2018: The Year I Learned I Did Everything Wrong!
Self Published. Indie Author. Independent Press. All of these titles are indicative of an author who has great control over what they write and when they publish a work. It’s not a path for those that are weak willed. It’s also not a path for those who are unwilling to take the proverbial bull by the horns and grow with the industry.
For many years I wandered through this new land, lost. I was out there doing my best to learn how to put out a great product. When I started, there were not a whole lot of resources available. Nobody really had a “smart phone”, fast and available internet was still kind of new, hand held peripherals were still something that lived in Star Trek, and Photoshop was just releasing CS 2. Yet, somehow I managed to publish a book. I made my own cover, learned how to format, and began my dreams of selling books.
By 2012, I had written several prose books and learned how to make these things called eBooks. I was heavy into a bunch of soul sucking author promo groups, had a small influence on Twitter, and constantly set up posts about my books.
By 2014, I was done with all of that nonsense. I stepped back into the shadows of anonymity. I played video games, made art, and binge watched TV for the next three years. I couldn’t write a prose book to save my life.
At the end of 2017 I had managed to eek out a prose book. Then at the beginning of this year I turned my attention to a local comic convention. I pressed forward and finally finished my graphic novel/comic for The Beginning. I also fiddled with the covers and packaging for my prose books. I taught myself some things in Daz Studio and Adobe Photoshop. At one point in March I loaded up my Udemy account with a bunch of online courses for Photoshop and digital art. I had every intention of learning all the digital graphics I could. Yet, that would all be put on hold.
I stumbled in with two new author groups. These weren’t the soul sucking kind and I found myself enjoying interacting with other authors. Then I made the mistake of signing up for a free class a friend of a friend was doing. It was all over then. I took that course and BAM it led to more courses. Promo, marketing, writing, publishing…I took them all and learned so much. By June, when I had finished the major parts of the writing courses, I had an explosion of ideas. I ended up writing 4 books, an anthology short, and a small write up for a free anthology…all by November of this year and all because of those classes. I currently have 10 WIP books going right now. I can write a 40K word book in 2 weeks when I apply what I have learned.
I also learned all the things I had been doing wrong and while I wish I could share them here, that wouldn’t be fair. What I *can* share are the courses I took.
However, if I could turn back time and do it all over again, I wouldn’t take any of these classes. Why you ask? Because 98% of the material is in this awesome one stop class called Publishing Master Mind. Do you want to learn HOW to make a best seller? Do you want to learn WHAT you are doing wrong? Do you want to take this class that is worth probably over 6K for peanuts per month?
Look, I’ve taken hundreds of “courses”. I’ve read multiple books on “how” to sell. I’ve wasted countless hours in video seminars. None of those compare to this. Why? Because *this* class teaches you stuff you can use. It is a lot of information. I didn’t think it had settled into my brain, but once I applied what I learned from just the writing portions of the class the writing block dam I had been living behind just crumbled. My writing has improved so much that my editor sat up and took notice. I wasn’t a bad writer before, I am well read/written, but I wasn’t writing with the proper information. If you lay your house on a crooked foundation it is going to take forever to fix it!
I got The Price of Magic, the book I struggled to write by the end of 2017, back from my editor in June. I went through the edits and immediately applied my new knowledge to add over 30K words to this book. I restructured a lot of the chapters. I added whole scenes.
I was writing To Kill A Siren at the same time I was in my writing course. I was able to go forward and apply some of the knowledge to the book and that made writing it smoother. However, I still had to go back and restructure some items and add some polish even after it came back from my editor.
The books I started writing after those two? The ones I started after my training? Totally next level for me. I have one I am writing now that I came back to after a break…I cannot believe *I* wrote those two chapters.
I’m no longer in the “I’m not a brand” boat. I’m no longer an author or artist without a tagline. Women of Grit and Steel fits pretty much everything I do. I no longer wing my books…I learned how to plot! I am also no longer an artist on her own. I have artists I work with for my book covers and branding. They helped me with my new book covers AND they helped me polish my branding.
So, in recapping, I can say 2018 has been a pretty successful year for me in terms of things I learned. The skills I picked up in my publishing courses have helped me get back to writing. Unfortunately, that means less time to learn that digital painting I wanted LOL!