Today was a little hard for me,
I found out that my ebook Publisher, Pronoun, is shutting down for good in January. As a result, I pulled my book from their website and ebooks are going to be offline until further notice. This is both a blessing and a curse because I really loved publishing through them.
I chose to Publish through Pronoun because I really believed in their mission to provide free ebook publishing services to writers. They helped me find a cover designer, make my ebook, market it and design a page which I could advertise through. I was one of their early users and have been with them since the beginning. I was also very excited for their upcoming features and services. They set me up with my favorite online bookstores, and I appreciated all their news articles and advice for self-published authors. I'm really sad that they are shutting down for good, but I understand that not all missions and businesses like theirs are profitable enough to survive. It was a fun run, Pronoun, and I thank you for getting me started in helping my dreams become a reality. You helped me Publish my first book and bring it to family and friends for their enjoyment. I'm grateful for that experience, because you made it pretty effortless.
The good news is that I plan to re-publish my book through another site soon, but it may take me awhile to get the formatting finished, as Pronoun required a completely different manuscript layout. Since I'm in the middle of NaNoWriMo this month, I find myself short on time as it is, with much of my free hours spent writing and recovering from a nasty cold. Getting sick is the worst. The other good news is that my book will be available through many more channels and formats, and hopefully be able to reach more readers as a result. Maybe this will be a good change for my book as I finish up the sequel in the series. I'm trying to focus on the positives.
It's been awhile since I added to my blog, partly because of moving in July, getting a new job in August, and most recently getting engaged to my partner of seven years at the end of October. Life has just been one crazy change after another--and all for the better, but now that things are settling down I'm doing my best to return to my happy place which is the sound of the keyboard keys as I frantically type the next exciting scene in the Andraos series.
Have a wonderful November!
After living in Oregon for 21 years, I've finally decided I need a change. My partner and I are moving to Washington, as far North as we can go, to the cute city of Bellingham. A lower cost of living and lots of career opportunities will help us follow our dreams and achieve our goals sooner, we hope.
Our good friend has agreed to house us through the transition, and we couldn't be more thankful for her encouragement and support.
I'm setting a low goal of 10,000 words for Camp NaNoWriMo this month. I think it will be feasible given the big move happening in the middle of this month. Taylor and Felicia are currently stuck in a desert, and I'm unsure of how to unstick them. Darn you, writer's block. They might have to remain stuck a little while longer. The sequel is looking very promising though, so stay tuned for more updates. I am hoping to finish writing it before November so that I can start the third and hopefully final book during NaNoWriMo's main event this year.
Given the length of book one, I'm planning on the Andraos series being a trilogy. I didn't call it a trilogy in case it turns into a fourth book, but I'll have to get closer to the end before I know for sure.
Goodbye, Oregon. My next post will be from beautiful Washington. The only thing between me and the move is the mountain of stuff I have to pack.
Camp Nanowrimo is here, and that means it's time to start writing again.
I started this blog to chronicle my writing journey and give insight into the world of self-publishing.
My name is Jackson, and I’ve spent the last four years working a full time job in addition to writing and publishing my first book, The Chosen of Andraos. It’s been a long journey, and at the same time, it feels like i just started writing it yesterday. I certainly haven’t forgotten the long nights spent writing, the agonizing weeks editing and re-writing, and the patience while waiting for beta readers to give feedback among other things.
I finished publishing The Chosen of Andraos yesterday, when I approved my print book for sale on Amazon through Createspace. The ebook has been out since November. It feels very surreal. After constantly stressing and worrying about what I could be working on to finish the book, all of the sudden it is complete. I feel a freedom–a desire to return to doing what I love which is writing new story and developing my characters. My book is the first in the series, so even though book one is finished, I know I have at least two more to go, and I’m excited to get started. The sequel is already halfway written.
I’ve read a lot of advice about writing over the years. A lot of people say to get your book out there ASAP, while other (especially for series writers) say you need to finish the series before you publish.
I chose to publish book one before continuing the series, and I’m glad I did. Here’s why:
I wrote a good chunk of the sequel before I published my novel. Looking back at what i wrote before all the revisions and growth, I realize how much more work I have to do because the writing is garbage. Writing alone does not help an author grow in my opinion. You could write every day and not get any better, spewing the same garbage all over again. I think true growth comes from confronting what we have already written. While writing, often my focus is too narrow to pay attention to every element I want to include.
Looking back at the level of writer I was before I rewrote, edited, gutted and changed book one, I can see how far I’ve come as a writer. It’s going to make that sequel even better. I’m going to write a better first draft than I did before, in theory, which could translate to less editing down the road, and faster turnaround time from first draft to finished novel. At least, that’s my theory.
I had a piano teacher tell me something that I will never forget. I had spent a week barely practicing my piano skills, and it showed. She looked at me and told me: “Jackson, practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” If there was one thing I took away from those lessons, that was it. You can’t just sit down and write and expect to get better. You have to work at whatever you want to do well at, and you should be doing your best the whole time.
For my writing, I often used Nanowrimo to spur daily prompts and make sure I sat down at the keyboard every day. This often led to many a night writing whatever I could to make my word count. After this journey, I realize that trying to make a certain word count may not be the best method for myself. I found many a section that needed a complete gut job thanks to writing garbage just to add words. It is the enemy of being concise and really bringing the text to life from simplicity. It was an editor’s worst nightmare in some areas, but not so bad in others.
You may be wondering why I chose to go off on this detail, but I come back to my main point: finishing book one first saved me from doing this through the entire series. I think for the second half of book two, I will focus on quality over quantity and see what the difference will be. I’m expecting good things! If my next first draft is less garbage than my previous one, I will consider it a success. Regardless, any finished first draft is a success. I just expect a lot from myself.
I plan to keep writing about being an author and the challenges and lessons I deal with along the way.
Thanks for reading, and happy writing!
Time management is hard.
I'm an optimist. I'm okay at time management. I have my good days and my bad days. At my day job, time management is easy for me. I'm always on time, always watching the clock, and I know just about how long everything is going to take me. This was not the case with my first book.
At home, I feel like I have more time than I do. Always. Generally, I can get all my errands done, and things like that, but when it comes to anything writing or book related, I have a key piece of advice for my future self, and for others just starting out as well: DOUBLE (or in some cases TRIPLE) ALL YOUR TIMELINES.
My first book took me about a year to write the first draft, working on it on-and-off. I predicted it would take me six months to one year for editing. Looking back, I can't believe how optimistic that was. The reality was that it took about two more years of drafting and editing (again, it was my first book) before I took it to publlication. Even then, there were the typos to weed out still. I read it aloud, I read it to people, I let close friends read it to help with the editing, and still I found more. It's almost impossible to look over 200+ MS Word pages and not find something you want to alter.
Then I decided to take it to print, which I predicted would only take a month. That meant hiring a cover designer to redesign the cover, reformatting the entire book (easy, right?) and working with Createspace to make it happen. I started the process back in november and I'm just about to cross the finish line now. It's already January. It took about three months.
Long story short, that first book took about three times longer than I had originally planned. If you think that book is going to be finished by the new year, plan on it actually being the next. If you think your book cover is going to be done in a few weeks, plan on it taking a month and a half. The reality is that life is busy. You may think you can work your day job, come home, and edit for eight straight hours, but I have found that it's not possible, at least for me. I need sleep. I need food. I need to take breaks, see family and friends, and actually leave my house from time to time.
I'm curious if other writers have this problem. I always feel like editing takes a lot longer than I plan, but not always writing. Writing can be a struggle some days, and other the words just flow like magic. I'm hoping that with every book I write, things will get more concise, editing will take less time, and the process will be overall quicker. Hopefully that's not me being overly optimistic again. I guess only time will tell.
My new years resolution is to have more realistic goals and timelines, and to be more forgiving with myself if things take longer than I thought. I'm hoping that after this first book, I have a better understanding of how much work goes into the whole process, and that will help me acheive this resolution.
Happy New Year and happy writing!
Writing is a blast.
Creating worlds, characters, crisis, story, dialogue--it's what I live for. I love getting in people's minds, connecting with them, filtering myself through what they would do or how they would act. It's all good fun until it's time to revise. The revision process is brutal--a self-loathing dance that waffles between "I wrote that? Awesome!" and "oh my god, I wrote this..."
For me, editing is the hardest thing to be motivated to do. Revisiting my story the first few times is just as exciting as writing it, because it's a lot of additions. Add another battle scene here, dialogue there, and it's like I'm writing all over again. Once I hit later revisions, I begin to struggle. My brain starts playing tricks on me, convincing me to skip over sections where 'I already know what happens' and find other things more interesting, like starting a new book altogether. I know I've only published one book, but it feels like the editing never ends.
I understand now why they say "books aren't written, they're rewritten," (Michael Crichton) and "Books are never finished, they are merely abandoned," (Oscar Wilde). It's never going to be perfect.
This is the hardest thing for me to accept. I can't re-read my book and not see something I want to fix. A word change here, a sentence there, there's always something I'm compelled to fix. I know this process helps us grow as writers. There does come a point where good enough meets almost perfect. I think I've reached that point. I'm doing one last look over before I format for print. It's my fourth or fifth "last edit, I promise," as my boyfriend rolls his eyes at me at the thought of me doing another revision. There is a silver lining though. Every revision gives me more confidence and happiness. Yes, it takes forever. Yes it makes me want to gauge my eyes out to re-read that scene one more time, but I feel good once the work is done.
So revise, be merry, and love interacting with your work until you can't look at it another second. Eventually you will never look back, and you can just be proud. It makes me wonder how I'll feel in 10 years. Will I look back fondly, and see how far I've grown while happy with the result? Or will I look back with disgust wondering how I ever thought this first attempt was a book.
I really hope it's the former. Everything in my heart tells me it will be. After all, I'm incredibly proud with the passion and work I've put into this. I took a fragmented idea and made it a whole story that's bigger and more complex than I ever hoped for.
But I guess time will tell. Happy last-edit-I-promise! Print books to come soon!
This is my first blog post.
I think I finally jumped on the blogging bandwagon that so many people get hooked on. I've always liked the idea, but I didn't know how I would feel about random people reading my thoughts. I think I'm finally ready to share some.
After three long years, I have finally finished and published my first book. It feels amazing, and the response has been incredible so far. I feel very honored to have accomplished one of my lifelong dreams at only 25 years old, and the best part is, the dream's not over yet. I'm currently working on the sequel to The Chosen of Andraos. I'm also using Createspace to create print copies of the first book, which I hope will be available next month. I have an upcoming cover redesign as well.
For anyone looking to follow their dreams, I say, stick with it! It's so rewarding when you finally reach your goals. There were many frustrations, sleepless nights, some tears and much-needed conversations with people who believed in me to get there. It's also dealing with the blank looks of people when you tell them you're a writer--an unpublished one at that. I've had some very interesting reactions from people I've told (especially considering my degree was English). If following their dreams was easy, everyone would do what they love and be successful at it. But it's not easy, and working hard to get there makes it all the more worthwhile. You have to work to pay the bills and use whatever energy is left over at the end of the day to pursue your passion. Then there's making time for friends, family, your significant other, your dog--all of these things are important and add up. Most people, however, have some free time. It's in that 30 minutes on your lunch, the hour of winding down before bed, and that television episode you watch every Thursday that takes up an hour of your day. Prioritize what you love to do, make sacrifices if needed, but get it done and find a healthy balance between all of those things. Eventually, you'll wake up and you will have arrived at your goal. Mine took me over three years, but it happened. The closer I got, the more determined I became to reach it.
Thanks for reading this post, and I hope to write another one of these blog posts soon!