Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The Insecure Writer and Working with a Cover Designer


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

Why makes me an insecure writer this month?

Dealing with my cover designer.

Now I’m not suggesting my cover designer is hard to work with. On the contrary. She took the vague ideas I had in mind for my debut urban fantasy cover and turned them into reality in an amazingly short period of time. I had her tweak a few things, of course, but for the most part, I would have been happy sticking with her first draft. Even my family loved the cover, although I’ll admit they probably don’t know enough about such things (genre conventions, for example) to be  a proper judge.

No, the problem with my cover designer comes from all the decisions I’m required to make. Like the series title, for instance. I thought I’d already decided what it would be, but once it was time to lock it in, I suddenly wasn’t so sure. Even the decision as to whether I should separate the series title from the book number with a colon or bullet left me reeling. And that’s only the book cover.

Me trying to decide how my name should appear on the book

Since I’m a debut author, I need lots of graphics for my website and Facebook pages. The cover design package I purchased includes a wide range of promo materials from which to choose. Banners, cover reveal templates, book teasers, Facebook ad images, etc. I’m only allowed to choose so many, but which ones should I pick? I have no clue as to what I'll want or need in the future. I simply don’t have enough experience to know yet.

Still, all in all, I’m pretty happy with life. I have a cover, which puts me one step closer to publishing my book.  And as long as I keep moving forward, it will eventually happen.

BTW, I'm one of the IWSG co-hosts this month. The other co-hosts are Kim Elliott, Melissa Maygrove, Lee Lowery, and Nancy Gideon. Be sure to stop by their websites and say hello. 

Question for you guys. What was it like for you the first time you worked with a cover designer? Is it true what they say about you never forgetting your first one?

Take care everyone, and stay safe! 


Wednesday, April 6, 2022

The Insecure Writer and Preparing for My Foray into the Publishing World


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

Why makes me an insecure writer this month?

Doing all the non-writerly stuff that writers need to do to be successful.

Now that the writing part of my story is finished, I’ve turned my attention to those other niggling details I’ve been putting off for a while now. Setting up my Facebook author page. Setting up my author website. Signing up for an email service. At least I already have my domain name. I bought it over a year ago and it’s just been sitting idle ever since. ☹

I have a Facebook page now, but without any art for the banners, it’s not anywhere I’d send people yet. Hopefully no one stumbles across it in the meantime.

Encouraged by my success with Facebook, I worked up the nerve to purchase hosting for a Wordpress website. I’ve been having fun downloading themes, website builders, and generally mucking about trying to make it look like a real author website. I’m studying other author websites for inspiration, but as I don’t have any books yet, or any reader magnets with which to convince people to join my newsletter, or any cover art for the banner, my website is pretty sparse. Heck, I’m not even telling my mother about it until it’s a lot more polished.

In another surprising burst of productivity, I signed up for a Mailerite account. Don’t expect to get any emails from me for a while though. One of Mailerlite’s requirements is a link to my website so they can see I’m not a spammer, and I’m currently too embarrassed to show them my site until it looks as though it wasn’t built by a second grader.

Not that there's anything wrong with being a second grader.

So progress on all fronts. Now all I have to do is talk to my prospective cover designer and keep the ball rolling.

Question for you guys. How long did it take you to get set up at the beginning?

Take care everyone, and stay safe! 


Wednesday, March 2, 2022

The Insecure Writer and Entering the Publishing Phase


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

Why am I an insecure writer this month?

Because I’m just about finished with the edits suggested by my editor.

Now that may seem like a strange reason to be insecure, but with that hurdle almost cleared, I’m nearly done with the writing phase of this journey and about to move into the publishing phase. 


Before I can publish, I need to find a cover designer, a proofreader, and either find an formatter (both ebook and paperback) or learn how to do it myself. 

I have to decide if I want to stick with Amazon exclusively or go wide with all the major retailers. 

I need to write the back matter content, sign up for accounts at all the retailers, and decide if I should go through each store separately, or go through a distributor such as Smashwords.

These little details probably don’t seem a big deal to those of you who have published multiple books, but right now, it seems as if there’s just as much to learn about the actual publishing process as there was for the writing part of it. I’ve been scanning publishing blogs for tips and tricks on the subject, and it seems there are traps and pitfalls everywhere. I'm quickly learning that I don't know what I don't know.

I know I can go back and fix any mistakes later, but I’d rather just do it right the first time, especially for my debut book.

What kinds of problems did you have when you published your first book?

March 2 question - Have you ever been conflicted about writing a story or adding a scene to a story? How did you decide to write it or not? 

The only conflict I've had in this regard was deciding whether or not my story needed an additional scene to tie up loose ends, and if that scene was strong enough to stand on its own. Nothing worse than an unnecessary, bloated scene bogging down a story.

Take care everyone, and stay safe! 


Wednesday, February 2, 2022

The Insecure Writer and Being Efficiently Productive


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

Why am I an insecure writer this month?

Because it’s beginning to dawn on me that I may not have what it takes to be a productive writer.

You may wonder what I’m talking about. After all, I’m finishing up the edits on my debut urban fantasy, and I’m already deep into writing the sequel, so I am being productive. But I’m not being efficiently productive.

It took a depressingly high number of years just to get to this point in my writing career, and while that may not be all that unusual for early writers who are still learning the craft, I kind of figured things would begin speeding up at some point. Unfortunately, after spending all of January working on my revisions, my progress has been dismal.
I’m a slow writer, and that doesn’t change when I’m in editing mode. In particular, I find it especially difficult to make significant changes to a scene that I already deemed finished. Not that the problems pointed out by my editor aren’t real, but trying to reimagine the way to write a scene after it’s already been put down on paper (or hard drive) is amazingly hard for me. I stare at the words for hours at a time without a clue. I pound away at the words for days or weeks, trying this and trying that, seeing what sticks to the wall. Usually with little success.

Eventually, I hit that paradigm shift that allows me to see how the scene should be written. It’s my Eureka! moment. My vision clears. The seas part. I breathe a sigh of relief, then get on with the writing. But up until that “a-ha” moment, I’ve done nothing but bang my head against a stone wall.

But that’s my process. It’s who I am, so I can’t do too much about it. What really bothered me this month is the realization that part of the reason my revising has been so slow is because I’ve been avoiding my manuscript. I spent way too much time doing chores around the house or watching TV shows or checking out social media or sleeping. Anything to avoid sitting down in front of that laptop and facing that damn stone wall. If I’d just forced my butt into that chair and concentrated more often, I might have been finished my now.
And that’s on me.

In these heady days where a person who only writes three books a year is considered to be a slow writer, I’m absolutely glacial. If I hope to have any success with this writing thing, I’ll need a lot more determination and grit. Some way of making myself write even when the writing is tough. That’s what real writers do.

Take care everyone, and stay safe! 


Wednesday, January 5, 2022

The Insecure Writer and Marching Forward Into 2022


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

Why am I an insecure writer this month?

Because I look back at all the goals I set last January and see how few of them I actually met. Even worse, last January’s IWSG post was all about how I’d failed to meet my 2019 goals. Hmmm… I’m beginning to see a trend here.

But dang it all, I’m putting all that behind me this year. This year I'm going to meet my goals. I’m feverishly working my way through the edits sent to me by my editor, and while some of them will take a bit of work to solve, they’re not insurmountable. I will finish them and my manuscript will be ready to publish this year. 

Except that I need a cover first. And a final proofread. And for the manuscript to be properly formatted for both electronic and print versions. Oh, did I mention that I don’t plan on releasing this story until I have the sequel all ready to publish too? Hmmm…. No wonder I’m feeling insecure.

Then there’s setting up my author website, collecting an email list, starting a newsletter, and all the other little things that need to be done in the meantime. In other words, all the goals I’ve failed at the past couple of years. 

Hopefully, with my manuscript ready for publication, I’ll find the drive to get all that other stuff done too. I can't put them off much longer.

Here’s wishing that all your New Year’s resolutions work out too.

January's question: What's the one thing about your writing career you regret the most? Were you able to overcome it?

My only regret is that I didn’t begin writing earlier in my life, and that I waited so long before truly taking writing seriously. I'm not sure it's possible for me to overcome those actions, because I'll never get the time back that I frittered away. Unless one of you science fiction writers come up with a time machine or something.

This month’s co-hosts are Erika Beebe, Olga Godim, Sandra Cox, and Sarah Foster! Be sure to stop by their blogs and wish them a Happy New Year!

Take care everyone, and stay safe! 


Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Insecure Writer and Hiding From Editorial Critiques


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

What makes me an insecure writer this month?

The fact that my editor returned my manuscript, and I have yet to open it.

Yep, it finally happened. The editor returned my manuscript with all her suggested changes. That was twenty-three days ago.  Now I'll admit life’s been busy this November. We're preparing for our son to return home from school. We had a Covid scare just before Thanksgiving. It took a few days to recover from Thanksgiving dinner. But this is procrastination of the highest order. I’m simply too chicken to start the editing process. 

Photo by Zachariah Smith on Unsplash

I did read the editorial letter that accompanied the manuscript (Yay, me!), and all things considered, it sounds as though I don’t have too many major issues to fix. But that hasn’t prevented me from finding other projects to occupy my time. Heck, I only think about the manuscript when my editor writes me and asks me what I thought about her comments. 😔

It’s not like I’ve been ignoring my writerly duties. I’m already working on the sequel, and although first drafts can be stressful (see this month’s question), I’m finding it much less stressful than reading the editor’s comments and figuring out what to do about them. It's not like I'm in a hurry. I won't be releasing this book until the sequel is done, so there's no pressure to start. Thank goodness I'm not depending upon writing to feed my family.

December's question: In your writing, what stresses you the most? What delights you?

Putting words down on the paper stresses me. I know this sounds strange for a writer to say, but it's the truth. I’m not a natural writer, so it often feels like pulling teeth to knock out a scene. Even after I write the first draft, beating it into shape can be exhausting for me, often taking days or weeks (or occasionally months) to fix.

What delights me is when the scene finally comes together and I can sit back and be proud of what I’ve written. For a guy who grew up hating to write, that’s saying something.

This month’s co-hosts are PJ Colando, Diane Burton, Louise – Fundy Blue, Natalie Aguirre, and Jacqui Murray! Be sure to stop by their blogs and say hello!

And on a totally unrelated note... for those of you who love cats and Jurassic Park, enjoy the video.

Take care everyone, and stay safe! 


Wednesday, November 3, 2021

The Insecure Writer and Being Happy the Editor Is Still Working On My Manuscript


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

What makes me an insecure writer this month?

The good news is that my editor only has fifty pages left to edit. The bad news is that she only has fifty pages left to edit. 😔😔

I'm been pretty relaxed (meaning unproductive) on the writing front these past couple of months. I work on the sequel whenever I can, and I spend lots of time reading about marketing. But as far as my original manuscript is concerned (the one with the editor), out of sight means out of mind. I hardly ever think about it--except when my editor sends me a update on her progress and my bowels tighten a little more. 

Eventually the manuscript is going to be returned, and that's scary. God knows how many changes I'll have to make, or how long it will take to make them. I've sometimes found it hard to buckle down and work on the sequel, but once I get my manuscript back from the editor, I suspect I'll be finding all sorts of reasons to work on the sequel instead of dealing with the edits.

November's question: What's harder to do, coming up with your book title or writing the blurb?

Writing the blurb, definitely. A blurb has to convey so much to the prospective buyer. Who the main character is. What he/she wants. What's stopping them from reaching that goal, and what are the stakes?  

A title just has to sound cool and make the reader say hmmm....

Besides, a title is way shorter.
Take care everyone, and stay safe!