It’s all fruit: Traditional versus Self Publication

Good Day, lovelies! Since I mentioned the aforementioned title in my previous post, I thought I would proceed with my thoughts on why I chose self publication over traditional. For the newbs out there who are interested in the joys of writing; apples or oranges, it really is all fruit. what I mean is both paths are going to take a great deal of work on your behalf. There is no easy path.

Be prepared for the awful misconceptions out there. First, you are a writer the very day that you start gliding that pen across paper or tapping away at that keyboard. The instant you step into the world inside your head and transcribe it for the rest of us to see, you are a f*cking writer. DO NOT let anyone tell you otherwise. Being established does not mean that you have to have a book ready to purchase in order to gain the title. You are what you have always been. Own it!

Second, you do not have to be traditionally published in order for you to have validity or credibility as an author. Thanks to technology, we now have the opportunity to have our works published faster, and the ability to reach more readers in a matter of minutes.

Okay. Now that we’ve cleared that up… On with the show.

Like many Indie Authors, I hungrily researched others down their paths to publication and beyond. I read articles, watch videos, read books, et cetera. I have weighed the pros and cons and went full speed at self publication. The biggest reason? I wanted complete control over my manuscript and creative rights. Now, that’s not to say that when you traditionally publish, you don’t have a say-so in anything. That isn’t true. But, like with most things, your publishing house is investing in your work and like all investors, they want to have their hand at steering the ship. My story was 20 years in the making and I would be having none of that, sir.

The positive side to traditional publishing, though, is that you have someone else putting in the time and money on the finished product. Someone else does the marketing for you. They setup interviews, book signings, book conventions, and anything else that promotes your book. But you do have to do some dirty work yourself. Writing query letters and sending out your manuscript, your baby, to people who know nothing about you or has any care on how hard you worked to make it just right. You have to be able to deal with criticisms and rejections.

Alternately, with self publication, a ll of that time, effort, and money is coming from you. If you’re someone like me, money isn’t easy to come by and this stuff is not cheap at all. Thank goodness for CreateSpace, as I would still be scratching my head on how to get Charlee out on the shelf. When you’re outsourcing the services (as you should) like editing or cover art, it all adds up. You’re employing someone and you have to pay for their time. By the way, I love my cover artist, Lyn at LV Book Design.

#shamelessplug #loveplug

Here are two ladies that I follow on YouTube religiously. These are collaboration videos with these two routes.

 

 

 

 

 

Publishing a book is not just an art, it’s a business. No joke… Tax forms and everything. You learn it very quickly and I won’t lie, it is a tad bit discouraging at first. Don’t let it stop you from pushing that book baby from your literary vagina brain and sharing it with the rest of us. Go ahead. gestate that novel, post pics of it online like it’s the best thing you’ve ever done with your life (because it probably is), you stand atop that author platform you’ve built, holding up your pure paper creation by the spine, and make us roll our eyes at you wallowing in your accomplishment and smile with pride!

Dedicated to Depression

Good Evening, Love. I hope you’re well; fitted with sunshine and a belly full of love.

I have been plagued with the ever saggy-eyed, lifeless friend Insomnia tonight. As you probably know, creative types are creatures of the night, which is where Insomnia lives. What a life it is to be chained to a brick of mud; painting our own sight with the tap-tap-tapping of plastic squares on a machine. I wouldn’t change any of it.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my history of depression. It seems to be another well acquainted confidant of the night. I can remember having dark, self-loathing thoughts as a child. I don’t know if it was a learned thing, or a gift for being born on a rainy, December Thursday.

You see, I should really dedicate most of my published works (including this blog) to my dear depression. Who better to be the most in tune with their feelings (and so out of tune with everything else)? Whenever I feel a little defeated or some sort of discouragement, I remind myself of a moment that was so crucial and pivotal. The key turning point that pushed me in the direction that inevitably lead me to this keyboard… and you.

I have always hated popcorn or decorated plaster ceilings. The house I was living in at the time had lazy swoops like someone was in a hurry to fill an order. I remember this, because I spent about an hour staring at it from the peel and stick flooring of the bathroom. I had lost any happiness that existed in my life and I was ridiculing myself for not having the courage to end the rest of it. I had no drive, no ambition to do so. I had thought myself a burden to everyone I knew. I had sought love from other people to fill a void, only to be rejected and turned away. Why was I so hard to love? I certainly didn’t deserve any of it, but someone could have been generous. Someone could have taken pity on me and donated a bit of their love, because I certainly didn’t have any for myself.

I lied there; hopeless and a dry well for tears. An unlovable coward who hid her agenda from her father who was just three rooms away. Something strange happened, though.

“No one is here.” A phrase that I had repeated to myself over and over. Initially a thought that I was lonely and no one cared. But somehow, the tone in my head changed.

No one is here.

No one is here.

No one is here.

I am the only one. I am here. No one else is here.

A revelation pushed me up from that awful green flooring. It straightened my spine and I pulled myself up from the edge of the sink, staring at my puffy, blue eyes. I must’ve stood there, examining my reflection for several minutes.

It was only me. No one else pulled me up from the floor. No one else was staring back in my reflection. No one else that I had to face when I woke up in the morning. What the hell was I doing? Why was I destroying the only thing I had left? The only thing I ever really had. It was mine. It was me. Only me.

I realized that it wasn’t cowardice that kept me from leaving this Earth. It was me. The one who was fighting to survive. The one who knew I had so much more to do than letting that darkness consume me. Letting it win.

“I like your freckles,” I said to myself with a slight giggle. I felt awkward saying something kind to myself. After the years of critiquing and criticizing every single little thing, I wanted to reject it. But I couldn’t. It was the one phrase that was going to save me.

I turned the knob to the door, went to the kitchen and made dinner for my dad. A few months later, I took an offer to move out of the state with my employer. I needed to leave. I was stuck in a dismal bubble where doors to leave didn’t often appear. I found a really old copy of Charlee while I packed up boxes from my childhood. I ran into Mrs. Fritts later that day. The Universe spoke. So, I left to rehabilitate. To rebuild myself in a city that was going through its own revival. I wrote my novel and finished the first draft before my dad passed. I published a few months later.

So, I’ll say this with a wince. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you, sweet Depression. I should dedicate it all to you. But I owe it all to my relentless, brave, courageous, wild Spirit.

Why I stopped the sale of my book.

Happy Valentine’s day, my loves! It’s been a few weeks since my last post, but do not fret. I have been busy with getting this second book entirely finished and working on all the fun things that come with self publishing. I plan to write an article on what I have found to be the trials of self publishing and why I didn’t traditionally publish.

I digress…

I’m sure the title of this post has you a bit alarmed and you may think terrible things like sales were awful and I became discouraged. Quite the opposite, actually. I sold quite a few books in my first year which isn’t bad for having to do all the ground work yourself. As you have read and I have documented, 2016 & 2017 were years that forced my life to take routes that I wasn’t expecting. I was absent from here and much of my writing life (which hurt my heart so much).

While I was out fighting battles and waging war, something funny happened to my book.

You see, there are a number of ways to self publish, but one of the most convenient ways is to publish with the best online book seller out there; Amazon. CreateSpace is fantastic when it comes to helping people like me get the job done. I have several critique partners and other authors who have used this service and find it to be the best option for writers like me. Unlike B&N you don’t have to pay someone to read your stuff and anxiously await approval for it to hit the shelf. They print to order rather than printing a pile of books and killing the environment. Amazing, right? Well, sort of.

One of the biggest headaches with their site at the time was the downloadable template and the actual template in which they used to upload your book into their database. If you had already formatted your book, be prepared to format six additional times. I spent two weeks on BTC to clean her up just as the Internal Viewer suggested. It was tedious work, but I had come that far and wasn’t going to let this one tiny, meticulous act get in the way.

The good news? Enough reports forced Amazon to update their template. The bad news? Every single one of us who had already published with the old one were now out of format. The results were multiple blank pages, sentences in places they didn’t belong, chopped up paragraphs and chapters, et cetera. I didn’t find out until the beginning of January 2017 with a review that informed me there was an issue. When I asked my abused critique partner, she knew all about it and had assumed I did as well.

Whoops!

I immediately pulled the book off the shelf and have set it aside to correct the errors, but it looks like the damage was already done. Some of you have emailed or messaged me on Facebook asking where you could buy the book. I apologize that I did it without warning and I should have posted about it much sooner. Never the less, she will be back! Charlee is my baby! She’s just getting a face lift 🙂

In the meantime, I have revamped my website HERE. There, you can see the cover of my new book that’s coming out this year as well as the new cover for Charlee! Check it out!

Stay safe. Be well. Love with everything.

So, you want to be a writer…

Hey! So, you want to be a writer! Fantastic! Go you, you Wordy-Wordsmith-Wendy, you! Not only are you talented in the art of typing or jiggling a stick around on a piece of paper, but you create elaborate pictures in someone’s mind and take them on amazing, heart-wrenching adventures! Hooray for no commercials! You and the Thesaurus are in a long-term, heavily involved relationship and everyone knows it. Congratulations!

But hold up, you hopeless romantic day-dreamer! Sure, you have fallen in love with a writing career and have often fantasize being stuck in a mahogany study, filled with walls of your favorite authors (and maybe a few of your own pieces on display). Possibly including an antique type writer, a bubble pipe, tweed coat, and horn-rimmed glasses to profoundly state your chosen profession. Nerd <3! I’m sure that novel is going to be a best seller one day, but to obtain things of this magnitude, have you thought about all the logistics? Have you thought about the hard work, long hours, and what it will take to force yourself to write every day, even when you’re eyes start to cross at 6,000 words? Editing can be a rough process. Can you do it yourself, or are you emotionally stable enough to pay someone else to critique you? Be honest. Do you know what genre you’re aiming for? Do you know what a beta reader is? What about your marketing skills?

The truth is: The writing is probably the easiest part. Especially if writing is a natural talent for you. It won’t be easy if you’re an introvert. You’ll have to learn how to market not just your work, but yourself as an author. Unfortunately, it’s all a business. You have to sell your art to people. Even if you only ever dream to just write purely for the  entertainment of others. If you wish to publish, you have to determine if you and your work should go through traditional publishing, or self publish. Either way, you’re going to suffer through a lot of rejection, criticism, and disappointment. Be prepared, my darlings.

All of those things only make you a better writer, though. Never take critiques personally. Accept and build upon them to make your work better; to make you better at what you love to do. No one ever writes their first piece and have it fly off the shelves the instant it prints on a page. You will struggle, and you will need to keep your expectations low.

Do not let this discourage you. EVER. I will promise you this: When you receive your first amazing review from a complete stranger, you will instantly feel that validation high. And you will want to keep striving. It will be a glorious rainbow built on coffee, lack of sleep, stress, and your fantasmical talent. It is totally worth every single bit.

Keep going. Strive on, you nerdiful pencil artists. Happy New Year! XO

Bizarre Prosperity

I don’t know how to describe the past two years, honestly. The title of this blog is all that I could come up with. It’s true, I haven’t been doing so well with the upkeep of this author blog, but that’s because my life has been evolving so dramatically since April of last year. I have grown so much as a person (as told by my previous blog). I have been dragged through the mud quite a bit, but I can tell you that my viewpoint has shifted since shedding that old skin and rising into a phoenix. Whenever I get shoved back down, I have my moment of self pity, but it is quickly over taken by thoughts of progress. Looking for every possible route or every possible outcome from that moment forward. There’s that word. Forward.

Somewhere along this road, I realized that the only person who would be holding me back in times like these, was me. I would wallow and induce episodes of self loathing. I was the one making my life miserable. And somehow, I figured it out. It dawned on me that life is honestly too short to short yourself. I want what I want because they mean something to me. I have to put in the work to get it.

About a decade ago, I had dreamed of living in a city where there was always movement. I wanted to be taken in by its current and move with it, breathe with it, thrive. I had spent my early years learning the value of everything I’m given. Everything in a much slower pace where people were complacent on staying right where they were because it never changed. But I didn’t want that. I wanted change. The curious little girl who stood in those woods behind my house and monitored plants and the earth as it changed with the seasons. I understood then that change was inevitable. Change is as inevitable as death. You can’t choose to die. You can’t choose to change. And while others are so happy with shielding their eyes and missing out on change, I craved it.

I have gone back to Kentucky several times since my move back to the South. Probably more so than any year I lived in Michigan. Each time, though it’s comforting to go back to some place that is familiar and you feel love, I don’t really feel like I belong there. Don’t get me wrong, it will always be home, but I feel somewhat like I’ve outgrown it. I worry that I may not ever feel comfortable with the idea of going back permanently. My gypsy spirit kicks into overdrive with the mere thought.

So, here I am. Living in another large city where no one here is from here. I rarely encounter Atlanta natives. Everyone has their own stories of why they are here, in this moment, and it’s all because of change. That must be why it feels more like home.

 

Octo-pied

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A series of events have been keeping me away from draining these toxic thoughts onto a machine and out for the world to see. But that isn’t to say I haven’t been thinking about it. Everyday, I draw up an outline of things I want to write about (blog or book), and every day, I suffer through the hours only to have exhaustion seep into my bones when the time comes. Everything is off balance and I keep telling myself, “Such is the way of life.”

Well.

It sucks.

Thought 1: I was in the book store last week, obtaining new, printed friends, when I caught the conversation of a couple in their early twenties. The girl complained of the book formatting and questioned the authors authenticity because of spacing rules.

What the fuck? Why?

Why would it matter if the author was authentic?

This really bothered me.

Thought 2: My boyfriend and I moved here four years ago without any family nearby. He lost his job just recently. To make sure we would be okay, I took on a later shift in order to gain some extra hours at work. I’m so tired.

Thought 3: I really want to spend more time on my book. No joke, it hurts my heart.

Thought 4: Why the hell am I so damned attracted to cute boys with pretty words and creamy rebuttals? Dear gawd, I can hold a crush.

Thought 5: Did I take a shower? *sniff*

Thought 6: I hate Michigan winters. I need my humid sunshine back. I also need to go to San Diego.

Thought 7: How much is the airfare to San Diego?

Thought 8: *sniff* Did I shower?!

Thought 9: I wonder how I am going to die. Will I know it’s coming? Will I be content with how my life went? If I choked on this grape and died, how would I feel about my life and the people I’ve shared it with? Will I have enough oxygen left in my brain to run through this checklist? Or will I be thinking, “Damn. Of all the near misses, it was a fucking grape that took me down…”

One thing I will probably regret is not having more… yeah, keeping that one to myself lol

I have been a little occupied…