These last couple of weeks have been very busy, too busy really and not all in a fun way. When this happens I do what I always do and look for something to read so I can chill. It’s what I love about reading, the fact it gives you time away from real life without going too far from home. I came across a book that looked interesting. Even though many people tell me they don’t go by reviews I’m not one of those people. I read reviews and look at what people say and then decide on the book depending on what is said.
I found a book and checked out what people had to say. They had me not at hello with this book but then I’m not chasing Jerry Maguire. They got me at ‘recommended for those who look for good writing quality in that genre’, the genre in this case being paranormal. Knowing the author has paid attention to her writing and that it has been noticed made it easy for me to decide on the purchase. The reviewer was right and I discovered a new author to add to my growing collection, and I proceeded to download the next two books in the series after reading only half of the first book.
All of this however set me thinking. As you know from my posts, my writing group and I self-published a short story anthology. I often get asked why short stories, and why the self-publishing as an eBook. Our group wasn’t in a financial position to afford editing, proofreading, covers and all the usual things associated with publishing. We were, are, ordinary people with dreams, and we believed in each other. Self-publishing put us in control. It gave us an immediate opportunity, and the bonus is that it is a simple procedure. For us it proved an excellent manner to dip our big toe, or in our case, a few big toes.
The book became available straight away and we learned about uploads and marketing. The decision to go with short stories meant we could handle more of the processes ourselves simply because a smaller word count with the separate stories made manipulating the manuscript so much easier; we printed copies which we passed around to each other for editing. We then found two other people to check the manuscript, a friend to design the cover, and then we all got together and uploaded. Print copies of the book could come at a later date.
However as you would know from previous posts it seems no matter how careful we were, errors occurred, or rather were not picked up. We expected this. We knew doing everything ourselves would have penalties. This morning, the girls and I finished our revisions and re-uploaded Stories of the Dark and Light. We are hoping the effort we made has improved the stories. Self-publishing in an eBook format allows revisions at any time. The book I was talking about at the beginning of this post re-enforced to me the importance of the quality of the work. I believe it matters as much as the uniqueness of the work produced by the writer.
This whole process of self-publishing has been a huge emotional learning curve, and continues to be. This is particularly intimidating as I am about to do it again with a romance series. You see although I blog on a regular basis, have put myself out there and am planning to do it again I suffer from a rare and complicated affliction. It regularly strikes the crazy people that choose the Creative Arts for a profession. In medical terms it is referred to as ‘imposter syndrome’ and doesn’t just apply to writers. Everyone with a bent for the arts can be a victim.
Self-doubts, fear of criticism, and the failure to live up to expectations are all symptoms. There is no cure but you can learn to live with the condition and take certain precautions depending on the disciple you choose. With writers you need routine, a place that is comfortable to house your computer, your notes in a visible area, a comfortable chair and coffee, lots of it. It helps to have a positive attitude that refuses to give up despite criticism, or bad days when the muse is in a coma. Above all you need to be willing to keep on top of your craft by researching and opening yourself up to new ideas.
Professional input, so often dependent on funds, is vital and we hope as time progresses that we can manage this. For now, it is fortunate being creative lends itself to improvising. Nothing is insurmountable with a little bit of enterprise added to the mix. There is one more thing that may also help alleviate the condition. If I can go back to the beginning of this post for a moment I would like to bring up reviews.
Whatever the Creative Art an audience is involved. For writers it is our readers but they are just as much an audience, as those people sitting in a theatre. Their thoughts on the performance matters a great deal. It is the platform to change, refine and hopefully improve. More important it helps give direction to others, so that they have some guidance, as to whether or not they may enjoy what is laid before them. So please, don’t be afraid to express an opinion. I discussed a lovely new author by the name of Laura Taylor who writes paranormal in a novel (yes, I am playing with the word) way and best of all is a fellow Aussie.
In the next few weeks I will be putting up some more teasers like the one below from my novel Unexpected Obsession. Please feel free to comment and let know what you think. This is from the honeymoon in Sicily.
Those dark eyes examining every facet that made her a woman made the moment unbearable erotic. She literally couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move, was afraid and yet had never wanted anything more in her entire life.