An experiment this week. The diary is a video. I (ramble) talk about editing, covers, instafreebie and wattpad...
I thought it would be quicker. It isn't. P'raps audio next time, like Jon Cronshaw is doing.
I'm not sure whether it comes across but I'm feeling pretty down in the dumps right now. I had hoped to publish at the beginning of November...
And I wonder whether I am wasting my time doing anything except editing.
Well. That makes me cringe. Not sure how long this will be up!
Instafreebie is doing good work. I've got 41 subscribers on Mailerlite from the Instafreebie group promotion. Not great numbers but it is short fiction and numbers are still numbers after all. I'm a bit sceptical too about t
he quality of these leads. But you know, it's all good stuff and I'm happy.
I had a go at recording myself reading the opening of my novel in a girlie voice. I've done this for two reasons. One: I want my book to stand out on WattPad, and I figure that audio might make it 'stickier'. Two: with one eye on the future audiobook narration might be something I'm interested in.
Now this was recorded on my phone in one take so the quality of the recording (and of the performance!) isn't great, but I don't think this is embarrassing as a first attempt. I can always redo them later. Plus reading aloud helps me to spot bits that sound rubbish!
Speaking of WattPad, Jeff Bond (American Jeff) is continuing to read and seems to like it still. ABCtales is still a good testing ground – though pretty much no one is reading it there either. To be fair I am not reading much of people's stuff.
I've got a you comment on mine and I'll read and comment on yours policy, and that seems fair and responsible to me. So if you read my stuff... give us a comment. Go on.
Editing is SLOW! My first draft is terrible. I wonder if next time I might write in the morning and edit at night. So that the first draft is a bit better next time!
Well my plan was to launch The Golden Arcade in a month. Well that aint gonna happen. I'll be lucky if I finish the redraft by then. Oh and the cover isn'tdone either. I'm suddenly starting to panic!
Well let's talk covers. I got this cover for 1$ from Canva and I'm using it on ABCTales and WattPad. I like it. I don't feel ashamed of it and it's definitely worth 1$. My concerns are that it's good, but not amazing. Not like the cover of Tom Trott's book which is the kind of cover I dream of.
It's by a guy called Tommy Pocket. I think he's amazing, an incredible designer. But I don't think I can afford him. I've been working on and off on a self-made cover and I'm doing it all wrong. I listened to J.Daniel Sawyer recently talking about the mistake he made of designing book covers from the 1970s, and I think I might be making the same mistake.
I really want a cover like the old Elmore Leonard books but modernised. Here's Leonard and the one I've been working on. Sorry. Mine's a bit shit. Please tell me you think so too, because I can sense myself dying to become deluded about my talent (or lack of it).
Every day has been an editing day but it's painfully slow. I'm closing in on the middle of the book, and I haven't written the new email sections that I need to keep the structure and the Granddad relationship going. I am looking forward to writing book two, where I will be good with the structure before I start. The good news is that I think it's a pretty good book. And... I've got a reader!
THANK YOU JEFF BOND.
Jeff has been reading my book on WattPad, and so far he seems to like it, and it's made me feel great to find someone who is my target audience – who sees the book as I do.
Feeling very positive about it.
Instafreebie is starting to roll for me. I'm giving away 'The Wild Charge' stories. I've got about 25 contacts from it. I'm in this group giveaway here:
And as you can see I am being left for dead by the naughty erotica guys and the saucy erotica girls. I guess that's just how it goes. And the contacts certainly aren't flying in... we'll see. All free so far, so who's complaining?
Finally. I heard about Quu on the Create If Writing podcast. It's a tool that automates your social media for free. It curates content. So far I'm impressed... I just wish I had time to read all the articles I post!
Well first up this week I've decided to move my blog diary day from Monday to Tuesday. This is because I am posting episodes of The Golden Arcade on Wattpad and ABCTales on Mondays and Thursdays, and doing that and this, all on a Monday. Well it was too much.
Sometimes, daft things surprise you. By far the most exciting thing that happened to me this week was that I got mentioned on my absolute favourite Podcast. Yes I got name-dropped by the amazing Mr Paul Teague on this week's Paul's Podcast Diaries. And how did I do it you ask? Just a couple of daft tweets. And here they are:
And twenty minutes later ...
Next time I hope it can be because of something a bit less virtual. And here's Paul. Thanks so much. It made my day.
Anyway, last week I was praising the feedback I was getting on ABC. Well that seems to have dried up. I'm still getting a few comments but it's not as wonderful as it was to start. And Wattpad? Well I'm not featured. I'm wondering if I can ask. But at the same time I'd quite like to get some 'organic' growth going.
KM Weiland's podcast this week talks about the negative energy of social media. And boy I know what she means. Wattpad does not feel like a level playing field. It's democratic but curated, and for me you get the worst of both worlds. My dad checked my book but couldn't find it even with my name and the title! I'm going to persevere. Perhaps I'll change my mind.
I've signed up to Instafreebie as well. You get thirty days for free, but I am planning to stay on board for a couple of months. I've listened to Jon Cronshaw and I've created a separate mailing list for all the lovely free(down)loaders. And we'll see how responsive they end up being. I don't expect great things, but I do want to find ways to build a list before the big release.
The things I haven't got time for:
- Writing blog posts that I could whack on Medium
- Producing study guides
- Making genre specific quotation graphics
- Redesigning my blog graphics
- All the other stuff I can't remember.
Oh, schools in full flow again right now – and God there's nothing like teaching to make you feel that you're not doing enough, aren't good enough...
Well I've just finished my first pass of the first act of 'The Golden Arcade'. I've made some pretty big changes. I originally had a bunch of flashbacks through the first half of the novel (before I changed my mind).
So I've changed the structure a bit and put in some epistolary stuff, that I think works and tightens the focus on the main plot as well - I think. Anyway, the result of this is that I have cut some scenes and what I've replaced the scenes with are significantly shorter.
The first act has shrunk from 25,000 to 19,500, and I'm a bit worried I might upset the balance of the novel with a short first act. But I guess only time and a better focus on editing will tell.
I'm going to ask some people to give me some expert advice and feedback on the first act. If you read this and fancy it then drop me a line. Tweet me. @geoffsmithbooks . Though I expect to self-publish, I do plan to send the first act out to a couple of agents and publishers - just to see if there's any interest.
Other stuff. I've stuck some short stories up on Amazon. You can nose at it below. I don't really want anyone to buy it. I've set it up as a giveaway on my website - www.oncewewerefiction.com . I've set the forms up on Mailerlite (thanks to Euan Lawson for that one). I'm going to work on some blog posts that will go up closer to release to hopefully get a little attention.
Finally I've been working on a study guide for 'An Inspector Calls' That I think could be a pretty effective lead magnet for the YA adult Crime Crossover audiece I'm aiming for. But it's proving to be hard work.
Finally, I am thinking about posting this early draft on WattPadd and maybe ABCtales, and possibly Medium (do they allow that?) the former for lead generation and the latter for additional beta advice.
Any thoughts on these strategies readers ? All of these ideas may be terrible.
Well, I've been getting down with the editing of The Golden Arcade and it's slow work. The beginning of the novel needed some real work and I'd like to thank my friend Lizzie Hall for pointing out some of the problems with the first draft. She clued me up on some stuff that I wouldn't have seen if I'd had no feedback at all.
Some of these issues are easy to fix - like character names - others were harder - a whole scene with absolutely necessary content. Lizzie also had a problem with the setting. I haven't changed the setting. I've kept i. It's Margate. I love it and I know it a bit.
What I have done is make it less intrusive - and I think that has solved the problem.
And that's the thing about editing, It's the hardest thing in the world to do, unless you're doing a simple line edit. But hell, solving big problems is also really rewarding. And it's teaching me so much about writing.
My novel has quite a complex structure - which I like. Initially I began with flashbacks as a means of adding backstory and theme, but these petered out in the second half of the novel. So I'm replacing and rewriting these flashbacks with email correspondences. These are so much BETTER!
I am conveying character, values, relationships and backstory all in a way that links to the main plot arc.
I just wish it wasn't so damned hard. So damned slow.