Wednesday 4 June 2014

(vol 1) CHAPTER 17: “Read. Review. Repeat”

First off let me apologise for the slightly downbeat post I put up last week. I’m glad I wrote it as it helped me to vent frustration onto the page. It allowed me to step back and take stock of where I was at that moment. Of course I’m sorry that it took up your time to do it.

I imagine all unpublished writers hit lows on a regular basis. That was probably my first one since I started this four months ago. With an ongoing uphill struggle and the constant feeling of isolation it can smother you in doubts if other things in your life pile on as well.

I’ve picked myself up and dusted myself off now. In fact, I’ve had quite a productive weekend and am now much clearer about my plan for the rest of the year.

It all started last Friday when I dipped my toes into the world of Flash Fiction. After following a fellow author Craig Anderson (please read his free book GETTING Lucky; it’s a great story and well written) I noticed he regularly took part in a weekly writing challenge on Flash! Friday.

I’ve been watching it for a while and decided last Friday that I would finally step up and enter a piece; 150 words using just a picture and word prompt. Although I didn’t win I think it’s fantastic to use for motivation just once a week. It barely takes time out of my writing as I can get it done in my Friday lunch break. Going forward I will be posting my entries every Friday for you to view. Feel free to jump in yourself and flex those writing muscles.


I finally finished typing up the first draft of LOVE BITE, my vampire short story. It’s taken me forever and I really wish I knew why. It still needs a little work on the beginning again to match some changes I made to the final scene but I think it’s good. I’ll hopefully have a good version to get to beta readers soon.


Due to my new plan I found some time on Saturday to start working on book covers for each of the seven stories going into UNCANNY TALES: vol 1. It was fun playing around with images and fonts, trying out different things until I (and the wife) felt it looked good. I like the four I’ve finished so far and even managed to do one up for CONDOLENCE, the zombie story I entered time the SFX magazine competition. I’ll be doing a bigger piece on book cover design in an upcoming post.


This is what really got me out of that rut I was moping in. I had been so caught up in putting out a cheap e-book of collected stories in time for Christmas that I wasn’t really paying attention to what I was actually hoping to achieve.

I’ve recently read a couple of fantastic books on indie publishing that have opened my eyes to certain things (more on that next week) and I now know how I personally need to go about things.

So, a 99p collection is out. In its place will be a free collection with exactly the same content.

“That’s not much of a dramatic change,” I hear you cry. And you’d be right if that was all but you didn’t let me finish.

You see I can’t just give my seven stories to a group of family and friends and hope that only their feedback will help me to get the best out of my work. They are great beta readers even if sometimes I need to coax more out of them then they would openly give and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

But I need to reach more people, be seen by more eyes and be discovered by readers who like nothing more than to soak up story after story after story. Thank god I discovered Wattpad.

I hope that, by putting my stories up for a sea of readers to view that I will get unbiased, fearless, brutal reviews of my work.

And of course, if it’s up free on one website then I don’t feel I can go on to repackage them together later on down the line and charge for it. People will just go back to the free version. I would.

I’ll still keep my core beta readers (sorry guys but you’re not off the hook yet) but hopefully I can get a more mixed opinion on the basics from strangers who don’t know me from Jack. And, if nothing else, it’s exposure. It would be great if someone sees one story and goes onto the next and the next and the next until they're e-mailing me asking “Do you have a book coming out anytime soon?”


And because I don’t think that’s enough for me to be getting on with I will also be entering Camp NaNoWriMo this July. 30 days with a self-imposed target; should be fun.

Whilst I’ve taken part in six November NaNoWriMo’s I’ve never tried Camp NaNo but as I’ve had an idea for a novella bouncing around in my head that I thought was too big for the collection and too small for a 50,000 November NaNo,  I’m going to try that.

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The main thing is that I feel like I’m back on track. I’m absorbing more with a whole lot of podcasts coming out of my ears and I’m reading books about writing/selling books in between reading other books. Crazy.

As always I thank you for following me on this and putting up with the growing pains. Overall I’m enjoying myself and I hope I can look back next year and the year after and think “Wow, I’m glad I persevered.”

Feel free to leave comments below and, whether you are a budding writer or not, I encourage you to try out some of the sites I’ve mentioned. What could it hurt to challenge yourself to a 150 word flash fiction piece, complete a short novel in July or post the first three chapters of that book you always wanted to write and see what people think?

See you in seven.

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