1. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    AnonyMouse's (Mis)Adventures in Self-Publishing

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by AnonyMouse, Oct 19, 2014.

    I "completed" my first novel about two years ago, so I suppose this progress journal should begin with some backtracking. When I say "completed" I mean I put the final punctuation mark on the final word of the final chapter of the first draft. After that, it's been edits, edits, edits, and scrambling around, deciding what to do with it.

    Now, two years later, it's out there in the ether.

    I chose to self-publish for a number of reasons, mainly because I want to stay in total control of my work. I value that freedom more than I value profits and I believe the self-pub stigma is rapidly deteriorating. The proof copies I received from Createspace can sit on my bookshelf and look indistinguishable from any traditionally published paperback. I even bought my own ISBNs and created my own imprint, Wordsmith Wonderland. (I'm not trying to hide that it's self-pubbed. I just feel the imprint adds that extra bit of professionalism and I plan to use the name Wordsmith Wonderland when I get my website/blog up and running. It's branding, plain and simple.)

    On October 10, 2014, my first novel, The Light at the End of the Wormhole, went live. It is the first book of my Infinite Charter series, a character-driven sci-fi adventure set 200 years in the future.

    Book 1: The Light at the End of the Wormhole: done and published, 115,000 words
    Book 2: The Gallery of God's Wrath: still outlining, wanna start writing on Nov 1st
    Book 3: The Dark Side of the Sun: lol, what?

    I've been putting off making this thread, which is probably a clear sign that I really need one of these. I wish this could be all about my writing progress, since that is what I love most (and has been missing from my life for the last few months) but this thread will likely be clogged with my (mis)adventures in marketing and social media nonsense. So **deep breath** here we go...

    I, Brandon Stephens (aka AnonyMouse) hereby solemly swear to you, the noble inhabitants of WritingForums.org, that I will keep you updated on my "progress"... whatever the hell that means. I will try to regularly post updates here and sales figures, when they start rolling in.

    This week's Goals:
    -- Send review requests to bloggers. No one wants a book that has no editorial reviews.
    -- Do something on Twitter. C'mon, dude, people don't even know this book exists yet!
    -- Finish my Shelfari page, as well as my Author Central profile. Goodreads, too, though that might come next week.

    This Month's (October) Goals:
    -- Put books in the hands of at least five reviewers
    -- Get ready for NaNoWriMo. I need to get started on The Gallery of God's Wrath, which I'm dying to write. After months of dealing with ebook formatting, cover designers, and last-minute edits, I just wanna WRITE! Can't wait to start penning the next phase of this journey. :D
     
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  2. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've made some progress. I was off from work yesterday. Spent the entire day working on my author platform… you know, all that social media stuff I'm expected to do if I want to sell books. (What!? Sell them? I thought I was just supposed to write them. :eek:)

    Ahem, anyway, the plan for this week is being switched with next week's plan. This week was supposed to be when I start sending review requests to bloggers and review sites. But, the more I looked into doing that, the more I realized they expect authors to have a strong online "presence" before submitting. (I knew this all along, but was in denial, LOL.) So, rather than waste their time by sending a request that will be promptly denied, I'm spending this week upping my online footprint… something I used to swear I wouldn't do.

    My book and I are now on Goodreads, and I have been confirmed as its author, so I can tap into some of the fun stuff authors can do there, like free giveaways and promotional campaigns. I still need to work on finding my way around and beefing up my profile there, but at least I've gotten my feet wet. I've also returned to Twitter, albeit not triumphantly. Five followers, ha! Yeah, I gotta work on that. I'm also gonna start working on a Facebook page for my publishing imprint tomorrow.

    In short, I am emerging from my cave, into the bright, bright digital sunlight. Ack, it burns! *hisss*

    Meanwhile, I can't seem to stop thinking about the sequel. I dream about it. I ponder it when driving to and from work and every waking moment. I'm going to have to start writing this stuff down or my attention span will suffer for it.
     
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  3. AnonyMouse
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    In an attempt to organize my thoughts before writing the sequel, I've decided to give a little more information about this project, such as how it came to be and where it is ultimately going. Writing this stuff down is a great way to clear my head and get in the mood, so here we go...

    The Concept:​
    This began about four years ago as a sci-fi / paranormal short story, titled Night Light. It was about a world where left-behind alien tech had subtly altered the human race, sparking our evolution into beings of pure energy. (Yeah… far out, dude.) In the world of Night Light, when a person dies, they come back as a "Shadow," an energy being. It was sort of a ghost story, mixed with loose science fiction, and followed two "Hunters" (ghostbusters) whose job was to eliminate newly-formed Shadows, before their powers could manifest and pose a threat to the general population.

    I never got around to the plot; it was just an idea, a world, and a heavy dose of what-if. Then again, isn't that how all stories begin? Anyway, I never wrote Night Light. I had just graduated uni, was searching for a job and a purpose, and had too much going on. My imagination remained active, so the idea kept evolving, even though I lacked the willpower to actually sit down and write it. The setting was pushed two hundred years into the future; it was still Earth, but the rules had changed. I kept the Hunters and the Shadows (in a way), but approached it from an entirely different angle: space opera.

    Mass Effect, Firefly, Farscape, and Star Trek: TNG were buzzing in my head. I took Night Light back to the drawing board and began outlining Darkstar Abyssal, a novel about a crew of space mages in a world eerily similar to the premise of Night Light. That novel eventually became The Light at the End of the Wormhole.

    So, what's it about?​
    Okay, I absolutely dread that question. I can never seem to answer it in a way that feels truly satisfying. So, I'm going to save myself a lot of headache and just quote the back cover blurb:
    I've written and rewritten that blurb a million times and I'm still not satisfied, but that's the story in a nutshell. It's sci-fi on the surface, but has the feel of a fantasy quest, sprinkled with some cyberpunk and noir elements. I'm a genre-bender by nature, so if you're expecting something that falls firmly into one category and stays there, look elsewhere. I'll just say there is tech that suggests sci-fi; there are powers and abilities that suggest fantasy; and there are mysterious clues and whodunit-esque capers that suggest thrillers or detective fiction. Once you're in, genre tropes exist only to be subverted.


    The Plan​
    The Infinite Charter is a three book series, released over three years. At its heart, this is the story of a revolution. I don't like the stereotypical "evil oppressive regime versus good guy freedom fighters." It's not that kind of story; it's not that black-and-white. Instead, I prefer stories where the world is slightly imbalanced, but not so far off-kilter that anyone can be bothered to do something about it. Our greatest enemy is our own apathy.

    The first book is really the story of Clyde coming to grips with the fact that the world really is messed up and gaining the courage to do something about it. In short, it's easier to be a cog in the machine than to be a wrench in the works. This is, of course, sheathed in a story about a girl with a powerful gift who is being exploited by the powers-that-be. Minor spoiler: he does decide to rebel against the system in the end… but I think that's pretty obvious to anyone who has read the first chapter. The journey to that fork in the road is what really matters.

    The second book is about the fallout of his actions and sheds some light on the past, such as First Contact, the true nature of the Solarans, and a 150-year old atrocity on Mars, a planet known as "The Gallery of God's Wrath" (which is where book two's title comes from). I plan to release The Gallery of God's Wrath in late 2015, and it's in the planning stages right now. (Expect to hear more about that by the end of the week.)

    :)
     
  4. AnonyMouse
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    I've made some progress this week, but it's been slow going. I've submitted a review request to two book blogs this week. Two others I planned to submit to have closed their review queue for the month, so I was forced to put that on hold (but I have my queries written and ready to go when November rolls around). I'd like to query at least one more by the end of the week but, honestly, I'm not pushing as hard as I should. Most of the ones that are still accepting reviews have a long backlog; even if they decide to review my book, their opinion won't appear online for a month or more. Getting your book reviewed by a reputable blog site provides good publicity, but it's not something that happens at the drop of a hat.

    Meanwhile, I'm planning to do a Goodreads giveaway in November and ordered the books I'll need for that. (Also, I know a couple of people who'd like a copy and I'd rather they get it from me, than pay shipping and handling.) I'm looking forward to the mailman dropping a box on my doorstep any minute now. This will be my first time seeing an actual copy of the book, not a proof.

    So, yeah, not much to report, just a lot of small steps toward something bigger. I've also been brainstorming / planning / outlining for NaNoWriMo, which is when I'll begin writing the sequel. I'll post an update on that at the end of the week and give a little more info regarding what the sequel is about. I want November to be all about writing, so expect this thread to shift to daily word counts, chapter excerpts, and random ramblings about characters, plot, setting, etc... you know, the fun stuff. :D
     
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