Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Battling the Blues

Working at home has a lot of advantages. It means I have a flexible schedule for when the boys need to get to practices or appointments. It means I don’t have to put on real clothes (or shower or brush my teeth), although I do, every day.

But it also has a downside. Right now, as I go through training, all my time is focused on work. For the past month or so, I’ve worked way past 40 hours. My evenings are work, and so are my weekends. I haven’t had much of a life away from computer. I certainly haven’t had any energy (or time) to write.

It’s been really tough. One of the biggest downsides to working at home is that you’re never away from work. I don’t leave an office building and leave my work behind. It’s always there, waiting for me.

That, of course, is the challenge working at home—finding that balance between life and work. Sadly, there hasn’t been a balance at all recently. The scales are definitely tipped in favor of work. However, I’ve been assured by several different people that once I’m done with training, I will be able to have a life again. I hope so. I can’t keep going like this. I’m exhausted.

When I get this tired, I fall into despair. I feel like nothing’s ever going to change and I’m going to be miserable forever. It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when I’m in this mood. And I’m sure it’s there, it’s just waaaaaaaaay out in the distance. All I can do is take it day to day, so that’s what I’m going to do.

Despite the fact that I haven’t had a moment to put words onto paper (with the exception of a few blog posts), I have been making progress with some of my writing. For example, my grandfather-in-law’s biography has been sent to an editor, and I’m supposed to get edits back the first week of September.

I’ve decided that I’m going to self-publish that book. I’ve sent it to multiple publishers, and none of them are interested. Not a biggie. I totally understand. I could keep sending out queries and hoping someone eventually decides to pick it up, but my grandfather-in-law is 91. My husband and I talked about it, and we figured that getting the book out sooner rather than later is probably the best plan. I will keep you updated when it’s available.

I’m expecting Humanity’s Hope to come back from the editor any day now. I emailed it at the beginning of August. From there, I have no idea what the timeline looks like, but it will be one step closer. I’m pretty excited about that. Maybe it will encourage me to get to work on the sequel—assuming I can find time and keep my eyes open.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Back to School

Today is the boys’ first day back to school. I can’t tell you how excited I am! It’s only a half day, but I’ll take it. The past two weeks have been a bit challenging. The boys have been getting on each other’s nerves and fighting. And not just yelling fighting. Oh, no. Knock down drag outs. It’s been super fun.

The boys are excited to go back too. I’m letting them ride their bikes to school this year (I will be riding with them for safety), and they are super stoked about that. They got to get bike locks and everything. As I type this, they are outside preparing to go—even though we aren’t leaving for another 15 minutes. They were so thrilled they were going to skip breakfast! But I wouldn’t let them.

It makes me happy that the boys are excited to go to school. It makes it that much easier to do something they have to do. I’m sure as the school year goes on their enthusiasm will wane, but for right now, the new school year is exciting.

For me, it’s almost like Halloween. The thought of having a quiet house to get my work done makes me giddy. Hooray for school!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Publishers versus Self-published

Remember back in the day when it was a big deal to say you were self-published? Remember how people would look down their noses and harumph or snort? Remember how authors were viewed as less than real because they were self-published? Well, things have changed a bit from those days, and self-publishing isn’t as stigmatized as it used to be.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s still some who look down their noses at self-pubs, but it isn’t as bad as it once was. With more and more authors going that route, self-publishing is not going away any time soon.

Self-publishing changed the publishing industry. No longer was it a game of the “special” and the “elite,” anyone could put their book in the world. Some argued that was a bad thing because then the market was flooded with terrible, awful books. It cheapened the industry. But who are they to decide? Reading is a subjective business, what you think is terrible, someone else might really enjoy. It’s all about taste.

Then, there was the argument that in the rush to get a book out, authors would skip the all-important editing step and put out whatever they had. This may or may not be true. I’ve read some books in my day that were terribly edited, and they weren’t necessarily self-published. I’ve read books from big publishers and indie publishers, as well as self-pubbed, that had some issues in them. Mistakes happen. No one is perfect. So it’s not just a self-pub problem, it’s an industry problem. You as the reader have to decide if you can overlook the issues to enjoy the book—no matter how they were published.

I’ve never been against self-publishing, but it wasn’t something I thought about doing until recently. After Booktrope closed its doors, I couldn’t bring myself to try to find another publisher. The thought of sending out queries was daunting—and I was exhausted before I even started. I figured that since everything was already done, I might as well put the books back out myself.

I have to admit, it’s wonderful self-publishing your book. It’s nice to be in control. It’s nice to have the analytics at my fingertips. It’s fantastic knowing exactly how much I’m getting in royalties. It’s nice being able to decide when to put my books on special and to decide the sales price.

There is a downside to self-publishing, and that’s the cost. As an author, it’s important to make sure I put out the best possible work, and that means paying an editor to make sure my book is the best it can be, along with paying a cover designer to make sure my book looks good. I know how to format, I had done it in a previous job, but if you don’t know how, you’d have to pay someone to handle that for you.

That can get expensive. And there’s no guarantees you’ll make it back in sales.

In addition to expense, there’s also the time you have to invest. As a self-published author, you are responsible for putting your books up on the various sales sites. You can always go the route I went and just put them up at Amazon so you don’t have to worry about other venues. It makes things a lot easier, but it could potentially hurt you in sales.

Having a publisher, even an indie one like me, means that the vast majority of that stuff is taken care of for you. I don’t have to pay an editor or a cover designer because that’s part of my contract. I don’t have to worry about putting my books up on the sales sites because the publisher takes care of that.

But there are downsides there, too. I don’t get to keep track of my sales. I don’t get to see how much in royalties I get until I get a report. I don’t get to decide when to put the books on sales. Granted, I can mention to the publisher the times I would like to do that and we can work together to decide if that’s the best option.

However, another bonus of having a publisher is the support system that exists. There’s other authors, editors, cover designer, proofreaders, etc., who are there to make sure me and my book are successful. But you know what? That exists with self-published authors too.

There’s give and take when it comes to being a published author, and I have to decide what’s best for me—just like every author has to decide what’s best for them. Don’t ever knock someone for wanting to self-publish their book or if they decide to go with an indie publisher because everyone has their reason for doing what they do.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Zombie Movies Aren't Dead...They Aren't Even Undead

A while ago, I want to say at the end of 2015, maybe (I’m terrible with time), I was making an attempt to get Life After the Undead optioned for a movie. When Booktrope was still in operation, they partnered with a film agency, so I submitted my work. They rejected it, but I didn’t give up. I figured I would see what kind of options I could find on my own.

I found some small companies that produced movies and sent some queries. The vast majority of them didn’t write back, but one did, and was so helpful in answering my questions. Unfortunately, none of my work made it past the querying stage, and the wonderful, amazing owner of the company informed me that zombie movies are a hard sell and that no one is making them nowadays.

I was bummed about that bit of information. No zombies movies? What? Say it ain’t so! There were a few still coming out. This was around the time Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse was going to the theater, and then after that came Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. However, there hasn’t been much since. The appeal of zombie films has slowed down.




However, it hasn’t died. In fact, it’s not even undead. There’s still plenty of carnage on the horizon. First and foremost on that list is The Girl with All the Gifts. I had the opportunity to read this book, and it was a-m-a-z-i-n-g. I’m excited for the film.


And at some point, World War Z 2 is supposed to be coming out.

So, am I pissed that the producer told me they aren’t making any more zombie movies? Maybe a little, but film making, like publishing, is a for-profit business, and they want to take on projects that will be successful and make money. This was my first attempt at writing a screenplay, and if I learned anything from it, it’s that I suck. On top of that, I’m a nobody, so no one will take a chance on me.

But enough of the pity party. My point is that zombie movies are continuing to come out, and they are changing the genre. The creatures are evolving and changing, and that’s incredibly exciting. I can’t wait to see what they become.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

I’ve Been so Exhausted

Well, it’s been a little over a month since I started my new job, and I’m enjoying it, but it’s exhausting. Of course, training for a new position always is. I keep telling myself that once I make it through this part, the rest will be smooth sailing.

Because I’ve been so tired, I’ve been neglecting doing other things in my life, like writing. The thought of using my brain to put words to paper either makes me want to fall to the ground to throw a temper tantrum or my eyelids get super heavy and I can’t move.

However...

Over the weekend, I did manage to get some writing done. It wasn’t much, but it was better than a tantrum. I’m currently working on the sequel to Humanity’s Hope, which (as you may recall—but it’s okay if you don’t) is another young adult zombie series I’m working on.

I sent Humanity’s Hope to the publisher earlier this week, and I was told the editor should get started on it next week. We shall see how that goes, and as always, I will keep you informed about the progress.

Until then, I’m going to keep plugging along and doing what I can do. I hope you do the same.