S4, E92: Long Silence, My Why, and NaNo Update #1

After almost two months away from the “air”, I get a bit emotional talking about October, then move on to my contemplations of “my why” and the future of my books. Due to the long stretch between episodes, I also tacked on my first NaNo 2016 update, pathetic though it is.

My Heartache

It’s been almost two months since my last episode. October ended up being the worst year in my life for me. I didn’t do much writing-related activity at all. Nothing with Girl in the Forest’s revision. Nothing with Maid Maleen. And no podcast episodes recorded at all. No newsletter sent until a few days ago.

No, this month I spent heartbroken and morning after an unexpected death of a loved one the first week of October left me reeling and struggling to do much of anything other than trudge through life. I’d thought I was ready, after all it wasn’t entirely unexpected, but I wasn’t. It was the first time in a long time I’d ever had to deal with the death of a person I loved, and even while my fur-babies, alas, go all too soon, it is still generally years and years between their passing.

It may be a bit unusual for a woman nearing 40 to have so little experience with human death, but for someone like me, who has so few people I’m close to, I think it does it makes sense deaths come less often. I’ve cried, a lot. I had to take over a week off work (fortunately, my boss is awesome). I lost my ability to really taste most food or to feel much of anything other than a heavy sadness that weighs me down day in and day out. And like so many of us in times like this, I’ve also had many hours of regrets.

This week, I decided I needed to push myself to get back to my writing stuff, including trying to get through NaNo when I’ve lost any desire to write and still have no idea what I’m writing (more on that shortly).

But first, with that said, I do my brief News and Notes, mostly from this last week of me trying to do crap.

News and Notes

  • The biggest news item is the next topic I’m discussing, so skipping that…
  • Anma’s Manga Minute is now a full and proper podcast. This week I created the show in Spreaker, made channel art, and uploaded all the existing episodes. It’s already up on iTunes and waiting to hear back from my Google Play submission. Aiming to do a new episode this weekend. Once I’m up to ten, I’ll try to get it up on iHeartRadio as well.
  • I did the official cover reveal for Girl in the Forest November 1st because NaNo
  • Aisuru will go up on NetGalley November 15th for one month so if you’re a NetGalley, reviewer keep an eye out; if it seems to go well, I’ll do the same for Deviations which desperately needs reviews

Knowing My Why…

I think I may have mentioned before, and certainly did in my newsletters, that I’ve contemplated the future of my releases and whether to continue to be Amazon exclusive with my eBooks or to “go wide” and have them available other places like Nook, Kobo, Google Play, and iBooks.

Dealing with such a major life blow also found me starting to think more about my life and evaluating it, particularly my writing life, and during that time, a few other prompts furthered my thinking in that area.

During the month, trying to fill in the emptiness and keep my mind occupied, I listened to a couple of episodes of The Sell More Books Show, hosted by Jim Kukral and Bryan Cohen, in particular episodes 126-128. In particularly, episode 128 talked a bit about Rosalind James, who is one of my writing idols, and the post she back in September that I’d already been mulling over, summing up her writing career so far and how she writes what she wants to write and does things her way, based on her own research and what she wants, regardless of whether others think it is “right or not”. As Bryan and Jim discussed it, they talked about deciding “what you want” and how you want your career to go as a writer.

This brought to mind a regular saying of Sean Platt of Sterling and Stone: “know your why”. I’ve heard that phrase more times than I can count since I started listening to their pod casts, but it never “clicked” until this last month. What is my why? Why do I write and, more importantly, why do I publish? What is my goal? What were my hopes and ideas and dreams when I decided to indie publish?

In the last year or two, I’ve jumped around trying to do what Jim noted, something “not native to my personality” and I am not doing things “my way”, the way that feels right to me. I’ve gotten stuck in chasing the rainbow, so to speak, and the results have led to frustration, disappointment, and a sense of dissatisfaction with how things are going.

To that end, I’ve decided, it’s time to go my own way and do my own thing, the way that will at least bring me satisfaction even if it doesn’t bring me tons of sales. Which means, yes, I will be taking my books wide again! So what does that mean for my books?

  • Both Aisuru and Deviations will be dropping out of KDP Select and will no longer be available in Kindle Unlimited. Aisuru will at the end of the day, Pacific Time, on November 6th and Deviations will drop out November 9th
  • I’ll begin releasing both books on other platforms starting November 10th – this will include Nook, Kobo, iTunes, Google Play, All Romance eBooks, as well as other smaller sellers through Draft2Digital. I will also probably release through Smashwords, primarily so that my books can get into Overdrive, allowing them to be checked out from libraries
  • All of my titles will again be available direct on my site in eBook form, with both ePub and Mobi formats covered in one purchase, and with the option to buy standalone or bundled with their respective paperback
  • Girl in the Forest will release wide to all the same platforms

I need to make another big decision – whether to redo Deviations cover. I love love love the cover and most people who see the cover give it rave reviews. But, that isn’t translating to sales or borrows. Aisuru at least gets a few copies sold or borrowed each month, maybe not a ton, but at least 1 or 2. Deviations is in the 1.3 million rank and continuing to drop daily. Nor does the current fit with the other two, and maybe it isn’t quite right for the genre either. Would a new cover help bring in more sales or is it just so ultra-niche being LGBT + alternative relationship + YA that its more an issue of just finding the right readers? That, I don’t know, but it is something I’ll be thinking about over the next few weeks

If I don’t redo the cover, I will finally get off my tush and reach out to Kerry to see if maybe we can fix whatever weirdness kept Ingram from being able to print the cover correctly right so I can get the paperback out “wide” too. If I do redo the cover, the issue will likely be moot as it seemed mostly to be some issue with it being so heavy on the amount of black and dark gray.

NaNoWrimo 2016: First Update

Not a huge update, because I basically sat at midnight during the local write-in’s sprint and wrote nothing. 0 words. Nothing came to me. Second sprint, I wrote up some notes for something else, but not anything for my NaNo novel.

2 days in, I decided to reboot an older novel WIP from my trunk, since elements from it had kept trying to jump into my Maid Maleen retelling. That got me just under 1,900 words in one day…and then all interest in continuing working on it was gone and I haven’t touched it since. Haven’t come up with anything else either. My 10th year anniversary of doing NaNo may end up ending like my first year – one big loss.

I’ll still do my weekly NaNo episodes in November, though I can’t promise they will be very long if this is how its going to go. :-/