IWSG Wednesday: Releasing a Book Into the World

 

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Last week I self-published my very first novel on the Swoon Reads site in the hope that they might think I had the potential to be a romance author under contract with them.

As an incredibly insecure author, this was terrifying for me in many ways. My fears ranged from no one reading my book, to every reader hating my book, to lots of people reading my book but no one giving it feedback either way.

So far it has been a better experience than I expected. I know that feedback may be more positive than Crossers deserves because I’m offering it for free, but I’ve been delighted by the kind words I’ve gotten–and I’m trying to note all the constructive criticism without taking it too personally.

My biggest surprise at this point is that I have gotten any attention at all. My spouse reviewed it on the site, and my closest fellow-writer friend did so too, but since I have a relatively small social network, I couldn’t count on finding other readers at all.

So far I’ve had three comments from strangers, and twenty people have added my book to their reading list. I’m obsessively checking my book every day for new comments, but the number of people who are even considering reading Crossers is better than I expected!

Of course, nothing can actually take away my insecurities. If the amount of people who are interested in the book plateaus soon, I could get surpassed by other authors and lose any chance of being noticed. If people like the book but Swoon Reads still doesn’t want to publish it, then I’ll have to find some other path as an author, which will be terrifying all over again.

I never stop worrying, and never will. But I’m feeling strangely optimistic this month, so I’m taking this IWSG day to post about the positivity in my life in addition to my usual anxiety.

People think I have potential, whether mainstream publishers do or not. A few people I don’t even know are reading my book just to help me toward my dream, because not all my hope and belief in humanity is unfounded. I’ve proven that I can write and edit a book, so no matter what happens next I’ll be able to keep trying.

I’ll do my best to remember that, as I work on my next novel and continue to face all the insecurities that try to overwhelm me every day.

Best of luck to all the insecure writers out there! May a happy 2016 be yours.

IWSG Wednesday: Releasing a Book Into the World

CROSSERS: now available

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A little bit sooner than I had anticipated, my first novel is finished and available for free over at Swoon Reads!

It’s a YA ghost romance starring a girl whose destiny is to help ghosts cross over, and the boy she loves even after death.

If Crossers gets enough feedback and attention, the publishers running the site could choose to offer me a contract and make my dream a reality–so please go read even a little of it and let me know what you think. 

I’ll be back for January’s IWSG post, but for now all I can say is that I can’t believe I actually did it. I’ve put a novel of my very own out in the world for other people to see. I’m still a little bit in shock. 🙂

Happy writing!

CROSSERS: now available

my year in review

Hello everyone, and thank you for stopping by my blog. 🙂

I let myself get swept up by life and writing and have not updated this little corner of the internet in quite some time, but I’m going to keep my writing blog more current going forward.

Since my last post, my family’s financial situation improved, giving us more security than we’ve known in a long time. I married my partner of almost-ten years in a small family ceremony, and I won NaNoWriMo again in November. So things are generally looking quite up!

I’m also finally taking the plunge into publishing, and in a few days I’ll be posting my first novel to the Swoon Reads site. You’ll hear more about that when the day arrives.

So for now, I’d just like to very sincerely thank everyone who stopped by to wish me well, or express concern for my situation when things were very bleak. I tend to disappear from social spaces, especially during times of stress, but I promise things are okay now.

Happy noveling!

my year in review

IWSG: March 2015 edition

Hey everybody!

This year has, not surprisingly, drifted far from my original plans and expectations. I have had to revise my writing schedule multiple times, in addition to taking an undeclared blog hiatus.

So, in the interim: I wrote half a novel that is meant to finish my trilogy, before deciding not to finish it until my first two books have gone through the revision process. This month I began my next project, which will eventually be submitted to SwoonReads, but I’ve already decided to shelve it as well…

…which brings me to this month’s Insecure Writers’ Support Group post.

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In general, my biggest problem as a writer, now that I’ve grown more comfortable with writing novels, is my difficulty sustaining my focus. I learned last month that I was diagnosed with ADHD combined type, and lately that has manifested in spending my time on Tumblr instead of blogs.

However, right now my problem is much more specific, and has flared up a few times since I began my noveling journey in 2014. My problem is poverty. People still don’t talk about money issues publicly very often, I think because it makes everyone uncomfortable. But this is absolutely what is weighing most heavily on my mind as a writer, so it’s my subject this month.

My household has struggled for years. We both have mental and physical health issues that make sustaining employment difficult and sometimes impossible, but we don’t qualify for financial help where we live because we’re not parents. We go through long periods of just getting by, and we’re very good at stretching our finances as far as we can–before we entered this more stable period, we were homeless multiple times, so our ability to be financially secure means more to us than anything else.

Unfortunately, we’ve hit a rough patch again, the kind that means we have a narrow window to generate a miracle or lose our home, so we have the next 27 days to do everything we can to generate any income, and hope to work things out.

My point in rambling on about this is to explain why my writing plans keep having to change: we’ve reached the point realistically where I need to spend all of my time for the next three weeks trying to earn money through my online job and plasma donation. I can’t make enough that way to save us, but I might be able to help a little.

So I’m pushing back my editing and writing goals, again. And the reason why I relate this all to IWSG is that even though it’s only March 4th, and something good could happen in time to save us, I can’t write and hope that it will. I don’t know how to write when it gets this bad. I can’t focus on my stories or even nurture the hope that writing requires.

Therefore, my post today is for the glorious void that is the Internet. Have you ever felt this way, or is it just very rare to have writing ability but no steady employment? Do you find a way to keep on going when you’re scared and hungry? Am I the only one that’s found financial adversity to be an enormous writing roadblock?

IWSG: March 2015 edition

Day 25: Inspiration (fanfic edition)

Good writing is everywhere. When you’re looking for it, it really can be found just about anywhere…advertising copy, television dialogue, blog posts. Today’s snippet comes from my weekend spent delving into fanfiction. I shared a story of my own that had been hanging out in a neglected folder, and read some by other people.

In one scene of one story, When I Was Dazzled By Eternal Things, the author is talking about a character who writes speeches, and is very new to his job. I was just reading along, imagining the story happening to characters I like, and then I read this:

There is a pen and paper in his hands and a look on his face like he is determined that they won’t get the better of him.

Suddenly, in the middle of a silly day enjoying often NSFW fanfiction from The West Wing, I was hit by the feeling that this was an incredibly important sentence, describing so many of us who are writing right now, and struggling right now. I feel this way all the time, except that I use a keyboard…like I could at any point be bested by the very thing I need to write.

I took a couple days off from writing this weekend, and plan to dive back in tomorrow. But for now, I leave you with the wisdom of raedbard above. There is so much beauty in fanfiction, and graffiti, and street buskers, among many other things, that I’m often not sure why we declare some things more artful than others.

Day 25: Inspiration (fanfic edition)

Day 22: Scenes that make you sad

By this, I am not talking about terrible first drafts…though there are certainly scenes I have written over the last year that have been that bad! What I mean is a scene like the one I finished writing last night, which was unpleasant for the characters and lacked any shard of a happy ending. I’m only 20k in, so it’s not like the story itself will end badly, or that my characters are as doomed as they believe, but it was not a joyous moment.

I finished writing that scene and had reached a good amount of words for the day, leaving me with the decision of continuing on through my remaining writing time, or calling it good and doing something else. I knew I should keep going, because getting myself into a writing flow isn’t easy, but something about starting the next scene just made me feel really uncomfortable. I didn’t figure out why until after I woke up this morning and remembered where I left off.

Somehow, I was so tuned into my characters while I was writing the really sad scene that I didn’t want to continue on to what happened next. Even though I knew it would get better, I just felt like I needed to escape after the badness I had just written. I’m not sure I’ve ever gotten that invested in my characters’ emotional states before.

On the one hand, that’s probably really sad, because this is my third book. On the other hand, though, realizing that I felt the need to stop writing because my last scene was just too much for me was actually kind of wonderful. This is the first world I’ve built from scratch, and it’s been in my head for almost half my life now. I have a feeling that the new relationship I’m exploring in this book, which wasn’t even a remote possibility before it struck me during this draft, is much more compelling to me than it reads outside of my head, but it’s still really getting to me.

It’s important to me to appreciate the upsides of writing as much as possible, to keep in mind why I’m doing this. So this is a new one for me: feeling upset because you’ve just upset your characters is an amazing part of the writing experience, even if it sucks at the time.

Day 22: Scenes that make you sad

Day 21: Writers you admire

I took two days off while I flipped my sleep-wake cycle completely upside down, but I’m back now! I’ll catch up on comments later today. 

My favorite writers change over time, and also don’t. I still love Francesca Lia Block and Tamora Pierce, even though now I want to be like Rainbow Rowell or Scott Westerfeld when I grow up. 😉  Neil Shusterman was a newer discovery for me, as were Gil McNeil and Kate Jacobs, but I still have a fondness for Jodi Picoult. Nora Roberts tells great stories even though I’m not a big fan of the romance genre, so I reread hers on a regular basis (thanks to my partner’s impressive collection). In nonfiction, I enjoy all of Malcolm Gladwell‘s books a lot and wanted to be him, before I decided novels were more my style.

I am currently reading Moneyball, by Michael Lewis. I just finished Flash Boys, his more recent book, and I now have to add him to my “impressive” list. Even though I had heard of a couple of his books, and Moneyball is on my watch list, I hadn’t planned to read any of his books before I saw an interview he did. The fact is, as much as I love nonfiction and find almost everything interesting, I have no knowledge of/interest in sports or stocks, so The Blind Side (which I did see as a movie), Moneyball, and Flash Boys just weren’t that appealing.

His interview was interesting, though, so I decided to read the book he was promoting, Flash Boys. I checked out Moneyball too, because I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie. And what I’ve found most surprising about his books is that I liked them, and learned a ton in the process. He manages to make both baseball and computer stock trading interesting, and that’s impressive to me, as a reader with no knowledge of either. I feel like I now have a solid grasp on modern Wall Street, as someone who doesn’t even know anyone with a 401k…and I’m not done with Moneyball yet, but Lewis turns a statistics story into a book about people, so I’m enjoying it very much.

Who are your favorite writers? Perhaps even more than that, who have you read recently that impressed or surprised you?

Day 21: Writers you admire