Remiss

My book, Bento Box, came out on the last day of June.

And I have not stopped since then.

I have been trying to get the word out. Arranging readings, sending .mobi files to possible reviewers, I’ve been doing everything to drum up more interest.

In the midst of this, I took on a big project in its own right. I have started up a Kickstarter campaign. My father is a weekend warrior, a man who has a day job and a weekend calling. He is a nature photographer, and a damn good one too. I’m trying to get enough pre-orders together to publish a book of his work. I’ve published two of my own, I at least have a little experience at it now.

Here’s the link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1816539246/from-the-big-horns-to-the-black-hills

If you love beautiful wildlife photography, you will love it.

And someday I will get back to regular postings. Someday.

80/20

Image

 

It has been said that in any project, eighty percent of the work will take twenty percent of the time, and twenty percent of the work will take eighty percent of the time. I haven’t been keeping clock hours, possibly because there’s no one to bill for them, possibly because I don’t want to think about how long I’ve been pouring into my project. I will say this though.. to write a book is a project, but to publish a book is another project all together.

I have finished my rough draft! Which, of course, is misleading. I have stopped typing raw material, I guess is the best way to put it. I’ve amassed a group of willing beta readers who will read the work, and hopefully not burn it completely to the ground.

Which is pretty self-deprecating. I’m proud of this work. I’ve written two books before that I have felt moderately so-so about. It’s lovely to have a story that I feel good about. It’s a rough draft, so it still has a way to go, but that’s okay too. Developing a story is part of the fun. It would be lovely to have every word I type turn into gold, but rarely is anyone talented enough to just roll out of bed and start writing prize-winners.

It’s a bitch to write a novel. A novel is like an iceberg. For the ten percent that a reader sees, there is a vast, ninety percent that a reader doesn’t. It’s hours of toil, spent over days, weeks, months, depending on the kind of time the writer can dedicate to the story.

However, I’m finding that the other side of the novel is the tough part. I have sent out my rough draft to beta readers. While I do have people who enthusiastically supporting my effort to become a published author, these people also just happen to have lives. They have time to read, but they also have work to do, errands to run, and free time to enjoy. It’s not that my beta readers aren’t awesome. It’s just that they are busy people, like I am. I can’t finish a novel in one sitting. I don’t expect them to, either.

Then, there is the other work involved. I have had a bizarre first experience with publishing. Basically, a friend of mine wanted to learn how to publish to take the pressure off of his writing friends to do it. It wasn’t self-publishing, because I didn’t publish my book, but it’s glorified self-publishing, because we went through KDP and CreateSpace and all the self-publishing tools. I learned a lot that way, and it’s doubtful I would have gotten this far without a friend to take me by the hand, but the one way I did not go was a traditional publishing house.

I hear some of you, booing and hissing. I predate the Internet. I still respect publishing houses. I want an advance. I want someone to do my distributing. Take your pick of reasons, it’s worth it to me to at least shop my book around before I break down and run back to Amazon’s program.

Of course, this runs directly into the realm that all artists of any strip dread… the business portion. Putting together a list of arguments as to why my book rocks socks sort of goes against my personal grain.. but fortune favors the bold, and if you don’t put yourself out there to be noticed, it’s a guarantee that no one will notice you. Speaking as someone who waited their whole life to be called by a publisher to get published.. it’s better in your head. I thought I was safe, I thought that I was going to be fine because a really good friend wanted to forward my career. He did a great job, but between his inexpertise and mine, we ended up doing everything wrong. So, even if you do get the situation exactly the way you dream it to be, it’s not going to turn out the way you think it will.

Hence, why I’m working so hard this time.

So, here’s to the final twenty percent of the project, which will now take eighty percent of my time and energy. Hopefully all this work will pay off. As long as I learn something about the process, then it won’t have been a waste of time. And with luck, all my hard work will pay off.

Writing Comes from Within. Like the Spleen.

Writing is a superpower. It’s a tricky superpower, though. There are tons of people who can write. There are significantly less people who want to write. There are even fewer people who will write.

I’m a writer, so naturally I think that everyone is. It has taken me years to accept that what seems effortless to me doesn’t to others. And to tell the truth, it’s not effortless for me, either.              

The truth is, everyone is inundated with great ideas for stories. A thought strikes them, and they ponder it for a moment before moving on.

Or, if you’re like me, you get caught up in the thoughts and suddenly find yourself hip deep in scattered chapters.

Editing, on the other hand, is the (one might say joyless) task of creating order out of chaos. Of realizing that your main character wakes up in a new time and shrugs it off effortlessly, when it should be at least a momentary concern. Or that your villain is the most boring character in the story. It’s finding the weakness and weeding it out. It’s criticism. It’s killing your (ideological) children. Editing is hell.

Now I run into the dilemma of being hip deep in my first professional editing session, and looking at my Ideas folder. It’s the shiny place where I record all of my infant ideas. The ideas gleam like gold, beckoning me away from the doldrums of deciding whether or not I can save the damsel in a way that will make sense to my readers.

I am choosing virtue. Partially because I’m paying for it, but also because I want this novel to be so much more than my first novel was. I want to show growth, and build an audience that can see there’s improvement, and want to know more.

The writing in me is so purely chaotic, so unrefined, so beautiful, it’s hard to exert this discipline. I’m not a patient person, and the winnowing out of ideas and refining of sentences is anathema to my previous way of writing.

However, my previous way of writing never got me published, either. So, at least for now, I’m going to rein in my imagination and keep on the harder path.

I’m too busy being an author to write!

October was a fast and furious romp of learning all the things an author does, when they aren’t busy writing.

I now understand why George R.R. Martin takes 3 years to get a book out.

I have author pages up on Goodreads.com, Facebook.com, and Chaptersee.com. I review proofs, both digitally and in print, and learn about formatting and editing. I write when I can, gotta get that second book out. And let’s not forget that I’m a person with a full-time job, a son in Kindergarten, a programming class, and occasionally I like to oh, see a friend or read a chapter of something that isn’t a manual.

Even this blog post is a part of these new expectations. I don’t resent it. I love to write, and this is a way for me to keep a log of my journey through this process. However, it’s getting in the way of me catching up with a couple of friends over IM, and watching a Dr. Who episode.

Life is always a balancing act, but lately I’ve felt like that clown who is expected to juggle more and more objects of differing sizes and weights. I just keep repeating, “I think I can, I think I can” over and over again.

My previous job was at a small app development company, that was built from the ground up from the humble beginnings of my living room. I got to do it all – a little project management, a little HR, a little marketing, a little programming. I even got to write a story (technically, my first published work.) It was called Dragon Scales & Unicorn Tales, and it’s available on the iTunes App Store.

I had no idea how valuable the experience would be. When you become an author, you hang your shingle and you set up shop, inventory of one item. (Until you build your library.) There’s a whole lot of marketing, and from what I’ve read, even the big guys expect authors to peddle their wares. You can hire someone to do it for you, but for a first time author, it’s better to do it yourself. There are things you learn, things you experience. Giving it over to someone else to do cheats you of that.

A friend of mine (the one I was IM’ing earlier) told me that because my name was in print, it had inspired her to write for the first time in years. My co-worker took a recording of me at work to demonstrate how his camera’s record function worked, and my boss said, “You can’t delete that. You have a real live author recorded now.” It’s an unexpected side effect, getting these little pieces of recognition. It’s some of the most fun I’ve had.

I wasn’t prepared for the amount of work involved in being an author, but I’m happy to say that it’s a job that I love.