I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have found that the life of writing is nothing more than a blind trip backward on a rollercoaster, and that is not glamorous. It’s frightening, especially when your confidence is only skin deep. For those of you who don’t know, I began this adventure almost exactly one year ago. In a couple of days, I will be releasing my first story. I never finished a book before now. My mind said it wasn’t time, but now the ideas are flowing so fast I can’t possibly write them all. Yes, now it’s time.
After I had made the decision to start writing, I poured my heart and soul into it nearly every day. I stuck with it and produced something. Well, a lot of little somethings. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of my tenacity with staying on this new path and honestly, now that I’m writing, I can’t imagine not doing it. My problem is I have gone completely bonkers over the entire writing process.
Let me tell you how the writing process worked for me with my debut story. First, I determined the name under which I would write because using my real name was not an option. I started writing several very short stories, which in hindsight are good, solid foundations for future stories. So, I chose my favorite and decided to expound on it. A couple of months later, I actually finish a first draft. Yeah, me! I’m already ahead of the game. I let my draft sit for a customary period and work on another piece. Coming back to it a couple of weeks later, I am struck with complete anxiety because what was a masterpiece two weeks ago is utter crap now. Seriously. I wouldn’t even wish it on my worst enemy, but I am determined, and I sit down to write it again.
After I completed an entire reworking of my first draft, I am once again pleased, albeit cautiously, with the results. I let it sit and after reading it again, I was surprised that I was still moderately pleased, so I decide to work with it. After tinkering some more, I send it off to the beta readers and an editor for insight and had favorable comments returned. When I am in the middle of making the necessary corrections, my second light bulb comes on, and I decide that the story needed more! So I add in an additional eight pages of material. After receiving the seal of approval nod from my every persnickety husband, I send it back to the editor for a final run through. The book is back and now complete and now I am forced to face two very difficult decisions: marketing and distribution.
I must say that this isn’t the first time I thought about marketing and distribution. It would be accurate to say that they have been on my mind almost constantly. Having decided to do self-publishing, I took small steps to plant some roots to work from later. I started a blog where I posted weekly flash horror to get people familiar with my name. Surprisingly, it worked, and I have several followers and requests for my release date. I also started getting real active in the indie author community, helping out other writers and building relationships that hopefully will help me better market my book in the future. There was one great thing about writing for me, and that’s meeting an incredible number of interesting people that I wouldn’t have ordinarily met. They have been a tremendous help and support. Good stuff.
Now here comes the roller coaster. The following is indicative of my life for the past six months. Keeping up with social media is time-consuming, and I would spend a while answering tweets, replying to blog comments, talking to others, and then remember that I needed to write. So back to writing, then squeeze in some more networking, and realize that I can’t live off of writing books alone, and I need another job prospect. I started beta-reading and writing reviews and blogging more to beef up skills I will need later when I do start editing and such for a living. Now back to writing my actual book. Then do some more marketing, work on the website (which is still not finished), and set up promo events. Back to writing. Oops, forgot my blog posts! Complete beta-readings and remember to write reviews for the two books I managed to squeeze in. Books! I look at my overflowing shelves of treasures and shed a tear. My Kindle is bursting at the seams, and I barely have enough time to do what is needed, much less leisure read. Defeated, I vow to read them as soon as I can quit my job and work from home. My book! Back to writing.
Feeling dizzy yet? It is exceptionally hard to be a self-published author, and something as simple as uploading your book for sale is gut-wrenchingly complicated. Who will give you the most money? Where do you distribute? What formats? I finally just figured out my marketing and distribution processes and release day is just days away. Am I relieved yet? No! Now is where the rubber meets the road. There are only new anxieties. Will all of my efforts translate into sales? I sure hope so. I am not expecting an NY Times Bestseller, but I do have a couple of small goals. I know it will be a slow process, so that is not why I am anxious. My primary anxiety is whether it will be well received. Will anyone like it? I write in a genre that is strange. People either love horror or won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole. It isn’t one of the highest-grossing genres, and there are a lot of crappy works that fans will have to wade through to find mine. I put a piece of my soul into this book, and now it will go on display for the world to judge.
My name is Gina Moray. I just finished my debut story, and I feel like I just got ran over by an eighteen wheeler. Did I mention that I am still working full time?