Running on empty.

Not literally running. Let’s not get crazy. Although I did do stairs the other day and. let. me. tell. you. Yeah. I should be doing those more often thats for sure.

No. Somehow between the combo of life, kids, work, and of course writing. I have been maxed out. As in I am honestly not sure if there is any left of myself to give. Yet everyone still wants more. More work, more attention, more this, that, or whatever. There are days where I can count on one hand the moments I had alone (literally seconds count). And I’m not even someone who needs to be alone. If anything I don’t like being alone. Or didn’t.

These are also the days that I count a success if I made it through the day without falling down asleep. Or if I managed to get fully dressed, not forget anything, and get out of the door semi on time. Something that seems to happen less often than it should be.

I’m not one to set the bar low. So don’t think that it’s just some excuse or way to be lazy. It’s more the realization that occasionally you need to recharge, every so often you need to admit that you can’t do everything, sometimes you need to set your own standards based on what else you have going on, and that coffee won’t actually get you through everything. No matter how much of it you try to drink.

In the midst of this sleep deprived-caffeine fueled haze the trick is to try to still stay focused on writing. And by trick, I mean whatever crazy-ass lie you tell yourself to make the idea of taking on essentially another full-time job or extremely expensive hobby that may or may not eventually pay off… on.

It is at this point, where I think that if I thought I could stop writing completely. That I would. Trust me, I’ve tried. And for awhile I will be successful. But I always come back to it…. and even when I’m not writing. I’m thinking about writing. And the only thing worse that being in the middle of a sleep deprived-caffeine fueled haze while writing… is being in the middle of a sleep deprived-caffeine fueled haze while not writing. Or so I think.

 

The before I publish plan.

Slightly ironic I suppose….. given the fact that my last book sold two copies (at last count)…. that I plan on going into this release with a full “professional” set up. Or as professional as a complete amateur can be I suppose.

However, through the last publishing process I learned a lot. And it might all be for nothing, and I might be completely delusional. But I have a better feeling about this upcoming release and whereas last time I questioned whether it was worth it to set up a “business” for my publishing… this time its pretty much a given.

Why? You ask. Or not… either way I will answer. Partly because I have a better plan and more patience going into this one. My general release plan is as follows.

  1. Write 3 books
  2. pre-order for first with paper back for reviews
  3. Publish all 3 within 90 days of each other
  4. Second two books will be on pre-order while the first book is live
  5. Release books into Kindle Unlimited
  6. Line up reviews and advanced reader copies prior to release (as much as possible)
  7. Professional, genre appropriate covers (from the start) and blurbs
  8. Plan out a selection of ads and mailing list promos
  9. Pricing TBD but will most likely be full price during pre-order with .99 period on launch at least for the first one

Still a lot of details to get figured out… mainly the advanced reader copies/reviews and mailing list promos. In the meantime there is a whole other list going on for setting up the business side of things. (One can never have too many lists….).

  1. Set up LLC
  2. P.O. Box
  3. Mailing list (probably the one thing I’m most on the fence about)
  4. Bank account
  5. Website, twitter, facebook, goodread, etc.

So. There you have it. The before I publish plan. Just so you have an idea on where I am with my progress….Book 1 is 90% done. Book 2 is 10% done. Book 3 is 0% done. I don’t plan on having book 2+3 completely done. I just want a solid rough draft going in. I’ll still have time to finish them out. As for books 4,5,6,7….. they are planned. Tentatively. It’s an open ended series. So it could go on for awhile. I don’t however, plan on keeping a every 90 day schedule for those (at this time). Why? Because I value my sanity and my family. I might be able to pull it off. In which case I will do it. But, mentally I can’t wrap my head around a book every 90 days for an extended period of time. So for now. I’ll start with 3 and see how it goes.

 

Marketing.

Is something. I admittedly know nothing little about. I’m working on it. Luckily, I find the process of reading release stories, forum posts, books and just about everything else related to writing pretty exciting. Or decently exciting anyways.

I’m slowly coming around to the idea of marketing. If you had asked me at the beginning of this journey (or if you go back and read earlier sections of this blog) you can see that this wasn’t always so. The entire concept seemed weird and forced. I mean if its a good book, people will read it right?

No. Wrong. A couple people might. If they can find it. The biggest thing I didn’t realize prior to publishing my first (minor failure :)) book. Is that, your book might be significantly harder for people to find than you think it is. As in impossible. Granted this depends on a few factors. For me I released as an unknown name in a super saturated genre. So. Yeah.

So this time. I am working on a plan. It’s as with most other things in this process… is a work in progress. The main part of this plan has involved trying to find reviewers and mailing lists that target thriller readers. One of the hardest parts of switching genres has been trying to find where a (mostly) new audience hangs out and what they like.

Oddly enough. I like thrillers. I grew up reading them. Which means I have significantly more background with the genre than I do young adult. My reading choices tend to come off the top 100 books available on Amazon though…. so not very helpful from a marketing aspect.

As I get closer to identifying a full marketing plan I’ll update here. For now. My process involves googling such search terms as “political thriller book review” attempting to find out where all of these readers hang out.

 

Moving forward.

Moving on to the second book has been….. interesting. AKA difficult.

I know where I want the book to go. I know all about the middle and end…. I just can’t figure out the beginning yet.

Normally this wouldn’t present so much of a problem. I would just write the end and middle sections and work my way back. For some reason that isn’t as easy this time as it normally is. I think partially because I already wrote a lot of those scenes (when the second book was initially the first) so now I just have a hot jumbled mess of mismatched work. Not my favorite way to work. It will come together (it always does….) but for the moment its making forward progress more difficult than I would prefer.

In other news: My developmental edit came back. Initially I wasn’t entirely sure if it would be worth it to be honest. I was on the fence. But I had a promotional rate and I was willing to try it….so I figured why not.

Overall…. I’m very impressed with the return. Granted this is my first developmental edit…. But the suggestions/points were very good. There were only a couple that I wasn’t 100% sure about. That said though, I think it’s important to take some time and make sure that I don’t agree with the suggestion. Sometimes it’s too easy to immediately dismiss an idea just because it wasn’t mine. I think that position would be a disservice to my writing overall.

I also liked this edit because it was a little bit of everything. Some light line editing, redundant words, suggestions on how better to word sections, character development, plot development, plot holes, and suggestions on how to increase the thriller vibe.

Final verdict: I would do it again. I won’t, however, be making the edits to the first book for probably a month. On paper anyways. I am learning that I work best by mentally working out decisions first. Sometimes that takes a little time. Once I finally figure out exactly what direction I want/need to head in… it is significantly easier to write the section that I need.

Editing update.

And it’s off…. again.

Following the (paid) beta read feedback it was time to finish up the prep for the developmental edit. So thats what I’ve been doing the past few weeks. Ironically one of my major goals was to get my word count above 50k.

It didn’t happen. Which was weird. I added three scenes. Threw in a bunch of descriptions. Did a couple of choppy read throughs… and was still short. So I decided it was best to stop forcing it and send it off for the developmental edit.

A word about the developmental edit. I did a test section previously with this editor. The feedback was great. Very through and thought out… which in a way almost made it harder. One of my primary concerns was whether or not I was adequately incorporating all of the recommendations. I know sometimes it can be an issue if you don’t agree with the recommendations of the editor… that didn’t happen here. I agreed with every suggestion he made. The only part that threw me was if all of the suggestions needed to be incorporated within the first couple of chapters or if I had appropriately addressed them later on.

I ended up holding off on making significant changes to the first couple chapters. I have mixed feelings about this. First. I tried. I really did try to go in and incorporate every change… but a small part of me was like I have this… it just wasn’t in the first few chapters. I wanted to give the full document a chance before I did some major restructuring. If the editor comes back and says… yeahhh…. all that still needs to be changed and oh yeah this stuff too… thats completely fine. I’ll do it. I guess I just wanted to be sure first.

In the meantime I really should be writing the second book. I’ve made some progress just not as much as I had planned or wanted. I’m still adjusting to returning to work and every time I think we are back in a good pattern we will all get sidelined by some bug (I tell you this cold/flu season… not fun). I want to have working first drafts done of the next two books by May though… so tick tick… and all that.

P.S. This post was written (in small spurts) last week. I’m kinda counting this as last weeks post even though I didn’t hit publish till this week;)

The other side of writing.

There is writing.

And then there is all of the other stuff that goes along with writing. Which for the sake of this post….I will define as being “the other side of writing”. Mainly because I liked the title and I needed to tie it in somewhere. So there you go.

Anyways. The other side of writing. Is anything other than straight writing. Outlining, formatting, advertising, revising, cover design, blurbs, etc. It’s all the stuff that ends up going with writing… but not the actual writing part itself.

Some people really like the other stuff. Hours can be spent searching through covers or stock photos. Some people really enjoy outlining. I’m not sure anyone in their right mind can possibly enjoy writing a blurb or formatting (no judgements if you do though)…. I have a love/hate relationship with revising. Outside of that though. I don’t really like any of it. In the sense that I put it on my (mental) to do list and then just kind of avoid it.

I think there is a lot of pressure to have the right cover and the perfect blurb. That and so many of the steps outside of the actual writing part… cost money. Not that I’m not willing or able to spend the money…. but man alive it adds up. And if your book tanks (ah hem… like my first :))…. well then it’s kinda hard to say that it was money well spent.

So yeah. I have a hard time with the other side of writing. Everything that comes after you have a working draft. Everything that you need to finish in order to have a successful book (apparently).

It’s all stuff that needs to be done. I don’t yet know if this next book will be successful… but I do know that a coverless, blurbless, unedited book will all but fail.

So there is that I guess.

 

Quality vs. quantity.

Ah. The age old debate.

And really I don’t have an answer for you. For the most part.

However, when it comes to writing/reading. I’m definitely falling more on the quality side of the road….. I started to notice it first with some of the blogs that I read (which for the most part are not writing blogs oddly-I’ve tried I just don’t get into them the same way I do decorating/lifestyle/running(?!?) blogs). Some of my favorite bloggers for years had blogged every day. Without fail. Some of them were even blogging more than once a day. Without fail. Some of them still even are.

And to be honest. To some degree that consistency (appropriately addressed in my blog post about consistency) is what pulls me in. Especially the blogs about running. Since I don’t (currently) run. Some of the other blogs though have moved away from that model entirely. They only blog sporadically. Like something major has to have happened in order for a blog post to be generated.

I like both. But for very different reasons.

The daily, no-fail blogs. They are like gossip websites. They are fillers. I am not super super interested, but I know it’s going to be there. And I know it’s going to be entertaining. So if I reach the end of my what-should-I-check-on-the-internet sweep. I’ll check that out. (Even if I really should be doing something (anything) productive instead).

The sporadic blogs. Those are like your breaking news-something major has just happened in the world website. It’s got substance. It’s going to be important (or at least as important as a kitchen renovation can be-which if you have ever cooked in a crappy kitchen (raises hand), I’m sure you would agree… it’s pretty darn important). These are the posts I consistently come back and check for. Not because I’m bored. Or because I’m procrastinating. But because I really am very interested and engaged. Because the content is good, and the writing is good. It is the kind of blog post where you read it and it feels like it was written because they had something that they really wanted to say. Not just because they agreed to post at so-and-so time of day and they needed something, anything to fill the page.

Both work. In fact I strongly suspect that wordpress in particular makes some blogs easier to discover than others. Particularly those that post consistently. I only say this because whenever I’m, you know, consistent for a least a few days in a row…. my viewed stats skyrocket. And by skyrocket I mean more than 2 people read the post 🙂

That said. I personally, would rather spend my time writing only the things I really want to say. For the sake of my blog….this probably isn’t a great choice. Mainly due to the fact that all of those other sporadic-super interesting, breaking news about kitchen renovations blogs… they have been around for awhile. They have this thing called a following (in a non-creepy/non-cultish kind of way). I don’t (have a following, creepy or otherwise). I am essentially an internet nobody. An everyday blogging pattern would probably be the better choice for visiability….

This might be temporary. Maybe in the future I’ll decide I really want to blog everyday. I just know that I’ve tried it…. and it felt forced….

So for now….I have a fairly aggressive publishing schedule planned (tentatively). Writing blogs takes me away from writing books…. and right now I need all the writing time I can possibly get.

So there you have it. My thoughts on quantity vs. quality in blog posts.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.