Where To Spend The Money?

It feels like forever since I began taking this writing gig seriously.  My deadline of the end of February approaches at break neck speed.

Everyday feels like a violent intense roller coaster.  One day I feel incredible and look forward to the day where I can say I am a full time writer, the next I look at all the obstacles laying before me and wonder if I’ll ever hit that milestone.

RobertEnglund-FreddyKrueger
Three Installments of Krugers completed, so far beta response is positive

Presently I’m wrestling with the post-writing questions when it comes to publishing work.  Three months ago I posed a question to the Dead Robots Society.  How does one go from draft to E-book with the minimal amount of cash.

The guys offered some great insight, and some tools and tips which helped a lot in coming up with my game plan going forward.  The gist of the episode can be boiled down to two schools of thought.

Scott was of the opinion if you had to sink the money in only one aspect of publishing, editing is where you want to go.  The alternative came from Terry, his view spoke more to the importance of the book cover.

While Justin summed up the dilemma in a perfect, succinct way.

“I think here’s where the trouble comes in.  If you got a mediocre cover it doesn’t matter how great your text is because most people aren’t going to read it anyway.  But if you got a great looking cover and it’s just got editing errors out the wazoo, then I feel almost like a there was some kind’ve trick played on me.  So I’m not going to go buy your next book.  

Of the two one of those you got money from me and the other you didn’t, but if I feel like I got tricked then my inclination to ever look at your work again is much less than if you just had one book with a sorry cover and the next one looks fine.”

So coming from someone who can barely afford one of these two key elements, I’ve come to a decision on how I will proceed.

Strange enough I’ve decided to take the Scott Roche approach, but I justify it by something Terry has said on numerous episodes.

I know that with a mediocre cover I can expect to not get a lot of visibility on my books, sales won’t quite be at a place where I’ll be making a lot of money.  But the small number of people who take a look at the book and get past the cover will read it and have the best chance to enjoy it.  Especially with KDP’s new quality control policies inbound.

Terry has said on numerous occasions, it’s fine to not stress about having a stellar product in the beginning because if you don’t have a quality product then no one will see it.  It will stagnate on amazon’s charts near the bottom and no on will ever see it.

This will allow me to get a couple of books up there before I make a major push with a release later on in my schedule.  If a terrible cover means 10 people see my work instead of 100, that’s still 10 people who are likely to come back if they enjoy what they read.

It’s a small, incremental victory but it’s better than having an amazing cover that will attract a lot of readers and the most of them will see a subpar product and when they see my name later in my career will most likely remember the terrible experience and skip it.

So, the battle of cover art vs editing for me simply comes down to more exposure vs better quality.  When I seen it this way the answer was clear.

So, editing is my priority. Well financially, in the mean time I got a couple of stock photos bookmarked and here’s hoping that the book cover I end up with doesn’t come off too amateurish.

I’ll be posting it here once I got something to show, we’ll see what you guys think. Speaking of which, it’s time to get back to work.
Wish me luck.

`Cheers,
Devin

 

In Memoriam: Alan Rickman

In the last year there have been a number of significant figures who have passed away.  Some were very close to my heart as personalities and role models who shaped a large portion of my childhood.  Some of these names even had a role in the man I am today.  Names come to mind like “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes,  Robin Williams, The Original Leatherface, Gunnar Hansen, Wes Craven, Yvonne Craig (One of my earliest celebrity crushes from the Adam West Batman TV series),  and Christopher Lee are just to name a few.  This doesn’t mention the musical legends we lost. Ben E King, BB King, Scott Weiland, Lemmy, and most recently David Bowie.

d7409744ca1badce7ceb427b1e7ae3d8There are a lot of heavy names listed above, it’s been a rough year for celebrity deaths.  Today we add another name to the list, the one of a kind Alan Rickman.

It may strike you as odd that I choose now to write a memorial entry, anyone who knows me would probably suspect Roddy Piper, Christopher Lee, or Wes Craven are more expected names to provoke this kind of response.  Well, I will not discredit those men, and above the others these were the big three that really got to me, Rickman is something different.

Alan Rickman is a respected name in the industry, and a multi-award winning actor.  He is the kind of guy who carried himself with professionalism rivaling the biggest industry snobs, and yet never presented himself as anything but a man who enjoys the craft of acting.  He was the kind of actor you would expect to see in critically acclaimed masterworks, and yet I find him in a Kevin Smith movie telling a scared woman that he is as “anatomically impaired as a ken doll.”

For me Rickman is a lot like Bowie. He was an artist I enjoyed watching, before realizing it was all the work of one man.  I remember watching Die Hard as a kid and thinking how bad ass the villain was, then watching Robin Hood and loving the Sheriff.  I even remember my first viewing of Dogma and thinking, “Holy shit, it’s THAT guy. he’s awesome.”

I discovered his name after watching An Evening With Kevin Smith where Smith goes on with an amusing story about how nervous he was having a “real” actor play in one of his films.

As an adult I can say with confidence that there are very few actors I enjoy watching more than Rickman.  Even in Dogma he gave a stellar performance with such a ridiculous script.  The scene where he explains how hard it was to be the angel to tell a young Jesus Christ about his family lineage is one of my favorite parts of the film.

I could even get through the Harry Potter films solely on my admiration of this man.  Losing him so early into this year is a major hurdle I will need to get beyond.  This year is supposed to be the year I take my ambition, wrestle it down, and see what I can make out it.  Losing one of the most important creative muses is not how I wanted to begin.

Rickman has an extensive library of movies to rediscover so he’ll never be gone entirely. He was a master at his craft -I hope one day I can become half as skilled in my writing as he was to acting.

I hope to contribute to the immortalizing of this great man in my own way.  As of this morning I am redesigning one of the major supporting characters in the Krugers story line.  His name is going to become Rickman, and he’s going to have a very distinct British accent.

R.I.P Alan Rickman,
Thanks for everything sir.

Cheers
Devin

…And never brought to mind.

2016 has been with us for nearly two weeks now.  It pains me ever so much to find myself striving towards some significant life changes so close to the near year.  My procrastinatory personality would love to use this excuse to delay my plans but I fear listening to that part of my psyche is how I got in this mess in the first place.

2015 was a banner year in terms of bringing about change.  It’s the year I buckled down and decided that full time writer is the career path I want to take with my life.  However lavish or poverty-stricken this path decides to be, I at least will give it a solid attempt.

My health has always been something lingering on the back of my mind but before this past year I don’t think I ever made any solid steps towards fixing what is wrong.  I actually began seeing a doctor when things feel out of sorts and although I haven’t felt any physical improvement – well that’s what 2016 is for.

This upcoming year is about building on the solid foundation of its predecessor.  I know how tacky and repetitive this sounds, but I am gym bound too.  I’ve been paying for it so I might as well go, besides I have a backlog of audio books I need to get through.

Publishing & Health.  (Physical, Emotional, and Financial)
These are my goals for 2016.  It’s not original, it’s not even the first time I’ve made these goals specifically.  That being said, I am confident this will be the year I follow through.

2015 was already a terrific start. Bring on the new year.

Currently the third Krugers story is underway.  After some tweaks the Krugers 2 the beta’s will be getting to read it.
I’m looking at a comfortable time frame of the end of the month before I have this complete Krugers arc finished.

I’m still hoping by the end of Feb I will be able to give a better indication of when these works will find a home on amazon, but we’re still too far out to say if that’s an accurate goal. – But I am trying.

Cheers,
Devin.

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot… – Farewell 2016

I know, I know.  The only thing more cliché than a New Year’s Resolution (especially one for weight loss), is the blog post where you talk about the whole year.

2015-12-21-1450668812-6923042-newyear.jpgWell screw you, I am not one who reflects a whole lot during Thanksgiving – which is when these sentiments are usually shared.  New Years is the time of year where I take solace in looking at the year gone by – even if I completely botched all of my goals.

Anyway, that’s enough disclaimer. Let’s talk 2015.

I rang in 2015 standing in a field with some friends shooting fireworks into the sky.  It was fun, but I couldn’t help but begin thinking about the state of the world.  There are countless explosions going off from all directions, it literally sounded like a war zone.

I won’t begin to pretend as though I understand what it’s like to live in a war torn country, I hope I never experience that sensation.  Looking at 2015 I can’t help but look back on that time and see what a parallel the night was to how the year would follow.  Both personally, professionally, and on the world stage.

2015 was rife with conflict, and the overcoming of said conflict.  Going into this new year we stand on the brink of a third world war.  The Syrian Refugee Fiasco polarized both Canada and the United States, my own Facebook friends list included.

I hope the nature of how 2016 was welcomed will do as apt a job of predicting the year as 2015.  I’ll get more to that next time.

This year will forever be noted as the year I decided to make a serious effort of this whole writing thing.  I really hit my stride this year with this decision.

It started in mid-December of 2015, I begin changing the way I thought about writing.  Especially the second quarter of 2015 – when I would be writing 4-8 hours per day.

To date, I am happy to say that I currently sit on a finished novel, a rough draft of the second novel, and two novellas.  Considering the two years prior was spent working on the first draft of the first novel, I consider this a win.

Though I guess now the pressure is on, because I’m going to need a far greater output in 2016 to feel successful, not to mention I need to get published.

After a lot of deliberation and research, in 2015 I decided self-publishing will be my avenue.  At least for now, I need to get out there now.  I need to build my audience, and I need to see what you all think of my work.  I know it isn’t going to be a masterpiece.  There’s going to be at least a handful more New Years Eve’s before I can hope to be a success story.  But it’s got to start somewhere, and I’m happy to say (and truly believe) it started this year.

Whether I’m the next Stephen King, or just another nameless hack in the kindle store – 2015 will always be the year it all started.  I focused in on my life’s ambition and decided to stop being a child and pursue it.

I’m not just overweight bachelor living on my own anymore, the only responsibility is to pay rent and to keep the fridge stock with alcohol.  I’m a thirty year old family man who needs to start adulting – even if I hate adulting.

Sacrifices, obligations, responsibilities. They are all real aspects of my life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  It’s more than just sentiment when I say this, I know it to be true.  If not for my family situation right now, I would never have done anything serious with my writing – nor would I have even got as far as I am right now.

It’s a desire to make more of myself and provide for them that drives me to keep this up.  It’s the reason I keep coming back to this keyboard even after I decide for a fact that all the words are trash  and no one will read them.

Now, if only I can get on the ball and follow through with the New Years Resolution to get healthy, we’ll be set. 😉 I’m a walking cliche.

I did agree to a very vocal and persistent friend that I would be joining him in his martial arts classes in January.  (Honestly I believe I said December, but I’m not going to argue his generosity in forgetting that) – So I guess my first short term goal besides getting the Krugers novella’s finished is to get myself in a place where I can take this guy up on that invitation.

I guess this also makes the end of the month my deadline, since I did say January and it would be wrong to not be a man of my word right?

Anyway, 2015’s theme for my life and the whole world has been escalation.  International tension is running high, and my drive has been shifted to the next level.  Here’s to 2016 and maintaining the course – and getting to my final destination of a healthy body and a library of published works.

Thank you to everyone who has offered to beta read my work up to this point, your input has been instrumental in fixing a lot of the glaring problems – and has been incredibly encouraging at the same time.

Thank you to all of you who just simply stop by and read the random thoughts I throw on this page for you to read.  My journey into insanity isn’t as lonely knowing so many of you are coming along with me.

Here’s to 2016, and doing it all again – bigger & better!
Happy New Year!
Cheers,

~Devin

 

Accepting Limitations

I’ve made no secret about the influence of the Dead Robots Society podcast on my writing path.  Before listening to these guys, self-publishing was no where near my radar.  It was big time publishing or bust – I never considered the possibility of grinding out a career selling the work myself.

stretching_beyond_your_limits_by_gilad.jpgBig time publishing deals vs Self-Publishing is akin to the poker world.  There are those who play in the big tournaments as a lifestyle.  All it takes is a single final table and you’re looking at enough money to live on while you chase the next big payday.

But then there’s the rounders – the guys who play ring game 5-6 nights a week making hundreds of dollars a night (or week).  They bring home enough money to pay their bills, have some leisure, and maintain a steady bankroll to get them through the rough times when the cards run cold.

Self publishing is the rounder who needs to grind a lifestyle from a series of small success instead of looking for that one major payday. Of course, like the poker world, there’s always a chance at unexpected success.  A rounder can go on a hot streak and triple their bankroll in a few sessions.

Wow, that was a tangent.  Maybe I need to make a separate post about the similarities between being a pro poker player and a professional writer.

Anyway, this is about limitations.

I’ve been listening to DRS and initially I would scoff at some of their word counts for the week.  When one of the guys would say they wrote 3-6 thousand in a week and the others would call it a success, it would jar my view.  I thought how small of a goal that was, at the time I was hitting no less than 3K per day.

Of course I also never expected to hit a burn out phase either.  I thought this was just my rate of production.  I was wrong though.  After powering through that second novel and now about 25% through the second part of my serialized project – I feel the burn.  I hit near 800 words yesterday, and broke a little over 1000 today.

But you know what, I don’t see it as a failure anymore.  The guys were right, there’s no reason why you can’t feel accomplished with near a thousand per day.  There’s going to be some 3-5K word days in my future, but there will also be some more zero word days too…

After finishing the second novel and coming face to face with the first zero word days of my writing career i began to get hard on myself.  I would think about how I’m a failure – this thought process ended up bleeding into my own confidence about my work.  I began thinking about maybe nothing I’ve written is worth selling.

Negativity is a toxin that will strangle creativity.  My biggest challenge thus far in this writing endeavor is to stay motivated and silence the voice telling me that all my work is garbage.  – Not recognizing my own limitations was a big culprit for this.  By not meeting my unrealistic goals I guess I gave my mind permission to tell me how terrible I am.

Enough of that.  I know what I can and can’t do, and I still feel comfortable I have stories  to tell that you’ll want to read.  Am I right? Well I guess we’ll all find out in 2016.

Stay tuned here in the coming days to find out how you can get on my mailing list for news about publishing dates and deals.

That’s it for now, my apologies for the ranting nature of this post.  My battery is dying and I really want to get it up before the computer dies.  I won’t have time to charge it before it’s off to work.  *Sigh*

Full Time Writing Life – Hurry up and get at me.

Cheers
~Devin
@ShallopNewf or DevinLeeNL@gmail.com

Season’s Greetings

December 25th can be a controversial time of the year recently.  We live in an age where everyone is offended by absolutely everything.  Wishing someone a Merry Christmas potentially comes off as insensitive to other beliefs – but when a company removes snowflakes from their holiday cups they are participating in the War on Christmas.

christmas_by_suryakami.jpgTruth be told I don’t want to stand on a soapbox about it so I just want to extend a Merry Christmas all you readers, and I wish all the best in whatever holiday you recognize this time of year.

Christmas this year serves as a one-week warning of the end of 2015. I’m certain I will look back on this year as the first year I made actual progress towards a life goal.  I’m not different from anyone else in that I always tend to make major plans to turn everything around.  Like most, they tend to fall short most of the time.

2015 is the year I finished and edited my first novel to completion.  By the time 2016 begins my library will consist of one completed novel, a completed first draft of a second novel, and two novellas in my six-eight part serialized tale.

Though there I do have a little bit of news to share.  I began the process of establishing my newsletter.  Of all the advice for aspiring writers, setting up a mail list tends to be the most frequent piece. So that’ll be ready to go in the new year, I’ll have a sign up widget here on the World Is Broken.

Another tidbit of news is that I finally registered the domain I intend to use as an author.  Until I get my website up and running on my own web space I have it redirecting to this blog.  So for now if you want to share this site with friends you can link them to http://www.DevinLee.ca

I’m waiting until closer to the New Year before I get all self-reflective here.  I’m returning to the tradition of a year end blog post.  For now I have to get back to work, that second novella needs to be finished before New Years.

So in short, Merry Christmas everyone!

Cheers,
~Devin
@ShallopNewf or devinleenl@gmail.com

One Step Forward…

It’s been more than two weeks since I’ve graced you find readers with my presence.  I apologize. There has been tremendous progress since we lost spoke – of course the bulk of that involves wandering the wasteland of the Commonwealth searching for my Son.  Listening to some Diamond City Radio. – I really need to get back on track.

The presently titled “Waking Ambrose” has not only been submitted for consideration to Percy Janes First Novel Award – but I received correspondence from them confirming they received my submission. Now I wait till May to get my rejection – and adjudication.

I learned something new about the writing process and how my own psyche works.  After a grueling battle with a work in progress, I am quite likely to fall of the horse.  This is the second milestone I hit, the first was getting the third draft completed.

After both milestones I found it incredible difficult to return to a steady writing pace.  I even had to abandon my TurboWriMo, because by the time I finished my edits it was Nov 20th, and I wasn’t in a head space to pull off 5,000 words per day.

I’m going to keep this short. I just wanted to check in with you guys to remind you I’m still here.  Still working at it.  My time frame may have changed slightly and I need to do some digging into my schedule to see what my publishing dates are going to be – but that’s the point of putting it so far away isn’t it?

Anyway, the current word count on Krugers Part One is shy of 5,500 words.  It’ll be close to 7,000 before I call it a day.  So, hopefully within a week or so I’ll have a solid rough draft of this first novella to get some beta info about.

Thanks for not forgetting me people,
Cheers

Devin

 

*UPDATE*
Ladies and gentlemen, I am calling a day.  Just finished this writing session and wanted to post here that Krugers Part One is presently sitting at over 7,600 words.
Hell Yea.