Being an Indie author.

Where does the time go for an indie writer? Allotting the proper use of time seems to be the most pressing issue in my life. It seems that I have five segments that require my attention.

As a writer, the very first is thinking up a story and putting it to paper. Not an easy task for me at least. Contemplating the theme of my next story, outlining a general plot and then trying to put it all together. I wish I had 24 hours a day just do that. As a writer I find that I can often maintain an average of 2000 words a day on a story that is well-developed and ready to be written. Unlike more prolific writers than myself, my novels tend to run less than 80,000 words. Which means if all goes well, 40 days or less of writing could produce a novel. Sadly rare is the case that I can write more than two or three consecutive days without something interfering. Therefore those 40 days spread the two or three months.

Alas, a second even more demanding task befalls me. That is editing and rewriting what I have already written. Unfortunately I have found that at least three times that amount of time is required to edit one. That is with myself and a few devoted friends who are willing to help. During that time. of course any new writing suffers. Not only is it more time-consuming, it is far less rewarding to read the same sentences 4, 5, sometimes 10 times each. Then only to find that it still does not sound right and a section must be completely rewritten.

The next task while not nearly as time-consuming, can be even more frustrating. Coming up with a cover for the story. While not yet satisfied with the amount of money coming in, I am forced to generate my own covers. They may not be as clean and polished as some of my competitors, but I feel comfortable with them.

Now I have written my book! I have done the editing. And it has a cover that I am proud of. The hard work begins. Even though I publish on Amazon using Kindle Direct Publishing which is free to the user, there is a lot of work involved. Working the many blogs to try to publicize my work. Using social media’s as best I know how, which is limited takes far more time then it is really worth. Also involved is the discounts and giveaways. They have to be coordinated so not to overlap each other too much.

The fifth thing may be the most important of all. Real life! How to deal with the daily grind of keeping a spouse happy, doing the daily chores and in general communicating with the rest of the world who are not involved in the book. At least I don’t have a real-world job that takes some of my time as well.

Oh my, I forgot something. Sleep! Oh well we can forget about that or at the least cut it back.

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JOURNEY

 

Being an Indie author is not what I expected.  It has been a long torturous journey to reach this stage of my writing life.  For any who have walked these roads before, I feel your pain.

 

When I was young, I had visions of writing the next Gone With The Wind.  In fact  my first novel was a Civil War Romance.  By the time I got into college, I had a few life altering experiences and thought the book was trash (too erotic).  It found its way to the dumpster.  Today I regret that action, not that the book was any good, but I would liked to have reviewed my writing style.

 

Switching to poetry, my life continued.  Real life has a way of getting in the way of the part-time writer.  Jobs, marriage, children, all tend to eat up your free time.  Sure there were burst of desire to fill pages with words, but they were fewer and farther between.  Looking forward to the empty nest came and past.  Sure words came out, but not enough to fill a book, not even short stories.  I had the kernel of the book in my mind.  I knew what I was going to write.  I would write ten, even twenty pages before life dragged me back into its claws demanding real world actions.  Time would pass before I would come across the hand written pages and vow to finish it.  Sadly my first task was to read it so I could remember where I was in the story.  This invariably lead to a rewrite of that section.  Final the age of computers came into my life.  I imputed my story into the spider web of electronics.  Several attempts in that manner got no further.

 

Last December, I found my story once more.  The tattered piece of writing was just laying there like a forgotten rag on the side of the road.  I still had the story all mapped out in my mind, but there was so little of it on the screen.  With a renewed vow to complete it, I began to shut out reality.  I kept a running log of how many words I wrote each and every day.  Yes every day.  I vowed to write every day until it was done.  No pausing to rewrite.  Just put one word on the screen after another.  It didn’t matter how good it was, it just had to reach the finish line.  It was not the great American Novel.  It was a mere seventy thousand words.  After over twenty years of struggle to put it together, the first draft was done.

 

Wondering what to do next, I did the normal read through to look for the obvious errors.  Oh my God, it was a minefield of typos, misused words and just bad writing.  Spell check only goes so far.  It does not tell you about the “right” word when you used “write” instead. Proud of my finished work, I read blogs on how to submit my work. Agents, publishing houses all had different critique to submit. Formatting my novel into a half dozen versions, I began the task of begging someone to read it.  As any newbie knows, that is a near impossible quest.

 

All was not lost, my mind had been ignited with the juices that fuel writers.  The sequel to the first novel flowed from me faster than the first.  The words spilled out day and night.  I had two novels.  Neither was in a finished form, but I had two completed.  Even a third novel began to flow outward, then it hit.  Writer’s block.  I had lost the flow.  My vow to keep writing everyday would not be broken.  An idea rolled around in my mind.  On a whim, I started to write the story.  It was nothing I planned, just a quickie to keep my juices flowing.

 

It was nothing like my novels.  I had written an erotic short story.  It was a fun write.  Nothing I would do anything with, just a fun piece to keep my mind working.  It did what I hoped it would do.  I thought of a new story.  A new novel.  Like the second, the story began to write itself.  The characters began to tell me what to write.  I was less than half way though the story when I lost control of the book.  My end goal was lost as the characters took on a life of their own.

 

I had three novels sitting on my computer, all requiring rewrite and proofreading, but the mind would not stop pumping out story lines.  One short story lead to another.  Most were not connected.  Until one day I was just writing one story about my heroine, Gail Gilmore when I realized all the stories should be tied together.  It took time to find the connections but I had a fourth novel.  The sequel demanded that I write it as well.

 

There I sat with five novels and several short stories.  How to get them out so people could read them?  Like any other novice writer, my in-box was full of rejections.  I looked thought my works for the one that was most ready for publication, in my opinion.  The one I chose was not my best, nor my favorite.  It was the one most ready for that next step.  Months of reading about publishing, coupled with the rejections convinced me that the only way to see any of my works “in print” could only be done through self-publishing of e-books.

 

Tentatively I polished a few short stories to learn the tools that were needed.  My goal was to provide free stories to get my name out.  To my dismay, Amazon required that I put a price on them.  That was defeating my hope of putting my name in the market place, but I did as demanded. To my amazement, someone bought one.  Wow, what a rush.  I was not planning on making money, even the few cents profit, it was just that someone cared enough to spend money for something I wrote.

 

More short stories followed before my first novel appeared online thanks to a great friend who has acted as my editor to keep me on track.  The first copy of the novel to sell was another thrill.  Now each weekend, I put at least one short story on line for free to let new people read my style.

 

The journey while short in real time, less than a year has been a lifetime struggle. Any day I do not write at least a thousand words, I feel I have wasted the day.  I know I need to rewrite.  I need to proof read.  I need to expand my mind by reading others, but I feel a day is lost unless I write something new, even if it is just words in a blog.

 

With another novel in the final stages of proof reading, I hope to have it on line soon, but even as I work on it, I am deep into the story of my seventh novel.  The problem with writing a new novel, for me at least, is I fall in love with the characters.  They are not mere words, they are real.  I see them during the day.  Many nights they inhabit my dreams.  Something happens in real life and I can’t help but think of a character doing something similar in my story.  They devour my every thought.  Sometimes I get upset with real life for interfering with my interaction with them

 

Sorry to bend your ear for so long.  Just the ramblings of an Indie writer struggling to let the world hear my voice.