Wednesday, 1 January 2020

New Year, New Decade


Yeah, I know…I’ve been seriously MIA. I’m back now though. I think. More or less.

My goal for this year is to set fewer goals. To take care of myself and my mental health. And to find the path back to my writing. My muse isn’t quite dead, but he’s been in a semi-coma for a long time. It’s time to nudge that boy back to life.

Small steps to get things started.

I want to work on increasing my Twitter presence. I’m there most days, but not really active. I want to be more active. I want to engage more with other writers and that means posting more. I started the year off today with a fun poll. Tomorrow I’ll post a meme of…something writing-related. I need to draw myself out of this self-imposed exile and get back into the world.

It’s hard :P

I want to work on posting more to my author FB page. Even if it’s just a fun meme or an update on whatever. I also want to increase the number of people who view and like it and follow it. I’m not sure how to go about that just yet, but it’s on the list.

I want to find new and imaginative ways to market my books with not a lot of money. That will be a tough one. They’re on Amazon, but since I can’t afford to do much to market them, they’re pretty much invisible. I’ll have to find a way to change that.

I’ve committed to reading 60 books in 2020. I’m going to set aside Sundays as my reading day. No video games that day – just a book. I’m paying for Kindle Unlimited, I might as well use it.

I’m not going to commit to writing a lot. I want to, but I’m not ready yet. New words might happen behind the scenes, but I won’t force them. When I get AS back from my editor I’ll work on that – I think it will help to kick-start my Muse and get me back on the right track.

I’ve been off the rails for so long, it will take time to find my way again.

But I can do it. Slow and steady,  yeah?

Monday, 12 August 2019

Surfacing

It's been a very rough 4 or 5 months. Depression and Anxiety suck and the hardest words I've ever had to speak out loud were: I am not okay.

It is getting better. I'm working on that. There are supports in place now that I didn't have before. I'm taking meds for the depression and my overall mood is better. I'm trying to dig myself out of the dark - updating my authorly sites. I released the eBook version of The Cartel at the beginning of the month, so I had to update my webpage, my Twitter profile and Author Facebook page. This blog post is the final bit of that whole update process.

Creatively I'm still in a fog. It's hard to mentally focus on the writing, but I've acquired a tablet, so at least I can read again. That will help. The blog posts might be a little sporadic, but I'll try not to let so much time pass between each one. Small steps, yeah?

AS is still with my editor - there's no rush there. It was a flaming dumpster fire when I sent it to her. One of the perks of being an Indie Author is that I can set and adjust my own deadlines. My focus right now is getting a handle on my mental health. The rest will sort itself out eventually.

I'm still here.

Just so you know ;)

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Finding my way back

The past few months have been hard. Personally and creatively. Medical issues and creativity issues have taken the wind out of my sails. But I'm finding my way back now...at least I can see the road again and that's a huge thing.

I've had a couple of pretty good reviews for Hunter - one a 4 star rating, the other a 4 star rating and review. That does a lot for the confidence. I also got my first KDP royalty notice - no amounts listed but I can expect some money from them in about a week or so.  Also a huge boost. Even if the amount is small it's more than I ever expected to earn as a writer. It will probably be enough to take myself for coffee at least ;)

I tend to be very flighty when I'm creatively insecure. I kind of flit from project to project, not happy with any of them. Wanting to work on them, but unable to pick one and stay with it. Since Gage's story is the one earning me money (more or less) at the moment, I've decided to stick with him. Delta Six will be the next thing I finish. But damn, what a plotting hole I've dug for myself with THAT one (sigh). I think the problem is that it's more "military" than the others and trying to navigate that without sounding like a total dweeb is the challenge. I do have former military people in my life that I can tap as experts, so that excuse isn't really even an excuse.  When I visualize the actual plot as a road from point A start to point B conclusion there are giant gaps and chasms that need to be bridged. And at the moment they feel like they're insurmountable.  Plus, I've been kinda stuck in the mud spinning my wheels on this thing for so long that the rut I'm in is pretty deep.

Still. AS was at this point once, and I managed to finish that. I might have to pay my editor hazard pay by the time she's done with it, but...yeah.

So. Delta Six it is then. Come hell, high water, or insanity I'll get this one done too.

What was the number for 911 again? 😏

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Writerly Frustrations

It's been a week of irritations and not many words. Some days the journey seems to be all uphill. I have half a dozen projects I could be working on, but I don't feel like working on any of them.

I hate when that happens, and lately it's been happening a lot.

There are reasons for this, and I know these reasons will sort themselves out eventually. That doesn't help me right now though.  I'm telling myself to be patient.  That this too shall pass. Blah, blah, blah. It really needs to pass soon. Thing is I have no control over any of it. I'm just sort of caught in the current at the moment waiting for river of life to cough me up on the shore someplace.

Trying to Climb the Marketing Mountain has been a major pain too.  Have I mentioned I suck at marketing?  In my heart I know t's not about the sales. It's not about my Author Rank, or Sales Rank.  It's about the words on the page and the fact that I have stories to tell.  I need to remind myself of that every day.  Why does it have to be this hard?

That's not to say there aren't good things happening. There are. My book is currently with a reviewer, so I'm waiting on that. I managed to sort out my Goodreads author page so it looks less cluttered. My Amazon author page as well. Those are little things, but I count them as successes.

So. I'm going to try to put this irritating, frustrating week behind me and start over tomorrow.

Look forward, not back.

I got this.

Mostly.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Launching the Marketing Ship!

So, it's official. I've started to market my books.

Really.

It's a confusing and terrifying prospect - sort of like trying to navigate a precipice in the dark - but as long as I go slowly, and carefully, I'm hoping it won't end in disaster.

It feels kinda weird. I've been a writer forever, but I've only been an actual "author" with published books twice before. Those times didn't work out.

Third time lucky?

I've started an Amazon Marketing Services campaign - we'll try that to start. And I'm also going to go with a place that gets Goodreads reviews for my book. We'll see how that goes too. The budget is done now until I see how these work. If they work. I have a feeling there is going to be much trial and error as I figure things out.  Over the next few months I'm going to have to work on finding the right keywords, but that requires a program I will have to pay for, so it's a little further down the list.

But I am trying. And part of the journey is figuring out what doesn't work as well as what does, yeah? Without going broke in the process - that's the thing.

In the meantime AS is with my editor and I'm trying to focus on the series prequel. It's not even close to being done, but I have time.  This time I'm in for the long haul.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Why I'm Doing it the "Indie Way".

When I first started writing, I wrote Fantasy. I read Science Fiction, liked it so long as it wasn't the really hard stuff, but Fantasy was my thing. I have way more unfinished Fantasy projects than I do Science Fiction. And then I got a first line prompt from an Ezine that I don't think exists anymore - and Gage and the Assassin Journals were born.

I always knew there would be more than one book. I planned for two, and then that would be it. I never thought it would morph into three. And then a prequel. And then a novella (that will probably turn into another novel) and then one more to end the series. So...that first line prompt has now spawned six books. All in a genre that I wasn't all that interested in writing.

Funny how things work out ;)

So. Hunter is now live at Amazon.  The Cartel will be published this summer. Araki Storm is in the hands of the editor and will be released in January of 2020. Covers are being created. Things are happening.

And I'm doing it all myself this time.

No sending out queries to hundreds of agents just so I can hear the words "no thank you".  No worrying about whether or not my book fits the current trends in publishing. No small presses that will publish my books and then change creative direction so my stuff doesn't fit their vision anymore. Or publish me and then ignore me.

To be traditionally published is, I think, every author's dream. We all want to be the next JK Rowling.  I'd love to have that dream work for me, but it doesn't. The path is long, mostly uphill, and strewn with obstacles. I have no patience. I know this.  Indie publishing is the way that I've chosen because I believe it will work for me. I have creative control over every aspect of my book. Of course, that means I also have to market my book myself. Which is the downside of doing it myself.

I suck at marketing. I know nothing about "branding" myself, and all the experts (real or imagined) want money upfront that I don't have. They want me to buy their "author promotion" packages, or their "book review" package or their whatever the hell package. Trying to sell a book on a budget is turning out to be a bitch. But I'll learn that too. And in the meantime my book is out there.  I have a Twitter presence, I have an Official Author site, I have a Facebook Author Page. I will, in the next few months, start looking into the cost of advertising on Amazon.

It's a process. And it can be a pain in the ass. But I'm doing it.

Other authors have different goals, different roads, and that's okay. We all do what works for us. Just like there's no one way to write a book, there's no one way to being published. It's not the journey so much as the destination - and we're all headed to the same place.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Published! (In print this time ;))

My print proof of  Hunter arrived yesterday and it's soooo pretty!

I know, I'm pretty excited considering this is something like the 3rd time this book has been published, but this time I did it myself!

And I didn't die!

I've hit the KDP publish button and I just received an email saying that it's been approved and is now live. I will link both versions (digital and print) and probably have to wait another days for that to happen. Yeah, it's a process - but my book is out there!

After much thought I've decided I'm not going to actively seek reviewers. If someone reads my book and wants to review it then I'm good with that. Yeah, not exactly what it says in the Marketing handbook, but whatever - I have to do what works for me. And this works for me.  I will still look into Amazon marketing services, and I will still probably give them a try, but I'm not going to beg anyone to review me :P

So, Hunter is out - and a few people I know have bought digital copies. I know a few more who will buy print copies. I probably won't get rich, but that was never the plan. The Cartel will be released probably in June, and hopefully Araki Storm will be ready this time next year.

I guess I should think about finishing that prequel soon, huh? ;)