Monday, April 29, 2013

Halfway Done My First Edit!

I've been working at a pace of about two chapters a day for a week, some days more, some days less, and I'm pretty happy with my progress. I'm hoping to be done by the end of the week, and then the changes need to be made in the actual file. Kind of crazy to think how close the true finish is after this!

I'm also trying to find the time to write more for my other stories, particularly Lay Me Bare, the contemporary I've been working on for a few months. It's over half done, but I want to be able to get the first draft done before the end of August. I just wish I had more time! If you want to read what I have so far, it's online here!

I've been very lucky that a bunch of people have been willing to beta read my book and I cannot wait to hear their feedback. I had posted every chapter online for people tor read for free as I was writing the first draft and I couldn't believe the amount of positive feedback, but I am really hoping for some people to give it a critical eye. Can't wait to hear back on that!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Finding Time to Write

When I've told friends and family about my progress with my writing one of the first comments I get is "I don't know how you find the time to do it." Like many, if not most or all, writers of independent books right now I have a 9-5 to pay the bills and being a full time writer is still a fairly long off goal.

A benefit of my job is that I do work in books. Not high enough to pull some clout with a publisher, but I do manage a book store. I work Tuesday through Saturday every week and I get up most days about two and a half hours before I leave for work so that I have at least an hour of that time to dedicate to writing. This has been the number one thing that's gotten me to finish Awake My Soul when I did, or if at all. I write some nights, but 90% of the book has come from those early mornings.

Before I pushed myself to get up every day, I would complain I didn't have the time, couldn't manage it. It was the easy way out and honestly it was to keep myself from trying and then failing. 

My real hope is that I will have more days to dedicate solely to writing in the future, but right now I'm okay with mornings.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Editing has begun!

Today I spent the first actual money on getting my novel finished. I went to my local printing shop and had my manuscript printed and bound so I could carry it everywhere with me and edit as much as possible. The printing and the binding cost me about $30, but it's well worth it to save my own limited ink and paper, plus having it bound for easy transport and reading.

What I should have bought while I was there was a red pen, though! We have none in the house and for now I'm going to use a red marker until I can get my hands on an actual pen for making notes.

I'm pretty proud of the fact that I've written a novel at no cost until this point. I see other blogs that talk about all this cash they've spent getting their novel off the ground and I was a little worried, having limited funds myself. For anyone who is about to sit down and write something for the first time my first advice is spend no money. Zero. Unless you don't have access to a computer, then buy that.

Most computers should come with at least Word in some form. You don't need to spend $50 on a fancy writing program, a fancy keyboard, or any of the bells and whistles you might see some famous author talking about. Word, or even notepad, will work just fine.

Two things that you'll obviously need to drop money on are editing and a cover, but really that should be it. Watch the price on the cover and editing though. This day in age almost everyone probably knows one graphic designer and someone with an English degree that's gathering dust. Speak to them before giving money out to strangers online, at least for some background information.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Goals. So many goals

I started seriously writing last year. I'd written for fun until then, but this time last year I realized that writing is what I want to do, despite any Debby downers who told me it wasn't a worthy career anymore. "You can't write money writing!" many people said and I kind of gave up for a while. Then last year I realized that while I may never make a dime on it, I should at least try.

Now that I finished my first draft for my first full length novel, I really need to set some goals for myself!

  • Finish first edit Awake My Soul by May 10th, 2013
  • Have Awake My Soul edited by an actual editor by the end of June 2013 (this relies on another person, but hopefully she can keep focused!)
  • Have cover finished by end of June 2013. I'm having the cover made by a professional designer who is also a friend. So again this relies on another person, but I think this is ample time
  • Finish my own final edit by July 15th
  • Publish Awake My Soul on July 29th 2013
Why July 29th? I work full time and I'm off Sundays and Mondays. It will give me enough time between finishing my edit to getting the files uploaded to make sure the files are in order and they look crisp and clean.

Of course, these are loose dates and if the other people I'm relying on are quicker than I expect, then I can get the book out sooner. But right now my personal tentative release date is July 29th 2013.

And after that I have some other goals

  • Finish first draft of Lay Me Bare, a contemporary romance I'm working on, by August 30th, 2013. I'm about half done now, but my focus now is on polishing Awake My Soul.
  • Finish first edit of Lay Me Bare by September 15th 2013
  • Cover and professional edit done by October 15th 2013
  • Final edit complete by October 31st 2013
  • Release by November 15th, 2013 in time for Christmas gifts and gift cards!
I have two other books on the back burner, a paranormal romance called The Demon's Song I've been picking at as the mood strikes me and another contemporary called Home Town Hero that I've just started putting together. I hope to finish those up if all goes well by early and mid-2014.

Of course, a lot of this also depends on work. I do work full time and sometimes struggle to find time to write. My hope is that after releasing Awake My Soul I can make enough money to reduce my hours at work so I can dedicate more time to writing. If I can do that, the other pieces will be easier to put into place!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Why I've Decided to E-Publish

When I started writing my first book, still not officially titled mind you, I debated with myself if I would try to do it the old fashioned way and find an agent, or try my hand at self-publishing online. For months in my spare time I did a lot of research and while I started with the conventional thinking of 'I'll find an agent and then get a publisher and then get an advance', my views have swung completely to the opposite side. When my book is ready to publish, hopefully early this summer, I'll be doing it myself online. I decided today I'm going to talk about why I changed my mind.

To say it's not about money would be a bold faced lie, so we'll get that out of the way first. I'm well aware that there is a huge risk you wont make any money. At least with a small advance if your book doesn't do well you've gotten some money for all your hard work. The thing is, you need to risk it to get the biscuit and the chances of reward are much, much higher with self-publishing. This post over at E-Book Formatting Fairies was a real eyeopener at just how well one can really do with e-publishing, and it shows a balanced look at the sales, rather than only publishing success stories. Highly recommended reading and very motivational!

Another important reason was marketing. My initial belief was that when you go to an agent and a publisher they do the marketing work for you. This may have been the case years ago, and is still the case with established sellers and hit books, but for someone just starting out today, especially in my genre of romance? Forget it. You do all the work yourself I discovered. You need to get out there and do blog tours, get on social networking (follow my twitter), be active in the community, and use your own leg work to sell your book and that's with a publisher! You might as well e-publish independently and still do the work yourself because at least then the reward is all yours!

Lastly, control. I get to control what my cover looks like. I get to control what goes in to my book and how it's presented. No one has a real say other than me. I get to be my own boss and if I succeed it's all on me. Of course, if I fail it's all my fault too, but that's a risk worth taking.

I hope to have my book available from all the major online book shops early this summer. Still needs a title though...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Guilty Pleasures

I starting thinking about the things that people call their guilty pleasures. So many women I know call romance books their 'guilty pleasure' like it's something to be ashamed of for liking. With Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels becoming such smash hits, we've been seeing a few people becoming a little more proud of their interest in the genre, but they still get this guilty smile as they say it.

I started reading the quasi-romance books that most teen girls read, starting with V.C. Andrews of course. The passion in those books, despite their teen audience, was hot and heavy and I couldn't get enough. I read through the Casteel series (my favorite), the Cutler series, and all the other family saga books. While they weren't officially labeled as romance, all us fourteen year old girls knew the truth. Those books are hot.

As I got older, my tastes broadened like any good reader. I started reading Catherine Feehan, Julie Garwood, and whatever else my small town library had on hand at the time. I had begun writing in my teens as a serious hobby, but I never allowed myself to consider writing romance. It was still considered a guilty pleasure and nothing more.

But as the old cliche goes, you should write what you know. I think writers at heart are all daydreamers, and my daydreams weren't about the things I was writing. Adventure, spy thrillers, horror, I tried my hand at everything, but my mind kept going to romance. Romantic stories are practically all I daydream about because to me they are a great escape from the realities of life.

Finally I gave in and sat down to write something with a bit of romance. I started and didn't stop. I started new stories and the best part is I didn't feel like I was working. I was having fun writing. It had never felt so fun. Writing romance has been fun rather than a chore, and I must say it's really helped my overall disposition. I'm happiest right after I've written a chapter that I henjoyed writing.

I don't feel so guilty about my guilty pleasure anymore. There are a lot worse things to feel guilty about than reading or writing! I, for one, think my guiltiest pleasure is certain reality TV programing. Big Brother Canada, anyone?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A New Start

If you're reading this you probably discovered me through Fiction Press. I currently wrapped up posting a very, very rough draft of my first novel on that site and the feedback I received has been wonderful and very encouraging.

Finishing up my first full length novel, the first draft at least, has been a really overwhelming. I've never finished a story so long before, and it took a lot of early mornings and late nights to get there. I started working on my first novel in August of 2012 and just finished the first draft this week (April 2013).

I was posting this book, a historical romance, under the tentative title Awake My Soul chapter by chapter, As time went on I really feel that this title doesn't fit where the story went. Right now my biggest hurdle is deciding what I will call my book, and of course the all mighty edit.

I hope that I can have the first edit done by the end of April and then pass it off to a friend who works as an editor for a real professional go over. Once I do that and get a cover designed, it'll be off to the world of e-publishing.

Yes, I am planning to self-publish and I whole heartily believe that self publishing with e-publishing is the best way for me to go with this. I'll be posting my progress here and hopefully my book will be available by early summer!