One step at a time

It’s been a little while, right? I apologise for that. 2018 was a year full of ups and downs, with things happening at an alarmingly fast pace. So much so that at times it was hard for me to keep up. Those of you who know me in person, know that I like things to happen slowly over time. But such is life; it rarely does our bidding. Which is probably why I write fiction, I guess. Anything can happen there.

Though I’m not a big fan of new year resolutions (in other words, I don’t like them at all), this year I decided to stick to at least one that I feel is extremely important to me: reduce my stress levels considerably and, in doing so, enjoy writing once again. Between publishing my début novel, The Darkening, dealing with family-related health issues, trying to learn new skills (anyone willing to teach a Photoshop newbie like me some things in record time?), and other things that life often throws our way, I neglected a lot of things that I shouldn’t have, but most importantly, I drifted away from much of social life.

So what are this year’s plans? First of all, acquire the necessary funds to publish book 1 of my upcoming cyberpunk trilogy, then publish said book. I have decided to worry about funding books 2 and 3 after book 1 has gone live. The reason for that is in part that I have not yet written books 2 and 3. Chances are that all three books will be funded, in part or full, through crowdfunding, assuming the campaigns are successful.

As for other plans… drum roll please…

I have started drafting book 2. I believe I have a solid story, as well as strong and interesting set of characters.

After that, I’ll start outlining book 3… for the sixth time (!!), since nothing seems to be good enough. Again, I’ll worry about that in due time.

Learning new things

*Disclaimer: I’m in the mood for gifs today, so you’ll get a few of them with this post*

Being self published doesn’t always mean you have to do everything on your own, but sometimes circumstances force you to do so.

As I mentioned earlier, my debut post apocalyptic horror novel, The Darkening, will be launched near the end of the year, probably around late October or early November. For that, I have hired an editor (all edits are now done) and am waiting to hear back from my designer. Unfortunately, his busy schedule doesn’t allow him to start working on my project before July. So after I dealt with these two very important parts of the production of a book, I thought that would be it. I’d upload the manuscript on each platform, and all I’d have to do between then and the launch date would be to promote it.

Ermm, how about no?

It turned out that I had forgotten another important bit: internal formatting.

What in the name of dark hell was that?!

I had spent virtually all my (meagre) budget on the editor and I would spend the remaining on the designer. In fact, after reviewing my budget, I realised I had nothing left for promotion!

So the first thought was: is internal formatting something I can skip?

Apparently no. Well, I could, but that would interfere with the quality of the product I wanted to produce.

Now, I know that Amazon has created a Word plugin that creates a basic template for all the available printing options they provide, including trim size. But the problem for me was that this plugin only works on newer versions of Word, you know, the ones with the ugly ribbon menu thing its creators decided to introduce?

Yeah, how about no?

Like many other writers out there, I refuse to work on something with a UI (user interface) that is non-configurable based on my needs. If you think that I’m the only weirdo around the writing realms, think again!

You tell ’em, George!

So since the Word version I work with (2003, if you’re wondering) could not use that plugin and I could not outsource the task, I had to figure out how to format my book on my own. And I did. Partly… Sort of… Kind of…

Enter InDesign. Luckily a friend lent me an older version of the program to test and try out just for this project. And surprisingly enough, if one who knows nothing about internal formatting or InDesign wishes to use it to create simple interior book designs, then it won’t take more than a couple of days to learn it. Thank Youtube for that!

So I managed to create a decent printable copy of my manuscript, and I now have a fraction of a basic understanding of how to use the program. It’s definitely in my to-buy list, even though I know I will only be using a tiny fraction of its capabilities.

Now if I could only figure out a way to make it create a decent epub version without messing everything up, I’d be one step closer to world domination!

 

Crutch words – ANGRY (part 2)

This is the second part of my list of ANGRY synonyms. You can find part one here. I have to admit, while researching for these, I often had to pause and double-check (and sometimes triple-check) that they were in fact still in use or that they actually meant what I was looking for. Bellicose and Churlish are two of the words I had never seen before, but then again, I’m not a native English speaker, so that may be the reason.

Keep in mind that each synonym, is just that; a synonym. It doesn’t always work as a replacement, because each word carries a meaning of its own. So before you substitute all instances of angry with any of these or from part one, make sure it’s the right one.

Crutch words – ANGRY (part 1)

For a writer, drafting a story is all about putting all the thoughts down on paper (or virtual paper) as fast as possible. Often, if not always, this comes at a price. Drafts are messy. They often make us cringe when we read them. Why? For many reasons, but one of them is because we use words that are always the same boring ones, which most of the times break one of the sacred rules of writing: show, don’t tell. One such word is ANGRY. Below is a small list (more words to follow in the coming weeks) of synonyms that we can use instead. As is always the case with synonyms, each word carries a unique inherent meaning, so even though each is a synonym to angry, they don’t always serve as a replacement. Make sure you’re absolutely certain that the word you’re about to use carries the meaning you have in mind.

You can read part two here.

On a side note, I think I have failed miserably in my attempt to make the colour of the word angry like that of Hulk’s. Not only that, but the font is wrong. *sigh* It shows how little I know about typography and how much I have to work on it.

Next steps, and plans

I hate making new years’ resolutions. In my mind, it’s ridiculous to think one can plan for something so far ahead, because life throws curved balls at us and changes everything. What we plan at the beginning of the year, is planned based on the info and difficulties we are aware of at that moment. The next moment, the Sun may implode and we end up rotating around a red dwarf. One hell of a sight to see, but it’s going to put a little dent on those plans. I believe I’ve said it before: when mortals make plans, gods laugh. Especially if those plans rely on the completion of a whole bunch of other things happening before the resolution comes to fruition. I’m talking about resolutions like, “I want to travel the world from east to west and north to south in a canoe before the end of this year.” A lot of things need to happen before one achieves that. Like learning what a canoe is, and how to navigate in the sea without electronic equipment. So I never, ever do them.

I don’t mind setting small goals, physically and mentally possible. Like, “this year I’m going to learn to count from one to ten in Cantonese.” It’s manageable and doable, even if life throws at me its worse.

All exaggerations aside, I’m more of a person who likes to set goals (see, I’m making a distinction here between goals and resolutions) over which I have control, things that I know for a fact I can make them happen in the immediate future (“this Saturday, I’m going over to Steve’s to reconcile with him after our last week’s argument”). So it’s more like a plan than anything else.

Well, this year, I broke my own rule. I set a goal for me, only it’s actually a resolution.

I will publish my first novel in 2018, I said. It shocked me a couple of weeks after I said it, but my mind insisted on it. 2018 will be the year the world will read my first novel.

A lot of things need to happen between now and 31 December 2018.

1. Have a completed manuscript ready (edited by me at least 20 times, read by betas, and re-edited after their suggestions 5 more times) –> CHECK
2. Have a basic knowledge of how one gets to publish a book –> CHECK
3. Have a list of potential readers who might be interested in reading said book –> CHECK (I have a newsletter, and some of the readers there show genuine interest in talking to me. That’s a start, right?)
4. Have a basic understanding of how a writer can promote their work –> CHECK (though I’m still learning)
5. Have an editor ready to edit the book –> X
6. Have a cover designer ready to craft a cover for it –> X

So now I’m at the point where I’m looking into editors. Line editors, to be exact. Apparently, not many of them go around. Or if there are, a great deal of them bundle copy editing and line editing into one (two different kinds of editing, but I’ll get back to that at a later post). Also, money is an issue. Editor needs to be affordable. Hmm, let me rephrase that: cheaper than what most writers would consider affordable. Take into account the different earnings between Greece and your countries. So, in other words, the editor has to be dirt cheap. Perhaps a line editor who is just starting up their self-employed editing career, and want to attract clients and referrers than anything else.

I’m sure there’s someone like that out there. I’ve already got my eye on a few. I’m waiting for them to reply to my queries and get quotes. I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the mean time, TL;DR (too long; didn’t read): 2018 will be the year I will publish my first novel.