Non-Music Friday/NEWS.

Instead of doing my typical Friday Music post, I’m going to say that MY NEXT ENTRY WILL BE MY COVER/BLURB REVEAL.

Hardly anyone knows what my book is about. After my next entry . . . you all will. 🙂

I’d like to say that I’ll be on here more frequently after it, but I likely won’t be for a little while. I’m currently in the midst of an epic battle with my book. It’s putting up a good fight against my brain, but I will prevail. Once I come out victorious, I will get back to all the other things in life.

Be patient with me during the latter point of this entry, and be on the lookout for the former.

🙂

Self-publishing.

Yeah. I’m doing it.

I know, I know. I said I was going to attempt querying and do the whole shebang (get an agent and we all lived happily ever after with a picket fence and 2.4 dogs, er, kids).

Anyone who’s been following my blog for a little while knows I flopped back and forth about it (don’t we all?). I spent so much time weighing the pros and cons of each – carefully and meticulously – until all cons blurred with pros and pros were cons and cons were . . . um . . . what’s going on? That was basically how it went in my head for a very long time, so I told my husband to make a decision on it. I was content with that for about a day or two, and then the mental-flopping began again. I didn’t want to blog about it because I wanted to get it sorted in my head.

I realized, after speaking with so many people, that this was a decision only I could make.

I started looking into cover artists just for curiosities sake and found one that I LOVED.

For about four days, I did nothing but flop around mentally afterward. I mulled over the word author. I’ve said it before that I will NOT call myself one unless the word aspiring is in front of it. Not yet.

One night, I looked up the definition of it. I kind of had a moment. There was no ‘traditionally published’ in the definition, of course. For one of those days, I contemplated over the word – what it meant, what it meant to other people, and what it meant to me.

Rather than focus on pros and cons, I started focusing on why. Why did I want to be published traditionally? What was drawing me to self-publishing despite the stars and rainbows and glitter of the P and the T together?

When thinking about the why . . . it fell into place.

I don’t need a publishing contract to accomplish what I’ve wanted to accomplish with this. All I want is for ONE person out there to love my books – to make an impact on a person the way that some books have impacted me. I don’t need a P and a T together for that. I don’t.

So I made the decision about a week and a half ago and I haven’t looked back since.

There hasn’t been one single flop from me, or even one second of doubting the choice I’ve made.

I don’t like posting things on here unless they’re set in stone. I’m feeling comfortable with sharing now.

I’ve been arranging things with that love-inducing cover artist and the photographer. I love them both. Seriously. Details are being figured out and things are being put in motion.

My editor had to extend the date of finishing my novel, so I won’t have it back until early to mid-October. I’m trying to get everything done that can be done until that point.

As of now, I’m shooting for early December. That’s going to depend on how everything works out, but now . . . I’ll be able to keep you all updated.

It’s so freaking weird having things moving. I spent such a long time feeling like my entire world was at a standstill.

Anyway. No more waiting. It’s time to start letting them go. I’m worried, of course, but . . . I’m feeling good. I’m excited. I never thought I’d be more excited than stressed/nervous, but . . . I am.

Wish me luck. I’m definitely going to need it.

O.O

Publishing: Which Way Do You Go?

I attempted to write this entry a week or two ago.  When I say attempted, what I really mean is that I actually did write the entry in its entirety, but then decided not to hit the Publish button because I wasn’t satisfied with the feel of it.  Despite making all of the points I wanted to make, I’m extremely glad that I was unhappy with it at the time.  Now, I have a few new things to add.  And now, I intend to leave out all of the nonsense…or most of it, anyway.

Given how close the first book in my series is to absolute completion (and what I mean by that is readiness to be published, not finished with writing), I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about publication.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s something I’ve thought about a lot over the past several years – even before this second series started working itself out in my head.  Of course, when you finish writing one – or even sometimes before that – it starts crossing your mind.  And those thoughts begin slowly as, “Maybe I should try to get this published.”  They soon transform into, “Yeah, I should definitely try to get this published.”  Then, once you’ve discovered a magical gem that was hidden somewhere in the depths of your being, it is finally, “This NEEDS to be published.”

When you reach the point where you’re either serious enough, or curious enough about publication, you begin doing research.  The very first thing you learn about?  Agents.  Agents are the heart of the publishing industry, pumping the blood – a story – through all of the appropriate avenues.  Agents help you get your book completely ready.  They handle the contracts you couldn’t begin to understand.  They support you.  They do everything.  They get you published.  That’s what you learn.

For a long time, I thought that was the only way.  Self-publishing was only for people who COULDN’T get published otherwise, or so I believed.  And I will go ahead and say that I’m more than aware that a lot of people who self-publish do it because they CAN’T get an agent, for whatever reason.

When you begin to dig deeper into everything – the way it all works, all of the options…everything – you realize that there are options.  There are pros and cons to both sides.  I’m not knowledgeable enough about the industry to list all of them as fact; I can only list off the big issues that are currently swirling around in my own head, where they pertain to my own work.

I will tackle the self-publishing first because, to me, it’s the easiest to tackle.

You pay for everything, right?  You pay for your cover art.  You pay for this, you pay for that.  It ends up being quite a lot of money, unless a couple thousand dollars is pocket change to you, or unless you’re extremely gifted at formatting and design (I am not gifted at either of those things).  There’s the – absolutely legitimate – concern that you won’t even make enough money back to cover the initial expense of it.  To me?  The money it would take is nowhere near pocket change.  It’s a big investment.

At the same time, in order to get people to buy your books – because how could they even know who you were? – you have to self-promote shamelessly.

Do I like the idea of that?  Uhm, yes, in a sense.  I like it that people are passionate about what they do.  Do I want to do it?  I am bashful and backwards.  You take a guess.  Am I passionate about what I do?  You have no idea how much.

Would I get over my bashfulness and backwardness to help my books?  No, but I would do what I needed to anyway.  I yam who I yam.  I don’t want to change who I am; I couldn’t, and I wouldn’t.  I like being introverted; I like sitting alone in a shed with as little human interaction as possible.  When I don’t talk, I don’t over-analyze every word that I said.  I don’t get nervous and sweat profusely.  Don’t we all like being comfortable?  Again, I would still do whatever I had to…it’s all just a matter of how happy I would be with it.

Alright…So NOW, the big question is…

Would my books ever reach their full potential if I chose to self-publish?  I don’t know very many people to be like, “HEY!  READ MY BOOKS!”

This is another one of those things that sends this horrendous sinking feeling into my stomach, worrying that something I do will be the reason my books fail.  Before, it was a concern about the crappy way that I write.  I’ve come to accept the fact that, while my blogging (and texting, and messaging) is horrible – my book writing?  Well…it’s really not SO bad.  It’s not great.  It could be better.

It could be a LOT worse.

Which gets me to the gigantic flashing neon sign in my head right now, when it comes to going the traditional route.  This was already the source of The Big Question Mark (and has been for the past few weeks when the realization actually struck me [and yes, it gets its own name]), but I can thank one of my friends for unintentionally solidifying it for me.

Editing.

I woke up and laid there on that day a week or two ago, resisting the urge to groan about being awake – as I do every morning (or afternoon, depending on the day) – and had one of those eye-twitch-inducing revelations that woke me right up.

What if I get an agent, then they send my book off to an editor that changes things without asking me?  What if they ruin everything?

That was the, “Oh fdhc,” moment that day.  The solidification changed the way I thought about it.

There were no expletives running around in my head, which is a feat in and of itself, as there are almost constantly expletives floating around in my head (even when I’m in a good mood).  There were no simpleminded, one-sided thoughts.

Not everyone is going to like my books (I’d realized that a LONG time ago), and that’s fine.  More importantly…not everyone is going to appreciate them, understand what I was going for, the feel I want them to have, etc.

A good, solid editing is important.  I’m a firm believer that you don’t have to get a ‘professional’ editor to do it.  What makes them professional anyway?  As long as you have someone who understands the written word – the way words are used, the way sentences flow, so on and so forth – what does it matter?  You can’t do that yourself.  You can do a damn good job editing your own work, but you still need other people to help in some way.  They see things that you won’t.  They’ll catch your too instead of who.  They’ll find the places where you thought you were being descriptive as all get-out (you can see it in your head…never mind the fact that you left those little details out), and really weren’t.  Editing is important.  It’s key to releasing a good book.

But.

There comes a point in time when you’re editing yourself where, if you touch it one more time, you’ll be doing more harm than good.

There also comes a point in time where anyone else touching it will absolutely destroy what you’ve done.  You have to know when that point is.

I’ll compare it to a beautiful, antique cabinet.  There is a difference between refinishing and slopping a bunch of paint over something.  There is a BIG difference between those two things.

This is where I’m torn, you see.

I want my character’s story to be told as well as it possibly can be.  Don’t we all want that for the characters that we nurture (sometimes torture), and love?

You have to know where that line is located.  You have to respect that line.  You have to respect yourself.

You have to know what you want out of the thing that you love so dearly and completely.

The most important thing is that I have to stay true to myself, and to my writing.  I want the story told as well as it can be told, but – above that – the story has to be the one that I wrote.

I can’t – and will not – change the way that I write, or the focus of my stories to satisfy anyone.  What in the world would be the point of doing this if I was that quick to say, “Of course you’re right,” without giving it a second thought and asking THE most important question you can ask yourself when another person has looked at your work.  Are they right?

More often than not, yes.  Yes they are.

To me, there is such a difference between adding a word, taking out a useless sentence, or moving things around and then completely twisting and distorting who I am as a writer.

I can sit there and drive myself insane all day long, worrying that I will be the cause of my book’s failure.

But the fact of the matter is…I would rather be the cause of that by staying true to myself as a person, and as a writer, than throwing every bit of myself out of the window because someone else suggested it.  I can’t do it.  I won’t do it.  If it’s a sinking ship, I will ride that baby down to the bottom of the ocean.  Do you want to know why?  Because someone out there will get what I was trying to do.  Someone out there will appreciate the characters that I love.  Someone out there will GET IT.  I would rather them get me than get some painted up, antique cabinet.

And that, my friends, is why I don’t know if I want to publish traditionally.  Could I?  Yes.  I believe wholeheartedly that I could.

WILL I?

I’m not sure.  But I can tell you right now that, if that happens…I will not let anyone destroy the integrity of my work.  Not to make it more marketable.  Not to make it easier to stomach.  Not to make it easier to understand.  Not for ANY reason in the entire world.

That’s just the way it is.

And now I’m hearing Bruce Hornsby in my head.

Could be worse.

Far-Forwarding and Parenthetical Asides

I’ve made a game plan.  A well-defined (or as well defined as it can be) plan of action.

After many alternating days spent in an exhausted (sometimes strange, sometimes frustrating) headspace, it happened.  I put all things in their proper order inside of my head; I formulated my next several moves as far forward as far-forwarding things can actually go.  It feels good.

It’s funny that the planning actually happened on such a busy week.  It was such a busy week, in fact, that I didn’t do one bit of laundry.  I’m struggling now to catch up on that (along with other household type things).

All of this planning came after my last entry about paranoia getting in the way of things.  I did some thinking (especially after the very helpful feedback I received), and then I stumbled upon a new sort of understanding with myself.

I’m trying to figure out if I’d already sent the first book in my series to my friend by that point or not.  I’m not sure.  Well, I must have.  Or maybe not.  Either way, that understanding with myself was devised with myself at some point before the weekend.

That ‘understanding’ was me telling myself, “Self…you have to be smarter.  Slow everything down for a minute, THINK, and stop being an idiot.  Oh, and stop trying to rush everything for whatever reason.  Some things CANNOT be rushed.”

It seems easy.  Part of me thinks that it must have been because I can’t really remember when, exactly, I felt completely better about everything (it wasn’t immediately after formulating the plan, but sometime later).  But given how long it took me to really think – to stop for a bit and listen to what my heart was telling me…it couldn’t have been such an easy thing.  Or maybe the most difficult things can turn out to be easier than the struggle of them in the end.  Sorry, I’m rambling.  I honestly don’t have a clue what I’m saying; it was just a thought.

Husband and I went home (where I’m from, not where he’s from) for the weekend.  Saw some family.  Didn’t see some friends that I wanted to see quite badly.  Things happen; it’s neither here nor there.  But the friend who is currently in possession of my book came over.  It was the first time that I’d seen her in person since my husband and I got married several years ago.  I won’t go into the awesomeness of seeing her in general (because I could ramble for days and I’m attempting VERY HARD to start making my entries much shorter than the first few [also, personal conversations with friends are personal…she and I both know that it was a great time and I don’t need to go into that any further]), but will instead give a few thoughts on the matter where it pertains to my book. 

She isn’t finished with it yet, but I was able to sit down with her and go through some of the notes she’s made so far.  She asked me questions and I answered them to the best of my ability (so long as they didn’t give away relevant things (secrets) that come into play later).  She and I spent quite a while going over the prologue with a fine-toothed comb – tweaking it in all the places that bothered me.    It was the first time that I’d felt good about the ONE part of the book that gave me innumerable headaches.

I was happy about all of it while it was happening and immediately after, but I think it took some time for it to really sink in for me. 

You see, I always take some time after interactions with people about my books to really analyze everything – tones of voice, facial expressions.  I dwell on those things until I’m positive that I’ve deduced all aspects of a person’s feelings on the matter.  Not many people have read them, so all input (in any form it comes) is valid and extremely relevant to me.  It’s all important.  Everything is all something that could potentially help.

I know that my mother loved all of them, but not because she asked me a plethora of questions about them.  I get quite a lot of my opinionated being from my mother.  Though she saw the main character (and the situations, relationships, secrets) COMPLETELY differently than I intended for them to be seen, she didn’t bother asking me what they were supposed to actually be (regardless of my ridiculously widened eyes due to just how far from home her taking of them as a whole were from my own).  My mother was content with the way that she saw everything, which – though immensely baffling – was satisfactory to me.  So no, I don’t know that she liked them for that reason (seeing them the way I intended).  I know that she did because she read all four of them two times and my mother does not read.  I’m STILL trying to figure out how in the world she didn’t catch where I’d added TEN THOUSAND words into the last one.  I digress.

I will not get further into the other people who have read them (or how they felt, or how I felt, or anything, actually).  It’s not relevant.

I’ve been asked questions about them, sure.  People have listened to me ramble for days about them, sure.  My husband never needed to ask questions because – by the time he was actually reading the first one – he knew everything that happened in all of them, and the ins and outs of all the characters.

I’ve never had a…back and forth with a person about them.  At least not in the way that I had with her over the weekend.

It was very eye-opening – in a lot of ways.  And it was what I’d been waiting for.

I’ve had a great many questions about them swirling around in my head for months on end now.  How would the main character be taken?  She’s very…strange.  I thought she would be extremely difficult to relate to (it was one of my bigger fears), but I’m thinking now that she won’t be.  I’m thinking now there’s a possibility that some people out there might love her nearly as much as I do. 

Would the hints be picked up? 

That was a big one.  The way that I’ve written both of my series is to drop hints about future things – whether that be scenarios, or simply character traits.  That makes it fun for me to write, and I’m hoping that will make it fun for other people to read.  I’m glad to say that – from what I read of her notes and analyzing her questions – some of them have been, and some of them haven’t.  The surprises are just so fun.

I think she was worried that her constructive notes would make me feel horrible.  I’ve wanted constructive criticism from the get-go.  I needed someone to look at my books objectively – to take ME out of the equation and see them for what they were…someone else’s story that I was telling for them.  I love every character that lives in that world, but I’ve done everything that I could for them without assistance.  I just want it to be told as well as it possibly can be.  This is one of those instances where my pride will not stand in my way.  In fact, with this one thing, my pride is basically nonexistent.  My pride will constantly get in my way, but I refuse to allow it to hinder the story any longer.

It was just so exciting – all of it.  I’ll stop with it there because I’ve already written more than I wanted to and still not said nearly 1/10 of what I could.

So basically, things are moving along in the book avenue.  I’ve got the next steps planned out, and now…I’m just waiting for everything to line up so that those next things can be knocked out.  I just…I just feel better about all of it as a whole.

In other news…

We’ve reached our monthly data cap for our internet.  For those of you who do not have to deal with such things…of this one thing, I am envious.  For those of you who do not know what that means…It means that, until our billing month is reset, my internet is moving slower than dial-up.  That is not an exaggeration.  SLOWER.  THAN.  DIAL.  UP.

And doesn’t it figure that Facebook – which I care about less than I can say – is moving along swiftly, but this website does NOT want to load ANYTHING? 

Please be patient with me responding to comments (or ‘liking’ posts because sometimes the ‘LIKE’ button will not pop up on the first go for me when I’m reading other people’s blogs).  I will try to do so as quickly as possible, but some pages take more than fifteen minutes to load…a LOT more.  My newfound patience for my books does not carry over to staring at a blank computer screen and waiting for something simple to load on it.  It’s been very difficult not to throw my computer screen at a wall.  Or out of the window.

That is all.  Have a lovely day.

I’m not sorry for all of the parenthetical asides contained in this entry (or in any other XD).

Also…I don’t write my books that way.  No worries.

When Paranoia Gets In The Way Of Potential

Paranoia…

I wonder if all writers feel that word as intensely as I do.  I’d be interested in finding out.

I’ve been doing a lot of pondering on the word over the past few days.  You see, regardless of feeling it, I’d never really put much thought into it.  I’ve known from the get-go that I am paranoid about my books.  In a world where people can hack anything…why wouldn’t I be?  In a world where I have had my things stolen or broken into in nearly every place that I’ve ever lived…why wouldn’t that be a legitimate concern?

I’ve told many a person that I would let someone babysit a child that I don’t have before I would hand over a copy of my book to them.  I meant it then; I still mean it now.  It might sound ridiculous to some people, but to each their own.

I was struck with a thought (or more than one, really) sometime over the course of the last 48 hours.

Am I concerned about my books, or am I concerned about myself?

Is my paranoia impeding the potential of my work?

I believe that it very well may be.

When briefly discussing my revelation with R via text…she said something along the lines of, “As long as you’re not guarding it with your life, I don’t see a problem with it.”  That might not be right, but it was close enough and I don’t feel like scrolling for ten minutes attempting to find it.

My response was, “I feel like that’s what I’ve been doing.”

She then proceeded to say that it wasn’t what she meant; she was talking more of a physical protection.  Something about a dark alley and someone trying to steal it; I stash it and take a bullet.

Now…what R doesn’t know is that, in my head, I was contemplating all the places of my body that I would take a bullet for the protection of my book.  I feel ridiculous, of course.  If someone was going to shoot me, I highly doubt they would let me pick the spot of bullet impact (or, perhaps, caliber?).  Nevertheless, I still thought about it for awhile and came up with a list of a few places.  My series is about assassins; I’ve done a lot of contemplating/thinking about spots of the body and what lies beneath said spots (how much damage it could potentially do, etc.).  I was serious as I thought about it; it was not some joking thing.  I think that’s the most worrisome part about it.

Would I die for my work?

No.

Am I adamant about protecting it?

You betcha.

Now that we’ve got all that settled…Where does a person go from there?

Do I need to start drawing up contracts or something before allowing people to take a look at my books?  That’s an insane thought.  I write books, not contracts.

I need feedback on them.  Good ole’ unbiased feedback.

Would people – friends or family, even – be offended by that?  Or would they understand?  I don’t know.  It’s hard enough for me to ask someone to spend their time reading them to help me with the feedback thing.  But then throwing the word contract into it?

Maybe people not wanting to read my books is all in my head.  Maybe I’ve gotten so carried away in all of this that I haven’t realized…a few people have offered.  I’ve pretty much shut down all of them.  When I want people to read my books…why in the world am I doing that?  Would contracts be a feasible way to ease my troubled mind?  What in tarnation would they even say?  Yes, I am so flustered that the word tarnation just came out of my fingers.  I’m not hanging my head in shame and confusion over that; I’m too focused.

I guess what I’m asking is, “Is this level of paranoia normal?”

Or, “Am I alone in this craziness?”

Or, “What in the world should I do here?”

Any feedback would be much appreciated.

You don’t need to leave comments about me being crazy; I’m already aware.

It makes life interesting, what can I say?