My other idea for the title was “Welcome to My Insecurities.”
When Dani came to me with an idea a couple of months ago, I wasn’t ready for it at that point. Not at all. What was her idea, you ask? It was simply that I take the monthly Author Post on the months that have 31 days. So, it would only be a 7 times a year gig. It shouldn’t be a problem, should it? I just looked, and I’ve posted 981 posts on Love Bytes since I joined Dani in 2014. Those include 644 reviews, a ton of Polls, and lots of help with drafting for other reviewers.
But now… Dani wanted me to do a ‘New Author’ post, detailing my experiences as a fledgling writer. Was I willing to share my own insecurities with the world? Well, here I am, so I guess the answer was finally yes. I’m not the only one out there who is a fledgling. If I can reach even one other aspiring writer and share my stumbling path, then it will be worth it.
As anyone who follows my reviews will have noticed, I’ve dropped off from my former ‘review a day’ level of reviewing, to maybe one a week these days. The reason? I’ve been writing. I’m finally doing something I was always putting off for ‘someday’.
First, a little bit about my journey to get here. I’m supposed to be moldy by now. The doctors all told me the same thing back in mid-2012. Get the stuff you want to do, done. I felt like that Tim McGraw song… “Live Like You Were Dying” because that was what they told me. ‘Maybe, I’d see the end of 2013.’ But, I’m not a statistic, and here it is almost mid-2017, I’m still alive and kicking. I haven’t, as of yet, gotten to the skydiving mentioned in the song… but I’m thinking about it!
Now I’m ready to come out. No, not that way. That happened in 1984 when Uncle Sam decided I wasn’t fit for military service, because of who I chose to sleep with. No, this time I’m coming out as a fledgling author and I’ll be bringing you my insecurities from along the way.
My story begins where it begins for a lot of new authors. It came as a suggestion from my niece, Jen. She saw a sign at her local library for this thing called NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. The goal? To write 50,000 words in 30 days. Could I, who hadn’t written a word in years, do it? Would it be totally craptastic? Would anyone read it?
I plunged. I wrote 50,041 words of an alternate world/fantasy in November of 2015. I proudly sent the story to a couple of people afterwards and one of them actually liked it; the other one said they didn’t like it at all and that it didn’t work for them. I was crushed, and immediately dropped it. Several months later, I dragged it back out; after looking back at the reasons why the one person didn’t like it, I drastically reworked it. An author friend at the time said that even if it was bad writing, it was writing, and to persevere. I did. I added another 27,000-ish words, sent it through a bunch of beta readers and then off to a publisher. Who, then promptly sent me a ‘it doesn’t fit our needs at this point’ rejection letter. Coincidentally, the day after I got the rejection letter, I got a Facebook ‘friend’ request from that publisher, which I of course accepted. No hard feelings here.
I could have given up then. But I didn’t. I gave it one more quick polish, and a few small revisions, then sent it off to Less Than Three Press, where I probably should have sent it in the first place. They, to my great joy, accepted it for publication! That book, ‘Beyond the Tunnel’ is now in editing with them. Encouraged, I began ‘Here There be Dragons’, for NaNoWriMo 2016, and I’m thrilled to say that my publisher and I signed a contract on that one last week. I’m now half way through a third and final installment in the series named ‘The Overseer’. Exciting times.
As a side note, can I just say how exciting it is for me as a new author to be able to say ‘my publisher’! Giddy is the word that comes to mind.
At the same time, I decided to give the self-publishing route a try with a 116-page gay ghost story novella named ‘My Name was Karl’ that I wrote somewhere in between. I didn’t just type something up and hit ‘publish’ though. As a reviewer, I’ve seen and read a lot of those, and I didn’t want to be ‘that guy’. It was important that it be edited and proofread, and formatted correctly. Another author friend does that on the side… who knew? She also knew a fantastic cover artist. Between the two of them, they helped me come up with what I think is a cohesive package. Then I cast it out into the world. Would the world throw stones? Not yet. I’ve had some great reviews, and I’ve also received my first 2.0 (rounded down from 2.5) on Goodreads to keep me humble. The key is… I finished something. I threw it out to the world. That’s the first huge step.
I’ll give you an update on my journey on the next ‘31’ at the end of May. For any of you playing around with the idea of writing and publishing… take my advice and take the plunge. There will be bumps and bruises, but there will also be a huge sense of satisfaction when your desk looks like this…
I never thought I’d see the day when I would have a pile of paperbacks on my desk, with my name on the cover, and author and book links of my very own on Amazon and Goodreads. Take my advice, if you’re thinking of doing it, stick with it. It is totally worth it!
Feel free to get in touch… comment below with the best method and I’ll get right back to you!
If you’re interested in checking out the novella, here’s the link. 🙂