Where is It?

I’m sure many of you are asking yourselves, “Damn it, Derek. When are you going to give us information about your book?”

The answer is: very, very soon.

I have a bit more finalizing to do with creating promotional material for the novel in order to present it.

I’ve knew with self-publishing that I would have to create a lot of hype. Most importantly, I want to do it right. There’s a lot of stylistic ideas for the promotion of the book which I have to still get all sorted out, such as copyrighting and what-not. It’s not really complicated as it is so much time-consuming. I definitely will have something up before the Christmas holiday.

Novel

Speaking of copyrighting, I’ve been learning quite a bit about that, as well as getting a proper ISBN for my book. They’re actually surprisingly easy to get done.

Being in Canada, the process is fairly straight-forward and relatively inexpensive to do. Fortunately, these are all costs I’ve expected to absorb while creating my book so they do not necessarily come as a surprise. It’s more the “cheapness” of their price that is the surprise.

In fact, they’re so straight-forward, I may as well show you the websites for them. (They are both Canadian-based sites as I’m Canadian and this is how I roll).

For ISBN’s, check out the Canadian ISBN Service System (CISS).

For copyrights for a novel, see the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.

Both sites require standard information to get started. Outside of that, it’s just a matter of actually publishing the book.

But like I said, there will be more on that later.

In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter for my ridiculous ramblings.

Keep on Space Truckin’!

Onwards & Upwards! To Self-Publishing!

It hath been decided!

For the quite some time, I’ve been butting heads on whether or not to find a publisher or self-publish.
Rocket Science
I’ll admit though, it wasn’t as fun as watching Blitzwing and Astrotrain getting their heads butted together.

After some careful deliberation, I have decided to self-publish! It was a difficult decision to make. Let me write out my thought processes for both.

Why See a Publisher?

I obviously didn’t go this route. So why DID I consider it?

There were a few reasons why I personally thought to go this route. First and foremost, I knew it would give me the biggest distribution. Getting picked up by a publisher would obviously mean better sales and a mass market. It also would give me some pretty hefty credentials for future projects (which I will have) down the road.

Secondly, it’s good for the ego. Sure, that sounds selfish and greedy, but to be officially published by someone would be amazing. I definitely had a-many dreams about meeting with publishers and discussing my book in great length. It made me excited.

As weird as this one sounds: I wanted to get a rejection letter. I enjoy critical analysis of my work. While I know a rejection letter would not go into any detail at all, I personally take rejection as a sign of having to do better – which is something that motivates me. Albeit, I know it de-motivates others. But that’s how I work!

While I’m still not confident with royalties on self-publishing, I know a lot of the hassle and finances would be covered by the publisher. They want to make money, too. Seeing a publisher would take the financial strain off.

Why Stay Away From a Publisher?

I was still reluctant to see a publisher for a few reasons as well. The biggest reason was creative control. For example: I have an idea for my book cover which I know they won’t adhere to. However, it’s my novel, not theirs. It’s my artistic ideas. While this is arguably quite nit-picky for a first-time author, it’s still a big deal for my overall idea.

Money also isn’t everything. While I like the idea of making money from my novel, it’s not my ultimate goal. It’s not even a real desire. My desire is to write. Money comes second. While I know it’s not financially viable to continue a path of self-publishing (under the assumption my books suck and sales slump to zero forever and ever), money isn’t my driving force here. A publisher thinks otherwise, and that’s totally okay, but not what I want. I desire to write a novel. Sure, if my first novel did well and they’d pay me to write a second, that’d be great. But it’s not what I’d want. Let me be me.

My other big reason to stay away was just reading about trying to submit a book. Looking into many different publishers, some require a literary agent, while others require a book to meet certain criteria. For example, one publisher wants to publish science-fiction, but did not want religious overtones. Another was willing to publish fantasy and horror, but refused to take upon zombies books unless they were unique. While my book doesn’t include zombies, it does include religious overtones. Certain publishers want to market a book based on their image – which is totally fine – I just don’t have to send my book there. Other publishers I considered actually had their submissions closed until they decided to reopen again (seriously). However, if I were to send a copy of my manuscript in only to find out it’s “too religious” by their standards, or that their “not accepting submissions at this time,” then I’m out the money from getting my book printed, plus postage. (I figured it’d average around $60 per publisher submission).

Reading about it all made me feel as dizzy as Starscream after Gears spun him around for a bit.

Gears Spin

Why Self-Publish?

In case I hadn’t said it enough, I’m big on creative control. With self-publishing, I get to control everything about my novel. From how the cover looks, to the price. It’s pretty freeing.

I can also get published faster. Most publishers were asking for at least three months to review the book. It’d take still another few months for it to get published after that. With self-publishing, the road can be paved right away and I can get started.

Challenges are fun. I really enjoy them, even if they’re super-stressful and nerve-racking as publishing a first novel. Especially if they’re financially stressful. I just enjoy being stressed I suppose? I’m a sick man.

But it’s also quite self-fulfilling. Being able to publish all on my own is quite an accomplishment. I accept all of the responsibility on whether the book succeeds or not. It’s exciting and strengthening. I hate asking for help, so I feel being able to do this on my own is what I need to do.

And I’m not in it for the money. I have to stress that again. Why? Because realistically, I won’t break even. At least I don’t expect to. I’d be surprised if I did. So that poses the question again: why self-publish?

The answer: because I want to do this for me.

Shockwave Dance

And maybe Shockwave.

While my reasons for self-publishing may not be the “best” reasons in the world, they’re the best reasons for me.

Keep on Space Truckin’!

NaNoWriMo – Good or Bad?

It’s November and everyone is jumping on the NaNo bandwagon. Thousands of people from around the world get synced-up online on November 1st and start writing the first of 50,000 words to become an author!

But before we start, here’s a full disclosure: I totally did my own NaNoWriMo in January of 2012 (as I couldn’t partake in November). Later, I did something similar when writing my current novel. I did a Thirty-Day Challenge, where I didn’t force myself to have a word count. Instead, I would spend a part of the day to plan and organize my novel.

So what’s up here? I did NaNoWriMo (kinda) then I didn’t. So what?

Let me BLOW YOUR MIND

After getting over 54,000 words during my “JaNoWriMo,” and eventually reaching over 70,000 words a few months later, I SCRAPPED THE BOOK. Why? Because it was garbage, that’s why!

I can remember reading it over and just hating everything I had done. All of the characterization, plotting, the pacing, descriptions – oh, god, it was terrible. I still have a copy of it (unfinished) just to remind me how bad it was.

The problem with NaNoWriMo, which a buddy of mine, author Sean Munger, touches upon on his blog, is that it promotes bad habits. It promotes vomiting out word count over actual quality. While it may make a book, it doesn’t make a good one.

It stinks!

So when I did my Thirty-Day Challenge (which was for a different story), I took my knowledge from my JaNoWriMo and applied it to my busy lifestyle. I simply dedicated time to creating the project, rather than actually writing it. I would spend an hour or so getting 1,000 words of characterization down, rather than the novel itself. And I didn’t write every day (nor give myself a word count like 1,000 words a day for when I did). It made for a dramatic improvement to my story-telling and my skills of writing, pacing, and oh-so much more!

So NaNoWriMo is Bad?

There’s a silver lining to it all. I found that NaNoWriMo certainly didn’t make a good book, didn’t promote good writing, and didn’t promote good writing habits. What it DID do was get me to write and learn from my experiences. There’s a lot more to writing than just plugging yourself down and firing off words to reach a numerical goal.

I learned a lot about how to characterize and plot. My NaNo-Novel was a pale comparison to the newest one I wrote. The pacing in my newest novel is exciting and pulls the reader in – because I planned for it to do that.

Even if you plan out your novel before NaNoWriMo, you’d be surprised how many little things you will miss. Even with plotting out my novel like how I did, I had to go back multiple times and make sure things remained consistent and flowed together. NaNoWriMo doesn’t really give you time to pause or reflect. You’re just supposed to punch in a word count and call it a day. Coherent writing is important, but it’s not reflected in NaNoWriMo.

But as I said, NaNoWriMo got me writing. That’s important because it helps you hone your craft. You learn little tricks and the proper way to create sentences (And yes, I know this blog is littered with errors. Pot, meet Kettle).

The way I look at it is NaNoWriMo is the biggest Creative Writing Class you’ll take all year. It’s great writing practice, but terrible if you’re looking for quality.

And for all that is good in the world: if you do partake in NaNoWriMo, do NOT give your novel to publishers! You’re congesting them with a bunch of sub-par books! Stop it!

Thanks!

That’s my take on it. But have you participated in NaNoWriMo? What kind of learning experience was it for you? Did you go anywhere with it? Do my opinions sound ridiculous? Sound off below!

PlaNoWriMo

Already at day three, eh?

It’s funny. I never actually participated in NaNoWriMo during the month of November. Instead, I ended up doing my own sporadically throughout the year. I called them “Thirty Day Challenges.” It was the same idea, only in like, January or something.

When I did my challenges, I found that spending thirty days (or more) before the actual challenge just “setting up” to be tremendously helpful.

What’s the point in trying to write a novel if you don’t have anything planned for it?

Sitting down and preparing yourself for storytelling is quite possibly more important than writing the story itself. Why? Because there is so much depth involved within a novel, it would be ridiculous just to go in blindly (especially if you plan on publishing).

It takes practice! Kind of like this guy with his horse:

But not really. . .

When I planned my novel – a science-fiction (and I’ll get a synopsis up here soon, folks) – I had to come up with so much depth: what worlds are used? What’s the technology? Politics? Religion?

But even further: who are these characters and what do they look like? What’s their age? What’s their story? Do they know each other? What’s their history with Character X or Y? Do they drive? Fly a car? How’s their parents? How were they brought up?

Delving even deeper: when Event X happens, how will it affect Character Y? How would Character Z approach Character Y afterwards?

Of course when writing, you’ll invent new ideas along the way complicating things more.

If you have it all written out – or pre-planned – new revelations won’t “shatter” the story as dramatically as you may expect.

While NaNoWriMo is awesome to get the ball rolling with writing your story, planning for it is something not to overlook.

As for me with my recently completed novel, I’m currently going through the first edit. I have lots of work ahead of me still.

Good luck with NaNoWriMo, folks!

Novel: Completed!

I’ve been off of here for the past while because I’ve been a bit busy! As the title suggests, yes! I’ve finished my novel!

After multiple versions with my own “NaNoWriMo,” many of cups of tea, hundreds of albums listened to, and pumping over 15,000 words in the past two days, I finally completed the story last night around 11:30pm.

It seemed like a long journey, but it really was not all that bad. I was able to say what I had to say in the story and hit all of my plot points with ease.

Was it relieving to type “The End?”

Yes and no. I was grinning wildly when I finished the book, but I had just done over ten hours of writing that day. I was pretty tired.

What’s next?

Well, I’ve never published a book before, so I’ll have to really work on studying how that system all operates.

I definitely need to take the time and hard edit the entire story. There’s a lot of little things I knew about when writing that I had to go back and fix, but I left it until the end. I wanted the skeleton of the story done first, followed by my editing to fix up the rest.

Then I’ll need test readers. I have a lot of friends who I went to University with for English. They’ll be the first on the docket to get the story. I’ll pass the early draft on to some friends and family of varying ages as well to see how the different audiences like it.

Once completed, I’ll go back to editing!

When the corrections are made, I’ll probably send it off to an editor to get looked at – maybe that would be the last edit? I don’t know!

And finally, I’ll move on to publishing.

I still have a long while ahead of me, but I’ll definitely get it sorted all out. I do not have a deadline exactly in mind yet, but I’m sure I’ll find one when I figure out how the publishing aspect works.

Thanks you kindly for reading and your many words of support over the past year. I’ll be back soon with some updates on how editing works!

Ah, the joys of being a writer.

And Happy Halloween!

The Inevitable Death Scene

As a writer, I just had my first experience with killing off a main character.

I hadn’t expected it to go as smoothly as it did. I had planned on this particular characters death since first planning the novel – so it wasn’t unexpected. However, I thought it’d be a bit more dramatic, at least for me.

Why?

Well, I’ve spent countless hours building and creating a world with these characters to live and relate in. . . only for a main character to die. It’s like watching Return of the Jedi, knowing Yoda’s about to kick it. Or watching The Land Before Time and waiting on the inevitable death of Littlefoot’s mother. (I’m sorry I brought that one up! It still gets to me as well!)

I figured it’d be a lot more difficult writing the death scene. Saying “goodbye” to someone I’ve spent the past year having run around in my head. As it turns out, it wasn’t a big deal at all!

I’ll ask again: why?


I wonder if Yoda’s death scene was hard to write? It probably wasn’t! He was only a puppet! I wrote about a real, fictional human!

Damned if I know! Maybe authors aren’t supposed to feel so attached to their characters? Was I a lucky one? Perhaps I became desensitized to knowing the death was going to happen? Maybe I’m happy the character is dead?

Or maybe I wrote the death so poorly it wasn’t emotional enough?

. . . Oh, crap! What if my whole story was written poorly?! WHAT IF IT ALL SUCKS?!

BRB. Gotta re-organize my life.