Walking the Indie Publishing Road

No, I have not fallen into a black hole. Yes, I am still writing (even though the progress bars in the sidebar are not moving). So what have I been doing? The last few months have seen me more focused on writing than I have been in some time.

My progress with Whispering Caves was going quite well. However, writing in first person presented a problem where I couldn’t present vital information as the main character had no way of knowing about it (or finding out about it). I came up with a solution, but am not convinced it is working that well. Having written 15,000 words, I must admit that the manuscript has been placed on the back burner, once again. I’m not entirely happy with this decision, but feel I should be moving forward on other completed projects before finishing this one.

The reason I’ve put the manuscript on the back burner is due to another decision I’ve made about my Cat’s Series (for young readers). There are four books in the series. Two have been written and edited. The other two have been planned, but need writing. As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve decided to publish this series of books myself.

At present, I’m trying to decide if I want to set up a publishing company (small press) or find out if there are other options that would be more suitable for my situation. I’m usually quite resourceful, but have had little luck finding any good information on what options are available to me. This may mean the options are limited, but I want to make an informed decision so I’ll keep searching.

Ideally, setting up a business would be great except I have no knowledge how to go about it or what it entails afterwards and this scares me…a lot! In fact, my own fear is holding me back from taking further steps and this not only annoys me, but frustrates me too.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on covers for the four books. As I’m not an artist, I’ve decided to go with a theme that will cover (excuse the pun) the entire series. The background colours will be bright, the main image will promote the essence of the series and then there will be another image that will be unique to each book. Books 2 and 3 are done, but I’m having a devil of a time with the cover of book 1 – Cat’s Eyes. I’ve been to many royalty free websites and have not found anything suitable. I have used family photos of my own cats to try and achieve a pair of cat’s eyes that would be right, but haven’t come up with the right look yet. A simple pair of black eyes on a transparent background, at a size suitable for cover artwork, will not defeat me!

That’s what I’ve been doing – artwork, editing, refining plans for the unwritten books, writing blurbs, researching and reading websites regarding indie authors, thinking about formats and publication. All these things are writing related.

If you know of any resources that may help me, please let me know. I need all the help I can get.

Book Covers are on My Mind

I’ve got a plan and that plan includes thinking about book covers. I look at them and try to work out what works and what doesn’t (for me). All readers are different, so what feels good to me might be a complete turn off for you, but that’s life.

With this in mind, I set out to find book covers, lots of them and I found the Book Cover Archive. It’s a perfect place to look when book covers are on your mind. There are pages and pages of them. It’s easy to see what colours work well together and those that don’t. It’s easy to decide if minimal is the best option, and also when busy is perfect. It’s great for learning about layouts and fonts and images too. When I look at them, I know instantly which ones I’d pick up and the ones I wouldn’t waste my time on.

Yes, book covers are on my mind. My only regret is that I can’t draw or paint or do anything slightly creative in that sense. But does that mean I can’t make a good cover? I hope not because I’ll be needing one or more soon.

I’ve decided to publish my cat’s series. Books 1 and 2 are written, but will need another edit before I move into the next stage of my plan. Books 3 and 4 are planned, but need to be written. The target audience is 9 to 12 year olds, so I’ll need colourful covers that will appeal to that age group. Oh how I wish I could draw because I know what I want but can’t think of a way to get it without it being drawn.

Stay tuned for further updates as I move along the indie publishing road.

General Update

Health: Due to ongoing health problems, I haven’t had much to say on the internet. I’ve been too caught up in … pain, to be honest. 🙁 However, the intense pain (headaches mainly) seem to be subsiding, leaving me with niggly pains that I am able to cope with. I find I’m clearer minded now and able to think about things. This means I’m feeling more positive and able to get things done.

Writing: Apart from this week (but the week isn’t over yet, so maybe I’ll still get some words down), I’ve been writing about 2,000 words a week for Whispering Caves. I think that’s a great achievement, considering what I’ve been through. Anyway, I’ve hit the 15,000 word mark. 🙂 It is the first draft and I already know the first edit/rewrite is going to be a major one, but that’s OK.

Website: Some slight changes have been made, mainly to the navigation bar above. The home page will change on the weekend, when I have time to code what I’ve already got planned in my head. More on that at a later date.

Personal: I recently wrote a post about feeling isolated. This was written after several weeks of very little sleep and intense pain. Now that I’m feeling a bit more on top of things I’ve been thinking about what I wrote then and what I feel now and have decided that the house is important to my future security. It’s something I’ve strove for for a long time and I would be wrong (and stupid) to let it go without a fight. With this in mind, I think it’s time for me to “embrace” my decision to move to the new location and plan a future there. This may mean finding a new job in the area — even a part time job, if I can’t find a full time position — so that I get my life back. Until now, I have been holding on to my current job because I dreamed I’d be able to move back to the old location. But I’ve never been able to afford there. I can’t see why that will change now or in the future.

More on Writing: I’ve made a decision to do with the Cat’s Series (chapter books for 9 to 12 year olds). I won’t go into details now, but I’m excited about where I intend to go with these manuscripts. Stay tuned for announcements.

Return to Normality and Setting Goals for 2010

Originally posted on another site on 8 January 2010. The comments made in reply to this post have not been transferred.

As my holiday period will come to an end in a couple of days, I find myself thinking toward what 2010 could mean for me. Of course, I could leave it to fate to find out, but I’m not always satisfied (rarely, in fact) with what is offered (or forced) onto me so I think I’ll try to set my own path. It might be more satisfying.

I’ve already declared that 2010 is the Year of Doing. This means that instead of talking about doing things, I’m going to do them. No excuses!

I have always put myself out there and made public goals. I find it’s the best way for me to actually try to keep them. It’s a written commitment, which means I can’t pretend I never set the goal in the first place. Ah, the things I do to myself. Anyway, the goals I’m going to set will be kept simple as there’s no point attempting to reach goals that are too high as I’ll only be disappointed at the end of the year.

So what’s on my list for this year?

1. Complete the planning for Whispering Caves by the end of summer (end of February).
2. Write the first draft by the end of the year.
3. Compile a list of publishers for Cat’s Eyes and submit, submit, submit.
4. Write a proposal for the children’s non-fiction and, again, submit, submit, submit.

That’s it. It’s not a lot, but it will be a good Year of Doing if I achieve these four goals. If I manage to do anything else along the way, that will be an added bonus.

That’s my year planned, in a few short sentences. What’s yours?

Thanks but No Thanks

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post, for once again Cat’s Eyes has been rejected. I’m pretty sure this one was a form letter, but it did say that they didn’t think the story was “strong enough” for representation by them. By “them”, I mean Curtis Brown Australia.

That’s two marks against “not strong enough”. Maybe that’s the standard reply these days, which would mean it means nothing. But, maybe it means exactly what it means. I don’t know. I’ll be keeping tabs in the future.

Oh well, I’ll add this rejection to the others and submit it again. I’m not sure where or when, but I do know it will be soon and somewhere. I’ll keep you informed.

TiddlyWiki

Resuming work after a nice break is always difficult, but it has to be done if food is going to be put on the table. Today, I returned to work after a break of almost three weeks. *sigh*

However, I won’t dwell on that. Let me tell you what I’ve been doing – in terms of writing – since the beginning of the New Year. I’m pleased to be able to say that I have spent many hours every day on my writing projects. I haven’t actually written a single word, but there’s more to writing than the actual written word.

A friend told me about TiddlyWiki and showed me her files, so that I could see it in action. It’s free to download and use. There’s a tutorial if you need help understanding how a wiki works. Once downloaded, you just copy the file, changing the name of it (by doing this you can use the downloaded file over and over again) and then you can start using it straight away. There’s no real installation and it’s loaded onto your computer. You don’t need an internet connection to use it either, even though you use your browser when working with it. The file is small enough to put on a USB flash card too. It’s so easy!

I have used an online wiki before, so I understood the working of it, but needed a reminder how to do things like using the bold, italics and underscore features, and also how to insert images. There are plenty of other things you can do too ie ordered and unordered lists and blockquotes.

But what am I using it for? I know you want to know. It’s ideal for planning writing projects and for gathering all the research (including images you collect) associated with that project, into one file. Every aspect of the planning can be cross referenced too, which is brilliant! If you set up the wiki correctly, it will make your writing project organised, efficient and everything will be at your finger tips.

The first wiki I set up was for the Marlinor Trilogy. I have a lot of research material, which was placed in folders according to subject, but even so it was getting almost impossible to find anything (even when I knew the information I wanted was there…somewhere). Now that information is categorised, cross referenced and tagged…and there’s a search function too! Apart from that, I’ve also set up the planning for the story – world building, character lists, storylines, themes for each book, plots for each book and an in depth history, which also links to the research material to prove authenticity. It’s absolutely the best way to organise your planning.

Then I created a second wiki and started doing the same thing for the children’s chapter books.

I literally spent hours every day working on this, but the result is fantastic. I discovered I had changed the spelling of character names between book 1 and book 2 of the children’s series. That is now fixed. I discovered information in my original planning that had been lost or forgotten. That cannot happen again. I believe the children’s series and the trilogy will be better because of the time I’ve invested in getting these wikis right.

Now I intend to create a third wiki for Mirror Image. This is the project I should be editing, but I’m having trouble with. I’m hoping that, by creating the wiki, I’ll work out what the stumbling block is and get passed it.

I highly recommend TiddlyWiki. However, if you want to do the same thing online, from any computer, then I recommend PBWiki, which is free and you can change the settings so that only you have access to it. If you’re not using a wiki to organise your writing, then you should try it. I doubt you’ll be sorry.

Writing Goals for 2009

Everywhere I go I seem to be seeing the question, “What are your writing goals for 2009?” I feel stressed when I read the question, let alone try to answer it. But answer it I know I should do.

What are my writing goals for 2009?

First and foremost, I don’t want to put pressure on myself because that is a sure way of not writing a single word. However, I can’t leave it at that, so:

1. I would like to finish Mirror Image. “Finish” meaning a polished version ready for submission. I don’t know how many edits that will take.

2. I would like to fully plan book 3 in my children’s series. I know where it starts and ends, but there is no middle to the story – not one that I’m happy with, anyway.

3. I would also like to continue with the in depth planning of my adult trilogy. I envision the writing of this project maybe next year or the year after.

I’m not willing to say any more than that as I would like to surpass my goals rather than not reach them.

Putting the writing to one side, I am hoping that 2009 is a big year for me on a personal level. I’m hoping to secure a future for myself that will hopefully take underlying stress and worry away so that I’m free to enjoy life. This will lead to more productive writing, I’m sure.

Are you a writer? What are your 2009 writing goals?

Cat’s Eyes: Full Manuscript Requested

I used an email address for the submission of Cat’s Eyes that I rarely receive or send anything from. Moments ago, I realised I hadn’t checked it for several days. Imagine my surprise when I heard the tell-tale “ding” that announces new mail has been received. Immediately recognising the publisher’s email address, I held my breath and prepared myself for a rejection.

So it was an even bigger surprise when I read the email and discovered the publisher liked the synopsis of my story and liked the sample of my writing, and was requesting the full manuscript.

I realise this isn’t an acceptance and the manuscript could still be rejected, but this request has lifted my spirits. I now have a purpose! I now have a reason to sit at the computer and work diligently. I’ve been given hope and that is something I needed.

My plans for the weekend have suddenly changed. I won’t be working on Mirror Image as previously stated, I’ll be ensuring Cat’s Eyes is perfect before I send it off next week.

If there was a mood reader on this blog, it would be saying “happy and excited” right now.