I’m in the process of recording the audio version of some of my books. I had to stop last year due to eyestrain or TMJ symptoms — it might have been both, but I’m back at it. Because a certain person is working from home now, I moved my vocal booth down in the basement (which is something I’ve been wanting to do anyway), and it turns out to have better acoustics and a lower noise floor (the level of noise in the space). Although I’ve pretty much given up on self-publishing, I’m doing this for my voice over career. After I made the decision to back away from writing, I found out I’m a bit happier and since I have time now, I’m back to voice acting. We’ll see how it goes. The heart and mind are willing, but the eyes might not be able.
April is National Poetry Month and my latest collection is here! In honor of National Poetry Month both of my chapbooks are on sale for .99 cents for the month of April.
The Life Cycle of a Star is a collection of poetry about taking your life back after leaving an oppressive belief system, raising your voice when the past wants to silence you, finding your self-worth when destructive thoughts hold you back, and hoping for the magic of love when wishing on a dying star.
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Here is a sample:
reaching, ever reaching for you
clawing, hoping for a piece of you.
empty hollow nothings
where were you?
I saw you
in shadow in periphery
watching, always watching you
seeking, wanting a piece of you.
vague weak nobody
where were you?
I saw you
in a mirror
I wondered why I was empty
why my own mirror
couldn’t show who I really was
why my face looked like yours
but wasn’t yours
or wasn’t my own
your face couldn’t fill your mirror
and now I can’t fill mine
for so long
little hands, little eyes
sought helpless for you
you were there
empty of your own face
that couldn’t fill my eyes
so I searched other faces
for my reflection
until I could see my own
I’m not sure how to start this post. I just typed out four different openings and deleted all of them. I’ve never been one to sugar-coat things so I’m going to cut right to the chase.
I’m done. Self-publishing has been slowly killing my love of writing. For years I thought it was just writing that was getting to me, but after months of careful examination, I realize that I still love the idea of creating stories. It’s the publishing part of it that is bringing me down.
I know, I know, I just wrote a blog post about why I chose to self-publish and here I am saying I’m done. Well, if I were to be completely honest, I’ve had mixed feelings about being indie since I started back at the end of 2013. There are many small reasons why I’ve been making this decision to break up with self-publishing, but I’m not going to go through and list them all. But I will list a few.
1. I don’t write and edit fast enough for rapid release, which is what it really takes (or so they say) to make a living. And it’s not even that, really. It’s the simple fact that I don’t want to work that way. I love creating nuanced and layered books, and that takes time.
2. I don’t have the money for ads. And I refuse to give anymore money to a certain monster corporation who is now bilking money from authors for a little visibility. The behemoth has turned into a pay-to-play site–you want customers to find your books, buy an ad. No thanks.
3. I want to go back to writing for kids, and self-pubbing books for kids is a next to impossible endeavor. This is the biggest reason I’m quitting. Yep, I’m going to go back to seeking an agent and hoping for a miracle. lol
The dream of being traditionally published by one of the big pub houses (we used to say Big 5, but I’m not sure how many there are anymore) has never gone away. And by doing this, I accept that I may never succeed, but I’m miserable right now. I can’t keep releasing book after book and have them go nowhere. Besides, I had a lot of good agent feedback on the last book I queried. That gives me hope that maybe I’m getting closer.
So, where do I go from here? Well, I have a book of poetry coming out soon (poetry has a long history of self-publishing) and I’m going to rewrite and re-release a novella sometime later this year. After that, I don’t have anything. Instead of writing more books, I’m going to put my effort into marketing the books I already have. It seems silly to me to keep building an inventory when no one knows my store exists. We’ll see how that goes. I’m also back to reading middle-grade fiction to prime the well.
I’m finally okay with this decision. I’ve made it several times ever since 2013 but never stuck to it. Who knows. I may change my mind again, but right now, there are so many other things I would rather be doing…and that right there is when you know it’s time to stop.
In a few weeks, I’ll be releasing another chapbook of poetry just in time for National Poetry Month (April). So, without further ado…
The Life Cycle of a Star
Isn’t it gorgeous? I love it. I loved it so much, I dug through and found another piece from the same artist and redid the cover for my other book of poetry.
There I am in Pieces Again
February is always a bad month for me. No matter what’s going on and no matter where I live, I always end up with a case of depression. This depression clouds my judgment and makes me see things in a different light. Maybe it’s really clarity or maybe it’s just apathy, I don’t know. So, right now, I’m questioning everything I’m doing, including the voice over thing. I’m about to release another book of poetry in April — right in time for National Poetry Month — and after that I’ll be revising a short story I wrote and had intended to turn into a novel. But after thinking about it, I’ve decided to revise it only to where it would naturally take itself because burn out has set in again and the idea of tackling a full length novel right now makes me weep. I might feel differently in a month.
After that project, I don’t have anything. Oh, I have another book (for kids) that I could tackle and I have other ideas I could write, but my mind isn’t allowing me to pursue these projects right now. We’ll see what happens when the cobwebs clear. Once the days get longer and sun comes out a little more and more people get a shot in the arm, I may feel better about things. But I am concerned about the cyclical writing burn out that I keep experiencing. It seems to get stronger with every cycle. So much so that I even wrote a blog post about quitting writing. It’s on my desktop where it will stay for now. Things always look better in the spring.
I have a lot of things I could say about this subject, but this blog post hits on everything I’ve suspected and some conclusions I arrived at on my own without the experience — the point about how publishing controls the market in particular. But alas, if you’re an aspiring author seeking a traditional contract, please read this blog post by Kacen Callender Social Media Expectations.
Some of the points in the post jell with points I made about why I chose to self-publish. I’m also including the link to the tweet so you can read the comments from other published authors.
This was the second book I ever wrote, and until recently, my least favorite. At the time I came up with the idea, I was reading about a murder case from the late 1920s where the murderer was schizophrenic, claiming that he heard voices, telling him what to do. I wanted to explore what it might be like for a troublemaker of a teen who, all of a sudden, begins hearing the sounds of a murder that occurred decades before he was born. The original title was called Sounds Like Murder after the song by the band The Clash, but I didn’t think it was an appropriate title for the age group (8-12 year-olds).
This book was shopped around a lot when I was actively seeking representation. I received some good feedback, but alas, alack, Alaska, no takers. This was the first book I self-published, and it actually did pretty good in the beginning, but, along with all the others, I ended up pulling it and revising it. After spending a lot of time working on the story at the sentence level, it’s a more enjoyable read and has become a favorite of mine.
Oh, brother, where to start?
Many years ago, I realized I had a narcissist in my life and began studying narcissism to understand how to deal with said person. I found an old cassette tape with a couple of songs my brother’s band had recorded. One song was called Rusted Wings That Angels Wear (Rusted Wings for short). The lyrics were very specific to the brother who wrote the song, but I was intrigued with the concept behind the title. (more…)
This was a treadmill idea, meaning I got it while walking on the treadmill. It was meant to be released as a series of connected short stories (a serial, which were popular at the time) in which a doll army rises up to track down the devil doll that stole their parts. Read the story to get an idea of what I mean. This was just one of those weird ideas that came to me. To be honest, I can’t remember if something inspired it or if it just came out of nowhere. It’s irreverent and goofy. It might lean toward Bizarro fiction. It has elements of horror. Dark humor for sure. Tiny Tina and Feisty Fiona are my favorite dolls. This one is probably more in line with my sense of humor than all the other books that I’ve written. Look, I never said I was normal, okay. 🙂
There’s a decade of my life I would love to forget. It broke me. When I moved away from the situation, I didn’t know if I would ever be the same again. But after a short time away, emotions, in the shape of words, came pouring out of me—words of waking up about what happened, trying to figure out why it knocked me to my knees, finding my footing again, and to finally, but cautiously, letting go of the past.
Although I’ve been writing something that resembles poetry since I was a teen, this is a very short collection specific to what I had gone through. It’s not the most cheerful collection of poetry. But is poetry ever really? This collection is very personal, and very raw, and felt very vulnerable to put out there into the world, but I don’t know, something told me that I needed to put it out there.
It’s a hard thing to go through life feeling like you’re dealing with something by yourself, which is how I felt for ten years, and by releasing this, I had hoped it would someone help feel a little less alone.