Category Archives: Getting Published

The main focus of this blog – tales of getting stories published.

Mister, Can You Spare the Time?

I haven’t gotten my head around the right ways to promote a book, or how to find the time. I barely have enough time to write. But the truth is promotion deserves equal time to writing, if a writer has any interest in finding readers. Which I do, or I wouldn’t be putting in the effort of multiple drafts to get the story right. The time has come to consider hiring one of the hundreds of promotional services vying for my few dollars—one that comes recommended. Goodreads forums for indie authors provide some insight, though a bit of digging is required.

I have learned something about timing from my mistakes. So here’s some advice to my future self: don’t release a book during NaNoWriMo in the heat of cram-writing a new one. Also, don’t bookmark the time immediately following a first draft spew for promoting the previous book—you will be too exhausted with burn-out to bother.

I’m still grappling with the promotion of the last book, and what happens to it when I move my focus to this new one. I hate how I feel like I’m letting my characters down when I abandon the old book for the new (I hate how I miss them sometimes). It’s been a year and a half since I let that book loose on the world and I’m lost as to how to do right by it. Is there a promotional time-limit after publishing? The book doesn’t feel new anymore, and yet it would be new to most people, as few have read it. Common advice seems to dictate letting the previous book(s) piggyback on the promotion of new reads, and as the time to promote the new book is fast approaching, that role is already set.

Meantime, during the day I’m designing train cars for a TV series and at night I sit down to 18th century London. I’m lucky if I get an hour a day in London gin joint times, but at the moment I am in the back halls of a Covent Garden theatre trying to find a little privacy. I know what happens there but I’m not telling…

 

 

 

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First Draft Completed!

Awhile back I set myself the goal of finishing the gap I left in my first draft at the end of NaNoWriMo last year. I would finish the story while working up north on a contract. Nope. I would finish the story while working an easy contract over the summer. Nope. I would finish the story while I took a writing break over the winter. Almost! I challenged myself to finish the novel before George R.R. Martin managed to squeeze out Winds of Winter, thinking a little self-aggrandizing competition might provide the fuel. Success! (I have mixed feelings that there is no sign of a Winds of Winter release date.)

I feel great for having finished. The writing routine I posted about last time really did help me get to the end in good time. As I approached the finish line, I skipped the warm-up and dove right into the text. When I was done, I enjoyed a well-deserved glass of scotch.

I’m back to my 60 hour weeks for the next couple months, but I’m ready to tackle the second draft, the oodles of margin notes, and a ton of period research.

Time to get serious about learning how to market a book.

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Back on the Horse

I’ve finally wrapped up a tough work contract that absorbed all my time for the past ten weeks, with no more than a single day off in the past six. I knew going into the job that I would lose writing time, but I decided that the opportunity was worth the sacrifice given that the job was not expected to carry on for more than four or five weeks. Well, surprise—the work extended to more than double the expected duration.

Interesting thing about this particular film job: the period setting was identical to my novel-in-progress (England and the Colonies in the mid 18th century). The only difference was that the scripted colonial location took place in Virginia, whereas my novel unfolds in New York and Philadelphia. As an art director, I spent many hours neck-deep in research since part of my job is to match the look of the period. But while I took advantage of swimming in my own novel’s setting, I did not have the time to delve into my story.

How does one get back into a big story after such a long and intense break from the material? I always find the best way to get back into a project is to re-read the manuscript. The characters come to life and the story fills the mind again in a way that feels like getting into a freshly made bed. I’ve started tackling the 83,000 words I’ve put on the page to date. I’m enjoying the read, which is a good sign—and also see clearly where I need to do some re-structuring. Reading with fresh eyes is one unexpected advantage of having to take a break from a manuscript.

The timing of the end of my work contract lined up perfectly for taking part in NaNoWriMo again this year. I would have signed up if I were ready to start a new novel. However, I’m still working on an unfinished gap in the middle of the novel from last year. Instead, I’m doing “unofficial” NaNoWriMo. I’m writing every day, working to a word-count goal, and aiming to finish the middle of the book by the end of the month.

I’m finding it a challenge and suffering from immense blank page syndrome, but I’m glad to get back on the horse.

I’d be interested to hear how others deal with major interruptions in their work flow. Please feel free to share in the comments below.

 

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From a Flood to a Trickle.

I have to apologize to followers new and old for the gaps in posting.

I have been writing, but the minimal time I’ve had available of late has forced me to choose between working on the new novel or talking about the old novel. I have chosen the former.

Sales of Tempt the Ocean continue at a slow pace (very slow), but do continue. I confess I was thrilled when the earnings broke the two-digit milestone. Disheartening when compared to self–published authors who claim to make a living off their novels. I don’t know how they do it. I have to remind myself that it’s a mistake to compare my own progress to that of others.

One piece of advice I have: order a small number of printed copies to keep on hand. I never ordered a set of copies of my book to distribute by hand and that has been a mistake. I have since had people ask to buy a copy of my novel outright and have not been able to provide one. A colleague mentioned a book store in our neighbourhood that highlights local independent authors by selling copies directly, but again, I have none to sell. And when I had an opportunity to product-place my novel on screen this summer I had to pass it by since I did not have any copies to loan.

I have no news about making Tempt the Ocean available on other platforms outside Amazon.

I can say, however, that I managed to write a good 1400 words on labour day last week, and I’m plowing through a borrowed copy of A Storm of Swords so I can return it to the library in time. If I don’t have time to write at least I can read and post the occasional Tweet.

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Making Lemonade

It’s been two months since my last post. Oops!

I dropped my commitment to regular blog posts to transition back home where I hosted a house guest for several weeks, during which I bought a new laptop which failed shortly thereafter and then went through the process of transferring all my files a second time just as I started a new contract from home. Frankly I’m in disbelief that it’s been two months.

All of that is not much more than the excuses that are the enemy of writing. Getting back to WordPress today has been a fight but one worth winning. To make it easier I am taking advantage of the porch I cleaned up to enjoy my outdoors, bringing my new laptop out with me, and accompanying my effort with a glass of homemade lemonade. I recommend making everything as delightful as possible to break through the non-motivation barrier when writing!

During this transitional time, I am happy to share that my search for book reviewers paid off with a great review on a summer reading blog here. Sharing the review garnered much support and interest as hoped.

In related news, my time with Amazon Kindle Unlimited has expired. I can’t say that the exclusive publishing with Amazon did anything special for Tempt the Ocean, and I’m looking forward to expanding the novel’s market to other outlets such as Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, etc. I am saving the second round of publishing for when my contract is over, but stay-tuned for updates and promos.

While bouncing around the files of my current novel, I experienced a tiny epiphany as to the restructuring it required, and now know how to get from the second half of the middle to the beginning of the third act, which is already written. I’m relishing getting into the guts of mid-18th century New York, and my pair of star-crossed lovers.

Finally, let me share this simple recipe for lemonade, in the hopes it will help inspire:

Lemonade

Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into a glass jar;

Include a bit of lemon rind, but omit seeds;

Add a tbsp of raw sugar;

Add in 1 cup of hot water and stir gently until sugar dissolves.

Let cool.

Pour a bit of cooled mixture (to taste, but no more than 1/4 cup) over ice in a tall glass,

Add cold water (I like sparkling), and voila,

Lemonade.

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