Blog Hop, Insecure Writer's Support Group

What the People Want

Insecure Writer's Support GroupSomething I’ve been thinking about a lot, is writing to market. This is when an author either picks up on a current popular trend, or predicts an upcoming trend, and specifically writes for that market, to, hopefully, hit upon a bestseller by simply writing what the people want.

Among authors, it’s actually something of a controversial issue with accusations of writers ‘selling out’, or not being true to their craft. Honestly, I feel conflicted myself. So often, the act of writing books, of creating worlds and characters, of giving flesh to your dreams, so often, that feels completely at odds with the actual business side of selling books. The marketing, the numbers, the accounts. I know many writers for whom, once their hobby became their income source, they lost all joy for the act of writing.

Creativity and business seem to be uncomfortable bedfellows.

But, at the end of the day, it is a business, and it has to be run as a business if it’s going to succeed. Last year, I published a collection of short stories set in a post-apocalyptic world. I largely wrote it just to get it out of my head, where it was like a niggling thorn in my brain. And then I didn’t think much more about it. Until it started selling. And it sells well, and regularly. And my business brain said “You need to take advantage of this.”

So, yes, I’m now writing to market. A full-length post apocalyptic book I’d never intended to write. It’s a different thing for me; both the specific genre (although it’s not that far from dystopian fiction), and writing to market. It’s going to be interesting to see how it all turns out (especially as the story and characters seem to be insistent about taking it in an interesting new direction!)

Do you write to market?

This post was written as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. If you want to visit the other IWSG member blogs, or sign up yourself, you can do so here.

Blog Hop, Insecure Writer's Support Group

Hey, 2018! I’m Coming For You!

Insecure Writer's Support GroupSo, here we are, just a few days into 2018. A new year. A new start. A fresh start. A new chapter. An empty book. The first step of a journey. Whichever tired old metaphor you’d like to use. Because they are tired and overused, but that’s just because they’re true.

Even if you try to avoid all the hype over resolutions, all the motivational quotes pasted onto images of sunrises and rainbows and people climbing mountains to look at sunrises and rainbows, it’s hard not to get caught up in that overall feeling of hope. Of hoping for this year to be better, bigger, brighter. For you to go places, to take yourself places. Because, believe me, those places aren’t coming to you.

Despite the sarcasm, I feel it too. That fresh chance to do things right. To put the mistakes of last year behind me, and push forward, bolder and wiser. I’m even planning things. Me! Planning! Little Miss make-it-up-as-you-go-along. And I have big plans, exciting plans, secret plans.

Despite my determination to make 2018 fabulously wonderfully brilliantly excellent, I can’t help but wonder if I felt like this at the beginning of 2017. If I sat here and thought “This is going to be my year”, just like I am now. I also wonder if I thought that in January 2016. But it doesn’t stop me thinking it now. There’s only one way 2018 will be fabulously wonderfully brilliantly excellent, and that’s if I strive to make it so. It’s down to me. Just me. Little ol’ me. So, you’d better get out of my way, because I’m coming through.

(Hopefully.)

What do you have planned for 2018?

This post was written as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. If you want to visit the other IWSG member blogs, or sign up yourself, you can do so here.

Blog Hop, Insecure Writer's Support Group

Closing the Book on 2017

I love looking back over the past year, especially if I can be pleasantly surprised by how much I’ve achieved! (More often than not it’s regret over another year that failed to meet its potential.) But this year, I really feel like I’ve had a shift. I really feel like I’ve stopped thinking like a hobbyist, and started thinking like a business woman. My mindset has totally changed.

So, let’s see what I have achieved this year.

The VisionaryFebruary saw the release of The Visionary, book 3 of The Paper Duchess Series, which was quickly followed by a March release of After: A Post Apocalyptic Story Collection (which has turned out to be unexpectedly popular!)

It was a bit crazy doing two book releases in such quick succession, and I feel like I’ve learnt an important lesson from that. It did not go as smoothly as I’d hoped, but that lesson has led on to exciting plans for 2018.

Edge-LitFast forward to July, and I was at Edge-Lit literary convention. While I was there, I attended a workshop on running literary events, and this sparked a whole heap of ideas I plan to implement next year. It also prompted me to approach the organiser of Edge-Lit with a workshop pitch.

The MothersOctober saw the release of The Mothers, the 4th and final book in The Paper Duchess series. I had officially completed an entire series of books which was quite monumental.

Again, I’ve learnt a lot of lessons through the two years I’ve been writing and publishing the series (which you can read about here), and it’s already making the writing of my next series so much easier in a lot of ways. You see; mistakes are never just mistakes if you learn from them. And lessons are valuable, and something to cherish.

NaNoWriMo 2017 Winner BadgeNovember proved to be a ridiculously busy month. I decided to give NaNoWriMo another shot. This was my 7th year doing it, and I had 3 wins and 3 horrendous losses under my belt. I hadn’t come anywhere close to completing it since having children.

But I felt determined this year. I spent all of October planning, and I put my success down to that. I stormed in at just over 51,000 words by the end of the month. And a very nearly completed novel draft (which is now completed).

Sledge-LitNovember also brought around Sledge-Lit, the Christmas edition of Edge-Lit literary convention. Remember that workshop pitch? This was my first ever time as a guest author, and my first ever time on a discussion panel. I also ran a very successful worldbuilding workshop which I’ve had amazing feedback from. You can read more about my Sledge-Lit experience here.

The Paper Duchess Series Box SetAs if that wasn’t enough for one month, I also put together and released The Paper Duchess Complete Series Box Set. This was not nearly as easy as I’d anticipated, and I spent days fiddling around with the coding and the format to get everything working properly.

But, I did it, and people can now get the entire series in just one file. Phew! What a year!

2017 has also seen a lot more going on, both on and off stage: promos, newsletters, giveaways, author takeovers, secret plans, upping my social media game, bettering book delivery, having a short story accepted for an anthology, and I could go on forever. It’s been so busy. And December isn’t going to let up either.

December has already seen the completion of my next book’s first draft, The Smudger, which was mostly done in NaNoWriMo. As long as editing stays on track, I’ll be sending it out to my beta readers before Christmas. And that means I can spend the festive period with my feet up (at least, as much as a mum can!)

I’ll see you in the new year to talk about my plans for 2018 (the non-secret ones, at least!)

Insecure Writer's Support GroupThis post was written as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. If you want to visit the other IWSG member blogs, or sign up yourself, you can do so here.

Blog Hop, Insecure Writer's Support Group

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: At the Cliff’s Edge

Insecure Writer's Support GroupToday is September’s instalment of Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which sees hundreds of writers and bloggers worldwide post about their insecurities, support others with theirs, and offer up advice for overcoming them. If you want to visit the other IWSG member blogs, or sign up yourself, you can do so here.

Every writer knows about blank page syndrome. Those moments before you write your first word, when possibilities are endless. The terrifying unknown and the paralysing fear that you might be about to write the worst thing you’ve ever written. Or the best. Because both outcomes are equally scary.

But there’s another phenomenon, at the other end of things. Facing the ending. As I approach the ending of any story, I slow right down. The words come reluctantly, and my fingers wade across the suddenly treacle-like keyboard. It always happens.

The end of a story holds equal fears to the beginning. Those endless possibilities. Because, as we all know, every ending is also a beginning.

I’m currently stood at the end of, not just my latest book, but my whole series, editing its fourth and final instalment. I’m stood at the cliff’s edge gazing into the abyss of possibilities. It’s scary. But it’s exciting too.

Are you at the beginning? Or the end? Or both? Does the fear affect you?

Blog Hop, Insecure Writer's Support Group

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Sunscreen and Scary Stuff

Insecure Writer's Support GroupToday is August’s instalment of Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which sees hundreds of writers and bloggers worldwide post about their insecurities, support others with theirs, and offer up advice for overcoming them. If you want to visit the other IWSG member blogs, or sign up yourself, you can do so here.

Do you remember that song; Baz Luhrmann’s Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)? Basically a long list of good advice put to music. I had it on CD. Loved it. Tried to live by it.

There was one particular line that still resonates: ‘Do one thing every day that scares you’. For me, that’s not difficult. I’m scared of everything. Some days, just stepping out of the front door is scary enough.

But I still do it. Because I think it’s important for me to push myself. When I look back over my life, I can see all the things that would have never happened if I didn’t do things that scared me. And the sense of accomplishment when I have pushed through my fears is like no other high.

I’ve just agreed to do something that terrifies me. Later this year, I’ll be appearing at a literary convention. I’ll be running a workshop, and, scariest of all, I’ll be taking part in a panel discussion. On a stage. With a microphone. In front of an audience. An audience expecting me to be clever and insightful. (Thank goodness there’s no expectation for me to be funny!)

This terrifies me. I’m sure I’ll simply sit there, gaping like a fish, unable to get a single word out. I’m hoping that my theatre training will kick in and get me through it. But I know how good this is for business. How important it is. How many doors it could open.

Have you ever been on a panel discussion or led a workshop? What are your top tips? What scares you, and how do you push through your fear?

Blog Hop, Insecure Writer's Support Group

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Progress is Progress. But…

Insecure Writer's Support GroupToday is July’s instalment of Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which sees hundreds of writers and bloggers worldwide post about their insecurities, support others with theirs, and offer up advice for overcoming them. If you want to visit the other IWSG member blogs, or sign up yourself, you can do so here.

I’m currently plugging away at the first draft of The Mothers, the final book in my Paper Duchess series.

It’s moving forward nicely enough, following the plot, but it’s slow. With life and family pressures and distractions, I have very little writing time, and this one really seems to be dragging. Or maybe I’m just feeling more impatient because it’s the last in the series.

With a lot of writer friends currently rocking Camp NaNo, I feel like I’m a snail being left behind. I know that progress is still progress, and, even if I only manage to write 100 words a day, it’s 100 I didn’t have the day before. But it’s not easy to convince myself.

Are you a slow writer? What do you do to speed up production? And where do you find pockets of writing time during the day?