I can’t even find my OWN blog!

Yesterday, I gave in to the impulse and checked my stats – and discovered one person liked my last post – then I had a moment of insecurity and thought: Wait, did I accidentally click the like tab on my own blog???  So today, I came back in and looked for my blog…and I couldn’t FIND IT!!!  I had to log in to check it, because I was up to page 27 on blogs about writing and I didn’t see mine…EEK!

So now the question is: If I can’t find it, how on earth is anyone else supposed to???  I’m getting increasingly convinced that I clicked my own like button and that’s just plain embarrassing!  I guess I’ll have to be a little more religious with this.

My main purpose of starting this blog is that I’m a new indie writer and while I’m comfortable with technology, it seems like there are new things out there all the time that I am not comfortable using to publicize and promote my books.  For instance, FACEBOOK – I’m not comfortable with that platform at all and I’m resisting the urge the use it.

Why am I not comfortable?  Because I don’t want everyone in the world having access to my page.  I don’t want random posts and nine million friend requests and all of the other headaches coming into my world.  I write.  I have a life.  I don’t want to be completely obsessed with who’s saying what, when, and my obligation to respond.  So for now, I will not be on Facebook, and I will be looking for other platforms and posting them here for other writers with the same hangups as I have.

But first, you’ll have to find my blog…or at the very least, I’ll have to find it.  And don’t tell anyone that I liked myself by accident.

The solitary life of an indie author

I wrote my book alone with my faithful dog at my side.  I read it myself and edited, edited, edited and when I couldn’t take it anymore, I gave it to two beta readers who were honest yet positive.  Then I bit the bullet and self published.  The frustration of agonizing over the plot, dialogue, pacing and characters was over!  I was thrilled…until….

The new frustration settled in:  Sales slowed so I changed my cover art. They’re holding steady now.

The next frustration came soon after:  I’m still selling books, but I’m not getting any reviews on Amazon.com.  So first, I wanted the book on there, then I wanted some sales, now I want reviews – is there no end to my demands as an author?  It’s actually rather stressful, at least if you’re working in an office and doing a crappy job someone says something like “Hey, useless!  Are you going to pitch in here?” or if you’re doing a great job you get compliments and maybe even a raise.  If you’re an independent (indie) author, you’re in your office at 3:00 am wondering why nobody has left a review.

So you fret.  Maybe nobody liked it.  Maybe they’re too nice to give you a bad review.  Maybe they were raised with the good old “if you don’t have something nice to say…” thing.  So you sneak onto the discussion boards and type in the name of your book to see if anyone has posted anything there.  When that proves fruitless, you lurk there, reading horrible, nasty things that people have written to each other and then your new obsession becomes: “PLEASE don’t let that person review my book!”  So you shut down the computer and trudge back to bed, knowing that tomorrow you will check your sales, check for a review, and then no doubt discover that every frustration leads to a new one you hadn’t thought of yet.

These frusrtations are not bad things, they just require a cognitive shift.  I have to stop waiting for feedback and just get on with it.  Waiting is difficult, but I’m 32,000 words into a sequel already.  If I wait for someone to review the first one, I won’t have the second one done in a reasonable amount of time.  I have had to shift from deadlines for other people’s projects, to deadlines for my own.  I’ll contine to flip on the computer in the middle of the night to check for reviews, but I’ll have to remember that there are people reading it, and for now, no reviews are good reviews.

Writing the Ridiculous

Sometimes I’m afraid I’m boring.  I have to get a character from point A to point B and I just pound it out.  Then I read it and yawn.  So I begin the agonizing that’s so much a part of my writing (see, if I enjoyed it all the time, I’d quit my day job and I have bills to pay.  It’s better to keep me tortured).  I keep a notebook next to the couch.  I write point A at the top of the page and point B at the bottom.  In the middle I think of as many ridiculous things as I possibly can and list them.  I do this while watching television.  Inevitably, one of them strikes me as the one.  For instance:

Arienne Cerasola (my main character) needs to find clues about where someone has gone.  She breaks into his house to do it.  She can’t break in and not get caught – that would be too easy.  So someone has to catch her.  I chose the person (the father of the one she’s looking for) and listed that on the bottom of the page.

Here’s the middle:

  1. She falls through the window and lands on him
  2. He’s in the bathtub when she falls in
  3. He hears her climbing through the window and knocks her on the head
  4. He hears her and knocks her on the head with a frozen turkey breast
  5. He shoots her
  6. He shoots her with a water gun
  7. He shoots her with a water cannon that’s loaded with a memory charm
  8. He shoots her, the water cannon has a truth charm that’s somewhat defective
  9. She gets in, but hears him in the house and hides under an invisibilty spell
  10. She sets off the security alarm when she breaks in
  11. She falls through the window and gets tangled in an electric cord
  12. While she’s hiding under an invisibility spell, he’s in the room waiting for her to break the spell
  13. While she’s hiding and he’s waiting someone else breaks in

If I don’t get anything I like, I put it away and try it the next night.  This time, the most ridiculous option was number 8.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

 

Clicking the button

I finished my book after agonizing and agonizing over the smallest details.  I read, re-read, edited, listened to it in my car, edited again, then spent DAYS on the cover design.  I sat down at my computer with one goal in mind – upload that baby to Amazon.  I got half way through the process and chickened out.  Two more weeks went by, and I repeated the process over and over until finally I clicked the button.  I was relieved and that night, I slept soundly for the first time in weeks.

Why was it so stressful?  Because it was part of me.  It was a book I had lived and breathed for years.  It saved me from fights with my family members because I took out my frustrations in the scenes in the book instead of on my family.  It released me from stressful situations because I wrote my way out of difficult situations.  It gave me hope that I was accomplishing something when I worried that I had spent another lazy Sunday on my computer – in my pajamas.  It had bits and pieces of my real life woven into the fabric of the story.  There’s the vacation we took, and one of the photos from that trip became the cover.

It was agonizing to worry that I could have done more with it, that I should have added something or deleted something because when I finally clicked the “publish” button, I ended that chapter of my life.  I had gone from being an “aspiring” writer to being an “actual” writer.  I had put part of my life out into the universe, and there would be no further revisions.  My own history suddenly had a whole new completed chapter.  I feared the sense of loss on the other side of that click, but actually, it freed me in ways I’m still discovering.

My book went “live” the following day, and I didn’t check it until I got home from work.  I worked the whole day at a completely different job, relishing my little secret that I had a book for sale.  I didn’t have a book to edit, revise, or write – I had one FOR SALE.  When I got home, I rushed to the computer just to see what my book looked like.  I giggled, I sighed, I laughed, I felt totally elated in a way I hadn’t in a very long time.  Then I looked at the reports and discovered I’d sold ONE copy!  In less than 24 hours, my little book was being read by some stranger and I hoped that I would take that person, whoever it was, on a bit of a journey and make him or her smile once or twice.  Now, that was magical!

It was so fulfilling, that the following weekend I started another book.  I’m half way through it, and discovering that I write because I entertain myself by doing it.  I write as therapy.  I write for me, and if someone reads it and enjoys it, then I’ve written for that person as well, and what could be better than that?

Hello world!

On a typical Sunday, you can find me on my couch, with my dog next to me, pounding out my next book.  I write contemporary fantasy and other fiction.  Sometimes I tell people I write because it’s cheaper than therapy.  I can write my characters into stressful situations and with a few keystrokes get them out again and into the next crisis.  That is what life is all about, isn’t it?

Since I have a very traditional job that pays my bills and gives me a decent lifestyle, I publish my books independently.  Who knows, maybe some day I’ll sell out to a publishing house, but it’s doubtful.  I secretly fear I’m way to independent to work for someone else.  Besides, I’m old enough to know that when you have a job you like that leaves you time to pursue your hobbies, it’s too good a deal to give up.

As a self-published author (and yes, I do say that with a certain pride), I hope to create a blog here that can help all of you other aspiring writers to take the leap and find your literary voice.  From what I’ve been told, we’re only going this way once so we might as well jump in and do it our way!