It’s been two years since I “won” NaNoWriMo by writing the draft of FREEDOM BOUND. With the naïveté of an ingenue, I thought the hard part was done. Nope. Not by a parsec.
Let's back up. What finally got me to sit down for the entire month of November to write a novel? A long walk. In Spring of 2013 I walked the ancient trail of the Camino De Santiago from Léon to Santiago de Campostela. The lessons learned on the Way carry me forward daily. Lesson One: Take one step at a time.
After I finished the long slog through November 2013's NaNoWriMo, I was left with a load of mush. I thought it would need a little editing. As a newborn writer I was completely unaware of what lay ahead. Like every newborn enamored with each new discovery, I cooed at my poo and thought myself a mother-loving genius.
You see, I've been writing cooperative fanfic writing for over twenty years. Words? That wasn't the tough bit. I could shoot out words. I often produced several thousand words a day for both my marcom business and the fanfic hobby. I led stories, prodded people for their parts, critiqued, and gave constructive feedback. But I had only ever been given positive feedback for my writing. I had never done an entire story on my own. Nobody had even told me how to improve. As a writer, I needed to grow into an author. Now that I had a manuscript. What came next?
First you leave the manuscript alone for a month or two. Then, you read it. What happens next? The five stages of grief come to mind. Denial was a doozy. Scotch is the sovereign remedy.
After a first pass of edit it was time to let someone else read it. Enter the Beta readers. The next step was to send it to someone else to read and give feedback. A friend of mine was Beta reading for another author for several years so I asked, she agreed and I sent the draft. The feedback was positive with excellent input. I set about the second rewrite. I thought, "Done!" Yay?
Remember those grief stages? Depression came and sucked me in. The fear of not being good enough. Not knowing what to do next. Where to turn to to publish. How was I going to get this book and my name above the noise?
Help and advise came from my local RWA group's membership. Many of the members are traditionally published and were also self publishing their back catalogs. Indies and indie publishing being embraced by the Romance community drew my focus. I decided to investigate. The more I did, the more I saw a fertile publishing platform for SciFiRomance. The more I thought about it, the more I realized self publishing was a perfect fit. I had a background in Marketing. And I already knew how to write marcom, brand, and play with Google algorithms because I had been running my own business for several years promoting others. Why not take myself on as a client?
I took a workshop on book covers led by a member of my local RWA group, Anthea Sharp, who was already well on her indie journey. Marie Force, a pioneer and giant in indie publishing was running a short online class about self publishing. I took that. When I found conferences like UnCon, a gathering of indie writers sponsored by Marie Force, and IndieReCon, an online resource for independent self publishing authors, I attended. I hit all the writing panels at my local conventions and networked with indie publishers, sought mentors, and read books on indie publishing. I became a sponge.
In the midst of all of this, my bestie and brilliant co-shennanigator, Melanie Greatheart, was quietly watching and supporting me on my journey. In true form, throwing caution to the wind, she cannonballed into the deep end serial publishing her paranormal western, DEADMAN BALLAD. That shook me up. I realized I was procrastinating. It was me holding myself back. Somewhere along the way I had stopped going forward. But, I had all the tools, I just needed to get out there.
Remember those stages of grief?
Acceptance. I wasn't walking out into the unknown. I was already on the walk. My Camino, my walk in publishing, started the day I decided to begin my outline. I had a map. I had a destination. I had a backpack full of tools and there was plenty of pubs along the way filled with smiling faces and experiences. I was stuck. It was time to get going again. Spurred on by Mel's Western (see what I did there?), last month I began to self publish the first novel in the Solar Flame series. My 2013 NaNoWrimo novel, FREEDOM BOUND began release in October 2015, in episodic serial format to maximize visibility.
Whatever is ahead, life is constant forward momentum. Don't stop writing on November 30. Ultreia!
Jayne Fury is a SCIFIROM author who writes pulpy serials about bodice ripping ninjas in space. She lives on her urban farm in the Pacific Northwest with her three cats, five chickens and extremely tolerant husband. If asked, she will deny that she's creating nest in her office out of old socks and wooly pooffs. She is also a performer in Tacoma's one and only Ukulele Sing-a-long Circus. Her current project FREEDOM BOUND is currently publishing on Amazon.com
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