Leaning into the Discovery Draft

I’ve been known to self-edit when I write… a lot. For the first draft of WoEM, I think I wrote and rewrote the first couple of chapters three or four times before I made any real progress on the story.

I’ve been knee-deep in the discovery draft of my short stories for a couple months, and it’s taken a while to convince my brain that it’s only the discovery draft.

So I just wanted to talk about some things to keep in mind as you write a discovery draft. Continue reading “Leaning into the Discovery Draft”

4 Strategies to Promote Your Book Release

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about actual marketing strategies, so I wanted to find a topic I could cover in greater depth over the next several months:

Promoting a New Book Release!

This topic is relevant to my own publishing efforts, since I’m writing and aiming to publish a two-part novella later this year. I’ll start off with a summary of different book promotion strategies, and then deep-dive into each topic in later posts.

Continue reading “4 Strategies to Promote Your Book Release”

When the Doubt Creeps in

I had totally planned to write about marketing strategies this week, but I am mentally drained. Next week.

For now, I’m just going to unload a bit. A few things coalesced over the last several days that had me in serious doubt about my writing endeavors. As in, I honestly questioned whether I should be in the self-publishing arena, whether I even wanted my stories published at all. That was a first.

Here’s what happened, in the order that I remember it:

  • Writing my short story was extremely slow for me last week, and felt more tedious than anything.
  • I applied to a convention for this autumn, then realized that if I don’t make the cut, it might be difficult for me to get to any conventions this year, which is one of my big goals.
  • In not looking into conventions sooner, not thinking about Awesome Con over the winter, and making unrelated plans that made it too difficult to commit to Awesome Con at this point, I felt like I was already losing out on a big opportunity this year.
  • KDP emailed me saying they found parts of my book published elsewhere online, which is against their terms of service, and they took my book down from their market

That last one still irks me. They claimed to have found places where content in my novel were published online and asked me to provide explanations as to why.

…I have not published a single word of my novel anywhere in any online forum. They asked me to send them links of where they found my book’s content published, as if they were protecting my copyright by not telling me if anyone else was infringing on my copyright.

I sent them four links, two of which were on this site, one on YouTube, and one on Wattpad, and told them that I used my cover image in marketing materials, which is… kind of… what you do when you publish a book.

I then emphatically asked that they identify any other places they had allegedly found my book published online, because I was terrified that someone had stolen my story.

They replied thanking me for my cooperation, confirmed that my book would be made live on their platform again, and gave me no other information!

What the hell?

Am I supposed to assume that the four places I use my cover image online were what flagged their team to potential copyright infringement of my own book?

Maybe. I haven’t even bothered asking for clarification, because I’m 90% certain I won’t get any.

This episode took place over the course of about 18 hours, but that day-and-a-half had me questioning every decision I had made about writing and publishing stories over the previous six years.

The good news is that I’m mostly over it, I think. The first draft for my short story was bothering me, because I know it’s terrible at this point, and I wasn’t sure how to make not terrible.

But I also know that the first draft is always terrible, and that I just need to get the thing written so I can go back, scribble some notes, and rewrite it. I wrote up a small outline to help me figure out how to get from the middle of the story to the end, so that should make the writing process a little smoother.

Except tonight (Tuesday) because I can barely look straight ahead without my eyes drifting.

The moral of the story is this: You will always find a reason to doubt yourself as a writer. Sometimes, the universe gives you several reasons all at once! Take a moment to breathe, and then find a way around it.

I can still publish this short story this year. I can still attend a convention or two. And I can do some quick Google searches to make sure no one has stolen my book, even if it’s just for momentary peace of mind.

Steve D

March Write Day: Looking Ahead

February has been a month of preparation, or at least preparing for future preparations…

I’ve started looking into conventions I want to attend this year, and realized a little too late that I should have been doing this three months ago. Due to another trip I’m taking around the same time, I will not be attending Awesome Con in DC this year, which is a bummer.

However, I’ve found a few book festivals in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia that I’m looking into attending later this autumn. Some of the application dates are looming, so that will be a focus for me this month. I’d definitely like to attend two of those. I’m considering doing all three. Hopefully I’ll have more details this time next month. Continue reading “March Write Day: Looking Ahead”

10 Stories to Experience with My Kid

My son is eighteen months old now, and he loves listening to stories, turning the pages of books, listening to music, and watching cartoons. I’m not sure how much of any of it he understands, but it’s exciting to watch him experience those things.

A colleague recently told me how he was watching through all of the Star Wars movies with his eight-year-old daughters, hoping to bring them to the theater to see The Rise of Skywalker. He managed to catch it with them just last week, and he said their reactions and excitement in the theater was well worth it.

That got me thinking about the types of stories — movies, books, TV — I’m looking forward to sharing with my son. So here’s my top 10. Continue reading “10 Stories to Experience with My Kid”

Writing and Novel vs. Writing a Short Story

For the first time in my authorly endeavors, I have two major works in progress… in progress.

I’m 60k words into The Warden of Everfeld: Legacy, a sequel-ish novel of 180-200k words that I know I’m not finishing this year.

Simultaneously, I’m 6k words into a duology/novella of about 60k words that I damn well better finish this year.

And after much deliberation and introspection, I can confirm: writing a short story is different from writing a novel. Continue reading “Writing and Novel vs. Writing a Short Story”

2020 Marketing Goals: Short Story or Bust

Last week I reviewed my book marketing goals for 2019 and summarized how those went.

TLDR: meh.

But the past is gone and we must look forward! So here are my plans for 2020 on the book publishing, marketing, and selling fronts. Continue reading “2020 Marketing Goals: Short Story or Bust”

#Review: THE BURNOUT GENERATION is Insightful but Short

I just finished listening to Anne Helen Petersen’s “The Burnout Generation” on Audible yesterday, and I’m having so many feelings!!!

Okay, that’s overly dramatic, but this was definitely a thought-provoking listen. Continue reading “#Review: THE BURNOUT GENERATION is Insightful but Short”

#Review: THE ENCIRCLING SEA Continues to Intrigue in Roman Britannia

36350564. sy475 The Encircling Sea is the second book in Adrian Goldsworthy’s historical fiction epic about the Roman presence in Northern Britannia.

I listened to the first book in the seriesVindolanda, on Audible last month, and it was not a difficult decision for me to jump right into the second.

The Encircling Sea is an excellent sequel that establishes its own narrative while clearly connecting its characters and its plot lines to the first story. Continue reading “#Review: THE ENCIRCLING SEA Continues to Intrigue in Roman Britannia”

Pre-2020 Goals and Ideas

For whatever reason I’ve been thinking a bit about my writing and publishing goals for next year, including my goals for this site. That, of course, leads me into thinking about what I want to do with this site in general.

I’m not going to write my full book marketing goals post for 2020 yet, because it’s 11pm on a Monday, and it’s not quite 2020. However, I’d like to set the stage a bit for how I may approach the coming year, and get some thoughts onto virtual paper. Continue reading “Pre-2020 Goals and Ideas”