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Old 03-24-2017, 12:31 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Wow. Excellent advice, rawbutter. I appreciate the splash of cold water on my face. I didn't realize that was how it's done now. Looks like I'm going to have to be prolific in my short story writing for a bit.

I think for now I need to stop worrying about the publishing side of things entirely. All this is helping me do is achieve high stress levels. For now, I'll focus on the first part, actually writing. I'll cross the other bridges when I get to them.
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Old 03-24-2017, 09:22 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Technically I'm an author because of my contributions to some ornithological studies, but I don't think I can really help here haha.
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Old 03-24-2017, 06:54 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by packersrule729 View Post
Wow. Excellent advice, rawbutter. I appreciate the splash of cold water on my face. I didn't realize that was how it's done now. Looks like I'm going to have to be prolific in my short story writing for a bit.

I think for now I need to stop worrying about the publishing side of things entirely. All this is helping me do is achieve high stress levels. For now, I'll focus on the first part, actually writing. I'll cross the other bridges when I get to them.
Let me give another, outside perspective to run sort of perpendicular to rawbutter's (but perhaps complimentary in a weird way). Allow me, however, give a few disclaimers first: I have no professional writing experience. At best, I was a competent writer in academic settings; never published. By trade, I'm now in advertising and marketing. I'm going to try an angle using marketing philosophies - something I really don't think is too left-field given that anything involving self-promotion is essentially marketing. None of what I'm about to say is proven in any way, but I find it reasonable. Take it with a big ole grain of salt.

Everything in advertising and marketing these days is focused around some sense of wanting it to achieve "viral" status. That's the last time I'm going to use that word, because I absolutely hate it. Let me first clarify what I mean by it, though: I don't mean you need to get millions of people to see your work. What I do mean, is that you want to create content that's good enough that a stranger would perhaps be inclined to share it with someone else - someone in their network, if you will. And maybe that person will also share it with another. And so on.

The way to do this is just cranking out content. Not every piece you make needs to be a masterpiece in your eyes, and I think it's a fallacy to believe otherwise. What resonates fully with you may never resonate the same with others - and it's important to realize that the reverse is also true. You may feel lukewarm about a work which ends up really taking to others. Never count something out as long as you feel it's not completely "broken" in content or form. Coming back to advertising, some professionals have touted the best way of making good video advertising is to come up with ~30 different proposals to film and run individually. Chances are good that one of those 30 different productions is going to resonate with your customers WAY more than any of the others (online, this could be measured by people clicking through on the ad, etc). I don't think it's crazy to think of written content similarly.

You can get your works "out there" very easily now. Depending on your written mediums of choice, you can post your work on a blog, full website, via Amazon publishing, on Reddit and other social media outlets, etc. With persistence (persistence and perseverance is the absolute key in any of this), it's possible to build a following without the intervention of traditional professionals. I don't think it's crazy to approach writing in a way similar to someone starting a YouTube channel, promoting their retail start-up, getting their music noticed via SoundCloud, on and on - especially if you get fufillment from writing as a hobbiest and aren't just writing to achieve some crazy breakthrough (and some level-setting is probably in order if that's the case, though I know it isn't for you).

The best part about it all is that it allows you to be flexible. If you get enjoyment from forming short stories, poetry, or anything similar, going about it this way allows you to publish and create at your own pace. Maybe you charge for some pieces via Amazon publishing, maybe you give some content out for free via a blog, maybe you submit some of those pieces into contests - this allows you to be crafty and create a mix you're comfortable with.

Just an idea. I think this could be a way to help you not become overwhelmed or discouraged, as you'd be more free to just make content, and care less about the other, more peripheral things. *shrug*
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Old 04-05-2017, 01:32 PM   #14 (permalink)
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It's nice to be mentioned, but I'm honestly not sure how helpful I can be. I did quit my day job five years ago to pursue a writing career (because I had an idea for an epic fantasy novel series with a finale that's never been done before in literature), and I have written two novels (and some short stories set in the same universe), but I haven't had any "success" in the typical sense. I never found an agent. My stories have never won the contests I've entered them in (never even made it to the honorable mentions). And the stress of it all has contributed to multiple mental breakdowns. Fortunately my doctor put me on Prozac and Ambien, so I'm still sane and functional, but like I said, I'm probably not the best mentor. I'm well past the "hopefully optimistic" stage and deep in the "brooding, jaded wash-out" rut.

But....I did self-publish with Amazon, so if you're just writing for yourself and some friends/family to enjoy, and if you have no sincere interest in "real" publishing, then I suppose I can help with that process. Self-publishing with Amazon is stupid easy, and cheap (if you don't care about owning your ISBN). If you're not going to spend money on cover art, or editing, then you can get paperbacks for less than $100.
Similar thing happened to me, but not to the extreme, and it happened at the same time other life issues were hitting hard. When I finally published my book on Amazon last year, a weight I had not realized was there, lifted. I haven't made much, about $60 in sales from April to December, as there are close to a bajillion books self published on Amazon, and hundreds more each day. I don't know how anyone ever finds my book when I do get sales. It takes me a while to find it doing a search. After I get a few more published, I will use the Amazon service for promoting the book, where they put ads into searches, and you only pay for clicks on your ad.
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Old 04-05-2017, 01:43 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Similar thing happened to me, but not to the extreme, and it happened at the same time other life issues were hitting hard. When I finally published my book on Amazon last year, a weight I had not realized was there, lifted. I haven't made much, about $60 in sales from April to December, as there are close to a bajillion books self published on Amazon, and hundreds more each day. I don't know how anyone ever finds my book when I do get sales. It takes me a while to find it doing a search. After I get a few more published, I will use the Amazon service for promoting the book, where they put ads into searches, and you only pay for clicks on your ad.
So what you're saying is we all need to buy your book right now. Do you get more for paperbacks?
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Old 04-06-2017, 12:10 AM   #16 (permalink)
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After I get a few more published, I will use the Amazon service for promoting the book, where they put ads into searches, and you only pay for clicks on your ad.
I've tried paying for advertising, but you have to be careful about it.

Goodreads is actually a better platform for advertising than Amazon. Or Google or even Facebook for that matter. People usually go to Amazon to buy a specific thing. They rarely click on ads. With Facebook, people mostly go there to socialize. Goodreads, on the other hand, is a reading website, and people go there to explore books and talk about books. So I've had better luck with ads there. Maybe 1/100 will actually click the ads (if I write them well), whereas the click-rate on other sites like Amazon or Facebook are much worse, like 1/1000. And when you're paying per click...

But there's also a critical mass aspect of marketing that's...disheartening. Most people don't react to an ad that they see only once. They have to see a commercial a few times before they even start thinking about it. So you have to be prepared to spend. A lot. It's very much "go big or go home." Most commercially successful books are really only successful because the publishers spend $20-$50k on advertising.
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Old 07-20-2017, 11:32 PM   #17 (permalink)
Confronting the Shadow
 
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So, I did it...

Or, at least some of "it"...

Finished the first draft of my manuscript today. Since it's all in disparate documents, I'm not sure on the exact word count. But its broken down into thirty-five chapters, for a grand total of, roughly, 150,000 words.

Now, obviously word count is not an indicator of quality whatsoever. But the weight of the printed words in my hands was incredible.

I'm taking a few days off before going into my (many) rounds of revisions/edits. I know this process will take a long time. Especially considering my liberal use of passive voice and my struggles with showing vs. telling. But I want to be able to view the work as objectively as possible before I begin. After I complete that stage, which I imagine will take a couple of weeks, I will be looking for beta readers.

That said, if any of you are interested in reading a third draft in mid-August, shoot me a PM. I am working on a list of suggestions that I am hoping will help the beta readers assess the work critically.

Anyhow, just sharing my progress. Felt proud.

'Til next time!
Brian
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Old 07-21-2017, 08:26 AM   #18 (permalink)
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You should be proud man, that's a helluva undertaking. I'd love to be a reader for yah
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Old 07-21-2017, 10:04 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Congrats on getting "it" this far Brian!
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Old 07-22-2017, 10:03 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I can read a draft too. I'm not going to be very busy in August
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