Writing isn’t really the hardest part of what I do. I’ve been writing since the primary grades. While writer’s block is very real (despite the claims of those who have obviously never had to deal with it), I’m having less trouble with it than I used to. Nanowrimo and Camp Nanowrimo are wonderful tools for helping me finish manuscripts, although I have finished novels without them. In a good year, I can complete four or more first drafts. (I think I’m at three so far this year, with five months and Nanowrimo to go.)
Editing and rewriting don’t really bother me. Provided I’ve let the first draft sit for a few months/years. I absolutely cannot finish a first draft and then immediately dive into revision work. I will HATE the piece by the end of the second draft (no matter how good/bad it actually is) and never really be happy with the end result. This is also the stage where it would be helpful to have different/more beta readers.
Publishing prep can be kind of fun, depending what I’m doing. Certainly the formatting and proofing stages, with all the little steps to producing a professional looking product are something I enjoy. It helps that I have a checklist which is essentially the same no matter what’s in the works. Although cover design can be frustrating and I too often fall back on Createspace’s extremely limited library of stock images. There’s a joy in getting the cover looking good along with all the inside stuff.
The real hard part is the marketing. The appealing to people to read the published work. The trying to convince them to post ratings and reviews of what they read. I wish I could afford to pay someone to do all that stuff for me. I find it energy sucking… energy I would much prefer to put into any of the three steps listed above.
I’ve mentioned Howling Wolf Books, my business, before on this blog. What it is and some of what I’m hoping to do with it. Maybe even how I intended to set up for six months light duty this year.
I’m unemployable by most traditional standards. My physical and mental health issues massively effect my day to day life. I have no formal work experience to put on a resume. Most of my training and certificates are more than ten years old. I cannot deal with the general public face to face in any capacity for more than an hour before needing a break. I live in a city where people with far more extensive resumes than mine can’t find employment and more jobs are being cut than generated.
Operating my own business is pretty much my only hope of generating adequate income to support myself. I’ve worked any number of casual, temporary, and/or informal jobs, none of which pay much or for very long. I know some people somehow manage to support themselves through such means. I’m not one of them.
Certainly Howling Wolf Books has the potential to support me and mine. There are already several short stories and novels available for sale in both ebook and print through a number of major online retailers. They’re even selling a little. Enough for the ebook distributor to pay out my account this month. Unfortunately not enough to really be worth mentioning.
My main problem seems to be marketing. I can’t pay for ads right now. People read the stories and claim to love them. Evidently not enough to review or recommend them to anyone else. New releases are listed for giveaway through Goodreads. The main author I’m working with at the moment posts on both her blog and Facebook. (She does have an issue where people either love or hate her work with very little middle ground. I do my best to present as professional looking a product as possible, but it only seems to go so far.)
Since I lost the baby I was expecting (see last week’s post), I’ve been drifting along on light duty because I just don’t have the energy to put into anything more. I have been considering opening up submissions for new authors a little early, but it won’t be before the end of August. I have too many other sources of stress right now.
I will get back to my business and my plans for it, but at the moment I have until the end of this month to find a new home. Unless something changes, I’m going to have very limited income. While my ex-husband is willing to pay child support, I’ll still be on my own with small child and cat. As of right now, I don’t know where I’m going or how I’m going to get there. All I have right now is my faith in God’s promise to provide my needs.
I’m hoping, by the end of August, I will be settled into my new home and the worst of the really life disruptive stuff will have settled out. Then hopefully, I’ll have more time and energy for my business and things will pick up.
At least it sure feels like it.
Maybe it’s the annual funk which lasts the first three weeks of February. Until my birthday is over and I can cry for what did/didn’t happen and move on with the year.
Maybe it’s watching my family expand and our income stay the same. (Actually, if the current Canadian government does what’s rumoured to the Child Tax Credit, we’ll have less per month than we do now.)
Maybe it’s trying to get my business off the ground and having zero reach and no one buying.
Maybe it’s seeing the stats for this blog and my business website and knowing I’m barely even seen.
Maybe it’s wondering how we’re going to stay fed ’til payday when the rent and bills ate up what paycheque we got.
Maybe it’s all of the above.
And just maybe it’s only for now and things might finally get better. But it’s so hard to keep promises of better in mind when I’m looking at what I am right now.
On the upside, I’m able to write when I didn’t expect to be. That’s something.
Just a bit of what’s been going on for me this month and what’s to come next year:
My family and friends finally know I’m expecting a new little one in May. I’ve known for a while, but didn’t want to share until I was past the first trimester.
I’m working on a full length book to be released by Howling Wolf Books in July. It’s just far from ready at the moment. And lacking a finalized title still.
Going to be a light version of Christmas this year. Small gifts, no decorations, little to no celebration other than at parents’ homes. I don’t have the energy or concentration for more.
The first novel from Howling Wolf Books is available for pre-order and the second will be as of Monday. Speaking of which, I’m planning and prepping to allow myself very light duty for about six months starting towards the end of May. The books will still be released, but I won’t be doing much else.
It seems my usually questionable sense of time has gone completely out the window this week. I’m still wondering where the week went and only now, late on Friday, did I realize I’d forgotten to publish a post yesterday. I meant to, if it had even crossed my mind yesterday. (It didn’t.)
I think I know why my brain is so fried.
One: Five hundred and eighty-eight pages (formatted for print ) is a lot of editing. Don’t ask me for a word count on that sucker. I’ve never bothered. I also have it on good authority it could’ve been longer. What surprises me is other people have or sincerely mean to read the entire thing. (It’s by Alexandra A. Cheshire.)
Two: The basement which has been near to giving me anxiety issues is finally cleaned up (mostly) and organized so I can find things and it doesn’t look as intimidating as it did. Also my husband has restored access to his Magic the Gathering card collection.
Three: I got my domain name, howlingwolfbooks.ca, properly attached to my business website. It only took several days and high levels of frustration. I am not even remotely a web designer or tech of any kind. This feels near miraculous to me.
Now to working on the books which are slated to be released for sale over the next year. I already have my husband’s birthday gift, although the trip to the mall left me utterly exhausted. I think I’m good for the moment.
In my very first post on this blog I mentioned my work and my dream of one day running my own business. I don’t think I’ve said much about either since. That said, I’ve been doing some wrestling and planning and thinking on the subject behind the scenes of what I have blogged about in the last eight months.
But, on September thirtieth of this year, I quit my position with the publishing company I was working for. This is something which had been in the back of my mind for a while, while I worked through other things. There are a number of reasons, but the bottom line is I’m feeling God calling me on to other things which are going to take more energy and concentration than I could spare while dealing with my former partners.
My original plan for my own business revolved around my sewing/crafting/custom design and I still intend to do a certain amount of those as part of what I’m moving into now. Also part of the original plan was to maybe sell a few books on the side since I have no intention of giving up my writing.
Apparently what I was sort of considering in my head and what God wants from me are two very different things. Since I’m doing my best to follow the path God has placed my feet on, I’m going to give the vision He has given me my best shot. If this is really His plan, He will see it through.
And so, Howling Wolf Books (And More).
The primary aspect is the writing and publishing. The secondary aspect (the And More) is one of a kind and custom items, some of which will be based on/related to the books and characters.
Right now I have a Facebook page and Smashwords (ebooks) account, but I am aiming to have my full website up and running before Christmas this year. The business officially launches in January with the release of the first novel.
In the meantime I’m releasing one short story a week in ebook form. Each of these will be free for the first two weeks, after which a price will be added. The first one was released last week and can be found here. The second will be up tomorrow.
All together, if feels like a whole lot, but I’m trying to take it one step at a time.