Summer

Summer always seems to go by so quickly. I feel like I’m incredibly busy, working hard, and then I realize I haven’t written a word in three days. Part of me wants to just say, “Relax, enjoy it, these days won’t come again,” and another part of me is anxious about what a bad entrepreneur I am. I need to find the fine line that lets me do both at once, and I’m pretty sure that line is best found by disconnecting from the internet. I do not wish to know how many hours a day I waste by checking my email & RSS feeds. Really, it would be a bad number.

Today, though, I’m going to be doing my first Facebook event, running (for me) from 12-3. I think I get to call that both goofing off and working, so yay. I’m also updating my blogs to include information about my new release. I’ve got A Lonely Magic scheduled to publish on July 10th. I’m sort of debating moving that up, because R comes home on July 8, and I think it would be nicer to be done with it before he arrives. I keep remembering little things I need to take care of before it actually releases, though. And the whole point of taking the time to do promotional stuff before letting it release was to actually do all that promotional stuff, not just decide at the last minute that I can’t be bothered!

 

 

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Book Sale!

I’ll be attending my first Facebook promotional event on Friday. The creator of the event emailed me a few weeks ago and asked if I’d like to participate and I said sure, without really knowing what I was getting into. I feel lucky that I did. He’s done some beautiful artwork for the occasion, including creating this incredibly cool image map, promoting all the books. Would that I was so organized!

Writer’s stress

I’m having a tough time getting started on any writing projects lately. Well, no, that’s not quite it. I’m having a tough time *finishing* any writing projects. I’ve got two short stories, a novella, and a book started, and I can’t seem to make progress on any of them. I flip back and forth, flounder for a while, put it away, and them miss a day or two while I pay attention to other projects.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Part of it, I think, is that I feel very betwixt and between. I don’t feel finished with ALM. I need to let go of it, but instead I keep tweaking, keep questioning. I’ve resisted major changes but I keep stumbling over minor ideas. For example, bread is served at a meal, described as a crunchy Italian loaf. Wouldn’t it be more interesting if it were green? Made of some sort of seaweed flour? And yet later I have a green pastry made of seaweed and won’t that line become repetition if Fen has already eaten seaweed bread? It would be a little change that would ricochet down the line resulting in other changes. And I look at parts where I did make little changes and worry that the changes haven’t balanced correctly–Fen’s fear of hallucinations may be too strong in one place, too mild in another, for example.

Eventually, though, I’ve got to let it go. On the 26th I’m going to ask my mailing list if they want review copies and at that point, it has to be final. I wish I could figure out how to be productive with something other than ALM and its audiobook between now and then, though!

Editing

So A Lonely Magic is the first book where I hired an editor. I paid the big bucks–$800–for an NYC editor with a lengthy list of noteworthy authors he’d worked with, recommended to me by another NYC editor, who I think was once executive editor of one of the name companies in fantasy publishing. (I think because I’m too lazy to look it up.)

I paid for a line edit and an editorial letter.

The good news is that I wasted my money. The bad news is that I wasted my money.

His feedback was… fine? It’s not that there was anything wrong with it, it just wasn’t anywhere near as far ahead of the average beta reader as it should have been.

An example: he thought it took too long to get answers about who and what Kaio and his family were. He said we were halfway through the book before anything was revealed. Okay, that’s appropriate feedback from a beta reader and good to know. But an editor surely should have noticed that I used a precise and classic three-act-structure. Thirty chapters to the book, 10 chapters in is when the story changes dramatically, at pretty much exactly one-third of the word count. Now an author, reading between the lines, can safely say in response to such beta reader feedback, okay the first third seemed slower, figure out how to pick up the pace. But an editor should have realized that, too! The issue is pacing, not that the first half–which isn’t a half–doesn’t give answers.

In the same line, he said that the problem was that Fen hadn’t asked questions. When I followed up on that, I got the single sentence reply back that the problem was that Luke, Kaio, and Gaelith hadn’t told her anything. Easy fix. Easy-peasy, three lines here or there will resolve it. But that’s not what he told me the issue was. An editor should be able to spotlight issues, not half-ass guess at them.

I won’t get into the rest. Fundamentally, though, I’d rate the edit as a mediocre beta read. My intern did a better one. Mike Kent (who writes as Morgan Kegan) did a much better one. So live and learn. It was a waste of time and a waste of money, but at least now I know not to waste that money anymore.

Next time around–next book around–I’d like to hire a copy-editor, so that I don’t have to be quite so anal about every single then vs than. But I won’t be hiring a line editor again.

Meanwhile, I’m still in final proof-reads. They’re going slowly, because I’m recording an audiobook at the same time. My own voice recorded is so weird to me. I hope at least one person, someday, appreciates this book, because I’m feeling very dubious about the value. But got to try someday, right?

And done

Spent the day proof-reading ALM, Made a bunch of minor changes, and a couple of sort of major ones. But I think I’m done.

I so in fact think I’m done that I posted the current version to D2D today to set up pre-orders for B&N and Apple and Kobo. The release date will be July 10th. I’m hoping to spend the month between now and then working on a marketing blast–my first ever serious attempt at marketing–and also writing the first chapter of A Precarious Balance, aka Fen Book 2.

Oh, and tomorrow, I’m going to start reading ALM aloud to a microphone. Yep, time for my first ever audio-book. It’s maximizing proof-reading and recording to do them both at once. 🙂

 

The words flow…

Such a great writing day today. The words flowed like honey. I initially said they spewed, but I couldn’t think of anything nice that spewed, so I changed it, which is sort of a marker of my day. Words, more words, bad words, no, good words! I liked them!

Rewriting the final chapter of ALM, and I think tomorrow I will go back into read-aloud mode. But I think this book is finished.

It ends with, “I’ll be back.” Part of me thinks, nope, can’t do that, and part of me is so amused at myself. So far amusement has won.

ALM back from the editor

Yay!

Most of my words yesterday wound up being minor tweaks to ALM, but I consider it a successful work day.

Today, though, not so much. I took the day off and played lots of silly iPad games. Last night’s dinner was lovely–graphic proof below, but exhausting. When I was inviting people, I felt super-casual about it–hey, come hang out and celebrate summer with us–but once you’ve invited a dozen people to dinner, you kind of have to get your act together. We had sausage and veggie skewers, burgers with bacon and blue cheese (mine was topped with home-made guac and a sriracha mayo), sweet potato fries, salad, cole slaw, and an assortment of appetizer dips, including a paleo-friendly roasted beet hummus and a Mexican tzatziki (we didn’t have dill, so I used cilantro and lime instead–it tasted just as good.) And then played a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity. Tomorrow, though, tomorrow I will be writing. ALM needs a new ending, and some tweaks at a couple places in the middle. I know what I’m going to do for the tweaks, but the ending is still a mystery to me. I hope the fingers cooperate!

 

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