I’m not sure why I don’t put more in here about my writing, especially since it’s such a significant part of my life. I think I’ve wanted to try and balance my interactions with the world in a one-to-one sense (like emails) and a broader sense (like Facebook or blog posts).
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that there’s a rather high level of anxiety associated with the latter. Posting to a broader audience feels like it’s too one-sided. Like you get to know this about me, but I don’t know what’s going on with you. It’s like you’re cheating.
But I can’t say that’s why. If I had to pick something it’s likely Imposter Syndrome. Like I’m not sure when I’m going to feel like a real writer. I had a short story published in an anthology magazine, The Stringybark Stories. So everybody reading this, go buy that and write a nice review for them. David’s an awesome guy and does some really good work with Stringybark, and more folks need to tell him that.
I entered a short story Crazy Witch Woman and while I didn’t get into the Top 3 prize winners, I did get a “Highly Commended” and included in the published book. So that’s pretty cool. Wifeage gave me a kiss and told me she was happy to be the first to call me a “Published Author”.
I rather liked that.
So I laboured over what to do with the book I’d written. It turns out it’s bloody hard to get people to read it and give you feedback. I sent it out to over 10 people and got actual feedback from 2. 20% is not a great rate. But I also worked really hard on my rewrites and after finishing the sequel, I went back and applied the knowledge I’d gained of the characters to the first book. I really felt like they’d come alive in the second novel and I wanted the love that had grown to be applied to them retroactively.
I think it worked. But I’m not sure. I’ve since gotten more feedback but it’s insanely disheartening when NOBODY* talks about how much they like the book and instead talk about it’s problems. And they’re all different problems. Some of them are even kind of genre-specific and I wonder if these people just don’t like reading thrillers.
* Not nobody. Family Matty really quite enjoyed it, and that was the very first draft. Which, to be fair, was not a very good book. But he helped me heaps with what could make it better and I’ll always have much love for him for that.
But my goal was to self-publish it by the end of the year. I’ve written these dystopian, sci-fi, speculative fiction thrillers under a pen name, one that I’ve built all of the online profiles for, and my plan was to finish the two other novels I’m working on (crime thriller and coming-of-age drama) and try and pitch those to publishers/agents and maybe get traditionally published.
Not that the plan was always to get The Council onto Amazon via self-publishing. I queried some agents, you betcha, but they all turned me down with either ignoring me or saying “Yeah, not really my thing.” Which is fair. I don’t know what’s wrong with it, I know it’s not for everybody, but it really seems to put some people off. Which is hard to hear, because *I* sure like it. I liked writing it, I liked reading it later.
So the plan evolved into just taking this one series and putting it on Amazon. Some brilliant advice I got from a great guy I know, one of those author-types, said start with the first book for sale, then tease the sequel, then when the sequel drops make the first book FREE to hook readers and tease the third one. I think it’s a goer, for sure. I’m just wondering if anybody will even purchase the book in the first place.
That will be something I’ll have to work on. Getting people to read it, then leave a review (a good one, preferably) to boost interest, and maybe I’ll get lucky and catch the algorithm in the right mood. Heh.
Anyway, the first book is up on Amazon, but it’s not finished yet so I’ve set it to “draft”. I’m still gathering feedback and some of it is so good that I can’t officially publish it until it’s ready. When your 15-yo daughter blazes through it and takes notes in the margins and draws pictures of the characters, you know ignoring that type of thing is for people with No Soul.
So if you want to read the 7th draft before the 8th (and hopefully FINAL) draft, and have your valuable insights calculated and most-definitely, not-at-all ignored, then drop me an email. Otherwise, just wait patiently, I’ll update here when it’s ready.