I am at the stage in my writing where I have a time set for my first draft to be done by the end of March. I have been reading through “A Powerful Book Launch” written by a much-admired friend, Ray, which you can buy for a very affordable cost at her blog The Ray Journey. She has laid out the steps with a timeline and checklist. I benefited a great deal gaining the knowledge, resources, and tips from it, but I came to a very important revelation.
I have heard a great part of being successful is knowing your strengths and weaknesses. Ray does an amazing job at guiding those wanting to self-publish through some very essential steps and demands of self-marketing. As I read through these, I started setting some things up. I was making plans and figuring out some learning curves. Self-publishing involves a great deal of energy and time. I do not think there is any way around that. After hours of establishing new systems and accounts for myself, I realized I was just grinding my teeth through it all and grinding my teeth at the future of the tasks ahead in basically selling myself and trying to maintain and grow interest in me and my works.
I am really bad a selling myself and putting myself out there. I have seen this fact in advocating for myself in many of my jobs. I felt as a new teacher, I was placed on boards and put in roles that I ever should have been on as a new teacher. I found myself directing a play, for example. For those who have not read my blog, I was a math teacher. I actually loved that experience, but really, I had no training and I definitely had no compensation. I was part of several leadership teams. I was never paid for any of it. I once ordered a pizza online, so I could take advantage of an online promotion. When my order did not go through, I had to call and was told I would still get the online promotion. When I actually was face to face with them to pick the pizza up, a loooong time after we should have been done eating our pizze, they charged me more than I was told. I still didn’t have the courage to fight for the deal I had already inconveniently fought for that they said I could have!! All I had to say was that is not the agreed price? I got to the car and told me husband. HE walked in, and got our money back!!
I am probably one of the most un-badass people I can think of to be completely and totally honest.
So, what I am trying to say is I was really stuck for a second on the question of many aspiring writers- Do I self-publish or do I go the traditional publishing route? It is a grueling question.
WRITING COMMUNITIES I WILL JOIN TO FIGURE THINGS OUT
I am leaning towards the traditional right now due to the whole fact I just mentioned about not being good at self-advocating. I am being honest in seeing how much work it is to self-publish, and I just do not have the capacity I think for it. I am hardly keeping up with my blog, so to think I can have organized email lists, produce updates, maintain communications… I just want to write this huge fantasy story out in my head and figure that all out. Still, I would like to do more research. Whether I self-publish or go the traditional way, I do know joining a writing community would benefit me greatly in many ways; maybe even help me in my decision on how to publish.
I did some looking for good writing communities to join. There are so many lists and suggestions out there. Sadly, I did not see Twitter come up often. I have to wonder why!! Twitter has been so supportive in the #parentlife, so I was hoping joining the #writercommunity or the #amwriting would be a good start. I still will, but I will also be joining the following communities I found:
Reddit – it was on several of the lists, and my husband does Reddit, so he got me going on it quickly. (I would be happy to help anyone now!) At first, I was staring at the platform a bit confused thinking I had joined communities, but where were they… I got it figured out with his help and I’m ready to go. It looks very active and supportive. The subreddits I joined are /r/writing, /r/write, and I also did the fantasy subreddit since that is my genre.
Fiction Writing– This is a Facebook group. I am also familiar with Facebook and I have also seen others promoting books and blogs successfully using Facebook means. I have not utilized Facebook in any of my writing endeavors, and I think it is about time. There are several Facebook writing groups, but this was one is fairly large at over 10,000 members. It had a lot of activity in the day I saw. It seems it is a good place for getting critique on excerpts of your book and a good place to get feedback and potential followers.
Wattpad– This I found at the writersdigest site which I believe is a credible resource for suggestions on this matter. It also has a huge member amount and has been around for a while since 2003. The Wattpad site says there are 80 million writers and readers in its community. Wow! It also is a progress-based set up for you to post chapter-by-chapter, which I like. Also, it states on the writersdigest site, ” Plus, for many independent authors, success on Wattpad has translated into a book deal” which I know is totally wishful thinking, but I’m going to fantasize over the idea and just try it.
UPDATE ON MY WRITING: 31 DAYS LEFT FOR MY ROUGH DRAFT GOAL
I am on page 62. My goal was to have a 75 page rough draft by March 31st. I am on track with the slow and steady pace I established. The rough draft I am understanding now is not at all about perfection, but getting yourself to just get your story out and really open yourself up to the idea that you are doing it!!
UPDATE, APOLOGY, AND FUTURE GOAL ON MY BLOGGING
I apologize my blog has become very inconsistent. I have been posting only 1 time at the end of the month when I am like AHHH DONT LOSE YOUR BLOGGING!!!! YOU CAN’T GO A WHOLE MONTH NOT BLOGGING! Blogging has helped me figure out a lot, and I don’t want to stop. Also, I have been a bit sad at the loss of focus on my original intent for the blog, which was to take baby steps to reach goals (which I am), but I wanted to document my journey with my toddler’s education. I will go back to that.
At the end of the months to come though as I am writing, I will track my book progress. On March 31st, I’ll update you on the month’s worth of my experiences stepping into the 4 new communities I wrote about above. Also, to hopefully celebrate reaching my goal of finishing my rough draft, I will post my rough draft’s first few chapters as my biggest supporter and wisest friend Sandy with “Sunday Morning with Sandy” suggested. I think that is a brilliant idea! Thanks, Sandy as always! I hope I can get some feedback. I’ll take whatever I can get!!
If you are a new writer, please let’s grow together! I would love to hear from you.
If you are a pro writer, please reach out and give me all of your advice you are willing to share. I am just now starting to really dive into calling myself a writer, and I will be working hard to step into the writing community now. If there are other communities anyone has benefitted from, please share too!! I’d love to hear experiences.
So let me try to leave a comment for the 3rd time! First of all, I hope this finds you and your family safe and healthy. It’s a crazy, scary world out there right now! Secondly, I think I am going to have to follow in your footsteps. Blogging is really keeping me from writing a book. There isn’t enough time in the day and is a distraction. I want to help people, but I also want to do something or at least try! Maybe it is more fear of rejection? I am soooo good at giving advice, but I never listen to myself. I tried to do a little on reddit, but again, I waste too much time on social media! I think I need it, but I don’t. I love the peeps I have met, but my focus is all over the place. I read three blogs tonight and they were all messages in the same direction and yours just really hit home. I am looking forward to reading your first draft and am so excited for you!! Love you! xo
That is the worst!! I am so sorry, but thank you for your perseverance, so I could hear from you!! We are safe and healthy. We have just had our first case in our county here. We are staying in and hoping our state really hunkers down. I really worry for you, my friend, with your location!! Thank you for your midweek post. The perspective you gave needed to be out there to fall on as many more ears as possible!
I have always admired how you have kept so consistent with blogging, Sandy, and I LOVE YOUR BLOG. I know the hard worker you are. You are one of the most talented, real, dedicated, loving people that makes your blog amazing. To upkeep your social media and especially your blog like you do; it takes a lot. With that said… I hate to say it, but a book achievement I know would fill you up so much, and I do not know how to juggle both blog and writing. I am getting a lot of joy from just writing. Every page I write is one step closer to a very big goal. Every page has been gotten me a little stronger and more confident. But, every page is also time absent from social media and really my reality. Thank you for all of your support, and I urge you so much to JUMP IN. It is hard at first to really let go of other things (fear, doubt, blogs, hobbies, sleep, time with others..), but jump in, and you will see some momentum and really some joy from going after your dream!