This was a long month. A long, long month. So much that I barely understand the month as a concept. I have this believe that time passed, that I entered the month and exited it— but only because there’s this calendar on my digital thingys.
Physically, this year has been rough. Extra rough. That means mental stress, emotional doldrums, all that crap. Let’s just say I’ve had more sore days than perfectly okay days, and use that to infer the following:
My writing has sucked this year. (Post Note: Being 2017)
It’s more complicated than physical elements. In the wake of Continue Online, my wife and I have been trying out a lot of different tactics. Some advertisement, some tied to Patreon, and none are at the same level or higher. This is in part due to my own inability to focus—and perhaps the following truth.
I don’t want to be a serial writer. I want to be a book writer.
These two objectives are opposed in a lot of ways. I’m not the only person to take note of this—and some of it has to do with reader interaction. Readers don’t interact with book writers as frequently as they do with serial writers. It’s the forum. It’s the website setting. It’s the Amazon screening.
But the sheer reach and money return is in the books. So, if I want to make this a full time gig, get a return on all the money spent on covers, audio books, and advertisement – then I need to follow money to an extent – and I’m crap at that, because I also just want to write.
But if I’m posting it online, one chapter at a time, it’s not the same as publishing it. The goal I’ve had since I was a derpy little child is to write books. Books. Not fantasy blogs.
Okay. Let’s peel back a second into sane and logical. Then I need to line this nonsense up with the idea of November as a whole.
November, as a month—has always been one in which I push myself to write consistently rather than in spurts. I like the Write Month challenge thing—even though this year I didn’t sign up, didn’t register, didn’t shove my content into a box and say “agree with me passionless machine”—I did make it. Whoopie.
Full time writers, indie side—border between one book a year and flailing, and a book a month, with possible mental issues. I can’t do a book a month. I just can’t—but the 50K words a month? That I can do, once I find something to glom onto.
Which, is where I’m going with all this. I have a new project that I think I can keep in my head. It worked for Nov—but then I had to deal with other issues, like the first book.
Book 1 in this series is technically unpublished, which is good. It gives me the same positive angle I had with Continue Online, the ability to go back and edit details as the overplot comes in line.
Serial writers can sort of do that.
Authors can’t really do it at all.
Now, while I was pounding keys for A Liar Called’s second book—I spent a lot of spare time doing my day job, reading more novels, and wondering what the magic combination of imaginary numbers is to make this all work.
I mean, there isn’t one. Anyone who tells you do “do 1, 2, 3, 4, and if 3 comes out like an E, skip to 6, then back to 2, 3, 4, and…”
It’s all a lie. Every indie author is in a different place in the real world. They have different connections. Hell, half the job is finding out what other people have tried, and seeing if that fits into the wild world of sports that you’re navigating through. Most of 2017 has been exactly that.
But all that had to be pushed to one side as I concentrated on dealing with the first book in this series, the gaps that were noted, and self doubt.
A Liar Called is a cross between portal fantasy and apocalyptic settings. We’ve got heavy “video game” influence—but no pop culture. I detest pop culture in books. It’s lazy and limited.
I shipped it to the editor. The editor was like “eh, not your best work” and I sobbed internally and slashed my wrists a few times with a dull spoon to get the feelings out. Okay, not really—but I did stop to take stock. Feedback is feedback, if I agree or not.
So the question became what went wrong, what do I do better, and how do I fix the stuff that isn’t out yet? Is this justification for more serial focus and less publish focus? Honestly—Kindle Unlimited really screws with my head on this process.
And even talking about Kindle Unlimited makes me want to veer into an entirely different ramble. But no! I shall not! This is about November, reaching my writing goals, and needing to drink heavily. Erm, well the first two for sure.
I made my goal. I made a plan for fixing book 1 after book 2 releases. These are going to be shorter books but will probably end up being serials until I get 3 or 4 typed out of a 9 book series. Those were things I figured out.
I’m going to pause here before this rant, about one simple fact (that I reached my first goal) gets too long.
In order to be a full time indie author I need to do more, or do better, or ideally both—but first I need to be able to produce content I’m happy with. November, in that regard, was successful.
Okay. That’s the most complicated part.
Now, as a follow up to this entire mess—for anyone who doesn’t know my works and is just here, I don’t know, clicking stuff and killing time—then you should realize I try to challenge myself as a writer. It’s not purely about word count. It’s not purely about tone, but it’s about experimenting with style, character voice, and fixing old errors.
With my latest project I’m trying to make a character who hides. He does this by donning disguises He despises who he was, before the world went to hell, as weak and barely holding on. He doesn’t like other people or relying on them. Such a character can get wildly out of control without goals.
So how do you make him relatable? Well, you can and can’t. Give him relatable reasons for motivation. Give him insights into other characters—which I’m trying to make sure stand out more than any of my prior works. The side characters—not the insights. All of those factors slowed me down a bit because I’m working to evolve as a writer, or learn new skills—not simply accept where I was.
Even with those extra hurdles, placed on me, by me, I still met the goal. If I can find a nice balance between all these styles of writing—because I loved how The Fiasco came out—and still keep the emotional depth of Continue Online—I think I’ll have figured out a good style to make work.
Wrapping back to my point prior, staying a serial lets me play around all I want, get feedback on the go, while honing my skills to reach that eventual author living. It’s all about skill building.