The Failed 90 vs The Successful 14

As many of you may have remembered, about a month ago I wanted to try a 90-Day Writing Challenge where the basic premise was to hammer out a novel from beginning to end in 90-Days! Many of you probably felt like me and said “90-Days is NOT enough time!” Well, I’m here to tell you it could actually end up being TOO MUCH time!

When I began the challenge there was another tremendous Indie Author who had already begun to write yet another masterpiece. While dithering away on my novel I watched him and marveled at his speed! Garrett Robinson (if you don’t know him I suggest you go Google him IMMEDIATELY) was cranking out 2K+ words every HOUR! My mind was blown! At the end of day 17 of his marathon sprinting he had written 90K+ words and completed his novel! Yeah, in 17 days!

I immediately set out to challenge myself to beat him! If he could write a novel of that many words in just 17 days, so could I. My first thought, however, was that the 90-Day Challenge book idea I had would not cut it. I needed something I was so immediately passionate about I could write as much as 2K an hour. I was invested in The Prisoners, and I still am, but for this I knew I needed something different, unique, and just NEW!

The idea to write a Pirate’s Tale came to me rather suddenly and without much effort. When I thought of it and then the title I was hooked. And I figure if it’s a story where I’m hooked and just itching to write it then it must be GOLD! I went right to work on it. I gave myself just two days to outline it. On Day 01 I wrote a Simple Outline, but not just of the first book, oh no, this story was much too big and well plotted out in my mind for that. Instead, I write the Simple Outline for the ENTIRE series! That’s a 6-Book outline all done in one day. I then decided some of the characters I’d be writing about would be far too interesting to just leave them with a B or C story in my main series, so I went ahead and did Simple Outlines for multiple Trilogy story ideas I had. On Day 02 I took just book one and did a more detailed outline. One that would show me an estimate of how many chapters I’d need to tell the story. I wanted to do an even 40 chapters. I’m here to report I hit that 40 Chapters in stride!

After those 2 days (not counted towards my 14 days of actual writing by the way) I then went to work writing. I wrote upwards of 2.2K every hour long sprint I did. For the first 10 days at least, I was on fire. I’ll admit the final 4 days were a bit harder to get through and I cut my average word count by nearly half towards the end. But I wrote 39 chapters!

Why 39, if I said I had 40? Well, the 40th Chapter, while written, needs to be voted on. I wanted the final chapter to be an Epilogue. I had 3 great ideas for it and wasn’t willing to abandon any of them. So, my idea is to have them all written and then let my Beta-Readers vote on which one they like the best! This means at the moment I have 42 chapters, but once I eliminate two of them, I’ll be left with my even 40 and I did it ALL in exactly 14 days!

So forget the 90-Day Challenge. Be motivated like I was to write your story. Find the passion and drive that courses through your veins so much you just have to write the story down or you’ll explode. I believe every story you write should come with this kind of passion behind it otherwise you’ll spend years on it. Spending years on anything will eventually lose its luster. Don’t spend years on your story. Don’t beat it and whip it till there’s nothing left but remnants of that once amazing story idea you had.

Let it pour forth from you at the time you have it. Get it all down. Then walk away from it for at least a week. Let it rest there with all the typos and grammar mistakes. Then go back to it with fresh eyes. Do some self-editing, clean it up as best you can, and ship it off to a handful of trusted Beta-Readers. You’ll be glad you did! And as always, KEEP WRITING!

Self-Publishing Nightmares! Pt. 2

True, there have been and there will be many more nightmares to come as I continue to march forward on this journey, but let me try to tell a little about “Why?” It’s an important question, I’m sure I’m not the first author to answer it and I won’t be the last, but here goes my answer.

“Because I can.” Might sound too easy to say but it’s the truth of it. I remember a time, WAY WAY BACK, (and no I’m not as old as all that…) when Indie Publishing/Self-Publishing was a thing, but it wasn’t something many writers ventured into. It was a rather unstable and unsure market. In many respects it still is, but the point I’m trying to make is, as unstable as it is it’s much more accessible to more people. Even someone like me. At the time, and again today, you had to have money to do it and if you didn’t, you couldn’t, and that was that.

Today, we have a much easier (and if you know how to navigate it right) freer way of reaching more people. YouTube, Instagram, Periscope, Twitch, and the list goes on and on of Free Platforms where literally ANYONE can share ANYTHING at any given moment and build a fan base. The days of face-to-face meeting and licking envelopes are over! High times are here! But of course if you don’t know how it can be tough. Or if you aren’t unique enough as the next person you may begin to doubt your own “mark” you’d like to leave. The trick that works for me is to worry about myself.

I’m not gonna be a “John Green” nor am I completely sure I want to be. He’s got a responsibility to “produce” for his fans in ways I’m just not capable of doing. I don’t have the energy and the stamina of most of the YouTube personalities, so I never went that route. I am doing it my way, quiet, reserved, and staying true to what I know I can do and how I know I can do it.

You have to find a groove that works for you. This is true in writing and in networking. If you aren’t prepared, or ready, or sure of yourself in any way, your readership or audience will know it and you’ll get nowhere.

Now I feel I’m in a position where I can answer some of those important questions: Am I ready, prepared, and sure of what I want to do? The answer to all of them is an assertive, MAYBE. I don’t think it’s good to be 100% about anything because you don’t leave yourself room for growth and you may get a bit full of yourself and that can prove disastrous as well. I like that I’ve upgraded from terrified to put my writing out there to “maybe” okay with putting it out there and growing a fanbase of some kind.

Where are you in your growth process? Are you ready? If you don’t know yet, that’s okay too! I mean, I’m still growing. What I’m working on right now I’ll see through to the “end” but that doesn’t mean I can’t embark on something completely different or start an entirely new writing idea. The key is I’m open to whatever comes my way.

With all of this said, in the coming weeks I hope to have progress reports on my currently open projects:

1. Twin Crossing, Parts 1 & 2 will be combined into a Print Only version this Summer and will include 10 Illustrations!

2. The Prisoners, a stand-alone book in the Book of Snow Series (80-100K words).

3. Unnatural Things Anthology, a collection of the work I am currently offering for free on my website, but will be in Print form!

I’ll be holding my feet to the fire and expecting all of you to make sure it’s always burning! I got work to do! So let’s do it!

Self-Publishing Nightmares! Pt. 1

I never thought my first official blog on my newly minted Website would be on the subject of failure, but life is strange that way.

I recently, and admittedly, hurriedly, decided to dive into murky self-publishing waters. I did it on my own, consulting little to no “self-help” books or videos on the subject. I just kept telling myself “I got this.” Well, low-and-behold, I did not. In fact, I found myself drowning — quickly. My first face-palm moment came with the discovery of the ISBN. A mysterious entity I’ll admit I never gave much thought to. I mean, yeah it’s how a book is recognized and cataloged and SCANNED for Christ’s Sake whenever I purchase a book, but so what? HA! Turns out you not only NEED a bloody ISBN if you intend on self-publishing, but you need one for every TYPE you intend to sell.

For those of you who were like me at this point in the research phase and saying to yourselves “well, what the hell does that mean?” Simple: Paperback, Mass Paperback, Hard Cover, and yes, even E-Book (unless it’s exclusive to Amazon and you use their free ASIN), each VERSION needs its own unique ISBN. This means if you intend on writing just ONE book you’re looking at needing AT LEAST three ISBNs. And God FORBID you want to write a Trilogy or a Series of 4 or more? You’re looking at needing quite a bit of ISBNs then. Oh, and did I mention each one, sold individually, costs $125?!?! Their “best selling” package is a set of 10 for $295 or you could just be a baller and buy 100 for $500+ (a steal if you do the math…). Just wait, there’s MORE! Oh, did you think it would be that easy? Yeah, no. The ISBN is just the number, you’re forgeting that little thing UNDER the number called a “bar code”? Yeah, that thing costs ANOTHER $25 each! You can, of course, buy those in bulk, as well. So, altogether, having not thought this through AT ALL, I quickly realized how royally screwed I was.

And now, to make an already long story even longer, after deciding to go the E-Book route and NOT make it available through any major retailers, exactly one month after our fumbling release I caved and went through CreateSpace to make my first ever self-published book available on Amazon. Only to then discover even more issues. Formatting, design, formatting again! Disasters abound, mistakes were definitely made, vast amounts of lessons were learned. But I am not discouraged. In fact, seeing my Author Page on Amazon only makes me want to continue writing and at a faster pace, to produce more work, so I don’t just have one book listed under my name, but a few!

What projects am I working on you may be asking? Read on my friends, read on…

The Cane: A Twin Crossing Series (#1.2) Summer Release

The Prisoners (Book of Snow Series, #2.1) 2018 Release

Unnatural Things Web Series (FREE) Updated Daily

That last one will eventually be put into a lovely Anthology Collection where I will pick the best of the best, sprinkle in some Short Stories, and put it up on Amazon as well.

So, there you have it folks. Writing happening! And I hope to fill you in often (perhaps weekly) on how many words I’ve written, characters I’ve killed, and lives I’ve hopefully influenced to follow along and write with me!