Where I’m At With My Writing

Where I’m At With My Writing

Five years ago I finished a novel currently titled The Glorious In-Between, which originally concentrated on what it meant to be asexual as a teen. Then it evolved from there because you can’t have only that defining a book. Sexuality itself isn’t a story. It’s a defining characteristic that can complicate a story, so I’ve built it in layers over the years. 2018 was the last time I touched the book, and then this pandemic hit, I got furloughed from work, and I found myself with plenty of time to sit down and get back to it. I said I was going to prioritize the third book in The Stars Trilogy, but the future of my current publisher is unknown thanks to COVID, so my books can only be purchased through Lulu or in print on Amazon.

Well, now I’m going to have plenty of time for the foreseeable future since my position as a personal trainer was eliminated entirely; I am without work. It’s honestly been gutting because I loved that job. It also doesn’t help to see “essentials” teasing “non-essentials” when, in reality, essentials aren’t any safer. After all, people in my husband’s industry (trucking) have been losing their jobs and having pay cuts. Physical therapists are also essential, but many have been furloughed, depending on where they work.

Since receiving that news, it’s been hard keeping a regular writing schedule. I am at a chicken-or-the-egg scenario right now. It’s hard to know if depression is stemming entirely from the loss of a job I was passionate about, or if my bipolar disorder is tipping downward (again), or if it’s a mixture of both and the job loss sped up the process. I’m also undergoing a dosage change with my Depakote and am currently waiting on confirmation about whether or not I have hypothyroidism, most likely caused by my Lithium.

There’s really no point in guessing. All I can do is accept that this is how I feel.

I am the type of person who experiences her emotions all at once when disappointment strikes, and so my heartbreak doesn’t last long because I’m not trying to push away the pain. Yet, anyone else would look in on and me and be convinced I’m taking the loss of my job extra hard. After all, I am in a much better place than others who have lost a job since I live at home with my parents. They’re not putting any pressure on me. All of my debt has also been paid off, so I owe nothing for the foreseeable future. I have PT school to look forward to, which could, for all I know, make holding any job impossible anyway, even though it is a flex program.

I was born anxious. It doesn’t take much to flare it, and it’s been my fuel lately.

While I am done with the first round of revisions of TGIB, I have been struggling with that hollowness common with depression, which has made doing further work on it difficult. But I added a new plot thread to up the stakes for my MC since my query letter on AbsoluteWrite was torn to shreds and revealed a rather glaring flaw in the storyline itself–at least in my opinion. Now my second pass will be checking to make sure the plot thread has been developed appropriately, along with adding a few other things to add some color to the story (McMansions, anyone?). Then another pass through to cut down on words and probably, hopefully, one more for proofreading. It has been beta read in the past, so I might seek out one more, unless having the synopsis looked over is a sufficient enough guide for any further edits the book itself might need.

A secret I don’t think I ever told anyone is When Stars Die only ever had one beta reader.

Hopefully all of that will take about a month or less.

Right now I am gaining distance from TGIB, but it’s been hard to do anything at all productive otherwise. I should be making notes of things to keep an eye out for in TGIB. I should also be coming up with another title because TGIB no longer accurately describes the book. I should also be preparing my query letter and synopsis for When Stars Die, just in case things do fall through with my current publisher. I’ll see what small presses are out there. Otherwise, self-publishing it is.

I also finished outlining a brand new novel, although now I’m going to have to edit the outline itself because I decided to change who my protagonist is going to be. So that’s another thing I should be working on but is hard to do.

I get it. It’s an uncertain time for everyone and rough for some. I know I’m not the only one feeling this way. It’s just maddening, as usual, that you have things that can keep you productive, but you’re being held back by the voice of mental illness living in your mind.

At least I have made progress since this all started.


Losing a Publisher

Losing a Publisher

As some of you may or may not know, I lost my publisher, AEC Stellar Publishing Inc., back in December, thus putting When Stars Die out of print. At first I wasn’t hit too hard by it, even though its closure was completely unexpected. After all, it wasn’t in any danger of going bankrupt, which is why many a small press usually fails. So I wasn’t too distraught until it became apparent that finding a new publisher for When Stars Die was going to prove to be incredibly challenging.

Every publisher I subbed to requested a full, but they all ended up rejecting, except for one–and I ended up turning that contract down for a variety of reasons. You would think finding a home for a previously published book with a 4.31 star rating on Goodreads would be easy, but that simply isn’t true. If anything, it’s more difficult since your list of publishers is limited to those willing to take on previously published books. I knew I didn’t want to self-publish it. I simply don’t have the funds for it right now. Between paying off a car because I got in a wreck a few months ago with my former one, paying for gas every week, a cell phone bill, and paying off my ACE certification course, I cannot spare the funds to make self-publishing work for me. So it has been an exhausting, frustrating journey with loads of self-doubt.

I know authors who have had it worse, who have had to enact lawsuits, just to get the rights of their books back. Then ultimately they didn’t choose to put their books back in the market because their previous publishers tainted them, so I’m grateful that’s not the case with my book. I’m grateful for the opportunity AEC had given me. I only wish that it didn’t have to end.

Throughout this journey I kept constantly wishing my publisher hadn’t folded since it has been so painful playing the waiting game and wondering each time if it was worth continuing to pursue something that seemed out of reach. My writing life has been stagnant because of it. I felt like it was pointless to write. If When Stars Die couldn’t find a home, what made me think any of my books would? I even attempted copy-editing The Glorious In-Between, but I was filled with so much self-doubt about whether or not it even had a chance. Yet, I love the story and I don’t even .000000infinitysymbol hate what I’ve written. I couldn’t give up. When Stars Die is a story worth telling.

It’s difficult losing something that gave you such security, that thought your ideas were valuable enough to share with readers who will hopefully also think your writing has value. You begin to wonder if the publication of your book was a mistake, if you were ever meant to be an author or just some keyboard jockey typing out words that go nowhere. Well, the truth is that there may ever only be one publisher or literary agent who wants to give value to your words. The truth is that the book you worked so hard on may never see itself to print, unless you decide to take the path of self-publishing (and please do if you never fall out of love with your book!). The truth is that even when you find a publisher, being an author never gets any easier. And sometimes you’ll end up with a publisher that wasn’t your dream one but can become one. But then sometimes opportunities are handed to you, and you’ve got to know when the right time is to take them. collageThis is why I’m proud to say that When Stars Die has a new home! After contract negotiations, I’ll post a more official announcement on this. It’s been a tiresome journey, but something tells me I’m making the right decision by latching on to this opportunity presented to me months ago. I can’t wait to share more news of this and get back into the blogosphere.

For my writer followers, don’t give up. You are going to experience moments when you wonder why the writing life chose you, where you’re going to wonder why you didn’t pursue some other, more obtainable passion.

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What I Hate About Being An Author

What I Hate About Being An Author

I don’t know if there are many authors out there who have written what they hate about being an author. Don’t get the wrong idea. I love being an author. I truly do. Yet, there are parts about it that I hate.

  1. Reviews. Yeah, you’ve got a book published, it’s selling, and that’s probably all that matters to you. At the same time, readers’ opinions are probably more important than anything else. If your book flops as far as ratings/reviews are concerned, readers might not be as inclined to buy the next book, especially if this book is in a trilogy. Luckily for me, When Stars Die has 91 ratings with a 4.31 star rating. That’s pretty darn good.
  2. Publication. Just because you’ve got one book published doesn’t mean you’ll easily get another one published. Take my book, for example. Since being orphaned due to the closing of my publisher, it hasn’t found a home yet since I started searching in January. Granted, it did land a contract I’m still sitting on, and the full is with another house whose owner said they’ll get to my manuscript this month–and hopefully a contract. Thus, published authors are in the same boat as those not published. The only difference is people are actually reading their sweat-blood-and-tears books and making some money from it, but that’s it, really.
  3. Publishers Folding. This sucks badly. When AEC folded, I saw it as an opportunity for my novel to start anew. I have to think this way so I don’t succumb to despair. It is true that it’s a fresh start, but what’s also true is that it sucks that AEC folded. AEC didn’t fold due to monetary reasons, but that doesn’t make it any less sucky. After all, the sequel to my novel was almost ready to be made into an ARC that I could send out to readers for ratings/reviews. It had the cover and everything. I was just a few chapters shy of completing final proofreads. But this is the risk authors take when they decide to not get published by a Big 5 house. Even then, those published by the Big 5 are in danger of losing their jobs, too, especially if their agent decides to quit and can’t hand you over to another one. Or their editor decides to quit and the others don’t want your book.
  4. Not Finding a Publisher. Okay, so this doesn’t have anything to do with me, as I don’t have a literary agent, but I do know a few authors who once had literary agents. Those agents could not find a single publisher to take on their book. In the end, one decided to self-publish the rejected novel, and the other few dropped their agents altogether to start self-publishing their titles–with some success, of course.
  5. Sales. This is probably the aspect I hate the most. My novel did somewhat okay in regards to sales, but it’s still nail-biting torture when you receive your monthly statements. Some authors, even with good small presses, may not sell any books at all during a single month. This is incredibly disheartening, as we authors want people to read what we’ve written. We didn’t get published so we could finally call ourselves authors. We wanted our books to be published so we could share our stories to those interested in the types of stories we’ve written. So it’s no fun when you’ve had a bad month of sales–and you WILL have at least one bad month, which is subjective depending on previous sales’ records.
  6. Cover Art. Okay, so both of my novels have gorgeous, gorgeous covers. It was exciting to know what my cover artist could come up with. Even so, it’s a process I both loved and hated. What if I hated the cover? What if the publisher and I couldn’t come to a compromise on the cover? What if readers don’t buy your book because the cover is so obviously crap? What if it doesn’t even have anything to do with your book? Authors with smaller presses tend to have more say, but that doesn’t mean your options aren’t limited. But feel bad for the authors with the big guys. They don’t have a say at all. Some don’t want a say. But there are horrendous book covers out there because the authors didn’t have a say.
  7. Blurbs. Once your book has been accepted for publication, you still have to write the back cover blurb. This is a process I hate, as I’m not great with them. You think it’d be easy after writing a query letter and synopsis, but the blurb is something completely different. Query letters and synopses entice agents and editors to take on your book. Blurbs entice readers to buy your book; thus, the blurb has to be different because it’s about reeling in readers.
  8. Being Stranded. When the house folds, you’re stranded again. There aren’t many publishers out there willing to take on a previously published book. Thankfully, there are some presses out there that will. Nonetheless, having that book previously published will not give you a leg up. Having great sales and even reviews doesn’t give you a leg up. If the editor doesn’t like what they’re reading, no amount of sales or great reviews are going to change that editor’s mind.

These are a few things I hate about being an author. It doesn’t get any easier when you’re published. In fact, it only gets harder. Regardless, I love it. I can share my story with the world. I can show off my baby through platforming, like reviews, interviews, maintaining social media, ect. I can proudly say I’m an author, and people will think that’s awesome. I can have book signings. I get to have physical copies of my book to give away. My book could potentially be in bookstores. Librarians will buy my book with interest from just one person. Local bookstores will definitely stock my book. I get to have cover reveals, interviews with blogs and online radio shows, create picture quotes, tug on the excitement of readers with teasers, have a book trailer, and sit back and realize how remarkable it is that all the months or years it took me to write that book finally paid off.

There are more things about being an author that I love than hate. Right now, I’m simply an author on pause.