Cover for my next e-book

I’ve taken a sabbatical from writing. I had a very nasty experience a while ago that threw a lot of doubt on my writing. Not my ability to write. That’s fine and I’m good at it. But I found out that propriety is just as important to a writer as it is to any other career.

Unfortunately I’m not a proper person.

So writing became difficult. I spent as much time obsessing about what mine I would step on next time as I did writing. It was like trying to walk on a broken leg.

My wife suggested I take a sabbatical. It was good advice and I took it. I must admit now when I think of writing something I don’t stress about the BS.

A sabbatical doesn’t mean I can’t plan for when I do start writing again. I’ve been planning on redoing my first book, a series of short stories centred around a vampire, Georges Belleveau, and his human lover, Diane Patterson. They’re two of my favourite characters. The original book was called In The Dark. The company that published it is defunct. I’m a better writer now and I think a reissue would do well.

A couple of months ago my wife won a professional cover for a book in a contest. She graciously passed that opportunity to me. We told the artist, Suzan Butler, what we wanted and she turned out a lovely piece of work.

Isn’t it lovely? Thank you so much, Suzan. And to my lovely wife, angel.

Coming soon to an e-book publisher near you.

These days I’m reworking some stories and characters I’ve created.

A few years ago I wrote a story for a website called Literotica. This site holds frequent contest based around a theme. I started working on a story with a vampire as a central character. I became quite interested in the story and it was a joy writing it.

The readers agreed. I won the contest, which was a really good trick since there were over 150 entries and some were by writers who are very good.

Then another story came to mind with the same character, and I wrote that one. After that another one seemed necessary because I really wanted a happy ending for the main character and the woman he fell in love with. Then a story with her as the main character. Another one with her and finally, finally, one that brought their character arc to an end.

Until I thought of more with them. I’m glad I like these characters.

These stories were e-published in an anthology entitled In The Dark several years ago. The publisher went defunct so I got the rights back. I’ve gone over them and realized I could make them better.

So I’m reworking them. Deepening the relationship between the main characters mostly, along with sharpening the conflict between the hero and the villainess in the first story. Sometime in the near future I’ll be releasing these stories in a new anthology going by the title On The Far Side Of Darkness.

So look for the adventures of Georges Belleveau and Diane Patterson in the not too distant future.

5 Questions to ask Yourself BEFORE You Self-Publish (Workshop Wednesday)

An online friend, Suzanna Medeiros, wrote a post on May 30, 2012 about self-publishing. Should she or shouldn’t she. It got me to thinking, as you can tell from my comment on her blog. I thought I’d share those questions with you and answer from my perspective.

notepaper with penQuestions to ask yourself if considering self-publishing.

1. Am I ready for the loneliness of doing this without a publisher to help, to tell me job well done? An editor to say, this needs some work, a cover artist to do the cover…and I can just write?

A. Yes, I’m ready for that loneliness. In fact, I welcome it. With my agoraphobia, it affects not just going out in public, but for me, also my online relationships. I’m not able to handle the idea of a publisher, editor, cover-artist, agent, publicists and more all needing me at one time. All wanting something from me at one time.
2. Am I ready to do the marketing and promotion necessary, not just AFTER I publish the book, but BEFORE. Am I willing to set aside my writing time on my books, to do tweets, Facebook posts, blog posts, media kits, etc?

A. Yes. I researched what’s needed, and continue to research into how to market and promote myself and my books. I look at and consider each form of social media, and use the ones that I feel will work for me. I choose to use Facebook Pages, Twitter (With Triberr for extra oomph), LinkedIn (For the professional, more business side of marketing/promoting.) I also use Pinterest to put up special blog posts, books, and so much more…like recipes and such. It’s not all work. As more than one person has said, “It’s called SOCIAL media for a reason!” Truth is, I rarely promote my work. Maybe once a week. The rest of the time, I’m trying to build my relationship with editors, authors, friends, family. The sales will come. I have time to take it slow and steady.

I’m still learning. For instance, I’m only now realizing the benefits of a media kit…so I’m  slowly getting things together to do one. One customized to MY needs. What Nora Roberts needs in hers, isn’t necessarily what I want or need in mine. I know I have to find my own reviewers. This is harder, and the agoraphobia kicks in to stop me. I’m learning to carefully go past that, little by little and do it. I’m willing to guest posts, and have guest posts. I’m willing to host a blog tour or to go on one. These are all parts of marketing/promoting myself. Not just before a book comes out, but during and after.
3. Am I ready to spend the money necessary to publish this book? To pay for quality editing, cover design, etc? (You already answered yes to this, just one of the questions I ask others to think about)

A. I am. I know I can’t afford to put much into it, but because I have a husband who also writes, and understands editing quite well, it works. I can do the cover art, he does the editing. I do his beta reading/critiques, he does mine. We know it’s business and treat it as such. We started out own Social media firm, our own publishing name, our own graphic design studio. They work well together and allow me to work on all the aspects at one time, and not feeling like I have 6 jobs to do at once.  When it comes to doing print, I made the decision to do it, with my husband’s encouragement. I haven’t made back my investment, yet, but I’m willing to give it time. I’ll admit, it makes me less likely to go into print again anytime soon, but that could change, it I think I have something that will benefit from print. (My reviewer Guide can, I just haven’t found the right buyer’s market for it yet.)
4. Do I work well on my own? Do I have what it takes to be self-motivated and to write even when I don’t feel like it? (Not due to illness, but just, I don’t want to type of don’t feel like writing.)

A. I work very well on my own. Better than with others. (In school, Mom often got report cards with “Does not socialize well with peers, does not play well with others.” so I guess I’m just a born loner. That’s okay. It suits me and my needs for now. I am self-motivated, but like others, procrastination can play a major factor. I need to work on writing more, and editing more.
5. Do I have a support group of friends, writers, fellow authors to turn to if I need some hand holding, some encouragement, some kudos, etc? Do I have the support of my family to do this? Does it matter to me if I do or not?

A. Yes. I have my husband’s support 100% and his was the only family support I really needed. My mom’s support is extra and gratefully received. I have a great online support forum of writers who really encourage and share their success and failures. We all learn from one another. It does matter to me to have these support systems. I’m willing to work alone, write alone, but I want, I need someone to share my success with…someone to share my failures with.

These are just some questions to ask yourself if you think you want to self-publish. Self-publishing is not for everyone. If you are looking for a quick, easy way to make money with books, this is NOT the right path for you. It’s hard. The responsibility falls solely on you for the product you put out. It’s YOUR name, not a publishers that gets seen. It’s YOU who promotes and gets it out in front of people, not a publicists. (Unless you’re really famous, but even then, it’s still on YOU to do the work.

Are you self-published? If so, why did you choose that path? If not, have you considered it? If you have, and you decided to not self-publish, can you tell us why?

Feel free to comment away! Comments are always welcome.