Friday, October 12, 2018

On Wattpad and Book Covers


Today, after working on the story for the last ten years, I uploaded the first chapter of my Hogwarts fanfic to Wattpad.  Here's the link if you're interested in reading it. This is the first and only story I’ve ever finished, so this is a big deal for me. Uploading my words to the world is a big step, so I want to get it right the first time. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks tweaking this chapter, mostly in response to my critique partners’ suggestions. I’ve done so much tweaking that it’s probably a good thing I set a hard deadline for uploading. Otherwise, I’d tweak the darn thing forever. 

A couple of weeks ago, I figured uploading to Wattpad would be easy. I already had an account. All I had to do was upload my words, right? 

Wrong. Turns out I needed a story description, a bio, and a cover. The description and bio didn’t take long, but the cover was another matter. Now even though this story is fan fiction, I’d always planned to get a cover. My diabolical plan, once the entire story had been uploaded, was to combine the chapters into an ebook (good practice for when I eventually publish my urban fantasy), but for that you need a cover. Heck, I’ll probably make a print version at some point too, just so I can print a few copies to stick on my bookshelves. Hey, I slaved over this story for ten years. I deserve some sort of memento. 

But it never occurred to me that I’d need a cover for uploading to Wattpad. To be honest, it isn’t required, but everything I’ve read suggests that more people will read your story if you have one. I contacted a local illustrator that I’d met many years ago at a SCBWI function, but she has since become successful enough her prices were more than my wife I was willing to spend on a fan fiction story. 

My wife searched the internet for inexpensive covers and she found a great premade one that I ended up purchasing. So now I get to do something I’ve been watching you guys do for years. A cover reveal! 

Ta Daaa!
Cover Design by Consuelo Parra

There’s still a lot of work to do over the coming months. The book has thirty chapters and they all need more work before they’re of uploadable quality, but it’ll be an exciting time. I may find myself hard pressed to keep up with submitting my “real” story to my critique groups, but that’s a small price to pay for being able to write “The End” on this one. 

Ten years is a long time to work on a story. I hope my next story doesn’t take nearly as long.

Hogwarts and the New Headmaster

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Insecure Writer and Releasing My Very First Story Into the Wild

Today is October's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

Why am I an Insecure Writer this month?

Because in nine days, I’ll begin uploading my Hogwarts fan fiction story to Wattpad, one chapter at a time. 

This day has been a long time coming. Ten years ago, I finished the seventh and last Harry Potter book and wondered how Rowling might go about writing another series in her universe. Ideas kept popping into my head, so many that I knew if I didn’t jot them down on paper I’d forget them. Sentences turned into paragraphs, which turned into pages, which turned into chapters. And suddenly, a guy who’d avoided writing most of his life discovered that writing fiction could be fun. 

So here I am today, after learning the rules of writing, after countless rewrites where I applied those rules of writing to the dreck I first scrawled on paper, after participating in multiple critique groups, after beta reading for countless other authors, after giving several presentations on story structure to local writing groups, after being a part of IWSG for years (#17 on the list and eyeing #16 – sorry Michelle), after watching everyone else turn out book after book, I’m finally ready to write “The End” and release my words into the wild. 

Technically, the story isn’t quite finished. I’m in the middle of revisions, and the early chapters are still being critiqued by a few writer friends, so I may be hard pressed to keep up with the one chapter a week schedule I'm setting myself, but I’ve set a date for the 12th and I’m sticking to it. 

You might wonder why I’m not pushing the launch date back a month or two in order to finish polishing the story. The short answer is that ten years is long enough. If I don’t push myself now, I’ll never finish it. Besides, the 12th is my birthday and uploading the first chapter of my story on that day seems like the perfect way to celebrate. 

So if any of you enjoy Harry Potter fan fiction and don’t mind all new characters, hop on over to Wattpad next weekend and check out Hogwarts and the New Headmaster. Comments and suggestions will be most welcome. Remember, this story has been and will continue to be a learning experience for me.

I’ll still be working on my urban fantasy in the meantime, of course, but my main focus will be on the fanfic. This is the story that got me into writing in the first place. This is the story that taught me about writing.  

And you never forget your first story. 

Don’t forget to stop by the other co-hosts this month: Dolorah@Book Lover, Christopher D. Votey, and Tanya Miranda