Making wine, or making vinegar – the difference is in the fine tuning

pink-wine-1964457__340There are days when I feel so frustrated with the world of writing that I wish I had never started. The reality of it all, the hoping for reviews, hoping for readers, the media, working on follow up books, both in The Unexpected Series and my Emotions poetry trilogy has meant feeling overwhelmed. Don’t misunderstand. I love writing but it is hard work and so reliant on what others think, much like the creation of fine wine.

Age or time if used wisely improves the process but like first-time winemakers you need to hone your craft by taking on board the reactions of others.  If you haven’t handled the process carefully then vinegar is the result. It doesn’t mean you give up however you do need to add a bit more thought, to your approach.

I’m Italian and I grew up to the stomping of grapes in the cleverly designed concrete contraption housed in our garage. I lived in Sydney so options for my father and uncles were limited.  They made their own, contraptions that is, contraptions that included a still (an amazing construction of dubious metals) as well as the area that housed the bare-feet grape-bashing once a year gathering of relatives.  In the early years the ensuing results were often foul, at least compared to the wines I enjoy these days, but other times they held a certain appeal and the dregs of those good moments extended into a grape jelly I have yet to taste the equal of.

Why the differences in outcome?  It may have been due to numerous work constraints (real jobs I mean) with available helpers, or perhaps it was the type of grapes purchased.  As time passed and I grew older and understood more, I saw the improvements in the equipment and resulting product as someone new to the growing brood of relatives, added their suggestions to the mix.  My father was many things I was often at odds with (cultural differences) but there was one thing he did that stood out I truly hope he passed on to me – he was a willing learner.

Am I ready for real critique, ready to find out whether the product is wine or vinegar? Who wants to drink vinegar?  Isn’t it good for you? I’m sure I read that somewhere. Regardless the journey has been one of bountiful information. I have learned writers build a bridge to what is often unrelated ideas in order to present a truth.   I have learned how hard it is to do this in a unique and novel way. What I didn’t know was how much of a see-saw writing would turn out to be emotionally, and how hard it would be to wait and see if the end product is vinegar or a fine bottle of red (or white but red sounds better).

Actually, I did know emotions would rise and cause havoc but the colour of our truth is grey and not the black and white we presume.  As Antonio says to his daughter Lia, in Unexpected Obsession:

“What happened isn’t black and white, the truth isn’t black and white. Maybe the facts are, this happened, that happened but the reasons are more complicated, full of grey areas. It’s hard to be open to that but Lia, grey softens the edges, helps us clarify what is important.”

I recalled a writer’s workshop I attended held by the Queensland Writers Centre on honing the realities of marketing. This is the behind the scenes hard work to get the created work out there, a time-consuming and confronting operation. If you didn’t love what you did then you would never attempt writing as a profession.  It is a demanding and selfish task master during the process, and in the necessary extensions of the process. Yet that perfect glass of wine does happen but not if you let things get in the way especially the things that may not be palatable.

Self-publishing has been a little harrowing. Yet it was also a liberating experience as ultimately it is the readers, we will answer to so cutting out the middle man seems fair. Jane Davis says the following:

“Self-publishing is the mechanism that freed me to be more ambitious in terms of where I wanted to take my fiction. Instead of being dictated to, I am free to write about the issues I’m passionate about and fascinated by – the big subjects. Remove the pressure of trying of to mold something to fit the current market – which agents admit is risk-averse and overly-commercialised – and it grows wings. For authors of literary fiction, creative control isn’t just a plus. Increasingly it’s becoming a must.

I don’t know about that, but I do know that I want to make wine and am hoping fervently that readers will take advantage of the current $0.99 sale of my e-Books extended now until the end of March, and that they favour me with a review. I am willing to accept vinegar if I end up making fine wine in the long run. I’m here for the duration but I need your support by way of input and that can only come from reviews.

Till next time

Ciao

Barb

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Self-publishing, validation or just idle thoughts

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Another birthday has come and gone but I’m not the least bit bothered. I am doing things and age can’t and won’t get in the way. Three years ago, I took the plunge into self-publishing and even though I haven’t hit a best seller list, and may never do so, I can’t complain because I love what I do and I have earned the right to do it.

I still get the occasional niggling question – why not a traditional publisher? Or my favourite, why did you give your character that name? I still cringe at the words (internally), but I choose silence (externally). In any case, what could I say?

Of course, I would love a publisher to find me, but it’s not like I decide I want it to happen and magically someone offers me a contract. And to be honest, I like not stressing over query letters, a synopsis or an outline, or that awful wait for someone to get back to you. And I may have to do a lot alone, but at least I dance to the beat of my own drum. (I didn’t pick the names of my characters, they introduced themselves and I had to lump it, just in case you wanted to know.)

There is an insane belief that we can question the actions of a self-published author in a very personal way. I am beginning to believe it is because we explain ourselves. I know I have, and frankly I have done it far too often. At first, I did it because I wanted to share the process. It helped me clarify what I was doing. Secondly, I wanted to encourage others out there to have a go at whatever they felt they wanted to do. Both were and are great reasons but somewhere in there I found myself sharing too much and wondering if I was undermining the necessary belief in the self that keeps us going. I decided I wanted to re-think and re-process.

Thinking Linda Xu

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One of the perks with self-publishing is being able to re-evaluate based on input, and then re-edit and re-publish. Controlling what we do is amazing. We pick when and where. So as I said, I documented the journey, all of it – the first publication, the re-edit, publishing again and so forth. I can truly say I did it in good faith, wanting readers to understand I knew changes were needed.

But I wonder if it wasn’t also way of excusing myself, showing myself in a positive light. I mean, it would demonstrate how thoughtful I was, how self-aware, wouldn’t it? Emotional blackmail of sorts?  I don’t think that’s true, at least not intentionally, but I have decided perhaps an element of this existed and exists, and perhaps sharing needs limits. Readers need their illusions as well, and it seems wrong to pull them into our mistakes. And it also feeds the writer a constant diet of subconscious self-doubt.

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The truth is good or bad, independent authors rock. Putting ourselves out there to fulfil a potential in our lives is brave given normal avenues for whatever reasons are not open to us, and we stand alone. Being a wordsmith (working with words), a fellow Australian author Jill Staunton would say, is incredibly satisfying. I also think it a little dangerous. Words are fuelled by thoughts. And sometimes there is a clashing between life and the manuscript we need to be wary of. This quote from Frank Outlaw (his background appeared complicated but I like the quote Mareo McCraken chose in his post and went with it) says it all.

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

These words led me back to re-read three posts I had written fail early, fail often and fail forward not so long ago.  The posts shed a light I didn’t want. I discovered that without meaning to, a part of me was documenting far too often not to be seeking to validate my less than perfect outcomes. But, validation is a means of gratifying the moment, and then what? My destiny was becoming more re-write blow-by-blow orientated instead of new project orientated. I forgot to fail forward. Acceptance of errors is the way we improve. I don’t need to explain. I need to improve.

Kelsie Engen in a recent post says she has learned three valuable lessons as a writer.

  1. Most obviously, I’ve learned to be a better writer. With complete honesty she tells us that looking back on her earliest writing she shudders until she sees how far she has come.
  2. Writing takes you beyond writing. One of her examples was writing about a horse jockey when she had never spent time on a track. I know what she means. As readers we see this all the time. I have had to learn to research in ways I never dreamed of for just one word. I am Italian, my characters are Italian but that is not enough to ensure correctness. Kelsie says, “There needs to be a vein of truth.” She’s right; readers connect to truth.
  3. Writing taught me to accept who I am. In agreement. Writing brings out the truth in us and we can’t run from it. We can learn.
nik mcmillan washing machine

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My mind lives in the spin of a never-ending washing machine cycle of words but you know what, that’s okay to share.

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See you next time,

Barb

 

 

The Evolution of Failure – do it early

Part 1- Understanding

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I recently watched a video clip on success featuring Will Smith, and it led me to a slightly longer Denzel Washington (he is an amazing speaker) clip.  Dazzled by the content I found myself wanting to blog about it, and my reaction once in words started to grow until it was obvious the word count would get out of control.  Off course it did because the more I looked into things the more I realised how well it fitted with the topics I have been pursuing lately.

I have spoken about consistency and confidence, and the need to celebrate the little things along the path to success (the three Cs). Those things are hugely important but I have begun to understand viewing success itself from a slightly different angle, can also contribute strongly to the actual success coming into being. The video clip brought certain questions to mind.  Are you, like me, working hard at your craft or profession (including parenting, physical activities and normal everyday life) and still find yourself feeling flat?

Are results elusive even with all that time and effort you invest? What about those three ‘Cs”?  You have them down pact but without downplaying their importance, they don’t appear enough. What is missing because the word fail rears its ugly head on a regular basis? The strange truth is that to really succeed we apparently need to fail and fail in a certain order. We need to – well, let’s let Will say it for us.

  1. Fail

Do it early.

  1. Fail

Do it often

  1. Fail

Do it forward

At first it seemed almost a negative concept and far from conducive to doing well. It wasn’t until I watched both video clips a few times that I got it. Denzel’s clip is a little more involved and more suited to Part 2 when we look at failing often. For now it’s enough to accept failure needs to happen. At the beginning of any venture we are all so enthusiastic that the thought of failure is not palatable. We don’t give it value because we don’t see the value yet getting it wrong is an education into what not to do, a way into getting it right.

Venturing into new areas that matter to us can be compared to being given an elephant to eat. We need to understand there is a lot of elephant to get through, and that elephant hide is tough. To get through it we need to attack with one small bite at a time. (Why do we use elephants in this expression? Does anyone know? Elephants are such magnificent creatures that it seems obscene. Why not a tree trunk?) Anyway the point is that it’s logical for a newbie to find it hard and get it wrong.  We don’t know enough.

When I made the decision to self-publish I began a journey where getting it wrong was an essential part of the trip, or so I came to discover. No matter the strength of your desire there are potholes even on the best roads, and those potholes are deadly. But, what if we need to get it wrong in order to get it right? Failing early might just make sense. For me, affording editing has been a huge problem. Giving up was out of the question; learning to do it myself a reasonable solution. So, that’s what I did and of course I missed things. It’s impossible not to in your own work. I guess I failed early.

I worked harder. I did another edit. The results were better, not perfect so another early fail. I re-edited. It improved. Failing early provides some useful insights into the process we are involved in. This is a plus, right? We can probably stop at this level and appreciate finding a comfort zone. It’s still success, isn’t it?  As individuals we have the right to choose what we do but we need to know why we are doing what we do. Do we fancy the comfort zone because we are afraid to fail again? Are we willing to give up our dreams to avoid failing again? Is there more to this? Is it fear of failing again, or of failing again and again? But haven’t we done so already? And, aren’t we still here to tell the tale?

Stay tuned for Part 2.

Barb

Henkou, a lovely word

j4You will find as you know me better that I have a deep fascination for other cultures and traditions. Japanese culture is bold, simple, stylish and minimal without compromising rich and colourful intensity. As you follow my series (please) you will find that essentially my characters come from a variety of backgrounds.  Their interactions reflect this and I hope the diversity adds flavour to my stories.

 The word henkou comes from the Japanese.  It means alteration, a change or a modification but not a dismissal of previous ideas.   A lot of literature coming my way continues to put an almost disparaging slant on both eBooks and self-publishing, and it niggles. I get that there is a certain status involved with publishing houses choosing you, and I also comprehend the beauty of the printed page. On the other hand I can’t deny the evidence to show eBooks form an essential and increasingly important part of every retailer’s inventory.

  My kindle is almost ten years old so eBooks have been a part of my life for a long time. I’m not alone in this. I read somewhere that romance readers can read a book a day. Reading gives knowledge, reading gives pleasure and reading provides time away to recoup from the harsh reality of the world.  Reading can also be expensive and eBooks are considerably cheaper to acquire. I am grateful for this possibility. It widens my purchasing power.

 I still buy the traditional book.  I still love the feel and smell of the printed copy.  Nothing can replace the thrill of the page turn.  It provides a solid vehicle of transportation to magical places when coupled with beautiful images. As a teacher I find it sad that technology has replaced the textbook in the classroom but I don’t underestimate its value to the learning process. I had to alter my thinking.  At a practical level I have arthritis in my hands and a kindle is so much easier to manipulate.  It holds a tremendous amount of books yet weighs almost nothing, and takes up very little space.  For many of us the convenience of eBooks has meant more shoes and clothes in our bags at holiday time.

 I am not sure the eBook is the problem. To me it seems the relationship the eBook has to self-publishing is the real culprit. It is the discord centre. The online ease of self-publishing means not all books are subject to stringent quality control.  It also means quality or not, the huge amount of books flood an already crowded marketplace.  However, there are some pretty awful, traditionally published books out there (perfect grammar and all). Instead of resisting change we need to adjust our thinking to finding ways to improve what happens in that market place.  The eBook is here to stay.  Self-publishing is here to stay.  Let’s find a way to make it work instead of casting aspersions.  I womder why traditionalists seem to have a problem with henkou?

The world of the word is no longer ruled by an elite and privileged few.  Those critical of indie authors seem to forget that this means readers now have an amazing diversity of works to choose from. EBooks go one step further, they offer the wonderful opportunity to sample before you buy.  Henkou thinking here encourages trust in our readers, enough trust to believe they are smart enough to weed out what isn’t good. Reviews serve a great purpose, not to destroy an author’s confidence or boost it falsely, but to encourage a change for the better in their writing.  I know my novel had some grammar issues and I have taken on board comments and adjusted accordingly. It still won’t make it everyone’s taste but the fact I police my work as do so many others, counts in giving the publication credibility.  We need to value this.

humphreyI am the worst traveller. Motion sickness is my middle name.  Once in Morocco I got so sick I had a black tongue. Don’t ask.  Fortunately, a fellow tour member was a doctor. The crossing back to Spain was a nightmare.  I threw up enough for a lifetime even when the sea was still (never happened, I swear). Yes, I still travelled after that horrible experience.  Why?  Because, I went to Casablanca.  Anyone who is a Humphrey Bogart fan will not ask silly questions at this point. So why the travel discussion?

Travel was and is an obsession but I lost count of the times I wished I was the one in charge of the boat, the bus or the train. Having responsibility pushes weakness aside.  Performances rise when others are at risk. My altered perception shows me indie authors have chosen to be in the driver’s seat despite suffering nausea. Captaining a small boat on a changeable sea is considered brave.  I may never be a success in the traditional sense, both in publishing terms and life but my modified thinking measures things differently. I have always trusted in the reader out there but my altered self demands I trust even more.  When I came across my beautiful word I took it on board as a sign to alter my responses and the result has been unexpected.  Thank you, Robert Okaji, for your wonderful blog O at the Edges, and for the post that led me to henkou.  A tweak in our thinking brings peace of mind, and an improvement to our lives.

img064Alla prossima

Barb

 

 

A comment would be nice

unexpected-obsession-web-coverIt’s been almost a week now since my upload of Unexpected Obsession (The Unexpected Series Book 1), and I still can’t believe it happened.  Self-publishing is a hard task master when preparing for publication.  I couldn’t count the amount of times editing has occurred to get to that publishing stage only to find ‘niggling little horrors’ show up anyway.  It’s all part of the process, and I trust in my readers to understand this.

I have debated the self publishing question long and hard.  Despite its appeal there are still many people that don’t consider self-publishing a legitimate way to put your book out there.  Some view it as a path you take when you fail to navigate your way on the traditional road.   Paul Lucas, a well-known literary agent recently said that as “products, the e-books are indistinguishable from other offerings. So if the book is good, it will receive attention.”

The trouble with self-publishing is that whilst this may be true the publishing process is such that there is only one place to lay the blame when things go wrong. This is why I have spent the week reading the up-loaded manuscript and searching for errors, both grammatical and formatting, and then spent a long days checking and fixing, and checking and fixing.  Both  Amazon and Smashwords copies have now been addressed.  I am hoping Paul is right and can’t wait to see what readers have to say.

Only readers can decide if a book is good or not. However as much as people reading the book is what I long for, more has come out of this than just the book. For me, the most exciting thing about writing Unexpected has been having good people around me who have supported my crazy leap into writer outer space.    Sean, my go to man has been an enormous help.  I know how to bookmark, link and goodness knows what else because he has had the patience to teach me, as he worked tirelessly trying to turn my ideas, into a website. My editor Pat has taught me the value of a comma although I still don’t always get it. I am grateful for the patience of Alyson Walton and Kay Want Cheung for sitting with me when I was too scared to press a few buttons alone. They also see it as a practice run for when they publish their own books.

Book Cover

Yay at last!

Stories of the Dark and Light (found on Amazon and Smashwords) back in July 2016 was a group self-publishing experiment.  It gave us grounding and because we shared some pitfalls together, the three of us are still in there hoping and doing.  I can’t wait for them to publish their first novel. The incredible thing is these wonderful people are like me, and are on their L-plates.  They are learner drivers just as many of you are out there, and just like you we are stumbling through to get to our destination dreams. Sharing skills helps us become stronger individually.  Stronger individuals are better able to help others.

Is it worth it?  The experience, I mean?   Absolutely!  Any experience that takes us out of our comfort zone is worth it.  Once the girls have their first novels out we are going to tackle the print copy.  Again, we will use Stories from the Dark and Light as our experiment.  Working together on a project is a great learning curve.

Oh, you might want to know about the novel, Unexpected and how it is going. I don’t know because without your input I can’t know. I would love some comments from you either here on the blog site or as a review if you purchase my book.  Anything you say can only help me get better.

So please, come and have a say,

Barb

Heathcliff and Barbie Dolls

barbie-1565718__180Writing is an emotional minefield and even at this late stage of my manuscript I am thinking, considering and weighing up my choices, so that I am better able to deal with the repercussions of what I do.  However, because of circumstantial restrictions my approach to publishing has been a little left-field and I would hate for my readers to suffer because of it. You see in my process I have worked with some incredibly talented people who are not professionals in the normal publishing world sense. Nevertheless they have had a professional approach and are knowledgeable people.

Even so I faltered for a few moments and lost confidence, until that is, I remembered some things. One was a recent a blog I read in reedsy.com and the other was a childhood memory centred on Barbie dolls. In Reedsy Paul Lucas, a literary agent, made the following comment: Since many self-published authors enjoy closer access to their fans, it makes self-sustaining success more achievable.

I don’t know how far I can go but I do know I love the idea of closer access to readers; in fact it is the singularly most important thing that drives me.  I have to trust in them to tell me what I have missed and they have to know I am working hard to learn all I can, and that I will act on their suggestions. The alternative is to stop and wait for something that may never be within my grasp. I can’t do that. So this post I thought I might share how I continue to learn drawing on both past and current events.

I have an obsessive fascination about the reasons people are inspired to write, and read constantly on this topic. Marie Lavender has a blog I enjoy where author to author interviews come up regularly leading me down some interesting thought paths.  For instance I found Vivienne Vincent, a newcomer to the scene and author of Dandelions had some interesting insights into male leads.

dartmoor-246881__180Vivienne believes thereare no Rhett Butlers and Darcys in real life. Only Heathcliffs.” She adds “I remember reading Wuthering Heights when I was young. I had read Pride and Prejudice and Gone with the Wind before. Even though I don’t think I fell in love with Heathcliff the way I fell for Darcy and Rhett, Heathcliff was far more intriguing… So I wanted to create a character that is flawed but has the ability to fall in love and improve himself. “

 I think the truth is more Heathcliffs exist than the straightforward heroic Darcys and Rhetts because we want it that way. Imagine someone loving us enough to want to change for us, how exciting and how terribly romantic? Isn’t this why as readers we drool over bad boys, and why as writers we create them?  I thought a lot about this when creating my male lead.

clark-gable-399715__180I like Darcy, full of himself and his place in life, and kind and fiercely loyal underneath all that.  Is it so bad to be proper?  And more to the point isn’t it just as exciting when someone like that falls and falls hard?  Rhett on the other hand impresses in a different way.  His strength of character is both mentally and sexually challenging. The more I considered this the more I felt I was missing something and somehow this was connected to Wuthering Heights.

As much as I adore the tortured enthrallment Heathcliff has for Cathy, it is Haerton that that holds me spellbound once I close the pages of the book.  Falling for Catherine has him change but his worship of Heathcliffe, a man who has not always treated him kindly, never wavers.  Wrongly or rightly his loyalty is absolute, and it is Catherine that has to bend and accept this if she is to be with him.

My character Nico is a difficult person with set ideas; his brooder personality demands control. I couldn’t have a doormat as his female lead even if the flawed character improving himself for his woman is appealing. It seems only fair the less flawed character shows herself to be big enough to make concessions as the young Catherine does in Wuthering Heights.  It is not about giving in; it is about relationships containing two people.  If you love someone, even something, you find ways to deal, ways to make things work that many would term a compromise.

I am from a migrant background.  Consequently we had very little as children yet somehow for my seventh birthday my parents bought me a Barbie doll. My excitement waned very quickly on realising how limited Barbie was in wardrobe choices. I was totally fixated on Barbie having adventures and one dress didn’t cut it. I knew I couldn’t say anything as I didn’t want to disappoint my parents.  They had gained so much pleasure in buying me something I wanted.  I must have sat on my bed for hours reflecting on how to solve my dilemma.

My mother did a lot of sewing, both by hand and on a very basic model sewing machine. It was a way of saving on expenses. I began collecting scraps of fabric she had discarded.  I began watching every little thing she did. By my eighth birthday Barbie had an outfit for every occasion but the piece de resistance was a skiing ensemble.  I had begged my mother to find some fur and I had made a hooded jacket, a type of leggings and trimmed the hood with white fur and then made Barbie fur boots.

clothes-1297720__180 Bent paddle pop sticks covered in Cadbury’s chocolate silver foil wrappers made excellent skis.  I salvaged match-stick boxes to glue together to make a dressing table, scavenged any larger boxes I could find to make tables, chairs and even a wardrobe.  A doll house from my parents was out of the question so I created my own.  Why not, I had the furniture?

Was everything as good a quality as it could have been? I was seven when I started so perhaps not but I got better as I got older.  I begged my Mother to buy me magazines with patterns, nagged her and my aunties to give me sewing lessons, and finally nagged my Ma (what I called her) enough to let me use her machine.  Along the way I got so much input from people that even when I became self-sufficient I loved running things past them.  There are always ways to improve things. Home-made can be outstanding at times.  Ask anyone still alive (lol Ma) who had ever tasted her bottled tomato sauces.

Compromise always sounds like someone is giving in.  I see it as finding a way to make things work that costs us nothing but time and effort. If the commitment is real the process irons out the creases very easily.

Alla prossima,

Barb

 

Self-publishing, reviews and audiences

books-1553177__180These 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. 

Mel's book cover

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.

 Taomina 2

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. Taomina

 

Alla prossima,

Barb