Stolen Memories

I’m Back!

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Well I’ve been gone for less than a month and while I haven’t gotten everything done that I said I was I don’t feel like everything is crashing down on top of me. The wonderful thing about self-publishing is that I can do things at my own pace. So I don’t have everything up on any other platforms but I do now have Episodes 1, 2, and 3 of the Amelia Bennett Chronicles published on kindle. I have a long list of things that I need to get done and I will get to them but I’m going to cut back on the pressure I’m putting on myself. As much as I would love to be a full-time writer the truth is right now I’m not. This week I put in 40 hours at my “real” job and another 16-18 hours working on writing and publishing. That’s nowhere near what I’ve read some people are doing but that’s enough for me for now.

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**Update on The Amelia Bennett Chronicles**

Episodes 1, 2, and 3 are published and live as of 01/11/2013 on the kindle platform. It took longer than expected because the holidays slowed down my editor. Instead of the mid to late December she said in her original email she wasn’t able to get to me until last week. I would have loved to have them up at Christmas, and I spent a ton of time checking my email over the holiday just waiting for her, but since I hadn’t scheduled a spot and she was fitting me around other projects I can’t complain. She was amazing! It was so awesome to have someone go in and put the commas and semicolons where they needed to be and catch misspellings of words that are real words that Office didn’t catch. It was a thrill. She even wrote little comments telling me she liked certain spots which was even awesomer (she would edit out this word).

***Update on Book 2 of the Twin Moons of Andove***

I was able to get another couple thousand words written on this. I’m not yet back to the point I was at when I started my rewrites but I’m getting there. I did write out a detailed outline for this book and a rough outline of the one after it. I’ve been feeling really inspired to write on this but haven’t been able to because of the AB Chronicles. Now that the first batch of those episodes are out I can bring my focus back. For now though I do not have a deadline, though I would love to have it published first quarter of the year. We will see.

***December Update***

This is later than I have been doing but here are my stats:

Stolen Memories sold seven books at .com and one book at .co.uk

So not as good as my best month but not my worst month. I’m really curious to see my numbers next month.

Until next time, have a great weekend!

Hurdles

Hurdles

So after just posting the question of whether or not I should upload my books to other formats before or after I’ve gotten some editing done there are two blog posts by authors I respect saying get your work on everything possible as soon as possible. So right now I am reading up on how to upload to Kobo and Barnes and Noble (pubit!). My husband uploads apps to Apple for a living so I’m going to see if he can look into that for me. I seriously doubt if I will get this done by the end of the month, there is just too much going on in my non-writing life to be able to get done all that I want to and need to with my writing. One thing’s for sure I won’t be able to afford edits on Stolen Memories until February at the earliest. I want to get the edits back from AB Chronicles before I set up a time for SM to be edited. It might come down to getting edits done on Book 2 before I can get professional edits done on SM, maybe I can read through it again and catch some things that I’ve missed. Publishing is an expensive hobby/career.

When I think back to just six months ago I’ve learned so much about publishing. I use to think that writing was the hard part, if I could only finish writing a book doing everything else would be a breeze. It’s amazing how much I didn’t know. I was sure I knew what I was doing dreaming about becoming a successful author. I knew nothing. At least it gives me something to laugh at while I try to figure out my cover art and how I should word my mailing list sign up sheet.

I’ve never thought of myself as someone who jumps into something blindly, we studied cars for well over a year and spent several weekends test driving before we finally made a decision. When we moved to a different apartment we started looking 6 months before we could even give notice on our lease, I had an excel spreadsheet with all the information about each apartment we’d been to. Occasionally we will make quick decisions, but that’s life, sometimes you have no choice in the matter. With publishing it was something I had wanted to do for years, but when I felt traditional was my only option I didn’t put forth much effort. I wrote down ideas and started plenty of things, but I never finished any of them because it seemed so hopeless. When I started hearing more and more about how popular Indie publishing was becoming and how eReader’s were making an audience available that hadn’t been before it all of a sudden became an obtainable dream. It was no longer on the level of winning the lottery. I would be able to publish, I may not sell anything, but it would still be out there for people to find.

When I started writing I chose a genre that I had read a lot in and I thought I could do well with. Halfway through I started looking into what else exactly I needed before I could publish. There was cover art, formatting, social media, website, editing, so many things that I had never given much thought to, some I wasn’t even aware of. Finishing something was supposed to be the only hurdle and it turned out to just be the first in a long line. Here I am 3 months after publishing SM and I’m still working on it, still have plans for it. Maybe everyone who goes into self-publishing isn’t as unprepared as I was, but just in case know that you are not alone.

Chaotic Christmas Schedule

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The holidays are always a pretty chaotic time at our house, as I’m sure it is at a lot of people’s. This year I decided to try to make it even more so by inviting a couple of friends over for food and a Christmas movie. I knew I would freak out over this so I thought I’d make it easy and only invite four people. If you’ve learned anything about me through this blog than you know even if it had been one person I would be nervous. I haven’t yet reached the stage of freaking out but since we didn’t put the Christmas decorations up last weekend and everyone is coming this weekend, leaving us just a few days to put everything up, I see a potential freak out in my future.

On top of all of the Christmas gatherings and family I will also, hopefully, be publishing the 3 Amelia Bennett Chronicles episodes that I’ve written. It all depends on my editor and if there is a ton of work to be done once she’s had her way with them. Having never used an editor I have no idea what to expect. I’ve already done all the formatting I can do with the episodes so I just need to have the cover art finished and handle the edits. Something else to try to not freak out about.

My KDP enrollment ended earlier this month and I have not re-enrolled because I would like to publish on other platforms. However this past weekend I had Stolen Memories opened and while skimming through looking for some information about a character I found an error. A couple other errors have been pointed out to me by readers. I’m now leaning toward waiting until I’ve had a chance to send this to an editor before I publish on more platforms. The question is do I want to wait because I want to make the book better or do I want to wait because I don’t want to learn more formatting? If it is because I don’t want to learn more formatting then that’s something else I would want to do this month. Lazy is not an acceptable excuse not to have my book up on as many platforms as possible.

Since I went back to work I’ve been doing all of my writing on the weekends. That’s a lot of pressure to put on two days when I already have all kinds of other things I have to get done. So I’m now trying to write 500 words a day. If I’m able to focus I can normally get this done in less than an hour, the key is using what I’ve learned with NaNoWriMo and just work through the fact that the words aren’t perfect. If I’m able to keep doing this I could actually end up writing even more that what I was doing.

That is the abbreviated list of things I will be doing and need to get done this holiday season. I hope everyone stays safe and has tons of fun this holiday!

New Ideas

While working on Stolen Memories my husband asked me what I was going to do next, if I had any ideas. At the time I was so immersed in Stolen Memories I didn’t have anything. I was so close to finally finishing a book for the first time that the thought of what comes next hadn’t entered my mind. Put on the spot like that I couldn’t think of anything so I told him give me some time. Once he opened that door I haven’t been able to close it. I wasn’t flooded with tons of ideas all at once but I will be in the middle of something and an idea will pop into my head and I’ll hurry and write it down before I forget. I now have a word document with all kinds of ideas that I want to work on but I have to finish what I’ve already started. I wish I wrote faster.

Part of why I started writing the Amelia Bennett Chronicles was because I needed something else to work on other than Book 2 in the Twin Moons of Andove. I would get stuck in a spot, which I’ve now realized is because I wasn’t writing the story I needed to be writing, but when I would get stuck I would switch over and then I could go back with fresh eyes. I’ve found at the beginning of something I can work on more than one project but once I get into it I get completely focused and unable to move that focus to something else. Which is what happened with the AB Chronicles, I got so focused that Book 2 was just set aside. I haven’t finished all I have to tell with Amelia but I have reached a conclusion to a story arc so I can now move back to Book 2.

That is my plan. Now that my edits are done and I’m just waiting to send them off to my editor I have moved focus back to Book 2. I’ve made a promise to myself that as soon I’ve finished the first draft I can start writing my next set of AB episodes. Not until the first draft though, I have people waiting to read Book 2.

End of November

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November stats:

4 books sold

340 free downloads

3 episodes written and being sent to an editor later this month

Realized that I needed to rewrite book 2, got to keep 2500 words of what I’d already written

It doesn’t seem like much when I write it out like that but I’m happy that I completed episodes 1, 2, & 3 and that they will be edited this month. I was disappointed in the free promotion, not with the number of books downloaded but with the way amazon now handles the ranking. I currently don’t plan on renewing my select membership and I’m going to spend some time getting Stolen Memories and eventually The Amelia Bennett Chronicles up in all the other stores.

December Goals:

Publish episodes 1, 2, & 3

Write 10k on Book 2

Try and be more active on forums

Have a great Christmas!

Freaking Out

Sadly this post is not about Home Alone

Sadly this post is not about Home Alone

So last week was a pretty big week for me, publishing wise. On Monday while surfing the kindleboards I came across a pre-made cover that for once actually worked with what I had written. This has only happened once, on a cover artist I mentioned briefly before. I’m not sure if I posted more on that but basically what happened was I contacted her to find out how much it was going to be and even with my now full-time job I could not afford her. She was well worth what she was asking for and one day if I win the lottery hell yeah I will be buying her covers. Until then I will have to be cheaper. Anyway I have a perfect pre-made cover that I bought on sale. I will be using it for all 3 episodes but I’m thinking about changing the filter for each one, I’ll have to talk to my husband…err…cover artist about that.

On Tuesday I had one more like on my Facebook page and a comment. Someone wanted to know when I was going to be finished with book 2. The pressure is on! I have fans asking about it. I said I was shooting for an early next year release, now I just need to bust my butt and make that deadline. I can do it! I can do it? I can do it?!?

On Wednesday I finished my own edits on episode 3 in the Amelia Bennett Chronicles. I’ve been saying for a while now that as soon as I finished those edits I would contact an editor. I had one picked out and as soon as I was finished I emailed her. I then promptly freaked out. I’ve never contacted an editor before, what if everything I typed was wrong, what if I sounded unprofessional, what if I waited too long, what if… What made matters worse was my husband wasn’t online to talk me down. So I ended up freaking out over IM to a friend that has never had that experience before. She’s still talking to me so that’s a good sign.

All my freaking out was of course wasted because she seems very nice in the many emails she’s sent me since then and her time estimate is for mid to late December which would be awesome, especially if she gets it done before Christmas. I could have 3 episodes up for people to hopefully buy and love on their brand new kindles.

On Thursday I checked Goodreads and noticed I had someone new rate Stolen Memories. It wasn’t a review but someone still rated it. They gave it 4 stars! Yeah!! Goodreads reviews are so much harsher than Amazon reviews so that 4 stars was like a 5 star Amazon. If that makes sense. So my free run was not completely useless. I may not have sold any additional books because Amazon didn’t let me keep the rank my free run gave me but I got one more rating on Goodreads.

On Friday I got my first royalty payment! That was huge, not the check but actually getting one. So finally I was able to mark what I have spent so far as paid for by my book, however with the $20 on the cover and the projected estimate on the editing I am now back in the hole. Still incredibly excited and pumped up to write more. It’s amazing how motivating money is.

On Saturday and Sunday I finally went back to Book 2 and began the rewriting process. I was able to salvage 2500 words out of the 20k that I had written. I was also able to get another 1500 written in between all the other things I have to get done over the weekend. It was a nice start and if I can keep writing at least 2k a weekend, hopefully more, I might just keep that early next year deadline.

That was my week, well my publishing week. More stuff happened but it wasn’t fun or exciting like all that was.

Cyber Monday Recap

Cyber Monday is over, I’m a few dollars poorer, but I am now the proud owner of a cover for my 3 episode Amelia Bennett Chronicles arc. On a non-writing note I also have the Sims 3 Seasons shipping to me. Yeah!!

Download wise I had just over 300 people download my book in the US, India, UK, Germany, and France. This was significantly less than my last free day, however if you take into consideration that last time was actually two days and I had joined a promo group, I really don’t think 300 is too bad. Hopefully I will get at least one good review out of those downloads.

I was very happy with my rank during the sale, I got as high as #40 in my sub-genre of Free Fantasy, Futuristic, & Ghost (Amazon really needs to work on their sub-genres) and around #1,700 overall.

The bad, as soon as my free promo was over my rank went back to what it had been and I no longer have any visibility. I’m hoping this is fixed and not how Amazon is now doing things because if that’s the case than a free download where only 300 books were downloaded is almost useless.

During my free promo the only advertising I did was here on this blog, on Twitter tons of hash tags were used, my fan page at Facebook was updated, and my signature at kindleboards was updated to say it was free. That is it. Basically I did nothing.

I feel bad about this but at the same time I am terrified to market my book. When I published Stolen Memories I thought it was the best I could do, I felt like I had done everything to make it good, and I honestly liked it. Now when I read bits of it and look at it I cringe. I can’t believe I did that and I want people to pay for this? It’s hard to market something when you feel that way. I’ve read so many authors that say they are so glad their first works are not available and that no one ever read them. I published my first work. I tell myself that my true fans, you know my family, will get to see how I grow as a writer and appreciate me more when I start publishing awesome stuff.

All that to say, I am proud of what I accomplished when I hit publish on Stolen Memories but the perfectionist inside of me cringes when I look at all the mistakes I made. Oh well, this was a nice experiment on what happens when your book goes free and you don’t do any advertising or very little advertising.