Tag Archive: Perseverance


When A Publishing Plan Goes Wrong

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I’ve wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember. There were countless hours spent pounding out stories on an old typewriter at my parents kitchen table. Writing is something I’ve always done, not always in the same format, poetry, stories, plays and novels. Always, however writing.

Being a published author has been a dream, a goal of mine and it is one I have been working towards. I worked at it, I researched it, I networked. I read, voraciously. Then I wrote, and I wrote and I rewrote. Then finally I submitted to a competition, (not the first one I’d ever submitted too and not the first novel I finally finished). Much to my delight I made it through the first cut. Top 40 of 260. The next logical step was to submit to agents and publishers. After which I got a whole lot of nothing and a couple of rejections.

There was no way I was giving up on this, I loved my story, I believed in my story for as much as letting other people read it was terrifying.

The next step I decided on was manuscript assessment. A process no scarier than letting anyone read it, except hopefully if they didn’t hate it they would be able to help me figure out what I could do to improve it. The feedback I got was thankfully positive, I was thrilled that someone else liked my story. The best thing was this was where I got the best piece of advice, ‘it’s really good but a structural rewrite, if you want to put in the effort, will make it great.’ That one suggestion and I finally understood some earlier feedback that had made no sense to me.

This began the biggest part of my journey. I wrote, whenever I could, a scene here a scene there. I added, I took away. It was slow going, very slow going because when you are a wife, and mother as well as juggling work, it can be difficult to find time. Added to that was the fact this wasn’t the only project I was working on, sometimes inspiration for this project simply dried up but other ideas would just flow.

Then I had an amazing breakthrough. I got my version of the elevator pitch with a boutique publisher. Somehow I sold him on my story when I sold him on myself and my work ethic. He asked for what I had, which to be honest was an incomplete and patchy story. This kick started my writing again with vengeance. I wrote, rewrote and edited the first 50 pages and sent it off.

Even with no contract and no solid deadline it lit a fire in my belly. The writing burned through me and the story finally found it’s voice and form. The publisher got back to me and said as soon as I was done he wanted to offer me a contract. You may know how happy I was that day, it was as if everything I had worked for and through had been validated. Working my arse off I got it finished and finally got my contract.

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It would be wonderful if that was the end of the story. If we started editing and my book made it out into the world.

Instead I got

Nothing.

A few months after I signed my contract the publisher decided to go on indefinite hiatus due to stress. This left me in some state of limbo. What could I do, technically I was still in contract and he hadn’t closed the business just said he needed a break. I figured, that was probably a good enough reason to break contract if I needed too so I started putting out feelers again. Not a lot but a few, and there were no bites.

Then, from out of nowhere, when my contract was closer to its end than beginning, the publisher decides to go ahead and send me the first lot of edits, asking me how I would like to go forward. I was hesitant but the lure of publication is strong.

By this time though I had re-edited my story yet again, why not, it can always be improved. So I added his edits and sent off the new version. Then…

Nothing.

I send a message about cover art, because an artist I know has created a beautiful pic for me that I really wanted to use. I get a positive response.

Next thing I know a friend messages me and asks if I’m okay with the fact my publisher has decided to close his doors. That was the first I heard about it, then came the bulk email.

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I was heartbroken and so incredibly angry. I know there were extenuating circumstances, and I truly believe he didn’t mean for this to be the end result but it still felt like a crushing rejection. I ranted, I cried, I poured my frustrations out to an author I admire, who surprisingly answered me with some good advice.

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At this point you realise you have two choices. You either give up or you pick yourself up and push forward. I’m not much of a quitter, this is not something I’d spent a few weeks or months on and had little invested in, this was something I’d been working towards the greater part of my whole life.

Publishing is not an easy industry to break into and with the advances in technology I realised I had another choice; traditional publishing or self-publishing. My heart wanted me to go traditional, that was my dream. To have someone believe enough in my story to want to share it with others. I really wanted to be able to put a book in people’s hands. That path though could mean years of submitting and waiting and most likely a lot of rejections. Self-publishing meant I could get it out there by the time I was originally supposed to be published.

I bit the bullet. I love my story, I believe in myself (sometimes – so it must have been a good self-esteem day I made the decision) and I wanted to go forward rather than sit in a holding pattern indefinitely. I found myself an editor and hit send. I already had the art I wanted for my cover art and I know a wonderfully talented graphic designer who was happy to put the cover together for me.

When my editor got back to me saying that at times it ‘was like reading an already published book’, I couldn’t have been happier. With feedback like that you’d think it would be easy to upload to the e-book site and hit submit. One button and it is all done. That one button though carried a lot of weight, all my hopes and fears resting on one small click. In the end my hubby said ‘just do it,’ and I really had to take that chance on myself.

Publishing is scary, putting yourself out there in such a way opens you up to people you might otherwise hide from. Self-publishing may even be more so because at the end of the day you are the only one who believes in what you have done, it is all on you (friends and family don’t really count here, they are supposed to believe in you and support you).

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This is my journey so far. Not the one I wanted but the one I ended up with. I haven’t made my millions, I haven’t sold 50 copies as yet, but I have had great feedback from a large number of those who have read it. I’ve found some fans and even had my first royalty payment. All of which is better than nothing and better than not taking that chance in the first place.

 

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After The Fact

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So what now?

It’s a big thing. You don’t realise just how much energy you expend just before hitting that submit button. I mean you know it’s your main focus but you don’t realise just what that will mean once you’ve done the deed.

And once you’ve done that deed you can feel a bit flat, at somewhat of a loose end.

The thing about writing is it is very personal. You pour so much of your time and in some respects yourself, into what you write. You want to have a good product, but the thought of putting it out there into the world can be quite terrifying. Once your book is live the terror doesn’t go away. In some ways it increases. What if no one buys it? What if people don’t like it? It can be a dark place to find yourself and for a creative person, who may be prone to moments of depression that can be a rough thing.

If you are lucky enough to have gone the traditional route then there is not a lot you can do once it is out there. You just have to trust in your work and your publisher to get that work out there.

If you have self published electronically then it is all really on you. Which means on some level you put some of that pressure on your friends. That is a difficult thing to work through. Friends and aquaintances want to support you and so they say all the right things. It makes you feel good to read or hear that support, until you go to your author log in and realise of the 100 people who said ‘awesome’ and other mutterings of support, only 20 people have actually put their hands in their pockets to support you.

So where does that leave you as an author who has perhaps spent years working towards this goal?

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Well you get over it. You get over yourself.

If you haven’t figured out by now that you need to have a thick skin to be in this industry, then you are either naive or not been in or around the industry for very long.

It isn’t your friends fault they don’t read, don’t like the genre you’ve written in, or that they prefer a paper copy. When it comes right down to it you can’t make someone read. You also can’t expect others to actually pay for something they have no interest in. The numbers are hard to deal with. That’s all they are though and realistically selling twenty copies to people who genuinely like the story you’ve put out there, makes it all worth it. It just doesn’t pay your bills.

Sure I won’t say no if someone buys it and doesn’t read it. And I’m more than willing to remind people that for an amount similar to a large coffee you can support a writer. I also like to let people know that for such a meagre amount the writer gets more money from the electronic sale, than they would if you had spent 4 times that amount to purchase their book.

A story that sells thousands is all author’s dream, or at least I guess it is, but it is just that, a dream, and dreams like that are usually ones you work towards, they rarely happen overnight. Reality is a lot harsher but we need to take hope from the few who put their money into your pocket and embrace your characters the same way you did when you formed them from your own precious time, (and sometimes your blood as well).

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The dream may happen in the future, but it is going to take forward action for that to happen, so you can’t let the funk post publication get to you. You need to just pick up your pen, or your keyboard and just keep writing.

If someone knows how to make my story of a kick arse girl who works hard and becomes a kick arse woman with a drive to seek justice and an ability to fight for it, get out there and become an overnight sensation, then please feel free to make that happen. (I’m also fine with movie or tv series offers as well.)

Otherwise if you’ve just swung by here to read my musings in this moment, then welcome, and if you’d like to check Becoming out, then please follow the link.

Countdown

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So here is the way things are.

The contract I signed didn’t amount to much in the end because a couple of weeks after telling me editing was starting on my book, the publisher announced he was closing up shop. No heads up, nothing. In fact just before the general email went out I’d been messaging him about cover design.

That was a bitter pill to swallow. It is hard when something you’ve worked so hard for falls apart in your hands.

images.jpegThen I had to decide what I was going to do. Getting an agent is damn near impossible, getting a publisher as difficult. So then there is a third option, one that is much easier these days and a great deal more profitable than it used to be.

The last option is the one I have settled on. So I’ve taken steps to ensure I do this as well as I can. I swallowed my fear and paid for a professional edit. I had someone doing some art for me and I decided that was going to be my cover art.

Stage one then complete with those decisions made.

Stage two, the editor got back to me in a more than timely manner and the feed back was pretty good all things considered.

Stage three, work on the edits from my end. This is turning into a series of levels. A few big edits and then a few smaller ones. The big ones have been done and now it is just some final tweaking. I have also picked up the art I’m using and it is now in the hands of a graphic designer who’s putting the other touches on for me.

I have it planned. Really I do, or at least that is what I keep telling myself. I will do the final edits. Use the art to get promotional stuff printed up. Contribute to a website where people discover new authors and then get up the courage to hit send on the publishing site.

I want this to work. I really want this to work. Despite that hunger it’s still a scary thought.

Stay tuned.

No News is…

Writing is a fickle mistress at times. Mistress? Why mistress? Anyway, that little pondering is not for now.

So, no news is good news right? I don’t know, regardless, waiting is hard. I had hopes but I’ve managed to let go of those by now. What I haven’t let go of is my belief in myself. I believe my writing is good enough to sell. I believe my story is good enough that people will want to read it.

All of which is great, but that really isn’t why I write. I’ve already talked about this though. I write because I have to write. If I go for a longish period of time without writing I feel out of sorts. It may not make sense to anyone who isn’t a writer but it is something that just is and I’m good with that.

The problem with creative arts is that for all it is an isolating task, it also needs other people. I need people who can keep me focused, people who are happy for me to use them as sounding boards for some ideas. People who are prepared to read my work and be honest with me about it.

Also in my case I need a publisher, because for me I don’t know that I have the time to wade through the intricacies of self-publishing. I could never do anything without doing it properly and that takes time. The thing with a publisher is they have all these other things going on with them as well. It would be a wonderful thing for me if I could have someone focussed entirely on helping me achieve my goal but this is the real world. So things happen according to other people’s time frames.

I guess this is part of what being a grown up is, understanding that some things take time, and a little, or a lot, of patience. In the meantime I will keep writing, reading and creating.

 

Oh My Glob!!!

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Wow! I totally had no idea that I’d neglected this page for so long. That is simply terrible. For myself not so much for anyone else. This is my writing blog. The one that details my journey and, let’s be honest, my geeky stuff as well. If I can’t regularly add to this how am I going to manage when I’m published and needing to keep a profile as an author. Of course that is the hopefully vain part of me that dreams that someone will care. A girl has to dream right.

So.

Where did I leave things?

June Nova and a signed contract. Both great things. Now six months have passed and what has changed? Nothing and a whole heap. November bought another Nova tour. Yay!!! These events are my stress relief. They give me the chance to catch up with friends from around the country and shmoose with people I admire from various reactive pursuits and pretend they will remember me the following day. It’s okay I know they won’t but I’m a writer I spend a large amount of time living in a fantasy land.

12279208_10208499849113168_8893095336609938655_nYou may wonder though, how the chaos and busyness of a weekend convention, where I barely get to eat sometimes and grab pee breaks when I can find a minute, can be considered stress relief. Well when you have a day job that many would consider one of the most stressful out there, any kind of change is a relief. Plus I get fun stories and sometimes ever funner (it is a thing now) pics.

12305998_896270337135300_2107145663_nWriting takes up a chunk of my spare time. I have finished my first run though of book two. Even though my intention had been to step away from Evayn and her story for a while and work on something different. The story it seemed had other ideas. It simply would not let me go. I’m not sure whether that was because it was the most unformed part of the whole thing and I had a whole heap of world building to do, or because the characters weren’t ready for a holiday yet. Whatever the reason, the second act is now loosely formed and I’m happy with it.

Now I’ve finally been released to step away from them and have completed three short stories for a friend who wanted to collaborate on a project. The worst part of it all is I’ve written them and sent them off and now I’m waiting for a response. That as we all know is the worst part. What if he doesn’t like them? What if they really don’t fit his interpretation of the very loose parameters he gave me? What if?

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I’m not sure how much that matters though. Well it does and it doesn’t. See writing is really very complicated in it’s simplicity. Full of double meaning and both sides of coins. It matters in that I really do want him to like them. I want him to feel they are useful for the project. On the other hand though, I am really happy with the stories and have a special place in my heart for the characters I created. So yes,it does matter if he likes them, but also it doesn’t.

Confused yet? I probably am, but that is pretty normal for me.

Now those stories are doing what they will in the ether I have begun working on a different project. I’m finding it fun and interesting and not at all sure where it will take me story wise. I have an overall view of it in my head but it is very unformed. How it all shakes out in the end will, hopefully be a very interesting journey for me.

So I have finally done another post, hopefully with this new year, all its potential and all my plans (and a book launch baby!) I will maintain this page in a better manner than last year. That is about as close as I have come to any kind of New Years resolution.

Take care peeps. Enjoy your journey.

News

So, the research thing never got the go ahead.
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I shrugged, really wasn’t all that surprised, I knew it was never going to be a popular topic, it’s just not a pretty one or one people like to think about. Sustainable agriculture, economics, anything to do with making money, these are all marketable topics, things people are happy to talk about. Corrections – well lets face it, most people would be quiet happy to ignore it or criticise it, they aren’t all that interested in finding a way forward for dealing with the ‘dregs’ of society.
Still I’ve not given up on the concept entirely, in this age of electronic formats, and self publishing there are many, many options.
As the saying goes though, one door closes another one opens.
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I had that opportunity recently that many aspiring writers dream about. The 30 second pitch. Okay so in my case it was a little different, it sprung from a conversation I was having about other books and the writing process but it is still a foot in a door where previously there was no foot. In fact I hadn’t even been looking for that door because let’s face it, when you have a day job and can only write a bit at a time, you think way more about self publishing than traditional. Truthfully, I don’t know if it will lead anywhere but it is another step forward. A little piece of encouragement and as a writer we all know we grab onto those little bits of encouragement and hold on tight. They may be what sustains us through our next chapter and the one after that.
I’ll keep you updated, if and when.

New Directions

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So this week bought with it one of those annoying curve balls.
Don’t you hate it when a sure thing becomes an impossibility. Or at least simply not going to happen at this time.
I do.
Thing is life goes on and you have a choice; you either let the crap dump all over you and beat you down or you scream and smash something then wash yourself off and start down a new path.
Me I think I’m just too damn stubborn to let the crap keep me down. I look at the steaming piles and have a tendency to shout at the world or no-one ‘is that all you’ve got! Well you’ll have to do better than that if you want to break me!’
So whilst reading something I’d started awhile ago I got an idea. A slight twist on an idea that’s simmering in the back of my mind. Well more of an addition really. I really want to do nothing more than stick my head down with a pen in my fingers and write for hours on end. The biggest problem with that is I’m tired and not really all that well. Also I have work, 5 days this week and 3 of those long ones (though one was because of family commitments). There is also the added complication of the curve ball, because that demands a lot of time now until this whole mess gets sorted out.
On the upside, when an idea is simmering in the back of your mind you are still creating. Characters are developing with every thought. Worlds are gaining dimensions and colours. Plots are twisting and layers are weaving over and through each other.
I want to write it but this story is not quite ready for that yet. Which is probably a good thing because I really just don’t have the time.
Oh and FYI I am still managing to work on my other project. Sometimes I wonder where I get the time, at least making progress only requires a few minutes to get a few sentences on paper.
A point worth remembering, progress can be measure in just the actions of a few moments.

Cleanliness is Next To…

Once every three months this thing rolls around that I both loathe and like. Rent Inspection. Yes that is right I rent. There is a big part f me that wishes this wasn’t so but it is my lot at the moment and there really isn’t anything I can do about it. Being of a creative nature simply hasn’t paid off in our lives financially in any way at all.

So, rent inspection. Obviously I loathe them because I have to clean and allow a stranger into my house to, ostensibly  to make sure I’m not trashing it, but truthfully I can’t help but think they judge me. Other real estate agents have never given me this feeling but this one always does. I doesn’t help that they make comments like ‘office is untidy’. Oh I know that the state of my own desk and sideboard in my office is none of their business, that isn’t what a rent inspection is for, it never seems to stop them.

The flip side is, I actually quite like having a clean house. I always say I’m going to try and keep it that way and it never really lasts for longer than about a week. So because I totally stink at housework I have chosen to use rent inspection as spring clean out time. I go hard and brutally get rid of what I can.

Oh and I’ve taken to straightening up my desk. This is a good thing, I think. I’ve ordered all my notes I’ve put all my reviews in one place, it’s so clean and organised that I’m just itching to get stuck into writing. Really itching. I long for the time to close myself in my office for a few hours and just put pen to paper. I want to shuffle through my scenes and work at putting them all together in one coherent stream. I’m blasting through the story in bits and pieces and scenes that flow together but it really needs the time for me to pull it together.

I really want to take a step away from the world and all the stuff going on in it and just escape into my own creation. I have found myself thinking I wanted to get back to the story I was reading before realising it was the one I am writing not one I’m reading that I am talking about. I also spent my time at the register one day during the week probably looking quite silly as I kept pretending to draw certain new weapons that my character has just so I could write the action properly.

So cleanliness it seems is another way to flush out the cobwebs and get the juices flowing again. If only I had the time to make the most of it.

Maybe next rent inspection.

What A Time This Is

I made some big decisions this week. I am looking for a challenge and a career change and I’m taking steps toward this end. The upside is that with these changes my writing is also finding focus. This is a good thing.

After NaNo, I was focussed and writing and that was a great thing. Then I got my manuscript back and I was all fired up even for the big structural changes. Thing is though, while I have been writing bits here and there apart from my week off it has been slow going. Also it has been fragmented. The writing happening in scenes but not necessarily consecutive ones.

This week though I have been able to put down my book on the train and get snippets of writing done, which is how I got through NaNo. This I feel is a good thing for me. Especially as some of the scenes are starting to flow and grow.

So while some things in my life are undergoing big changes, some things will just stay the same. Writing has been such a part of my life for so long I really doubt it would be possible for me to give it up. I just wouldn’t want to. I will finish this story, I’ve invested so much into it that is would be silly not to.

Right now it seems right to say : To live is an awfully big adventure.

Decision Time

This week has been a fairly good week for things other than work. I’ve been writing a little something everyday, which I’ve been pretty happy about.

After quite a bit of time thinking about scenes I can add to Evayn’s story after the feedback I had from the agent I’ve finally written two scenes I’m really happy with. Now just to put them in the right places.

The decision I was referring to is I’m thinking of getting Evayn professionally critiqued. Yes it’s a bit of money initially but good feedback from a recognised critiquer (not even sure that is the correct name) can open a few more doors and as there are a couple of publishers I’m thinking of approaching directly I think this is a necessary step.

I feel happy about this decision, the biggest thing for me was convincing myself that I can spend that kind of money on me and my dreams. Sometimes that is the biggest hurdle.

The creative life is one filled with ups and downs and sometimes allowing yourself to believe in your dreams enough to put money, not just time, behind that dream is an important step. Believing in yourself isn’t just sitting on your bum saying ‘I can do’, sometimes it really is a matter of putting you money where your mouth is.