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Posted in Blog, Writing Process

An Author: What’s It Like?

“Oh, you’re an author? Are you rich yet?”

I have  been asked this question–in jest, of course. I don’t think anyone actually expects me to make millions of dollars off of my writing endeavors. I’m not saying I wouldn’t be happy to do so, but I am saying that it’s not likely.

You see, for a vast majority of authors, writing is a terrible business plan. It’s a trap–a losing proposition. Writing is most often a money sink and you will spend more money on your efforts than you will probably ever make.

But don’t despair! If you know this going in, you won’t be so surprised! Yeah, I know that’s not a lot of reassurance, but you’ve got to know that the Stephen Kings and J.K. Rowlings of the world are few and far between. Plenty of other authors make money off their writing, but they’re not in the same category.

Writing, in and of itself, is free. Pen and paper or word processor or whatever–most people have the supplies needed to write. Ideas are free. Imagination is free. Gumption is free! I’m still not sure what that is, but it’s free! If you have the skills and knowledge to make your own cover, you’re golden! If not…

Fork in the road! But let’s forget the book cover for now.

Go left: Spend no money and spam your message on social media. Show up to free author events with no fancy displays, business cards, or handouts except for your shiny personality. Very doable, but very, very rough.

Go right: Oh what a rabbit hole this is. There are all kinds of independent social media marketers out there, or you can pay Facebook and Twitter to advertise for you. Book stands, table covers, and other display items are good for personal appearances. Business cards and bookmarks are handy, too. Also, most events cost money to reserve a table.

And you’ll want to purchase author copies (if available) of your book to sell at events.

Oh, and before you publish, HIRE AN EDITOR! This isn’t cheap, but it’s absolutely necessary!!! Don’t skimp here, guys.

And how about that book cover? Can’t create one of your own? You’re going to need to hire someone to make you a snazzy cover. No, seriously, you will. Don’t half-ass this

Supplemental artwork like maps or characters? Those cost money.

How much will you make off each book? That’s all subjective, but we’ll say anywhere from $2 to $10. It’s a lot of work to sell books, and you HAVE to be prepared to sink some money into it, not knowing if you’ll ever make it back.

And, let’s say you make that money back.

When’s your next book coming out?

<rinse, repeat>

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The Writer’s Mind

I had something I wanted to blog about this morning.

Then I had to work unexpectedly.

Then I went for a run.

Now I am brain dead and watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens. So I’ll just leave everyone with my favorite limerick.

 

There once was a woman from Hyde

Who ate a green apple and died.

The husband lamented, the apple fermented

And made cider inside her inside.

Posted in Blog, Writing Process

Ho Ho No

The holidays! Oh what a splendid time to catch up with family, be kind and generous and, of course, eat. I enjoy them, I really do!

Except, I also don’t. Now, before you call me a heathen and commit me to a mental facility, hear me out.

The holidays are busy. Even if you don’t think they’re going to be busy (and, if you don’t, you’re nuts), they are an insanely busy time. I’m talking “Crap, I was so busy I forgot to put on pants” busy. And, for me, this starts right around late September.

Because, for me, Halloween counts as one of “The Holidays.” So, at that moment, my thoughts generally become active around whatever holiday is coming up. Halloween decorations, Thanksgiving plans, Christmas shopping, not remembering what happened on New Years…you know, the usual.

And, because my thoughts become generally consumed by the festivities and related planning, my writing and creativity tends to suffer a bit. To say that my output is anemic during this time is to say the Death Star was just some mobile home. But imagine the yard flamingos!

It gets frustrating, though, because I love to write–It’s my getaway. But, during this time and for quite some time after, it becomes work. This means that I am more liable to find an excuse NOT to write and, instead, skip it and waste my time pursuing other activities. And “other activities” DON’T WRITE BOOKS!

And my brain continues inventing new ideas but my fingers aren’t keeping up. It’s like being on an assembly line, building widgets, but I have to go to the bathroom. No, wait…maybe not like that.

Anyway, it’s going to be rough for a while–in all areas, most likely. This is when I have to make sure to stay on task. “Descent Into Madness” isn’t going to write itself!

Not yet, anyway. Once a book can write itself, I’m out of my hobby. 😦

Posted in Blog, The Forgotten Years, Writing Process

The Eve of the Storm

I confess myself nervous.

Not the “I’ve robbed a bank and the cops are going to find me” nervous.

Also not the “I can’t sleep because Christmas!” nervous.

I’m somewhere in between.

Tomorrow, November 8th, my second book will be sent out into the wild. The Coming Storm will officially become real. I mean, real for everyone else. But that also makes it very real for me.

It’s worse this time around.

First of all, November 8th (tomorrow) marks The Call of Chaos’ first birthday, which I hadn’t even realized when I scheduled The Coming Storm’s release. So let’s show TCoC a little love!

With TCoC, there was no pressure. I wrote it, I released it, and I got a largely favorable reaction, for which I am eternally grateful.

So now, the second book. There’s expectation, no matter how small. It’s true, I don’t have thousands of reader fans. Shocking, I know. 🙂 However, readers have read TCoC and will read TCS. With that, there is a certain standard that has been established–a baseline–and I really REALLY want to exceed those expectations.

Am I confident that TCS will leave readers happy and wanting more? Yes.

And no.

I mean, what the Hell do I know? Am I happy with it? Oh Hell yes. I love it. I think it’s TCoC plus about a billion. The only way The Coming Storm could be better would be if it was on fire. And I always write for me first. But, make no mistake, I don’t want to produce a shitty product, and the “what ifs” creep in quickly.

So, on the eve of release, I sit and stew, waiting for readers to hopefully snag a few copies and rake the book over the coals where it will come out on the other side, still shining like a diamond that had been swallowed by a vindictive hellcat and pooped out onto an orc’s dinner plate.

Or not. That wasn’t a really great description. But, I mean, what the Hell do you think I am? A writer?

(Please enjoy The Coming Storm, releasing on November 8th!)

Posted in Blog, Writing Process

My First Book Signing

This weekend, I had the pleasure of being part of the local library’s Local Author Open House. I’m still very new at the whole author game, and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The TL:DR version is, I met some really nice people (both authors and readers), and I learned some things about personal appearances.

I had both friends and family stop by to get an early copy of The Coming Storm. I was very happy to see them, and I thank them for supporting my author endeavors.

I did not, however, sell any books to anyone else. Is this a bad thing? No. Well, financially, it’s not great, but I didn’t go into this thinking “Oh man, I’m going to sell out of all my books and this will be fantastic!”

You see, people don’t go to libraries to buy books. At least, not on the spot. Several authors sold one or two copies but, mostly, we talked with readers, gave them our business cards, and hoped they were interested enough in us to look us up later.

I watched other authors and took mental notes, hoping to learn some things about personal appearances–which I did. I used the opportunity as a practice run of sorts–a way to get my feet wet and figure out what works and what doesn’t work for me.

It’s going to forever be a work in progress and I will continuously learn from each event. I’m looking forward to next year’s event as well as any other events in which I participate!

At the very least, I had plenty of practice with my damned elevator pitch!

Posted in Blog, The Forgotten Years, Writing Process

3am Musings

For some reason, I’m awake at 3am, That might be because I went to bed at 8:30. Don’t judge me!

It has occurred to me that The Coming Storm’s early release (at the Local Author Open House) is just six days away. In six days, my second baby will be sent out into the world for hungry readers to enjoy. After that, on November 8th, everyone gets to read it.

And, now, I vividly recall the paralyzing terror that came along with The Call of Chaos’ release. I’m proud of what I’ve written, but I also had my entire lifetime to write The Call of Chaos. I wrote The Coming Storm in less than two years.

What if it doesn’t live up to expectations?

Worse yet, what if it’s even better? The pressure that puts on Descent Into Madness becomes that much more.

It’s never-ending and, truth be told, it’s like eating a bowl of  Boo Berry cereal–so tasty, yet it tears up your mouth. Agony and ecstacy, hot and cold, Empire Strikes Back and The Phantom Menace…wait, I’m getting off-track, here.

To be honest, I can do nothing about it, now. The paperback copies await their moment in the sun, and the Kindle edition is on pre-order. I’ve never been all that adept at sitting back and waiting, though.

I do hope that everyone enjoys it.

Posted in Blog, Writing Process

Here’s What You Should Do…

Writing advice. It’s everywhere. Literally,  you could wake up, roll over, and find yourself sinking in a quagmire of do’s and don’ts. You stumble, bleary-eyed, to the fridge and open it. It’s full of writing advice. What’s on the TV? The news, and it’s all terrible. But, after that, writing advice. How do all of these people know what you should do to be a great writer?

They don’t.

“To be a great writer, you have to read a lot.”

“You should always write 3,521 words a day.”

“You have to experience everything and travel and pet lots of dogs!”

Alright, I mean, petting dogs is pretty neat, and they love it. But you don’t need to pet dogs to be a writer. Although, if you’re writing about petting dogs, it couldn’t hurt, right?

So, here’s the deal. You know how I always say that peoples’ reading tastes are as diverse and frustrating as pizza toppings? Well, if you don’t…I say it a lot. I say it so much that I constantly crave pizza. Like, with tons of cheese and thick pepperoni and…crap, okay, I’m off track.

As varied as readers’ preferences are so, too, are writers’ habits and methods. You can’t expect to conform to one thing simply because someone says so. And, yes, maybe it’s Stephen King or J.K. Rowling saying it. What worked for them just might not work for you.

This is probably going to draw a lot of squinty eyes and “What’chu talkin’ ’bout Willis”es, but here goes. I…don’t read as much as most people. I love to read. But I also love to run, and play video games, and I have a job, and I have a wife and two daughters and, obviously, I love to WRITE. Yes, I do read, but I read in spurts and I’m picky about what I read. Am I a really awesome author? I have absolutely no idea. I think I spin a decent yarn. could reading more possibly help my craft? Yes? No? Possibly.

Do I force myself to write EVERY DAY like some authors suggest? No. Do I set deadlines and word counts? Nope. Why not, you ask? Because none of those things works for me. I write exactly as I intend, and it works. Am I going to start telling other writers that they should do as I do?

Nope.

I really try not to give advice. Instead, I explain my methods. If those work for someone else, great. If they don’t, then no harm done.

Paramount in all of this, however, is keeping an open mind. That might be the only piece of advice that I will give 100% of the time. Don’t feel that you must take writing advice, but don’t discount it. Let ideas in. Maybe try them. If they don’t work, move on. But don’t force a square peg into a round hole. Learn from others’ experience but blaze your own trail and, above all, do what is right for you.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to seek out some pizza.