When you get an idea for a story, when you feel inspired by the voices in your head to sit and write, your biggest challenge is getting your fingers to keep up with the words. You sit and hammer on the keyboard as fast as you can, hundreds if not thousands of words flowing from you at each sitting. Eventually you reach the end and then the real work starts.
I think it is fair to say right now I hate editing, I am more or less in the process of editing voices from one document to another because despite hitting a clear formatting button something is wrong with the file and it keeps resetting things I don’t want. To be fair this is working in my favour in the long run though as with each pass I am doing I am picking up on more silly errors. You know the type, the silly typos spell-check misses because nothing is spelt wrong you just intended to type on and ended up with no. But even this is not the hardest bit, because you know this is the necessary evil you have to go through to get that book out there.
The hardest part for most of us is the next stage.
You have your book, it looks all pretty, you have editing, double checked, banged your head against the wall, edited again, bought proof copies, spotted a couple of error you still missed and fixed them, then you hit the publish button and any confidence you had disappears.
You now have to sell your book, it sounds so simple, Twitter is full of people selling books but be honest how often have you every clicked on a link? You share to your Facebook page but unless you have already got a few books out there selling well most of the people seeing the posts are friends who either believe you should give them a copy for free or they want to support you but they are not really interested in buying or reading your books. Even when you do a give-away and people read it so few leave reviews that it makes it impossible to bump your books up the Amazon logistics chain to get it to a point where they get recommended.
Amazon are also now taking away the cheque option for payment, no I admit the idea of waiting until you have earned enough to receive a cheque was frustrating but more frustrating is trying to find a bank account here in the UK where you will not end up paying the bank more than you are receiving from Amazon. The cheapest one I have now found is going to cost me £2 for each overseas payment received which means I need to earn at least that each months from book sales before I cover the costs and that goes for each market. I don’t know if the decision to change this policy was due to people taking too long to earn enough to receive the cheque and it was messing up Amazon’s books or whether it is a way to reduce the number of people who decide to self publish but it does mean that instead of moving on to the next project the amount of time taken up doing marketing will have to increase.
Of course it is not all doom and gloom if you can just stick at it and increase the number of titles you have out there up for sale, and that is may aim for the next six months, life is going to get hectic and I might miss out on some of the summer sun by being sat at my desk but I want this enough to make those sacrifices.
Does the change to the way Amazon pays effect you? Any tips for marketing?
This is a bit of a non post in some ways, it won’t tell you really what I have been doing or what I am up to but hopefully it will allow you to see I do have a plan.
In fact I have several plans but since some of them involve winning the lottery, marrying a millionaire wrestler or selling film rights to me book or all three I will stick to the ones that might actually be achievable.
The first is along side Voices there will be two other books out this year, Dragons Mark and the first part of the Queen of Ages Trilogy, Ascension. I have decided that as I like to write in different genres it makes sense that I find some way to differentiate between them so the fantasy/Dark Fantasy books will come under the banner of my Keys to The Castle books, then once I write in other genres I shall come up with a name for those as well, the idea for this is as I build up the home-made swag I can have some which relates to the general genre as well as the specific books.
The swag thing is still a side line, something to go along side the books, an added extra as you will, one of the hardest things is proving to be not wanting to keep it all for me as I make things up lol if you want a quick peek you can look at the Etsy store here or via the website there is still not much actually up there yet but I do have more waiting to go up once I take some photos I might even create a link page here at a later date.
I have recorded the vlog today and I discuss a couple of things on there but I know now that if I want to make changes to my life in terms of a career from writing then I have to make it happen no one will do it for me.
I feel really positive right now and I feel like even though other people might not see a lot happening at the minute that the future is looking bright.
First let me say what a wonderful time I had , and highly recommend if you get the chance to attend one of the Hourglass events you should. In fact next October they are going to be in Peterborough, The Darker Side of Fiction event is looking for authors and bloggers to attend so you should certainly consider it, I hope to be there as an author but if not shall be there as a guest so we can meet for a coffee or something a little stronger in real life.Check out the Facebook page here
Now back to the weekend just gone, I have filmed the before and a clip of the ballroom but not much on the night, I was too busy enjoying myself but I shall intersperse a few pictures in this post. So let’s start with a selfie…
The camera on my phone is not brilliant for photos in low light as the flash is on the rear facing camera only but I do like the rather gothic feel it gives this photo.
First thing to discuss is the stress of getting ready in a limited time frame, rather like leaving your novel until a week before a deadline it means you have to cut corners and are not quite as prepared as you would like. Okay the shortcuts taken in getting ready may be seen quicker but they are at least fleeting, whereas the cracks in your work can pervade your whole writing career.
The first thing I realised after leaving the house was I felt incredibly overdressed, another reason the arrive the day before and stay at the hotel next year but stepping out of your comfort zone is a good things sometimes and I definitely went with the old maxim of if you do not feel confident fake it, and so upon arriving at the hotel we entered the foyer and moved towards other masked and gowned people.
No the one slight negative I would say is that most of the getting to know each other seemed to have been done during the day at the actual signing, the evening event is more social and although I still chatted to a few people and met some amazing authors and readers, you feel a outsider, like you have been invited to a party but you do not really know anyone and they all know each other, it also does not help that no one looks like their author profile picture in the evening, I certainly don’t look like mine…
And no the cleavage is not that impressive in real life it was just the camera angle and the dress. The thing is unless you are really confident in yourself these events can be daunting, there were women of every age and shape there but you cannot help but to compare yourself and your dress choice to others, I still felt fine until we had official photos taken, one of which I shall be posting on the kitchen door to keep me out of it for the next year lol but seriously by the next one I attend I intend to have the most glamorous before and after shots ever.
This is the one and I know you are all going to tell me how good I look because you are all far to lovely to be realistic but seriously there is far too much junk in that trunk.
You are also treated to a rare photo of the daughter which she will probably demand I remove so enjoy it while it lasts, though as she does not read the blog she might not notice if no one tells her.
But anyway back to lessons learnt, and the fact is I learnt more about myself than anything else, about which of my insecurities are holding me back and make me self concious, that I really want to be parter of this type of creative community and that I need to really focus and stop procrastinating to make it happen.
I am my own worst enemy!
There was of course entertainment and I did do a little video of them so you will see that on Friday, we failed to win anything in the raffle and left before the disco was really in full swing (I had been at work that day) but here is a little food porn to excite the taste buds, I did not take a picture of the starter because basically I was starving at that point but I did take photos of the main and dessert…
I realised that when the last book launch did not go off how I wanted it to that I have become disillusioned and allowed it to effect my belief in myself, how can I expect anyone else to believe in me if I do not have it in myself. So next month I shall do the A – Z challenge again, at the same time I shall be reworking a couple of parts of Disintegration and Voices then I shall be back at the start of May ready to push both while working on The Dragon’s Mark, if I want to make this my career and earn an actual living from writing I need to push myself and find the faith in myself that I had at the start of the year.
At the end of the day yes, luck and fate play a part in success but we cannot complain if we fail to push ourselves and do everything we are capable of to achieve our dreams. Part of that means sacrifice, in my case spending less time chatting online to friends or wasting time playing games on FB when I could be writing, the morning after may not look pretty,
But it will be worth it to reach your goals and get the life you want, so I shall leave you with a final picture, until the next event, and know how incredibly lucky I am to know you all have my back and are always willing to gove me a shove forward when I feel myself falling back, I know I am already ahead of the game in that respect xxxx
As you know I am busy working away at finishing Voices Across The Void, and today I thought I would share a little bit about the inspiration behind the stories. Voices is not your typical ghost story collection, not all the stories are intended to scare, that maybe in part because I do not find the dead anywhere near as scary as the living.
Voices is about just that, the voices of both the living and the dead, the ways in which they may connect and communicate. Just as no two people are the same, it would be wrong to think that in death everyone becomes clone like and act in the same way for the same motivations. just like the living they are all different.
That is the premise of this book, stories are told from both sides of the Void, some by the living some by the dead, some well you will see for yourselves if you read the book. There are stories to hopefully make you laugh, think, possibly feel the hairs on your neck go up, and one, well one has made every who has read it so far cry. One story, a humorous one was inspired by one of the programmes I discussed yesterday, it plays with the idea of ghost hunting shows and what would happen if the ghosts were not quite so subtle in their responses, that is one of my favourites but as always with my stories has a little bit of a twist.
Anyway that is it for today as I need to get a couple of other things done before I delve back into editing, I do however want to thank Heidi for her suggestion that is helping so much in the editing process. At her suggestion I am using text to speech software to read back my work to me, it works really well for those silly typos where you type in instead of on and the spell check obviously fails to see it. It also reminds me to add extra commas and shorten sentences, I have a horrible habit of forgetting readers need to breathe.
The book is out a couple of copies have been sold, now the nervous wait for reviews to come in and the hope someone likes what you have written. So far no loans through the KDP programme or Kindle Unlimited and I do wonder if it is the lack of reviews which make a difference there or whether I have not got the labels and tags right, time will tell on that and if there have been no bites after a couple of weeks I might consider seeing what I can change.
It has become a fine balancing act between promoting the book and annoying friends by filling their newsfeeds with it. The thing is I know the more books I get out the more following for them I build up the less I will need to post that goes on my personal Fb page rather than my author page but for now at least there is not much I can do and I guess anyone who gets really upset me is probably not a friend who wishes me success.
Next up of course while still doing promotions for Disintegration is getting Voices back on the front burner a process which I have begun already by sorting out the pile of paper stashed on my desk for the last few weeks.
I haven’t done an actual Award post for a while but this one dropped in my comments last week and I decided you know what lets go for it so…
I mean it has a dragon so how could I resist!
Here are the rules:
Thank the giver and link their blog to your post.
Pass the award on to other bloggers of your choice and let them know that they have been nominated.
Give 7 facts about yourself.
So first things first a huge thank you to Ravyn Whyt at Random Acts of Writing you can check out her lists here and learn more about her and the others she nominated.
Now 7 things about me that you don’t already know, well instead I decided to tell you seven thing I have learnt about myself through the self publishing process…
1) I could have a degree in procrastination, the closer I got to finishing the harder I found it to actually focus on the task at had.
2) Despite my bravado I have very little confidence when it comes to my own abilities and am actually now bracing myself for a stream of negative comments once people read my stories.
3) I realise the last one is irrelevant because I do not believe anyone will actually read my stories unless they know me and are trying to make me feel better.
4) I am becoming convinced I should go into PR rather than writing because I am pretty sure I can plan an awesome book launch if I put my mind to it but not as sure about producing the book itself.
5) Over the last twenty plus years I have suffered depression on and off, basically ever since post natal depression following my daughters birth, I am very good at recognising the signs of its approach and taking evasive action. I know compared to the black dogs that stalk others mine is generally more like the andrex puppy version but every now and again it grows fangs and turns into a huge hound, my grandmas death and the end of my relationship triggered that response. I know I hid it well and only a few people very close to me would have known the signs but while in its grip I found writing almost impossible, especially Voices with its obvious themes of death and afterlife, writing Disintegration became my therapy, and while I wanted it to be longer than it is, I had to accept some of my work in it was just not good enough. (Don’t worry the demons are back to chasing rolls of toilet tissue once more)
6) I have found an extra strength in admitting my failings to myself and accepting them and where previously it would have defeated me I have now learnt that because I cannot do something today does not mean I cannot do anything today and that I will not be able to do whatever I set my mind to tomorrow.
7) I make the mistake of looking at other people projects that diminish my confidence further simply because they are so awesome for example, this trailer is for my FB friend Claire’s latest project, it has absolutely nothing in common with my own stuff but I find my self thinking I will never manage anything this awesome
Now who to pass this to? Rubs hands together, lets see who has been quiet for a while…
Well it is done, shorter than I would have like as at the last minute I pulled a couple of stories I was not happy with but I decided it was more important to actually take the plunge with the publishing process than to create a doorstep of a book. The kindle version is listed as 59 pages while the print version will run at just under a hundred, I am hoping that the stories will endear themselves to people and they will like my style and want to read more but that is where the sickness comes in.
What if no one likes it? What if the intertrolls decide to give it their special treatment? I have seen so many horrible comments on friends reviews pages, comments they do not deserve, that I cannot help but wonder how I will handle them. I know there will be some, I don’t think anyone ever really escapes unscathed these days but I know the minute I sent that final draft and could no longer go back that I found myself almost in tears with nerves.
I like to think of myself as a fairly strong person, but my absence the last few days has been basically because I realised my procrastination at finishing a project comes down to fear. It was not a pleasant realisation to make, at one point I even tried to change the release day but if I had I would have lost my pre-order privileges (though I would point out I wanted to change the day from the Saturday to the Monday because I am actually at work when my book goes on sales, I picked the date randomly without looking what day it was, lesson learned).
The actually process was not too hard, mainly thanks to a wonderful article I found on Lit World Interiews you can find by clicking on their name. I know how to format a document in the old fashioned sense of indents titles etc, but like many I should imagine of my age who learnt typing on first manual and the electronic typewriters, I never really use many of the other format features of word and had certainly no idea about doing a Table of Contents from the document, the article was a blessing for me especially as it seems it is a feature Kindle require more frequently these days and was certainly a positive leaning process to take forward to Voices.
The Create Space experience was a little more difficult and require a few adjustments to get it all set up properly, the addition of blank pages, a little alteration to the cover to get it to fit though it seems that had I done it the other way round that might not have been an issue. I have however been convinced of the need to think about covers for both formats before next time and that is something I need to look into. I have just submitted the files after the last adjustments so hopefully I will soon be looking at a proof and it should be ready to go on sale at the same time as the Kindle version. I am going to be using the hashtag #PaulaDisintegration for this book as I looked on twitter and it was the only way to do it that would not end up taking you somewhere else lol
So it is done, no turning back, I feel scared, exhilarated and incredibly nervous but now I have taken the plunge surely it gets easier with the next one?
This week I began my first foray into publishing on Amazon, I am going to go into more details of actual release dates etc on the Vlog on Friday but today I want to talk about those few tentative clicks, scratching of the head and banging of the head against the wall which I believe I cannot be the first person to have experienced.
First lets start with KDP I went I filled in my details, I spent an age filling in some strange tax form which may mean I have signed my life away to the US then I tried to fill in my bank details, first brick wall. It was asking for an IBAN number and a Script number I looked on my account and could not see them so called up the building society I bank with and you see that there is the problem ‘building society’! I talked through with the very nice girl on the phone the boxes I could fill in and she informed me that the money (if I ever make any) would not reach me with the information they were asking for, it would reach the clearing bank but not my account so I fired off a message to Amazon. Several hours later they confirmed their system was not set up for that and I will have to receive any funds by cheque, of course that means that they will probably arrive in time for my funeral given the amounts that have to build up in each currency before they pay.
So I now have the royalty details sorted so on to uploading the files, now the file I uploaded was not the finished manuscript but it is a first draft so allows me to see how it is going to look. First this I learnt was that in future I will avoid long words in my book titles, turns out Disintegration is a difficult word in a title page to get to fit to all formats, I have just about managed it except for android phones, as the owner of an android phone I have now decided books should not be read on one. Next up filling in all the details of the book itself, I have done this though I am not sure whether I should add more tags, but what should a book of stories about break ups come under I picked Romance as there was not an anti-romance option, I also considered satire or black humour but not sure I am actually funny so that might not be the best choice but I have time to consider that yet.
Next up pricing I went for the 35% so I could charge less as these are short stories and I doubt this will make a hefty book but I have decided to do a paper copy after and give the kindle version free with the print version. I know lots of people recently seem to have been a little down on the KDP programme but I decided to give it a go with this as obviously the hope is to get as many people reading my work as possible then hopefully they might decide to pick up more titles at a later date, the free days will also come in useful when Voices is coming out to tempt readers in but this will also add extra years on to the time a cheque falls through the door from any part of the world.
Then comes the biggest frustration you see you would think you could just fill on one author page and it would link to your book no matter what market but no that would be too simple so first you do the UK one, not too bad, next up .com again no problem then you realise you cannot remember a word or French or German and you never knew Chinese/Japanese to start with. I managed through the French and German pages with the aid of Google translate, I just have to hope that it was not in one of those moods and decided to turn my innocent bio into an insult filled rant. The Chinese/Japanese page would not even let me log in to attempt to make a page so I gave it up as a bad job maybe if I become famous enough for it to be an issue I will have made enough to get someone to sort it for me.
I have to say overall despite the frustrations of having to repeat actions over and over again I think this pre-release option is a good one for me as it gives me a firm deadline to work to but I shall talk more about that and the actual date in Fridays Vlog.