Wednesday, April 29, 2015

And so it begins...

Welcome all!

Today I started work on The Emerald Dragon, the final book in The Lost Ancients' trilogy!

*confetti flies everywhere*

I have to say it's a really weird feeling. I am excited at starting a new book (is there anything better than those first couple of pages? SQUEEE!). I am also terrified at wrapping everything up. And, lastly, a bit sad that this will end this trilogy. (Note: I said trilogy....doesn't mean this world or characters are over-ya never know what may happen down the line ;))

But hitting on those first words, the ones that more than likely will be changed, felt amazing. Starting a brand new book. The feeling of "I can go anywhere!" a bit contained since this is a third book and it seriously has some 'splaining to do (and all sorts of shenanigans).

But all of a sudden, I'm back in the world. I have no idea what's around the corner when Taryn strolls down to The Shimmering Dewdrop this fine morning (why I love being a pantser- I get to find out what happens as it does! (yes, I hear the plotters whimpering in the corner ;))). Nor why Crusty Bucket has found a new song to sing.  But I know it's happening.

This book publishing journey is a wild ride, especially with going Indie. But getting back to WHY we do this, the wonderful fun of writing, that's where true happiness is (all of you, remind me of this statement a feww weeks from now when things go sideways ;)).

So go out and do something great today!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Six Things I’ve Learned About Self-Publishing.

Happy Wednesday! Today I’m talking about a few things I’ve learned along the way of self-pubbing my first book, The Glass Gargoyle. Six things…more or less, kinda sorta ;).  Please add your own!

   1) Research and planning is necessary.  Back in March 2014 I decided I wanted to have more control over my work, so I decided I was going to self-publish. In a year. Yes, you can slap anything up on Amazon in less than 20 minutes. But DON’T do it. Your building a career here- take your time do it right.  I hunted down lots of sources of info during my year, I also found editors, artists and started the second book, The Obsidian Chimera. Favorite book is Write.Publish.Repeat. Awesome- go buy it!

    2) Set deadlines. I told myself  ONE YEAR. Now, I barely made it, the book came out March 25, 2015. But I did make it ;). Having a deadline was huge and kept me running for it.

    3) Plan for way more time than you think things will take. EVERYTHING takes longer than you think. Plan your time and double it. Seriously.

     4) Be prepared for some folks to sneer.  Self-publishing is moving forward, but there are still snarky folks out there. Smile, move on, and get them the heck out of your life as much as possible.

     5) DO IT RIGHT. Hire editors, even if you have a Ph. D in English- find great editors to work with! Line up some awesome beta readers too- they are worth their weight in gold. Learn how to work with edits and critiques to keep your voice, but strengthen the book. Hire artists too. Yes, judging a book by its’ cover is “bad” but people do. I do. You do. Your readers do. Find the best artist you can afford.

     6) Accept shit will go wrong. Lots of it. Constantly. Like all the time. You will be putting out fires on a lot of fronts. Some you can fix, some you can’t. Know when you have done your best to present a professional book and move on. If having a few typos, etc is good enough for the big NY publishers, it’s good enough for us. Besides, you will always find one more problem. Fix them as you can, then start playing  “Let It Go!” from Frozen on repeat.

This experience has been life changing-seriously. I think about everything differently now.  And I wouldn't change it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The sometimes squishy middle

I’m closing in on something I’ve only down once before—finishing the middle book of a trilogy. (And the one I did will most likely be gutted due to massive planned changes in book one, but that’s a tale for another blog a year or two down the line ;)).

Thing is, I am writing the dreaded “squishy middle book”. Sort of like the middle movie in a beloved trilogy, you’re excited for it, but you’re afraid maybe it will just be space filer until the action of the third installment.

Let’s face it, the middle segments in a series are their own special pain in the ass. And it’s not really their fault, they’re surrounded by heavy hitters. The excitement of book one—a new world, new characters, new everything!  It builds a rising tension that while partially resolved at its end, also leaves some big dangling threads for readers to wonder about and stew over while waiting for book two.

On the other side the poor middle book  has the final book of the trilogy. Usually more massive in scope, with battles, confrontations, and story endings.

Those are two pretty serious siblings the poor middle child has to deal with! The middle has to try and develop some of the plot points from book one, work in new ones, give lots of good juicy bits for its own sake, but also build in some new trails for book three.

And it needs to not sag.

I will say I am really enjoying book two, it’s probably about 96% done at this point in a linear book fashion, but I already know where I will be going back in and weaving stronger sub-plots of its very own.  I am a pantser—aka make stuff up as I go along with a final goal for that book in my head.  But since I also had the trilogy goal in my head, I may have gone a bit light on the sub-plots.

But it is difficult balancing what happened in book one and what will happen in book two. Walking that fine line of keeping things exciting, but not letting too many secrets out of the bag ;).

How do you feel about the middle book children? As a reader, what are your favs? As a writer, any tips? ;).

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Damn characters are laughing at me

As a writer, I spend my time thinking up fun filled problems for my characters.  Okay, they may be fun for me and hopefully readers, but probably not so much for the characters.

I sort of think of it like me rolling barrels at my characters’ feet while they are just trying to go on about their normal lives. Hop, run, JUMP!  That sort of thing.

Well, as of late I’ve begun to think my characters have been paying off the Universe to give me some payback for the mayhem and shenanigans I inflict upon them.

It seems like every time I turn around, something involved with the book has had a hiccup.  Some are minor ones, tiny little mini beer kegs rolling about that I am annoyed about, but can jump over fairly easily.  Then there are the super-sized barrels of problems that are waist high and coming for my poor legs at 50 mph.

The most recent example is why this blog is late.  My less-than-a-year-old computer went crazy and wouldn't let me connect to the internet for love or money the past few days. By itself, it’s annoying.  Added to delayed orders, formatting problems, and other assorted issues, and it starts to get to you.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still very excited about getting my stories out to the masses, and I LOVE writing.  It’s all the things associated with it that just makes me feel like I’m being punked by someone-like there is someone behind the scenes rolling these barrels at me just to see if I can keep my feet.

And sometimes I swear I hear laughter from a bunch of tiny, maniacal, drunken faeries.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

IWSG- Writing is Business

Welcome to another chapter in As the Book Turns, aka the monthly shout out about our fears, frets, concerns, and general writerly commentary into the vast void. A world known as the Insecure Writers Support Group!

Join us!

Today is the one-week birthday of the outting, er publication, of my first book, The Glass Gargoyle.  Which means that I am studiously ignoring sales and reviews (for sanity purposes), furiously working on the second book in the series (The Obsidian Chimera- out June 2015!), and reflecting on the business end of things.

Say it with me folks, writing is a BUSINESS.  You, as the writer, are the owner of your business, and your books are your very creative widgets. Us as readers, are the consumers of those widgets.

I know, we creative types usually try to ignore the crass business side of things, and way in the past it may have been possible for a writer to simply WRITE (and edit, and re-write, etc).  But it's not that way anymore, and not just for us Indie authors. Yes, the traditionally published do have more support than us Indies, but they still have to be the one who is responsible for really marketing their book, getting people to want to read it, and making sure the next one comes out. NY doesn't really do much in terms of that anymore unless you're one of their 1% ers--aka people who really don't need it.

So writers (if they are writing with the goal of other folks actually buying and reading their work) need to be able to switch into business mode. And look at the first cold, hard, fact--like all businesses--you are going to lose money in the beginning.

A great cover artist, costs money, an amazing editor or two or three costs money, formatting = money, promotion = money.  Everywhere you turn money is going out.  And as a new, unknown author, not a heck of a lot will be coming in. At first.

That's why there needs to be a plan. And an understanding that as freaking horrifying it is to see that tide of money flowing out, you're building a career which will hopefully turn that tide around down the line. And there need to be MORE BOOKS.  An author can't just write one book, sit back and wait for money to come flowing in.

I doubt it was ever true for most authors and it REALLY isn't true now. You have to have another book on the horizon. Then another and another. If you are serious about this writing as a business, you have to treat it like a business.  You can't sell just one widget forever.

So for today go out and buy someones' book-widget- doesn't have to be mine (but yeah, that would be cool) and go out and write a great review on a book you loved- help that author build their widget factory (and good reviews are the lifeblood of that! ;)) Support other writers in this business.