If you don't, you might get hurt!

Hi guys!

Since my last article, in which I decided what my writing goals are, I’ve noticed a positive influence on my writing habits, including returning to writing daily. The goal in particular that is helping me is the daily goal of one thousand words a day (which I only count if they’re in something I’m writing for my books or one of the pieces I do set between them for fun and exploration). I think this is in part because I am a fairly competitive person, and I like beating myself too!

One thing that has caught my attention though is the possible change to my main series. When I set the goals on the 27th of this month, I started writing a piece for fun and to give myself something to flex the skills on before committing to any of the books and series I’ve already worked on or have at least a basic idea for. This piece of miscellaneous as I call them, is set late in the main series around the same year as book twelve. It feels almost like it could be the beginning of the series, as crazy as it sounds. The potential change is interesting, but I do not want to just ignore the books that came before it. I know book two has always had a potential for being scrapped completely, but the others? I like them, and others like them. The downside to toying with this idea and continuing to write this piece of miscellaneous as if it were the start of the series and not just a piece I started for fun and practise, is that there is a lot of ‘telling’, explaining in the narrative of the back stories of each character. For my books before, this was utilised when acceptable in case somebody ever picked up a book without reading the others (thereby making it possible to start reading wherever you liked in the series). Now there seems to be too much.

As a result, I’ve been considering my writing goals. One of those was to looking into self-publishing as a viable option, and to ask self-published authors lots of questions on the subject, at the same time, I recently read an article on Kristen Lamb’s blog about the power of three and freebies. Admittedly it wasn’t the sole subject of the blog post – it is titled as, ‘Five Mistakes KILLING Self-Published Authors’ (link is below).  It struck a chord with me though. Perhaps, what I could do, was provide some of the books before it for free.

I was at my parents’ this Christmas, and I decided to try out Google’s Play Books  whilst there – it is available on my Android Phone and Samsung Tab 3 for free, and is actually one of those apps that you cannot uninstall that comes already installed on the Android devices. I downloaded a few of the free books and have enjoyed reading them on both devices. I am still a lover of paperbacks – they don’t need electricity to run and it’s more comfortable and fun to snuggle up to a corner of the sofa with a paperback, but it was nice having a decent few books for free on my phone. Due to my being intrigued by the idea of ebooks being available on my phone and tablet, I then downloaded the Kobo app onto both and have multiple samples to read through. Though I can’t seem to find the free books on Kobo that it is supposed to have (perhaps because I am only using apps to read their publications), the idea appeals to me to do the same; to offer the earlier books for free, but to make sure there are other books available for purchase or free download as well.

This has resulted in some changes to my plan. The first in the series is going to be re-read by myself, without being able to edit it (another of the goals) during that time like I normally do. If I still enjoy reading it, I then have to make the decision whether I want to edit it or to keep it as it is (as I am worried about one element of the series’ world that does not feature as strongly in the other books of the series). After that, I will prepare various copies of the manuscript as per various publishers that allow self-published writers to submit their works to them (like Kobo or Amazon’s Kindle for example). At that point though, I won’t be publishing yet. I’ll then jump over to book two and do the same with that as I did the first. Both will be free to download, with the third book I publish being sold.

As a result, in a round-about way, this miscellaneous piece that I did because of my goals has helped me prepare a rough plan of action. It’s nice having one! Before, when I was intent only on publishing through traditional means, there was no master plan, just this:

  1. Get an agent.
  2. Get a publisher hooked.
  3. Use all of royalty to promote the first book.
  4. Keep writing.

It is strange to think that through reading Kristen Lamb’s blog article and writing this piece because of one of my goals, that I now have a solid plan as a writer, but the goals haven’t just done that. I’m treating my writing more like a career path again, like I did when I was in college. Though I won’t be quitting my office job any time soon (and neither the web hosting and online services I provide), it feels good to be in this mindset again – to be taking my own writing seriously again. I suspect that the miscellaneous piece won’t be the first in the series with this new plan of mine, but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep writing it!

Are you a writer? Have you had any experiences similar to this? Please share in the comments!

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The link to Kristen Lamb’s blog post mentioned above.

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