Choosing to self-publish

When I decided to self-publish my novel I had no idea how much effort it would take. First, I decided early on that I would put out a book that was comparable to something a publishing house would distribute. That meant a professional editor, proofreader, and book cover artist. Also, other expenses as well that popped up depending on my personal preference that not every self-published author chooses to pay for, such as purchasing an ISBN, Copyright, etc.

Second, which is the largest effort other than writing the book itself, is the marketing. This includes self-promoting my book. For me, this will be the biggest learning experience since I have very little experience with marketing, and to be honest–I really don’t want to shell out the cash to hire a professional. So I’ve decided to keep things simple: I created this website to grow my readership, and to keep those that are interested up-to-date with everything going on with me. I’ve linked it to other social media like Facebook and Twitter so that my posts are displayed on those sites as well.

I’ve also decided to send my book off to get reviewed by bloggers a few months before its release.  I’m planning a budget to pay for a few promotions when the book releases to urge a successful book launch. And I’m hoping to have a few book giveaways as well.

So that’s pretty much my plan. We’ll see how it goes.

 

Weighing writing…

Sometimes its hard to find time to read. I’ve been working on finishing book 8 of the Wheel of Time series for years. My brother gives me such shit about it, because I started reading the series before him, was even four books in, and he surpassed me and finished the whole thing. But the truth is, something had to give–there are only so many hours in the day, and so many things we can do with those hours. I choose to write.

Prioritizing your life is hard when you’re a writer and you have a full time job, family, and all the other things in life. But it has to be done. You need to chisel out time in your day to actually do some writing. It was hard for me (and still can be), because my life is so full, but I decided it had to be done. I needed to cut the fat from my life.

The things that I had to spend less time doing were binge watching TV and reading books. Those two things took huge chunks of my time, so they had to go. Not watching so much TV isn’t a bad thing. I hardly miss it. But my books! Oh, I miss them. I miss immersing myself in someone else’s world. It’s the best! Especially when the author does it so well. But with work and life and all those other things, I have to choose writing over reading my epics.

I’m sure there are other writers that have made the same decision, and cut certain things out of their life to make time for their writing. It’s a difficult thing to do, because lets face it, sometimes writing is hard. It’s easy to be distracted and do something else. But you know its gone too far when three months have gone by and you’ve done absolutely nothing. Nothing to move your story forward. At this point, you might as well be in quick sand, trying to pull yourself from being stuck, only to sink further. It happens–you lose interest in your story, and start putting it off, and before you know it, it’s shelved.

So this is the importance of prioritizing your time to write. So many bad things happen when you don’t. So make a plan and stick to it, and you’ll be a much better writer for it.

 

How much is too much?

As a writer, a question that I’m always asking myself is: How much information is too much?

Especially with a genre like fantasy, I think writers like to give the reader a lot of info. It makes sense, because a lot of the time we’re world building, and it takes a lot of text to introduce a new world to the reader. Personally, I want a reader to be able to imagine my world as I see it. What I’ve realized is that a lot of the time that is not the case. It’s not a bad thing. If anything, I’m pleasantly surprised when someone reads my fiction and has imagined my settings in a larger scale than I intended. Because really, sometimes bigger is better.

But there are other situations, like the motives of a character or even the plot of a story, where I’ve had readers that understand what is happening and one that doesn’t. In this situation, I’m always a little confused as to what to do. Obviously my writing isn’t so confusing that the plot can’t be followed because some readers were able to do so without question. But what about the reader that didn’t? Why are they struggling? The only thing I can think of is that some people prefer to read stories that have an abundant amount of information and want the instant gratification of their questions answered in one sitting.

Personally speaking, I’m not a reader that needs to have everything given to them at one time. I like to be spoon fed small amounts throughout a story. The best thing is finding subtle little clues that end up being major factors in the future. It keeps me hooked wanting to know if the story is going to work out the way I think it will. And when it does, the feeling is so satisfying.

At the moment, the story that has most of us in its clutches is A Song of Ice and Fire. Does it make me crazy that the show has surpassed the novels? Yes it does. Do I wish that I didn’t know that Daenerys is going to lead the Dothraki back to Meereen? Well, I’m kinda leaning that way since Game of Thrones has already portrayed it. But one plot point that wasn’t portrayed in the show is Victarion Greyjoy and his magic dragon horn. Is anyone else predicting him presenting the horn to Daenerys whereas she uses it to control her dragons to train for battle? After ordering Drogon to eat Victarion of course, squashing his intentions to marry. Permanently.

Yes, yes, it can happen. I’m looking forward to see if it does. I’ll even wait another five years for Martin to publish The Winds of Winter just to see if I’m right.

And that’s what I want for my writing. For people to read and get hooked. I want to keep them interested for years to come.

So, sorry to the one beta reader that didn’t like my story, I’m not changing the plot. Not drastically at least. You’ll just have to wait along with everyone else to get your questions answered. Or not. It’s completely up to you.