Okay, so silly me thought that after the FF&P conference wrapped on March 4, 2012 that I’d be one step closer to getting my sanity and writing time back to myself. Which happened somewhat, since I’m still working with the group to wrap up final details and other stuff, but the cool thing is that I was able to sit down and work on revisions/plot overhauls for two upcoming stories. (Hooray! And yeah, remind me one day to tell you about the dream I had for the plot overhaul to one of the stories… it involved a life size Tonka truck, a movie theater, a slew of really bad villains, a hero being held captive who was wearing cargo pants, and a bayou–along with ending with a classic line from a bad guy who says to the heroine (a heroine, mind you, who went from 0-12 months pregnant in the blink of an eye)… “This will end badly for you.” Sad part is I woke up right after that line and now I’m jonesin’ to get back to dream land to find out how the whacked story will end. lol) But such is life and it keeps on truckin’… so now on to what I’m here to really chat about.
Oooh, I have so much I want to say today. Which is EK code for: Beware, this could be a bumpy and slightly psychobabble-E-good ride with no rhyme or reason. *vbg and canned evil maniacal laughter*
1. Reading Reviews–I learned the hard way a few months that me reading reviews for my published books isn’t good for my sanity (the why is that reading them challenges my inner perfectionist… which is just plain tough to handle at times, lol). So I don’t read them. Doesn’t mean I don’t value them, respect them, and the kind souls who offer them–in truth, I love the fact that we have a society and mechanisms in place where readers have the right to offer their unsolicited opinion on a body of work. So to everyone who has offered and posted a review of my books, Thank you for your honest feedback!
Now that I’ve said that, there might be some of you who are wondering… if she doesn’t read them, then how does she know she has them? Well, it goes like this… some of my writer friends like to call me and tell me about them. Does that bother me? Nope. Not at all. It is what it is and they like to celebrate my milestones with me… so I dig that.
2. Production schedules and upcoming books–This is the big one I wanted to get to today. Because I’ve had lots of emails (and phone calls from my writer buds) to ask what’s up next and when can we get to Marilyn and Trace’s story?!!!
(LOL–you do realize that every person who has asked me that has now been added to my BFF pile, right? I don’t know whether they should celebrate that fact or run away in terror. hehe)
So for all those folks who asked, here’s what’s going on with me right now and where I’m at with things… the series that includes Marilyn and Trace is called the Chronicles of P.S.S.T.–and yes, I love my acronyms. It’s a five books series. I’m a front loader–not exactly a plotter, but as darn close as you can get to being a true plotter while still embracing some pantser spontaneity. So to write the whole series and appease my inner perfectionist, I’ve had to map threads for all five of the series’ books. This was a process that I started back in 2009–does it take me that long to develop a series? No, not really. But I opted to take the time to develop my writing and plotting techniques so I can deliver a story that’s worthy of your reading enjoyment. That and I had some life things that had to be dealt with. (La, don’t we all ;-)
Because I’m the type of person who enjoys a challenge, there are times that I put projects on the front burner, work on them for a few days, then shuffle them to the back burner while I whip out another project to distract me (because we all know a watched kettle doesn’t boil–or so my inner perfectionist reminds me, daily, if not hourly). The other project that was whipped out was for another series… The Tales of W.O.E.–yep, another acronym that I’m loving. This is a fantasy-paranormal series that the best way I can describe it is… J.R.Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood meets Piers Anthony Xanth/Incarnations of Immortality. It’s a paranormal romantic dark comedy. For anyone who has read the Ward series, you know that her world is immense and has lots of threads that are connected. Well, the same came be said for my WOE series. At least in my opinion–and yes, my inner perfectionist would not release this one to me until I understood each and every thread so I could justify the whys and what-for’s of the world I’ve built. It’s a hassle, yes, but I began developing this world in 2008 and… I don’t know about you, but as a reader I’ve become so jaded that I need to see a fully fleshed out world. I’m tired of the same old-same old. I want something bigger, more vibrant, and that makes me think. A lot to ask for, yes, but hey… we as readers, we deserve it. Right? Especially in this economy. 😉
Now for the fun part… fun because it tends to shock people and that’s just fun.
3. My writing process… like I mentioned up above, I’m a front loader. Which means that I spend most of my time front loading the world, the characters, the plans, the contingency plans, and all those other things… in my head. Or in hastily written down journal entries. It’s like studying for an exam. I do all the work up front, then get a good night’s sleep, head in to class and *whosh* out comes the best durn essay I’ve ever written that gets me an A and the teacher’s shocked, ohmiword, I can’t believe she (of all people) got what I was trying to teach her!
Then when the kettle boils, I switch back to the project that is ready to come out. I sit down and out it comes. In its entirety. Usually the final form that comes out is in a near perfect draft–minus a few thousand typos that are strategically left in there to keep me from doing the eyes glazing over routine while I’m wielding my trusty red pen. Considering that each of the PSST books are around 80K words and the WOE books are gonna come in closer to 100K words… you know that it takes me a few days to write them.
After that there’s a day or so for revision, then editorial input, and then final polishing and reviewing. Then it’s on to the final stage which is prepping it for distribution. Distribution also includes the time I use to create the book covers and format the books. (A note on me formatting books, you may have noticed that I have a book out there for how to format for epublishing… it was developed by my inner perfectionist to perfect my technique and improve my turn around time so that I can maximize my writing time and minimize headaches–end result, I can format books and make them look pretty in less than an hour now–and yeah that includes multiple formats. A note on me and making cover art… I’ve been working on that skill as well–especially considering that as an artist the only things I can draw worth a hoot are stick figures and chemical structures. So developing that skill so I can be my own one stop shop is… priceless. And yes, I’ve finally got that mastered, so I can build a book cover in a matter of hours rather than weeks–as what the timeline previously was. Go me! lol)
After a book is prepped for distribution and uploaded… there’s marketing. If you’ve read my bio, then you might have noticed me saying Facebook is evil and Twitter is insidious. It’s true–for me. Yes, I hate marketing. I’m an introvert. Total introvert. So I took the time, since I first started this publishing adventure that began July 18, 2011, to find a marketing method that works for me and supports my methods of madness. And yes I am one of those readers who can’t stand blatant promotion emails, twitter announcements, and facebook promos that push a book on to me. Same thing can be said for commercials that don’t have catchy tunes like… oh my bologna has a first name, I’m a Toys R Us kid, and my new favorite… Crazy Train in a car commercial–was that Mazda or Honda? Doesn’t matter, point is that I hate blatant promotion–both seeing them and doing them. It makes me feel icky. And icky feelings don’t help get me into the writing zone.
So long story short, I ran a series of experiments for marketing and promoting beginning January 1, 2012. I collected the data, which looks awesome, and found a way to market and promote that doesn’t inspire the icky feeling. The marketing system actually relies on systems that are already in place and that includes the honest feedback provided from my readers. So yes, coming up with a system that puts the power of promotion into the hand of the readers… that was stop 3 on my plan of world domination.
Now on to stop 4 in dominating my world, not yours: entering the writing zone. So big question… have I reached that stage of the kettle boiling for the writing? Yep. I’m so there–for both series. But I have to hold off descending into the writing zone for a day or so to take care of some final wrap ups for the conference and a life thing or two–aka, a job interview and family time. Get that done and then I’m free to get off at stop 4 and do what I love to do… craft stories.
I know this update was wordy, but I felt that I should share with those who have been there for me… that’s you. Because the truth is that I wouldn’t have made it this far without your support. So see me sending out a huge thanks to everyone who has been there for me in spirit, person, and virtually while I’ve stumbled my way through my path to dominating my world… not yours.
Take care and until next we meet…