I was stuck. Lying in bed, I had given up on the horror story. This was worse than writer’s block. I needed an idea. Then it struck me. I got out of bed and went to the office to write it down. All the major points of the story were there. It was incredible. All that was left was to write it. I woke early and started typing. The several thousand words I wrote that morning were the most I had written in one sitting at that point. I was so satisfied. And excited. I was already passionate about writing, but this was electric. I couldn’t wait to sit at my desk again. This went on for about a month. Endless ideas and words flowing. I felt the story as I wrote. I would compare it to a runner’s high, but I found it every day.
Until I approached the end. But this time I approached the familiar problem a different way. I went back to the horror story. And guess what. I got unstuck. It didn’t take long to finish writing the first draft, and it wasn’t long, but what turned out to be a novella was my first finished manuscript. And finishing it gave me the momentum I needed to finish my other story.
I’ve always been able to visualize stories in my head. Original ones from my mind or from stories I’ve read. One of my earliest memories of visualizing stories is looking out the backseat window as my parents drove down the road. We were on a stretch called the ridge, since bypassed by a highway. The ridge alternates between steep drops and hills. Both topographic features were heavily wooded. As we wound around the curves, between trees I saw a battleground filled with witches and wizards, casting and dodging spells. This was late 90s, before Harry Potter made it to the screens.
In college, I would start writing a story in class and never finish it. One day in class I started writing a horror story about a little boy who murdered his parents. That was all I had. I worked on this for a few periods before giving it up, moving on to another one.
The urge to write hit me at home one day, and the horror story floated to the top of my mind. I hadn’t kept what I’d previously written, so I started from scratch on my laptop. Worked on it for about a week. But I didn’t delete it. I added to it sparingly over the course of a few years, during which time I added parts about Satanic possession. I still didn’t know where I was going with it though.
Fast forward through a bunch of life changing events, including another college degree, a move and depression. I decided to give writing a legitimate shot. I picked my story back up and worked on it. Serious writing. Dedicated time. Then I hit a wall.
I want to recap my self-publishing journey. Where I’ve been, where I am and where I’m going.
May 15, 2019 was a crazy day. After dealing with a self-publishing nightmare that delayed my novel being published, I got word that it was live on Amazon about 45 minutes before I had to leave for work.
I had to shower, text friends & family who’d been asking me about the book and try to send out social media updates and a blog post. I rushed and got it all done in time for work, but I felt behind all day. I didn’t breathe a sigh of relief until I was home that night. That was the end (at least to this point) of my self-publishing journey.
What I want to do now is recap where I’ve been throughout this process, from the beginning. Not only for you, but for myself. To take the time and really think about where I’ve been, where I am and where I’m going.
As for where I am now, I read Little Big Brother and think it could have been written better. But after sending it to the editor, then going through it once more, I was finished with it. And it was done with me. A lot of writers recommend taking time off from a manuscript after each round of edits, just to clear your mind so you can come back with fresh eyes. Writing a book, creating something from scratch, I could still be making changes to LBB if I allowed myself. I could tweak it to death. But at that point, it was as good as it was going to get.
Part 2 of my self-publishing journey will be posted Wednesday.
This is what I feared. Something going wrong at the last minute. My debut novel was scheduled for release today, but that is in jeopardy.
This is what I feared. Something going wrong at the last minute. My debut novel was scheduled for release today, but that is in jeopardy. I received this email from Amazon last night:
We checked your files and found issues you need to fix before your book can be published on KDP:
Resize your front cover so that the image or background on the front cover extends far enough beyond the edge. Add an extra 0.125″ (3.2 mm) along the top, bottom, and sides of your cover. This prevents manufacturing issues when the cover is trimmed.
Resize your back cover so that the image or background on the back cover extends far enough beyond the edge. Add an extra 0.125″ (3.2 mm) along the top, bottom, and sides of your cover. This prevents manufacturing issues when the cover is trimmed.
But I ordered my proof months ago and it’s perfect. As a self-published author, Amazon doesn’t give the option to list print books for pre-order, which would have helped me avoid this problem. Little Big Brother has been advertised for May 13 from the beginning, and one thing I struggled with was when to actually click publish on Amazon. It can take up to 2 days for a book to be made available after clicking publish. Click too early and it’s released before the advertised date, meaning it’s not synced with your promotion and could cost you sales and rankings depending on how early. Click too late and it’s not available when you said it would be.
I’ve contacted Amazon and received this response:
As you are okay with the proof copy received about bypassing this error I’ve reached out to our Technical team to investigate this issue. I’ll contact you with more information within 2-3 business days.
If you’re a writer, you’ve probably heard of Pitch Wars. Or maybe not. I didn’t discover it until earlier this year. Anyway, I applied to be a mentee this year, meaning a published author would mentor me as I got ready to publish. Query letters, synopsis, draft rewrite, everything. However, the October 12th selection deadline passed without a whisper coming may way. I didn’t even get a request in their Twitter contest. Rejection never felt so good.
I feel liberated now that the deadline has passed. I’ve been struggling to work on my next project with this one lingering in my mind. But now I’m free. It’s free. The self-publishing journey continues.