Over the last couple of months while I have been suffering from lethargy in terms of posting I have been working away behind the scenes and I thought today I would take the chance to fill you in on some of what is going on in the background.
The first thing is I have signed up for a course on Exploring Copyright: History, Culture, Industry it is a free 4 week course, just 3 hours a week. you might wonder why I would take on doing extra study when I am already snowed under and I am not gaining a qualification from it but I am looking at it as a chance to gain knowledge which may be useful going forward. We all know in this Internet age that cyber-piracy is something many authors are coming up against, work plagiarised or republished on pirate sites where they are given away for free, and while some will argue that gaining readers this way is a counterbalance to the loss of earning on that book, for others it is a loss they cannot afford. We all write the copyright notice at the front of our books but how much of it do we understand, what actual rights we have and protections are offered by it. If you are interested you can find more details here.
The other thing I have been looking into is publishing options, it was brought up on FB a couple of weeks ago that there were other options for print on demand other than KDP and Createspace, so I took a little time to look into it. The most popular way is the use Createspace however I have found a suggestion that long term it may be best to use a combination of Createspace and Ingram Sparks, you can read the article I found helpful here. The trilogy I am working on at the minute will remain on Createspace as setting up the other requires money to invest in buying ISBN numbers but I have begun the process of getting ready for this for future series. When you buy the block of numbers you register them to an imprint name and I have decided to go with Raven’s Rest Press, I have set up an email, FB and Twitter to grab the name there, I will be adding the logo to my other books and I would not be averse to perhaps collaborating with other indie authors who want to publish under the name and help promote each others work. I am not going to go too much into things here as obviously I am still setting it all up but I will keep you up to date with my experiences. Right off to the day job now after all until the books start selling I have to fund the present as well as investing in my future.
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
At the end of the post on Sunday I mentioned I had submitted my novel to a publisher, or at least the first 15 pages. Their website and submission guidelines tell you to expect to wait 2 -4 weeks to hear back from them while they decide if they want to read the rest of your manuscript.
So I had taken the plunge hit submit and immediately afterwards realised I had failed to include the word count. Obviously the first thing I did was slap myself for my stupidity, one of the main things you are taught as you go through education is read the questions in exams, well for writers the thing you drill into your own mind is always read the submission guidelines and do as they tell you.
Slightly disheartened I went off to make dinner for my kids and watched TV for a couple of hours, by the time I returned to my computer a few hours later I had convinced myself that I had screwed up my chances completely and that everyone wishing me luck had wasted their breath.
Then I looked at my emails!
Now, I debated discussing this, would it be tempting fate? But I decided you guys have shared so much of my journey with me and been so supportive I cannot imagine keeping it quiet, well I didn’t exactly a few people got squealing messages or calls that night but I get ahead of myself and make it sound like more has happened than has actually occurred.
The email sat there had been sent within a couple of hours of me submitting my first fifteen pages and basically was a request to read the rest and to know a little more about me as an author (everyone be on your best behaviour in case they read this!). I scanned through my novel, corrected a couple of issues in synopsis and sat staring at the screen. I hate writing bio’s, ask he to write one for someone else I will make them sound like a Nobel winning rocket scientist, but the minute I have to write one about myself I turn into a five year old trying to do cursive handwriting with a crayon! I suspect I am not alone in saying that I am a failure as my own cheerleader, part of me wants to read back through all my blog posts and remove anything vaguely personal or ‘unprofessional’, remove evidence that I am human and had a bad year last year, but part of me thinks it is a frailties and how we overcome adversity that makes us who we are far more than our successes and I like who I am (well most of the time).
So once I managed to string together a few sentences which hopefully made me sound at least competent I sat back and now a wait really will ensue, 6 to 8 weeks for a decision on whether they want to go forward with me. I can hear you asking why this is different, after all I have submitted before and done the whole waiting game. I should know better by now than to get my hopes up only to have them crushed with yet another rejection letter but this time it feels different.
The more I looked at the website for this publishers the more convinced I am that they would be the perfect fit for me, they like publishing series so would most likely take the whole trilogy not just one book, the sample pages included one of the first scenes of graphic sexual violence (I class it as dark medieval fantasy so raping and pillaging has to be included but friends have suggested I may still have issues lol), they read that and still wanted to read more.
Every other publisher I have submitted to I have done so while thinking that they were not going to be right for me, that they would either just see my book as erotica or want me to go full fantasy and cut the sex. It scares me that this feels different, that I might get my hopes up only to still receive that rejection email at the end, I fee like a kid waiting for Christmas, I have sent my letter off to Santa but am nervously awaiting that special present and not really able to believe I will get what I want but desperately hoping nevertheless. It is like meeting Mr Right but secretly being convinced he is too perfect and therefore must be gay or about to dump you, you are scared to think of it in terms of having a future but then you risk sabotaging yourself through fear.
The next few weeks are going to be hell, at least for the next couple of weeks I have the Voices launch to look forward to but once that is done my finger nails may suffer!
This time next week will be my birthday. My 44th birthday, so not a particularly special one. It will be four years since I decided to stop thinking about writing and get on with it, and in those four years I have been accepted and rejected, made friends and realised some people are only interested in what I can do for their writing and not in reciprocating the favours.
I have been published in a charity anthology Lupus Animus and in Zest, I have also self published my own short story collection Disintegration & Other Stories and have a second Voices Across The Void due out very soon. I am still learning the ropes of both my writing and the whole social media platform building thing.
So I thought to myself what can I do to celebrate well…
A birthday giveaway bonanza!!!!!!1
First up the Goodreads Giveaway here which will have two winners, each of whom will receive a signed book.
Then on Wednesday 30th September and Thursday 1st October you can grab a free Kindle copy if you don’t have it already.
And if you want to give me a present?????????? Well reviews are the best gift you can give an author, so if you enjoy the book let everyone know!