Thursday, June 16, 2011

How to buy my book?

First off, the paper copy of my book is now available for purchase online. (I don't think blogger is liking links right now, so here it is for copy and paste purposes. It should also be available in soon.

Today was a day of organizing things for my book. The library doesn't really do summer releases/readings during July and August, and they are completely booked up for the fall, so I may not be able to do my release there. However, they will be purchasing a couple of copies, so the book will be available at the Confederation Centre Library in Charlottetown in a couple of weeks or so.

I was also taking the book around to a couple of local stores, and it should be available to purchase in those as well in a couple of weeks. I will make another announcement when that happens. As for the ebook copy, it should be available in most online stores including Kobo, iBookstore, etc. in the next few days.

Thank you everyone who's been so supportive of me throughout this crazy adventure. If you've read the book, I would love to see some reviews on Amazon and where ever else the book is sold. That would be a great help since most people aren't interested in purchasing a book that has no reviews.

Thank you so much!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Why should you write?

 1 – When you tell people that you write, the reactions are widely varying and often hilarious. 

2 – Every so often you find someone who loves to read your work.

3 – It you don’t write, your head, or possibly other body parts, may explode. (I’m a little bit worried about my baby toe right now.)

4 – There is no better entertainment then your own imagination.

5 – It’s a good excuse to sit in a cafe and people watch.

6 – It’s a good excuse to read ridiculous and fun books. (I have to read teen romances because I need to know my market)

7 – The characters in your head are there for you when no one else can be.

8 –
Some of the most interesting people around are writers, and being one of them makes you interesting in turn. Right? Right? No? Well, at least you can talk to interesting people about a common interest.

9 – When you get caught daydreaming, you can play it off like you were plotting your book in your head, even if you really weren’t.

10 – Unlike many jobs, writing never gets boring or repetitive. If it does, you’re not doing it right.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Did I rush into self publishing?

I just read a post on Ready, Aim, Hook Me’s blog that seemed to be directed toward me. Several of the points made are very similar to what they wrote in their critique, which is why I’ve taken the blog post so personally. First, I would like to say that these women seem like very kind people. They were encouraging and polite and I really do appreciate them taking the time to read and review my work. This is not at all a response to that critique, but more an answer to a question they asked on the blog.

So what’s the rush? Why are writers pushing work that is not ready? Are we in such a hurry and blinded by possibilities that we can't see imperfections? 

Why did I "rush" to publish? Well, first I didn't. I worked on the book for over two years (actually it’s been I think 3 years now, which is a long time for a 50000 word book of this nature). There comes a time when a book has been worked to death, and that time had come for Magic High. The flaws may have been fixable with a complete rewrite of the story (again) but I felt that would have caused the story to lose what energy and charm it has. (Of course there are people who’d argue that it has none now.)

I also considered carefully over several weeks before deciding to publish and I’ve since had several months to consider my decision. I’m still generally happy with my decision, even if people consider it amateur and not ready to be published. I’ve experienced something that relatively few people in the world get a chance to. I’ve not only written a book (this was actually my third completely finished novel with several other mostly finished ones in between) but I’ve also put it out for the world to see and judge. 

I had said in my letter to reviewers that I’d only let friends and family view the piece before publishing. (They even mention this in the post, which is also why it feels directed to me.) Yes, I only had friends and family read my book. However, several of them are published authors themselves, and the others are almost all aspiring authors whom I respect greatly. In total, I believe I’ve had around 24 people read my book to some degree, including a creative writing class and editors who made a pass after reading the full. The point I was trying to make, (and I really shouldn’t have said anything in the first place), was that I had never had someone read it for no other purpose but to critique the work. If that doesn’t make sense, that’s okay because it doesn’t really make sense to me anymore either.

Obviously this book has flaws or else an editor would have been begging me to publish through them. They would have marvelled at the fact that my book was the first one ever to be completely flawless. The trick isn’t to be flawless, but instead to know whether or not your book has too many flaws to be published. I personally felt that my book was comparable to similar published books and that the main reason it wasn’t being published wasn’t the quality of the story but rather the over saturated market. Maybe I was deluding myself. It certainly feels that way after the few comments I’ve gotten back.

Finally, as I mentioned in one of my first posts, the reason why I published was because I felt that I had two choices. I could either allow my story to sit in a box never to be read by anyone beyond the people I could afford to print off copies for, or I could self publish and see what happened. I was well aware of the fact that this could be a terrible mistake for my career as an author, since I could be forever after marked as being amateur. However, I felt that the reward of having something physical to show after years of hard work outweighed the negative.

Perhaps I’ll never be a “professional” writer. Perhaps I will always be “amateur.” However, I didn’t choose this profession to become rich or famous. I hardly expect my stories to become classics. My goal is to create something that can make someone in the world smile. And I think I achieved that with Magic High.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What am I writing?

I don't much like talking about what I'm writing before I at least have a first draft done. However, since I'm working on so many things right now, perhaps it's time to discuss them each a little bit so that I can maybe figure out which one I really want to finish first.

These are all working titles and will most likely be changed before they are finished. Probably they will be changed multiple times because that's just what this business is like.

Option 1
The Box

- This is the novel I was writing for both my creative writing class as well as my writing group during the winter. I got about 31000 words written in 14 chapters, but I felt like the last few chapters had lost the energy and purpose that the first chapters had. I'm not sure where to go next with the story. Also the characters need a lot of work since the main girl feels a lot like Tab from Magic High, and the main guy remains a little personality-less to this point. However, I am a fan of the plot. Plus out of all of my options, I think this one has the strongest writing, especially after all of the critiquing it has received.

Magic High 2

- I've started and restarted this a few times now. I actually ended up using the plot I had been saving for the second book in the first one (never hold back for a second book what you can use in the first). So now I'm not entirely sure what the plot will be, if I do a second book at all. I have about 3000 words of a new story written, but I haven't really felt the desire to work on this book yet. My original plan was to work on it once I finished The Box, but that one is going a lot slower than I would like. So far I haven't come up with a strong plot for it yet. Also, there isn't much point in writing this book if I no one liked the first one.

Option 3
Wielder Kaladrin

- This is a story I started back in 2009. I got a lot written and then realized that the story had no plot. I had been moving along so well because of my love for the characters alone. I recently took another look at it and decided it might be salvageable. The writing is pretty choppy and it would need a lot of work to insert a plot, but I still love the characters and don't find them overly similar to other characters that I've written. There's also a good word count to work with, (around 43000 words) so it isn't a daunting task to get the first draft done. However, unlike with The Box, getting a second and third draft done may be excruciatingly difficult and I may never get it to a point where I'm happy with the writing.

Option 4
King's Treasure

- A very very rough name. In fact up until about 2 minutes ago it had no name at all. I shouldn't even really include this one since it is a script I started for a graphic novel. If I ever get my confidence back with my drawing that is.  However, lately I've been thinking that it might be kind of fun to turn the story into a novel instead. Much like Magic High 2, this is still in very early stages, but so far I love the characters, the plot is pretty fun and it's the only one of my stories that is high fantasy instead of urban fantasy. Also, since I'm writing it as a script for a comic book, I should be able to get the first draft done fairly quickly since the word count won't need to be anywhere near what a novel needs. Once the outline is done, I would be able to expand it into a proper novel. Not how I usually work, but it could be interesting. Generally I find that my characters get a little stale or cliche when I write the more traditional style of fantasy, so we'll have to see what happens with this one. It may be one more story thrown into my "practice" folder.

Any thoughts? Suggestions? Pictures of LOL Catz for inspiration? Leave a comment. Or you know, don't. That's fine too.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What am I reading?

Every author needs to be a reader first. A good book gives inspiration and helps guide your writing abilities. Sometimes it can be hard to find the time to read, but I've been trying to do just that more regularly. This weekend I finished rereading the first two books of the Princess Diaries series.

Princess Diaries and Princess in the Spotlight by Meg Cabot

Why did I pick it up?
I read these books first when I was about 15. I don’t really remember why I picked them up other than it was about a princess and I was reading just about every YA novel the library had at the time. 

First impression
I vaguely remember being intrigued by the style. It was the first novel that I had ever read that was written as a diary. I kept my own diary at the time and I really wanted to start writing it as often as Mia does in the story. I never did, but obviously I felt an instant connection with the character.

What made me keep reading?
These books are so easy to read. Even though Cabot uses words such as “Like” and “Whatever” more often than some people might think is necessary, and she throws in a lot of pop culture references that makes the book dated, the writing feels natural. It really seems like a teenager’s diary.

What would I change?
The main character is really not very good at understanding other people’s feelings. Sometimes I just want to smack her. However that’s more of a character trait then a problem with the writing. There are points in the story where there are shopping lists and the like that can get a little boring, but it’s pretty easy to just skip over those parts, and they help make the story feel more like a notebook rather than a novel.

Final thoughts
I haven’t read the entire series yet, but I have read most of the books, including the final one which I really enjoyed. I really admire how Cabot was able to develop the character throughout the series so that she felt older and more mature by the end but was still the same person. Of course any book that I’m willing to reread is a good one. They are lots of fun and well worth the read.

Friday, June 3, 2011

How to be a writer.

Not sure what it takes to be a writer? Follow these six steps and you will be well on your way.

Step One – Read.
If you don’t read books, then why would you ever want to create one?

Step Two – Write.
Do this step as often as you can. It doesn’t have to be full stories, it doesn’t have to be fiction, just put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write.

Step Three – Finish something.
This is often the hardest part for any aspiring author. I can understand that. I actually have three books on the go right now, and I worry that none will get finished. Just remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time. All you need for this step is a start, a middle, and an end.

Step Four – Edit.
Nobody is perfect. Don’t be afraid of ripping that story apart and making it better. I know it’s a lot of work but it will be worth it.

Step Five – Repeat steps one through four.
You’re next book will be better than your last. Every time you read or write, you are learning, and that will show in your next piece of work.

Step Six – Never give up.
I’ve been writing for about 15 years and am only now releasing my debut novel. I am sure that there will be people who tell me I shouldn’t have bothered, or that I should have waited until my next book. There are always people ready to tell you that your work is bad or amateur or sloppy. The trick is to keep going, even when you think they might be right because...

A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” – RICHARD BACH

Thursday, June 2, 2011

What am I reading?

Every author needs to be a reader first. A good book gives inspiration and helps guide your writing abilities. Sometimes it can be hard to find the time to read, but I've been trying to do just that more regularly. This is the last book that I finished.

Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Why did I pick it up?
Every time I go to the bookstore I look at the young adult section, specifically at Tamora Pierce's books, despite the fact that I own them all. This book caught my eye because of it's name which is similar to Lionness Rampant by Tamora Pierce, and it had a quote from Tamora Pierce on the cover. Yeah, I'm a little bit obsessed with her.

First impression
I had no idea what the book would be like when I started, and the first couple of chapters had me a little worried. The writing was engaging and at a good speed, but there were some uses of words that threw me out of the story. Once I got past the first few chapters, I found this problem disappeared.

What made me keep reading?
I have personally never read a story about killer unicorns before, so the original storyline itself was a huge draw. Combined with compelling characters, lots of action and a plot that moved along at a good pace, I was hardly able to set the book down.

What would I change?
Because there was a lot of action throughout the book, I found myself wanting an even more exciting climax. It was good, but I felt like there could have been more at stake. There were also a few loose ends at the end that I wanted cleared up.

Final thoughts
I really enjoyed this book. The setting, characters, and writing were amazing. I would have liked to see the villain be more evil in the end, but still a great read. I would highly recommend this book.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How often do you write?

I have a feeling I covered this before, but I know that in the past month, the usual amount I write has definitely changed. Before I got into the final stages of publishing my book, I would write at least a little bit almost every day. The amount I wrote varied, usually under 1000 words on weekdays and up to 3000 during the weekend.

Since I've been working on getting the files together to publish, I have hardly been able to write at all. Most of my time is spent worrying about Magic High, or learning some marketing tips for selling the book. It seems to be next to impossible to find time to actually write.

What does this actually mean? Well, other then the fact that I'm getting a little cranky from not being able to do what I love, it means that it will take that much longer for my next book to be released. Many of the self published authors that do well often are able to release several books a year. At this rate, I don't know that could release even one a year. My goal is to produce more than that, but first I have to write the next book, and to do that I'll have to start writing more regularly than I have been. Hopefully now that most of the technical work for Magic High is done, I'll be able to find the time again.