This is a fantastic read, doesn’t simper its words, but relays the core of problems with self publishing that I’ve either made, or seen others make. They are easy traps to fall into, but with a little forethought and planning they can be avoided.
The writer’s worst nightmare. You researched, you wrote, you finished, and then published your book. You wait for the sales and……….*crickets*. This is something that can happen to any kind of…
Source: Why Your Book Isn’t Selling
I’ve posted on twitter that I’ve joined the throngs of Pokemon players. I know, I know, don’t curse me now, hear me out.
I knew the game designers from playing Ingress, and I’d played and watched all the Pokemon games and anime. I was looking forward to what it would entail. Except what I didn’t see was the amount of negativity towards it.
You’ve seen the articles. “Girl finds body while playing Pokemon Go.” “Man kills brother over Pokemon.” I hate to be the one to tell you but the articles, most of them, are fake. I don’t know why the media is perpetrating fake news stories to make the general populace hate the game; but they are.
I’m not interested in why.
I’m interested in the overwhelming happy feeling a family had that I got to be a part of, because of Pokemon Go.
So I was walking in the early evening on my Pokemon Go route. It’s about 5 kms (perfect for eggs) and helps me think as I walk past a gym, two pokestops and a lake (oh yes, I love the magikarp!). And I’ve been playing the game since it came out, so I know what I’m doing.
But a car had pulled up near my pokestops and a couple with an eight year old girl were holding a phone and walking around.
I’ve become familiar with this scene; eyes on the phone, checking locations, moving as a group together. Pokemon players are recognising each other, and it’s with joy.
“Hi! Are you looking for Pokemon stops?” I called.
“Yes, we’re new, our daughter just sighted up an hour ago.” Says her father.
“Oh really? Well the other stop you are looking for is half way along the bridge.”
“Thank you!” The mother and daughter run off and the father stops me.
“So you play this game?”
“Yes, I’ve been playing since it came out about five weeks ago or so, I guess.”
“So you know what you’re doing?”
“Yes, I know the company. I liked the other game they made, Ingress, and I’ve played old school Pokemon and watched the anime series.”
There were more questions, how I liked it, what it was about, how many kilometers I’d walked (nearly a 100, over 5 every day at least).
“You walk around?”
“You have to, it’s part of the game. I walk five k’s every day at least to hatch eggs.”
“Hey honey!” He says to his returning wife and daughter. “This girl plays every day, and walks five kilometers, every day!”
“That’s so good! I need to do that.”
“It gets me away from the computer, I’m an avid gamer.” I explain.
“That’s so good, getting you out and about.”
That’s what’s good, but the people I’ve met and the stories I could tell you show you that the articles in the news about the game and being negative don’t tell you the other part of the story. The time a group of kids in my village green offered hot chocolate to pokemon trainers, and young kids and older players with their grandkids got hot chocolate and shared moments. About how a young woman was anxious about a pokemon and when I pointed her in the right direction she ran up and screamed I was her new best friend and I didn’t know how happy I’d made her by helping. I spend ten minutes explaining to an eight year old girl who was level one how it all worked.
The girl listened to my comments, wow’d at the pokemon I’d collected, and was delightful to talk to. And her parents stood behind her and asked questions too, engaged with me and the game that had gotten them all hooked. And so it was I said that if they are just starting out they needed to try the village green, as long as her parents were OK with it, but they were just smiling at me, happy for their daughter.
“Well that’s where we will go next!” The dad declared, and they thanked me and ran back to their car, taking off for the village green.
And afterwards, walking home, I was hopeful.
You see, I had received a fair amount of flack from colleagues and friends for my addiction, even my husband and he plays himself. Why was that?
My husband thought I was cute, but most others thought me crazy chasing imaginary things.
And it made me angry. Very angry.
I chase imaginary things every day. I get lost in them and then I write about them, but that wasn’t what had upset me. Being told what you want isn’t normal kills dreams.
People like this kill dreams every day; I can’t see what you see, and I don’t understand it, and therefore you shouldn’t have it.
And the part that hurts the most isn’t about a game that augments reality. People tell you you can’t really be an artist, a writer, a musician. They kill your dreams every day because they want you to be productive to society and fit in.
I’ve never sworn on my blog and I’m going to start now. Fuck fitting in. Fuck someone else’s version of normality and what they expect of me.
I want more parents like the one that little girl has, who followed her around and encouraged her in something that’s been sensationalised, they ignored the hype part and enjoyed being outside chasing their imagination. I’m for the ones chasing their imagination. I’m for the dreamers.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that there was stuff happening and in the last couple of weeks it’s all started to come together, the most current of which is the book cover for the Last Prophecy!
I am pretty excited about this but as I’ve mentioned, this book needed serious rewrites and edits as the Well of Youth is being worked on, and key plot points had to change, which means my May release vague plan isn’t going to happen, I’m very sorry. I am hopeful to have it to you guys in the next month or so.
There was also the sourcing of artists for something special I’m going to start leaving you tidbits about over the next couple of months as we gear up for the release of the Well of Youth, which is tentatively set for the end of the year. And not just artwork, a wonderful composer has also done something special for me, and I cannot wait to show you the results of their creativity.
As much as starting all of this was fun it was also a lot of work, a lot of hard work, and even when it’s something you love it makes it no less tiring, if anything its more so because you are very emotionally invested.
And that’s when I sit back and realise that with all the work being done on the next book I haven’t spent as much time and energy being able to promote the Hidden Monastery. Between that and rewrites for the Last Prophecy and all the work that needs to go into the Well I have become my own worst critic over the last few weeks.
It’s very easy to lose sight of the big picture when all you can do is nit-pick at the little things and how much still needs to be done. There has been a very few harsh reminders over this period that I need to be kinder to myself and all of this is a work in progress.
But it’s not just me.
It’s the people I love and work with, or who are offering their work to me. It’s all so easy to judge yourself harshly, but when you think about applying the comments you have for your own work to someone else’s, if you’re anything like me you’d be horrified and never say that.
If you’d never say that comment to someone else, never be so objective about another person’s work, or would even be kinder in your critic of them so as not to hurt their feelings and creativity, then why can’t you do the same to yourself? Be kinder and less judgemental, as though it is not your own work, but someone else who is need of your support. There is a really easy answer this and you know what it is.
Sure it’s a work in progress, and sometimes you don’t even realise you are doing it, but you need to let go of it so you can work. I knew I was doing it, and gave myself the kindness and time to work past it, and you can too.
Be kind, to yourself and others, there really isn’t enough of it in this world, especially the one inside our own minds.
Things got planned, quotes were done, there was…. Music. Things are starting to get rolling for the Last Prophecy, despite needing some serious overhauling, but all for the good of the next book in the series; the Well of Youth. This will be the first full length book in the series, and technically the first book of the Last Prophecy series. So there is much excitement as these plans get under way. Even if it mostly consists of me clapping my hands giddily while wrapped in my tiggy blanket drinking tea.
One of the things that happened was I had some feedback regarding the Hidden Monastery and some of the factual information in it.
I thought sound was what caused avalanches?
No, funnily enough it is not. It’s caused by seismic activity, be it skiers, snowmobiles or in the more extreme explosions.
As per Wikipedia;
An avalanche (also called a snowslide or snowslip) is a rapid flow of snow down a sloping surface. Avalanches are typically triggered in a starting zone from a mechanical failure in the snowpack (slab avalanche) when the forces on the snow exceed its strength but sometimes only with gradually widening (loose snow avalanche). After initiation, avalanches usually accelerate rapidly and grow in mass and volume as they entrain more snow. If the avalanche moves fast enough some of the snow may mix with the air forming a powder snow avalanche, which is a type ofgravity current.
The load on the snowpack may be only due to gravity, in which case failure may result either from weakening in the snowpack or increased load due to precipitation. Avalanches that occur in this way are known as spontaneous avalanches. Avalanches can also be triggered by other loads such as skiers, snowmobilers, animals or explosives. Seismic activity may also trigger the failure in the snowpack and avalanches. A popular myth is that avalanches can be triggered by loud noise or shouting, but the pressure from sound is orders of magnitude too small to trigger an avalanche.
Being the good little academic I am I can tell you several days of research went into the accuracy of what I was writing about. Nothing would infuriate me more as to misadvise someone of the fantastical things that can and will happen in my stories. The same can be said of many of the things I write, I was recently studying limestone caves, and have now moved on to survival in the extreme cold.
I do write fiction, don’t mistake me, however it should be believable fiction, and this is what grounds me to the writing, so that when the unbelievable happens in my stories there is an element of research into the practicality of what I’m writing about, to ensure you believe it too.
Using magic to explain away details that don’t fit into reality works well in a magic thriving world, but this world is different, and any concept of magic has been done away with as science marches its presence forward into this new and fascinating world.
There are still a few things that aren’t entirely explainable, but that’s also true of our world here and now, after all, what’s life without a little mystery?
The last few weeks have been spent not writing but those endless hours ones spends with the cogs turning, the kettle boiling, and the stagnant pool of my story, with barely a ripple to pass across its surface, I’ve stared into its murky depths and found that it did not stare back.
Writing should possess you, demand you, crawl inside your skin and burn.
I’ve had too much else to think about lately to spend time writing, but more importantly needed to give the story time to breathe.
Sometimes standing back to assess the work, rather than just working, is needed, and it has unfortunately made me aware of inherent faults in my writing.
“You must write, write, write!”
Sometimes you need to think. Have it running around your head while you drive home, in the shower, walking in the rain.
There was something wrong with my story, and I didn’t know what it was or how to fix it.
It was terrible.
It gave me nightmares and frustrated me, writing time was spent on other creative writing prompts because I couldn’t find what was wrong with the story.
Then my editor said something about the Last Prophecy to me and its editing phase, and I realized where I’d gone wrong. I hadn’t treated my main character with enough of a voice. He simply told me what was happening, he wasn’t experiencing it, it was as emotional as a plank of wood. The emotions were written down but I wasn’t feeling them.
Perhaps it has more to do with my own emotions at the time, my own personal demons and all the real life things getting in the way of those deeper creative thoughts, needing time to just feel what my character felt than parrot what was happening to him.
If he’s not real to me, he’s not real to you.
I needed time and so did he, and I needed to do a lot of serious rework on characters in the story, plot lines and motives, and I know it will be better for it, but this is thousands of words that need to be rewritten and evolved and the work is astronomical given what I’ve already done.
I need time, as much as my characters do. Otherwise it won’t be as good as I see it inside.
I still hope to show you the second novella and first book in the series before the year is out, and if not the story will still be better for it.
Sometimes everyone needs time, not as in more hours in the day, but those intangible moments were the thought you had been chasing finds its own way to you in its own time. Those can’t be counted or measured or planned for, but they are important.
This week was rather excellent for me, not only did my book make the top 10 (coming in at #8 on Amazon’s Steampunk listing!), but I had a review from SPR. I’d been conscious it would be good to have a review done that would be a good critique, both for Amazon and my webpage and I couldn’t be more flattered and humbled by their kind words.
As promised I did have a list of questions I received asking about the series and some questions I wanted to address from a few comments on reviews and other places, not so much in response to feedback as curiosity for what the series will hold next.
How does the series work?
This is a twenty one book series, with two novellas, a book, a novella, another book, and so on. Kat and her story features very majorly in the first three books, and afterwards we see her story in the novellas. This is because these stories aren’t just about her and what she’s doing, but she has such a large role in things to come that it’s important between books you know what she’s up to. Plus she’s one of the most enjoyable characters I’ve ever written.
How does Captain Katarina feature in the series?
Kat holds a very dear place in my heart, and while she is a key character she is not the only character in the series. For the next few books she carries an important role, but while you have seen things from her perspective in the Hidden Monastery, this will change over the next few books. The series is designed to be read so that reading the previous book is not necessary except in the case of the novellas, which will be very important as they follow Kat’s journey over the next few years.
What kind of genre is it? It doesn’t seem to fit into one category…
This is very true and a comment I’ve heard often both in person and online. My story was exactly that, just the way I saw it and not catered to one specific genre, so I like to refer to it as a steam flavoured fantasy series. There are elements of steampunk in it, with its airships and some contraptions, but it doesn’t have an overflowing sense of these things as you have in other steampunk series. Fantasy is also a little tricky as there are elements outside of the norm, however they don’t extend to magic and other humanoid species, but its still not set in a conventional world as we see it.
Are these all archaeological sort of books?
No, and perhaps a little bit yes, there is certainly a variety of books but the overall arching theme is that in some place or time a very ordinary person is given a choice, they aren’t fated or destined, sometimes they are just like you and me. However they are put in a place and time where they can choose to take an action. We are all given choices in life, sometimes we wish we could take those choices back, but other times we would not be where we are if those choices hadn’t been made.
When is the next one out?
The next one is a novella and I had planned for release in April/May but it is looking more like May, unfortunately this little writer still has an everyday job to do, which does take up a lot of time. I am still bustling away at it whenever I can, as is everyone else who helps me. There are some future plans in the works that will make this series more exciting and interesting and I hope to talk about more of them soon.
The last few weeks have been an absolute whirlwind of fun, family and good card games.
Sadly enough not much writing.
But its hard to get the time and right mindset, especially when you’re dancing around your parents veranda much to the amusement of the neighbors at 9am in the morning in daggy shorts, thick socks, and the bride’s shoes, because she needs them stretched, desperately. The things we do for love.
There is nothing like a good holiday and family you haven’t seen for years and years who can’t stop hugging you, and you them, that’s a balm to the soul, and I can say with no small amount of pride, many of whom have read my first book and loved it. The unexpected people who had read my book and flattered me no end that they loved it. Yes, Marg, you.
So it was somewhat tired and in desperate need of sleep and cooler weather we returned home and plans went underway to get ready for a photo shoot, my author one, and I can’t wait to see how all these outfits turnout. Not too outlandish I promise, but something a little more than the standard end of book shot. Here’s hoping I don’t do what I do whenever anyone tries to take my picture and spend the entire thing poking my tongue out.
It was also a time for secrets…
All kinds of secrets and all of them to do with the book thankfully. Who needs real life secrets, they usually aren’t the good kind.
And there is most certainly a reason my roleplaying group call me Hagrid. I can’t keep them.
My characters can’t keep them! I had all these twisty plotty things going on and they all blabbed about their deep secrets and the strangest of times during the last few days writing. Funnily enough it all worked out, and it’s ok, because I’m better at keeping secrets from my characters than my roleplaying group.
Over the next few weeks I am going to ask people if they have any questions about the first novella in the series, because I’ve had some really interesting ones from friends and family and a few I’ve seen on reviews. Thanks again for those, they mean the world to me.
If you have a question of my characters, books, or myself, hit me up here, Facebook, or Twitter and the best ones will go in next week’s article.
I was talking to my sister over the weekend, the number one self professed fan of my books, and I casually asked her; “Have you reviewed it yet?”
“Oops, no! Where and how do I do that?”
I know a lot of readers who use Goodreads and refer Goodreads friends to books they’ve read and enjoyed. I do it myself, I like to know what’s out there that’s in the same field of interest I have and whether or not they enjoyed a new author.
And I do something you are probably guilty of too.
I don’t review all the author’s books I’ve read.
Which isn’t a bad thing, I don’t know about you but I’m an avid reader and I don’t always jump up and down about every book I read. It may be OK, or a new favourite that I’ll buy the next in the series when I get paid. Or maybe the pay after this one.
Now I get to be on the other end of the spectrum and I can tell you how I felt after I got my first five star review. Over the moon! I couldn’t have been more excited, I wanted to leap through the computer and hug some random stranger who liked my book that much. I got more reviews from friends and family I recognised, and more from strangers.
In a way I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t got a bad review yet, but I don’t expect everyone to like my book so I know that it is coming, and I’m going to try very hard to stay away from the scorpion pit when it happens.
Like my book or not, if you have read it please review it, but not just me, any author you’ve loved, liked, obsessed with, didn’t like even, it’s important to review it. There were so many books now that I have been to review and found a host of one star ratings and people unhappy with it, even though others like myself loved it. We are all different people with different likes and dislikes and opinions. And that’s completely OK.
If you love an author’s work, write a review.
You never know when you are making their day.
But there has been lots of things going on in the background that have caused disruptions to my normal schedule, some good, some… not so good.
I am going to keep this saga short, and because I’m saving that sort of thing for the books.
Social media has completely overwhelmed me. The hundreds of thousands of authors doing their best to promote their gorgeous babies, and being able to rub shoulders and be considered one of them over Twitter has been delightful.
Intimidating but good? Yeah, let’s stick with that.
Its also taxing. You see them working so hard to promote their books and love other authors, and here is me in a corner trying to work out what the heck an Indie Author is. (I think I have it now…. at least I hope I do).
It sincerely stressed me out, along with something freaky happening with my sales report meaning I didn’t know if the book was doing well, and when you’re trying to advertise left, right, and center you need to know that sort of information on a daily basis. Or hourly. Even if it hasn’t changed. I probably owe the lady at Pronoun a bunch of flowers for how much I email her.
I asked myself a really important question when this was getting the best of me.
Would I have not done it given how much stress it’s causing me right now?
Too many of us give up what we want because of these pressures and I don’t mean to, and neither should you.
P.S. These will become a little randomly posted over the coming weeks while I help my sister do all that fun stuff you get to do before weddings. Hopefully I get a good story out of it or at least the hen’s night. There is always character material to work into a story from a wedding.
And the hen’s night but I don’t write those sorts of novels!