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”

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”

February Write Day: Moving Along

January went by pretty quickly, but I feel pretty good about how I’ve started off the year. I was on a pretty good rhythm with both writing and going to the gym.

Last week, I attended a four-day seminar at work, which included later-than-usual nights and a couple dinners. It was a great time, but it threw me off my routine a little bit. I should be able to jump back in pretty easily though.

Continue reading “February Write Day: Moving Along”

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”

2019 Book Marketing Goals Wrap-Up

2020 somehow feels like it’s already gone by so fast, until I stop and realize it’s only the second week.

Anyway, now that I’ve reviewed the numbers for this site in 2019, it’s time to go back to my book marketing goals for a final check-up. Continue reading “2019 Book Marketing Goals Wrap-Up”

Numberbrag 2019! And 2020 Plans

2019 was a weird year. I helped raise an infant into a toddler. I lost my job, was unemployed for four months, and found a new job in a totally unexpected place. And, oh yeah, I transferred five years’ worth of website content to a new domain!

I legitimately forgot that we switched from Red String PaperCuts to Evening Satellite as our main site in 2019, until I read over my numberbrag post from this time last year.

In that post, I focused on the types of content featured most heavily on this site in 2018, and some loose ideas about where I thought we were going in 2019. I’ll do something similar for 2019 and 2020.

Continue reading “Numberbrag 2019! And 2020 Plans”

2020 Programming Note

2019 brought a ton of changes for me personally, professionally, and authorly over the last year-plus, and a lot of that has seeped into this site, whether I intended it to or not.

I hinted at some plans to freshen up my blogging a bit in my Write Day post. It’s taken me six months to realize this, but I need to change up my blogging habits.

For the foreseeable future, I’m only going to post twice per week:

  • My weekly Haiku Sunday
  • One longer-form post on Wednesdays

Keep reading if you want some details.

Continue reading “2020 Programming Note”

January Write-Day: New Year, New Adventures

December was a fun month. I’ll get into it a bit more with my goal review, but we got to watch our one-year-old open gifts and really be excited to play with new toys for the first time.

Writing time was limited due to the holidays, but that frankly wasn’t surprising. I’ve been productive in other ways, effectively planning how things are going to go on this site for this year. More on that in a few days. Continue reading “January Write-Day: New Year, New Adventures”