Today I should have been doing a self-interview for the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, but I couldn't quite get my head around the questions -- which is odd for someone who generally interviews authors for Vision. So I thought I would write a pseudo-holiday letter instead and let you know what's going on in my world.
Russ is still working in New York and I am in Nebraska. This is the start of the fifth year and we really hope things will change soon. He only manages to get home for a few days three or four times a year, and none of us are happy about the situation. On the other hand, he does have a job, which is why he went to New York.
The three boys -- Wind, Zaphod and Edmond (yes those are the cats) -- are doing well, though Edmond has been suffering from a horrible cold already this year. I dread to think what it is going to be like when winter actually hits.
I do have a new member of the household, however. Meet Buffy -- who has lately been answering to 'You, Demon Cat from Hell!' She is the most active cat I have ever known. All three of the boys play with her from time to time, but I think we're all hoping she grows out of it soon. Don't let the picture fool you. She was just shocked that I would do such a thing to her. She hasn't sat still since.
In the last four years, I have become a virtual hermit. I have a very boring life, in most respects. I order almost everything I need on-line and since my job (a weekly newsletter for DAZ3D.com) means more computer work, you can imagine the amount of time I spend in front of the computer, and that's not even counting the most important aspect of my world.
2011 marked a huge change for me as I finally moved into the new world of the Indie Author. Trust me; this is not a leap to make without a lot of thought and study. It may seem as though this would be an easy choice, to do away with the publishers and go straight to the reader with your work. The problem is finding those readers. Publishers could distribute to the stores (and let us all mourn the loss of Borders) where readers gather in groups. If nothing else, this is an important aspect of traditional publishing. Yes, the Internet is also filled with readers, but it is very difficult to draw their attention to your little corner.
However, over the last year or two, readers have begun to seriously seek out new talent. The Kindle and Nook markets have made this a viable, exciting market. A number of previously published authors have leapt into the Indie Author field with both reprints and new work. Some of my personal friends (Holly Lisle, C.J. Cherry, Jane Fancher) were some of the people who finally convinced me to have behind the old world and leap into the new.
I had already been published in ebook format for many years. Now, though, I have moved away from the small press companies and taken over the entire process myself. I now own a small co-op publishing entity. The group of us have banded together simply for marketing purposes.
While you can find my work at the Nook and the Kindle sites, the easiest way to find the majority of them is to go to Smashwords.
There you will find novels, short stories and more. The prices range from $2.99 down to free. Most are science fiction and fantasy. A few of them have been previously published.
What do I hope to achieve in the Indie Publishing World?
I don't expect to be a huge seller. I write the kinds of adventure stories that are not filled with sex. My stories are about fighting against the odds and finding adventures, sometimes in odd places. I have a few truly wonderful fans and I hope to reach more of the same people. My sales doubled in the last quarter, so I hope that means a continuation of growth. I would like to make enough to help support Forward Motion and Vision: A Resource for Writers, without having to ask for donations and then build up from there so that I had a solid writing income of my own.
But that's the business side. What am I writing now?
I just finished the first draft of Beware the Wrath of Bunny Hopper, which is a fun little urban fantasy novel. I'm now working on Devlin 5: The Aldebaran Stopover, which is part of a science fiction series. I'm doing these for the 2011 round of NaNoWriMo. This is my 11th year taking part, and though I had something of a slow start, I have really gotten into it and I'm enjoying the process again. It probably seems odd for someone who writes as much as I do to take part in an event aimed at helping new writers get moving on their first novels. I do write far more than the required 50,000 words. (I am up to 116k at the moment and still a long ways to go.) Why join in?
This is an intellectual marathon. It's inviting people to use their brains for something creative for a whole 30 days in a row in November. It, wisely, does not require that you write great fiction, but only that you give yourself a chance to let your imagination play and create what might be a viable first draft of a novel.
For me, it's an excuse to just leap into a story and forget everything else for a while. For a few days (usually not the entire month!) I can tell myself that writing is the most important thing going on, and everything else can be put aside: work, Forward Motion, Vision, etc. It's my chance to do what I love most with no demands and no excuses.
For many people, the actual act of writing is the most difficult part. That's not true with me. Even editing is not a problem because I love revisiting the story and making it better. What is the problem on my end? Finding time to really concentrate on the work for the last steps before publication. Oh and marketing. Marketing is something I just can't seem to grasp. So I have bought books to help me out in 2012. Yay!
I started my Picture a day blog on January 1, 2006 and I have not missed a day since. The pictures are taken on the day they are posted (though sometimes they may be posted a day late, but dated to the day they were taken). This has been an interesting experiment!
Finding a picture to take each day isn't difficult when you have cats. However, I do try to get some other things. Birds at the feeder are always popular and so are the leaves in autumn. I also have a spot on Flikr for various things:
Almost all of my work in digital art these days is going towards cover art for the books. That's okay. I just wish I had time to play with it more and to even learn some of the tricks to making models and textures. That's something else I want to try my hand at next year. If I get to half the stuff I want to do, it will still be too busy in 2012!
And that's it, really. Not a very exciting life. Maybe I'll come up with some questions to ask myself later -- but for now, I need to get this posted and get back to writing.