I had an interesting chat with my father. After he read my post regarding perhaps not entering my work in progress in the Vogel awards (due to it not being the sort of genre that usually wins) we discussed the whys and why nots and eventually started to talk about the viability of self-publishing as an option versus my desire to see my books in traditional print. Some people self-publish their first book and with good marketing make it a hit and use that popularity to entice a publisher to accept their next novel. Others have a few traditionally published novels but then have problems with publishers and decide to self-publish the rest of their works since they already have a fan-base.
Either way, with self-publishing you need to have a strong marketing ability. You need multiple platforms, like Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Linkedin. It all looks like so much to do on top of writing and taking care of a child, but it’s what you need to do if you want to make it.
Of course having a supportive family like my parents and my husband makes things much easier, but the pressures of limited time, lost sleep and finances still loom, shaking their figurative fists at me. As it is I have to get up before my family to find time to maintain my website, do my blogging and write my work in progress. I stay up after my husband and child have gone to bed sometimes too just to fit in time to write. I take my opportunities wherever I can, stealing them during Xander’s naps or moments when he’s quite happy to just sit and play near my feet.
What someone who wants to get published really needs is determination. Determination to find that time and use it productively. With so much to do, be it the writing itself, marketing, platform creating or all your usual daily tasks you need to be able to find and recognise that 10 minutes that you normally may have wasted looking at things you want on ebay and instead use it to build that platform or get down a few more ideas for the next story.
Ten minutes shouldn’t be too hard to find, where can you find your first ten minutes?
It’s been a busy place here at our house since Valentine’s Day. On Valentine’s Day I stumbled across a competition for manuscripts, Allen and Unwin’s Vogel Award. As you can imagine I went from bored browser to excited author in an instant. My heart promptly broke when I read the word count cap of 100,000 words though, because my novel is 175,000. Shrinking Storybook Perfect down to the word count would destroy it. I’m willing to work on it if that’s what it takes to get published, but 75,000 words less is too much change for me to be willing to make.
I was not willing to give up though. So I thought of one of my other ideas, a one-shot which I was expecting would probably average 75,000 words. Being the competitive gamer personality type I took it as a challenge to complete the novel and fully revise it all before the due date of June 1st.
Thus far I’ve written 27,000 words just by getting up before Xander wakes up and writing while he naps. I’m impressed by how much I have managed to write in just those few stolen minutes (or more realistically two stolen hours).
Add onto that that a few days ago the host I desired to use for my website had a sale on hosting costs and all of a sudden my blog was rushed forward a month to take advantage of it. So here I am, learning to blog, learning to promote my blog while I’m doing it. Serious ‘on-the-job’ training.
Sadly, I’ve gone back to the Allen and Unwin award page to check out previous winners (so I could see what they were looking for) and most of the winners seem to be from a specific range of genres, none of which my story fits in. So I most likely will not enter the competition anymore, but I’m still going to goal for novel completion in the same time frame (like I said, ultra-competitive gamer personality). This way I will have the ‘hard-sell’ trilogy making the rounds and an easier to sell one-off doing the same, which should hopefully increase my chances of finding an agent and thus being published.
Has anyone else had a busy week? Anyway, I think it might be time for me to sneak in a nap ;p