Walking the Plank

Over the course of the week, I’ve inevitably hit a high and a low and gone back and forth a few times. The problem? The edits on my current work-in-progress are nearly complete and I’m faced with putting it in the hands of readers (or not) by blog posts, self-publishing, traditional publishing, or smoke signals. Which one will be most effective? Which path ultimately steers me in the right direction?

Not sure. That’s pretty much what it all boils down to. I’m so close to setting the story free that I’m getting cold feet on committing to any direction at all.

It’s been an entire year since I self-published The Between World and a lot has changed in my world since then. I didn’t have a plan when I finished that first book. I didn’t have a fancy smancy “platform”. I didn’t bother with blogs or meeting new friends on Twitter. I didn’t even have an official author page on Facebook. (I did have a book page though.) I really had no idea what I was getting myself into and I paid a price for it. I’ve been trying to work it out ever since and hopefully (fingers crossed), I’m in a better place than I was on the publication date of book #1. I still have so much to learn and so much to do … but maybe I’m starting to find my feet.

Ghosts Don’t Wear Silk Stockings is very different from The Between World. It’s quirky and (hopefully) fun. It deals with demons and ghosts but it doesn’t take the subject too seriously. I don’t wallow in spectulations of the after-life. Not that I really did that with The Between World either but still, Nina and Yalen were a different cup of tea with literally the entire universe hanging in the balance. If they didn’t work things out by ‘the end’ then the world could have ended as we knew it. Yalen and Nina rarely found themselves in a light-hearted situation.

Different is good and I’ve had a lot of fun writing something that I hope is suspenseful but still fun at the same time. I hope I’ve offered the reader a few good laugh-out-loud moments that will stick with him/her. But now I’m starting to worry too… what if I’ve tried too hard to make it fun and in the process just turned it into something silly? What if the readers just roll their eyes and put the book down to move on to something better? What if anyone that dares to read this story makes a mental note to never pick up another book I write thinking that I obviously must not take my craft seriously?

What if the men in white coats come knocking and lock me in the rubber room?

GASP! It’s a gamble. If I self-publish this thing, I’m putting myself out there on the pirate’s plank, blindfold and all, holding my breath, waiting, and just hoping. Do I sink or do I swim? When I put chapter one out there and had little response, I guess I hit the panic button even harder and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t take the risk that this would be the end as I know it.

I’ve strongly considered the possibility of submitted the story to a traditional publish and run the risk of it not seeing readers’ hands until a year from now or longer and that’s assuming I have any hope in the traditional realm at all. (I like to believe I do with a little effort.)

Problem is that I’ve gotten quite comfortable with the Indie publishing world and being that I like to control, it suits me. (I am an Aries, after all.) Someone has been kind enough to tell me that I don’t necessarily have to have it one way or the other. In this case, I could have my cake and eat it too. But really, what it boils down to is being afraid of the story hitting rock bottom and not being able to take it back and I’m going to have that fear no matter which path I walk.

So, bottom line? Ignore me. I’m moving full speed ahead as originally planned. Edits are going very well and with the husband out of town all week, I’ve had plenty of time to get ahead of the game. How the book will be received by the world, does it really matter? I am sharing a story that I love and I’m bound to find one or two who share my unusual sense of humor and that’s what makes the writing all worthwhile.

I’m back on track and ready to take the plunge…

Thanks for sailing the stormy seas with me. It’s a pleasure to have you on board. 🙂

Why I Love Twitter

I love Twitter. This might sound like a really odd way to start a blog post but allow me to explain.

Twitter is a social networking site that is especially top-heavy with writers. Sometimes I scroll through all the many writers that I’m following (or thinking about following) and I feel a bit overwhelmed that there are so many of us in the world. It’s exciting on one hand that so many people dedicate their lives to the thankless, yet creative pursuit, of creating new worlds and stories and helping to bring to life the characters that we love and depressing on the other hand, that we’re so likely to be lost in an endless sea of other creators.

Writing is an amazing form of art. We create something new out of nothing.  A builder is given tools and materials and he approaches this with the experience and skill to create something new, beautiful, and probably useful. But when a writer writes, he isn’t limited by the materials with which he’s given. A builder will never take a couple of sheets of plywood and a few 2×4’s and end up with a house … but a writer, on the other hand, could create an entire empire with his talents. That’s pretty amazing.

So how does this relate to Twitter?

In most professions (including my former incarnation in the banking world), working meant having set hours, going to an office, and being accountable for the work you’re supposed to do. True, that could be said of writing as well, except for maybe the office part. But in most other professions, there is usually social interaction as well. When I worked in an office, I looked forward to seeing my co-workers in the morning. (Maybe I’m just weird.) I looked forward to chatting about our weekends, venting about a tough day, or just sharing a good laugh. When I quit getting up and going to the office every day, those were the things that I missed the most. Those were the things that were the hardest for me to give up.

I never wanted a career in banking and I’m thankful for the opportunity to focus on my writing at this stage in my life so I’m not complaining. I like the fact that I (more or less, depending on the kids) set my own hours and goals. These are super cool things, trust me! But for the first couple of years, I didn’t actually produce much. I didn’t feel accountable to anyone or anything. I longed for social interaction with my co-workers. I felt lonely.

I suppose you could say that Twitter sort of filled that void. Sure, online interactions aren’t quite the same as walking into an office and saying hello face-to-face or chatting around the water cooler, but I’m getting to know fellow writers and making new friends. I enjoy having the opportunity to share knowledge, experience, and in some cases even commiserate when life doesn’t go quite as planned. When I say on Twitter or in this blog that I’m going to complete something, I feel a sense of accountability and an obligation to do it.

Sure, most of you that I interact with on Twitter will never actually read my work. That’s okay.  I don’t actually expect you to and it really isn’t the point. I’m not on Twitter as some sort of fancy marketing plan (although of course, I do hope the extra exposure will ultimately attract readers that may have an interest in the types of books I write).

If you’re still here with me almost 600 words into a boring blog post about why I love Twitter, then thank you! Thank you for indulging me and helping me to feel that I’m not writing in an isolated vacuum where nothing I create makes a difference.

And if you are still reading, and you are interested in my first book , The Between World will be available as a free download on Amazon this weekend. WOO HOO! Don’t miss it..

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend! See you again on Sunday for my six sentence contribution.