Confessions of a Failed Writer part 3

September 17, 11:02 A.M.

I’m putting off listening to the auditions for my audiobook. I have a dozen or so and it’s a short scene the professionals have read. Why am I procrastinating? Self-doubt. Wondering if I’ll make the wrong decision on who will read my deeply personal work. I could do it myself, but I don’t have a great voice. I know all the inflections and how I want it read, but I’d prefer to leave that to the professionals with the experience and equipment to create a high quality finished product.

The second question is do I come up with the money to pay a voice actor or do I do a profit split? I’ve read the author’s laments who regret doing the split. But the upfront costs of paying a good producer can be a grand or more. Do I bet on myself for future earnings? Or do I take the safe route and save the upfront costs? I’ve only sold 9 copies of my book, so how many audio copies will I sell?

I will put that off until tonight. I’ll have my partner Anya listen with me for a second opinion. For today, I have daily goal of 2000 words. That’s an easy goal, maybe the word “achievable” is better than easy. Especially since I’m dividing the daily goal among three novels: Legacy of the Maelstrom, Mind the Shadows and sVck. I figure the three books should total about 225,000 words, so if I achieve my daily goal, I’ll be done the first draft of three books in four months. The trick is to write. Some writers do what is called “sprinting” where they close the doors and type until the allotted time is up. Usually an hour. Others write to be perfect. Each word is carefully chosen to not require much polishing in a second draft. My process is somewhere in the middle. I’m mostly writing dialogue with a few descriptors. Here’s an example of what I wrote last night.

                                                           sVck

“How was your dinner date?”

Savanah hung her head. Humphrey eyed her with a snarky smile. “I checked your window at 12:30 and you still weren’t home. And your 9:00 o’clock came out of your hall looking unsatisfied. What happened?”

“Things got out of hand, Humph. We fucked.”

Humphrey spit out his coffee. “You what?! You fucked a vampire!?”

“Would you keep it down, for christ’s sake?!”

“What do you mean, you fucked?”

“We did it. It was awesome. I’ve never been with a woman before. She did stuff to me. I came so fucking hard.”

“That’s awesome, Savvy. You needed to nut. Seriously. You’ve been doing a lot of blowing with no payback. What else happened?”

“I asked her about vampire life. I told her about my alternative food source. She showed me her thralls. Four guys. They ate raw meat and she fed on one while I watched. I, uh, showed her my method.”

“You blew one of her guys?”

“While she watched.”

“Hot.”

“He keeled over. Dead.”

“What?”

“I don’t understand what happened. Maybe he was so weak that…”

“…you sucked him to death?”

“Yeah.”

“Dammnnnnnn.”

In my next draft I’ll go through and add descriptions. Spice it up. Sometimes I leave the dialogue when I feel the reader knows who is who without the need to write “he said” and “she said.” It creates a better back and forth. 

What’s your process?

Confessions of a Failed Writer 9/16/2021

09/16/2021

The life of a writer is easy.

8:00 Wake up. Take dog out. Make breakfast.

9:00 Partner’s sleeping. Sit in office and look at Facebook. Watch hilarious Norm McDonald video

9:30 bust out laptop. Continue thinking of super powers I haven’t used for scene in new book

The life of a writer is difficult.

Many writers have deadlines and bosses and reasons to feel pressure from the outside world. I know a writer, who in addition to writing her own book series, ghost writes for others. I can imagine that’s difficult to be creative and never get the credit. She’s much younger and has written over 100 books. I’m sure the promise of a paycheck is an incentive.

What’s the incentive of the writer who hasn’t started to generate a profit. It’s a challenge to stay motivated without a proverbial stick or carrot to incentivize him or her. “Glue your ass to the seat and write,” is the advise famous writers like to give. That’s true. Some shut themselves off in a writer’s retreat in their home or in another location to prevent the distractions of life from interfering with their process. I’m more of an amalgam. I like being able to reward myself with a break to look up something online while also being “glued” to my writer’s spot. I don’t think I would have the concentration to write for 8+ hours a day.

Some writers plot out what they plan to write. Perhaps chapter by chapter, or scene by scene, the disciplined writer knows all the beats of his story. My writing style matches my other styles. I’m known as a “seat of the pants” writer. I start without knowing where the story will take me. I let the characters and ideas flow naturally. In a sense, the story is writing itself. In my novel, Twenty-One Octobers, I knew how it would end, or so I thought. I knew it ended with the death of the main character’s father, but I didn’t know what the MC would do in the end. Would he kill his father’s murderer or would he show forgiveness? I didn’t know, but the story knew. The characters knew.

I’m sitting in my office watching my dog sleep in his bed. My partner is setting up her home office after we zoomed out to get some shelves someone was giving away. I’m about to take my cat to the groomer. But I’ll be back to continue working on some sequels and a new story. I’m not sure where the day or my stories will take me, but that’s the fun of being a writer. 

Even for a failure.

Confessions of a Failed Writer

(You might have read this already. I am a failed blog poster)

I am a failure as a writer.

The first person I met at college had self-published her novel and it was a success. People bought it, read it, and liked it. She made enough money to pay for college and probably a bunch of other stuff. She now has a sequel, an audio book, and a movie deal.

She is a success.

I was tainted. I thought all I had to do was write a good book and it would sell and I could be an author with a car that doesn’t always have that low-tire pressure light on, and I would own a house, and people would want me to sign stuff that I wrote.

I graduated college with a writing degree. I wrote a book. A few friends and family read it. I wrote another book. A few friends and family read it. I wrote two more books. No one read it. 

Well, that’s it. I’m a terrible writer, right?

Maybe. Maybe not. 

In between publications, I joined a Facebook group recommended to me by another successful writer friend. They are a great help with information regarding self-publishing specifically on Amazon. But there is a lot of info and there is a lot of different advice.

First, you need a mailing list. “I wish I had built a mailing list before publishing all these books,” someone wrote.

First, you need to write to market. “If you want to make money, write what people want to read now! Read the top ten in the genre/keywords and copy the recipe. Billionaire Romance is hot now! Write that. Everyone is reading Clean Vampire Billionaire Harem Romance now. Write that and you’ll be rich.

First, you need to write twenty books and then you’ll make fifty grand.

Stop.

I don’t want to write that stuff. “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Isn’t that what people say? You’ve heard the punchline. “…because they’re not hiring.”

What is success?

In America, money equals success. Successful people have money. Right? My friends and family would say I am successful because I graduated college and wrote five books. True. I successfully did those things. Am I a success?

I don’t feel like one. I wrote a trilogy of books in the Superhero Science-Fiction/Fantasy category. They have cool covers illustrated by a working comic-book illustrator. They are well plotted with lots of twists and turns. I did the work. I advertised in the right places, but no one’s reading my books.

Why not? If people were reading and saying stuff like, “This books sucks!” then I’d know I wrote a turd. I look at the most popular books in my genre and…damn it, they’re a lot of shirtless, six-pack dudes and no capes! They’re placed in the superhero category, but as far as I can tell there are no characters who can bend steel or fly. I feel cheated.

So, I started writing a sequel. Wow. That’s stupid, right? You might say, “Cut your losses!” I feel like I failed, but I enjoy the story I’m telling. I’m also working on a sequel to another non-superhero book I wrote and I’m also writing an erotic vampire novel. Because why not? I’m having fun going broke.

In this space I’m going to talk about writing. Not really about the craft or even the business aspect, but the decision to wake up every day and write. I want to tell you about my struggle. I’d like to hear about your struggle. I’ll talk about aches and pains and paying the bills and taking care of my pets and maintaining a relationship with a non-writer. All the dirty, ugly, non-sexy parts of what it takes to try to be a success.

What is success to you?