RSS

When Hobbies become Jobs

I started writing a blog post and I realized I had a whole other thing on my mind, so I needed to write about that.

I’ve been following the Self Publishing Podcast for a while now. Long enough to watch Garrett go from fan, to writer with a day job, to full time writer, to writing full time and making a full living. It’s been an interesting thing to see. And Garrett is my friend, so I might be privy to things that aren’t necessarily on the podcasts we do.

What’s more, he isn’t the only author I’ve watched go through this transition. It’s a long hard road to go through. I’m hoping that I’ll start down that road myself soon.

At the moment my day job doesn’t interfere with my writing. I write mostly at night, and jot down a few notes every day at work. It works well. Part of me is actually afraid that if I quit my job I will lose my momentum to write.

Today was my day off. You’d think on a day off I could write more. But instead I played games, watched some youtube, and created some more resin charms. I did my hobbies, in other words, instead of what I am increasingly seeing as my “job”. Not working at the storage place, but rather writing my novels.

Many of us have this idea that if we could just do our hobby for a living we would always love our job and it wouldn’t be work. Maybe for some people that’s true, but there is also a great deal of work to go into it. And if you are self publishing, or creating your own store, then you have even more work. Marketing, packaging, analyzing, distribution.. you name it. It’s work.

It doesn’t make it less rewarding. Writing a novel is infinity easier on my body than digging a ditch, or power washing a gas station parking lot (both things I’ve done.) But writing a novel can be tough. Sometimes it’s emotionally draining to write emotional scenes. Some days you just want to give up when the words don’t come. Sometimes you’re frustrated because it seems like your words are falling on deaf ears. Maybe it doesn’t hurt you physically, but it can break you emotionally.

When writing started to become my career path instead of just a hobby I started taking up other hobbies to replace it. Crafting, gaming on twitch, reading more. Things I’ve always enjoyed, but things that require less brain power to accomplish. Sometimes you just need a break.

making your hobby into your career isn’t a magic button. It does not make you instantly happy, though I bet it’s an amazing feeling to tell your boss you quit (something I won’t be doing for another year or three.) It’s probably wonderful to be free of corporate pressures to produce, sell, achieve. But you’re replacing it with your own pressure to produce, sell, and achieve.

The real difference, the thing I want more then anything, is that instead of working for some nameless corporation that doesn’t give two nickels about you personally, for a job you aren’t even sure will be there next year or next week, you are working for yourself. When things get bad you have no one to blame but you. When you don’t work no one will complain but you (and maybe your readers.)

Making your hobby into a job is still a job. But it’s your job. Your business. You control it. If that sounds great then go for it. Otherwise… maybe don’t quit your day job.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 27, 2015 in On Writing

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

What I learned about 99 designs

image

Using 99designs has been an interesting experience and I think I’ll use them again. I loved the way it worked, and there are some fabulous artists on there. There are also some that aren’t as great, but that’s okay, they are still learning.

I was told some people had issues with copyright, but I found that if you did your due diligence that wasn’t an issue. The two covers I chose had all their textures and photos linked back to the original, and I could easily see what the copyright requirements were. Some asked for credit, which is easy to add in the copyright area, and I’m happy to give. Most were copyright free textures.

The toughest issue I had, personally, was dealing with the artists of the designs I rejected. They would ask why I rejected them, what they did wrong, how they could improve. In many cases the answer was “you can’t” either because the art wasn’t professional enough, or the right tone for the subject matter, or just because someone else was far better than they were. I didn’t want to say that. So I tried pointing out a couple things I didn’t like, and said I’ve already made my choice, I’m just waiting for time to run out.

I think I could have declared a winner earlier, but I’m glad I didn’t. Not only did the original artist I loved come up with an even better cover, but I had another artist show up that had an awesome cover too, and with a little tweaking it made a fantastic cover for the second book.

So, a couple tips to make your experience better.
1. Click on the art piece, don’t just go off the main page. This is where you will find notes from the artist, and copyright info.
2. Don’t accept art that doesn’t reference the original materiel. You need to know the terms of copyright. If they don’t add it ask them for it.
3. Even if you aren’t sure about a specific design ask for minor changes. Sometimes a rough or okay piece will become a diamond.
4. Wait. Don’t choose something too early, you might miss a fantastic opportunity.
5. Give your title something unique. My title was “Lovecraftian high fantasy” and a lot of artist were fascinated by that. Who doesn’t want to do a Lovecraft art piece?
6. Keep in contact with the artist. You may find you want to hire them later.
7. If you see a second piece that would work for another project don’t be shy about asking to buy that directly from the artist. 99designs had a 1-on-1 project section that allows you to buy specific pieces from a specific artist, or commission new ones.
8. Ask about using the art in promo material. Both my artists are fine with it, and the art references they used are okay for it. Others may not be. Ask!
9. Ask about adjustments after the fact. I don’t know how big my book is going to be yet because I haven’t gotten the page count nailed down, but my artist offered to adjust the spine for me, free of charge, if I ever need it.
10. Make sure you get the PSD file and/or a high quality picture without a blurb on it. You are probably going to want to adjust the blurb some day.
11. Ask for a cover for the print book that can be cut down to ebook size later. Maybe you don’t want a print book yet, but some day you might and your going to want a good one, not just a plain cover tacked onto the ebook cover.
12. Triple check everything, then have someone else check it too. I miss spelled “Witch’s” as “Witches” when I first asked him to change the title. I asked him to change it and he added the apostrophe but didn’t take out the “e”. For some reason my eye just went right over that “e” without seeing it, several times. Thankfully others caught it before it was too late.

I asked my artists if I could put their website in my credits as well. They deserve a little publicity. The first artist didn’t even have a website. He’s never asked people to attribute him before. But I’m going to, because it just seems like the right thing to do. I hope if you use 99designs you’ll do the same.

And to find out when Witch’s Sacrifice is out please sign up for my newsletter.

 
7 Comments

Posted by on March 22, 2015 in On Writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Changes

witch1This week I finished writing “Mermaid’s Curse”, sent it off to an editor, and started a contest for a cover on 99designs.

That’s a lot of things. And all of it’s pretty awesome. The covers are beautiful, and I’m going to get two of them. One fore the first book and one for the second.

I started a poll yesterday about the name, but ultimately I decided that Trish was right and I had to let go of my magnificent title and make it something more appropriate. Even with the change the cover still works, so that is okay. Because THE COVER IS BEAUTIFUL!

So.. The new titles for the trilogy:

Witch’s Sacrifice, Witch’s Curse, and Witch’s Stand. witch2

If you click on the link above you’ll see that the two artists I’ve chosen have already started adding the new titles. I’m debating about the blurb, but otherwise it’s great. I’m ecstatic with the cover work.

The first chapter of … Witch’s Sacrifice. … is still available here.

Honestly I just can’t wait to have this in my hand. It’s going to be beautiful. Both of them. And then when I get the third I’ll have a complete set. It will be so amazing!

This is more then a year of work coming to fruition. It is so worth it!

Whatever you love, whatever you want to do or be, don’t give up! It’s so worth it. Even if it’s just for myself, even if no one ever reads this, it’s going to feel so good to have it completed on my shelf. (Of course it will feel way better if people actually read it and want to continue reading the rest of them.)

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 21, 2015 in Updates

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

What should the title be?

mermcursI’ve been talking about and showing snippets from my upcoming book for over a year now. For that entire year I’ve been calling it “Mermaid’s Curse”.

The book is a Lovecraft meets high fantasy with witches, merfolk, and clerics bent on killing all the witches. The first book is how the curse happens, and the evil clerics trying to sacrifice her.

I’ve been told “mermaid” in the title might limit sales since it’s so specific … So I’d like some feedback.

Would you buy this book? Would you change the title? Suggestions maybe?

Anyone who would like to read the first chapter, it’s available here!

 
3 Comments

Posted by on March 21, 2015 in On Writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Aaaaaaand… DONE!

image

The last two days were a flurry of words on a screen as I completed my final chapter of Mermaids Curse. (read a chapter here)

Yes folks, it is done! Complete. Finished. Ready to be shipped off to an editor. And it is fantastic!

It clocks in at just over 67k words, so yes, it is a full fledged novel. The first I’ve written in years.

If you’re a frequent reader here you may recall that I finished this book a few months ago, then had a beta reader who said “these parts are missing”. She was right. She was so right that one of the chapters I added ended up being 7200 words, and an integral part of the story. And really tough to write because of how much action and emotion there was.

But, I’m really excited by the results. To date, this is the best thing I’ve written. It, of course, needs a good edit, but once I get that I will be so incredibly pleased with it all!

Next question… When will it be out?

It needs the edit, then I have to go through and approve the edits. That’s going to take a little time, it’s a long piece. Plus I need to finish the cover.

I’m hopeful 2-3 weeks for everything. Hopeful! But not certain.

This project took just over a year to complete. But don’t worry, I want just writing this story I was writing the entire trilogy during that year. I’m already 50k words into both book 2 and 3. That means finishing and polish should take about 3-4 months. Shooting to have them three months apart, but I also want them to be good so I’m not going to rush it.

This entire experience has been.. Incredible! I love writing novels. I love writing. I LOVE finishing stories and publishing them. I can’t wait to get this one out there!

This is definitely what I want to do with my life. I’m a writer. And if that is the only take away I have from this experience then it was worth it.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 14, 2015 in On Writing, Updates

 

Tags: , , , ,

Editing

I dmerm curse cover2on’t do line edits on my work anymore. I pay someone else to do them. It’s better that way. Mainly because I always miss lots of things. The two words that sound the same but are spelled differently. The occasional word that is spelled right, but isn’t the right word. The wrong hyphenations. All things I have issues with.

I do try to fix them, and even have a little cheat sheet of past corrections that I can go through and search for. I also search for over used words, like “very” and “flooded”. Too much flowery language kills. Not enough bores.

What I do for my text is go back through and reread everything a couple of times and try to pick out sentences that just don’t sound right. Maybe the meaning is fumbled, or the wrong word was chosen. Maybe a sentence was placed in the wrong order.

The longer the project the more work I have to do like this. It’s annoyingly time consuming. With short stories I barely have to do any because the story is all right there and I’ve been reading over it constantly to write it so everything kind of just works. With a novel I’m only ready short bits of it at a time to help me write more in the section I need to complete, so sometimes I end up with inconsistencies, and whole paragraphs and pages out of order.

The chapter I am currently working on for Mermaid’s Curse has been in the works for a while. I started writing it at the end of January, then I got sick in February and wrote nothing, so this week I am finishing it. I’ve almost completed it and now I am going back through it and rearranging, adjusting, taking out, and in general… fixing it.

Now, this one chapter is over 6000 words already. It switches back and forth between Marizza, the main character, and Artiro. There is a lot of fighting, spell casting, curses, and creatures to keep track of. Of course I got some things wrong. I am going through tonight, since I have only two small sections left to write, and finding those words that are just inconsistent with the rest of the chapter. Pulling them out. And throwing them away. Still… the chapter is over 6000 words even after pulling out a few hundred of them because they just didn’t work. And I still have those two sections to write.

This novel … it’s a novel. A full length honest novel with a society, magic system, fully developed characters, mystery and more. And I’m so proud of it. I’m also SO HAPPY that it’s almost done and I will never have to read it again! (At least not until I start putting those finishing touches on book 2 and I need a refresher.)

A note about the cover… That’s a working cover and it will not be the finished one. I like it, but it isn’t quite… enough. Ya know?

Anyway, here is to hoping that next month I will be adding a vlog here where I am holding an honest to spaghetti monster BOOK in my hands.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 12, 2015 in Updates

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Endings

Tonight we filmed the very last episode of Story Telling Podcast. As Garrett said, it was an end of an era. But there comes a time when it’s better to let things go.

I loved STP, all the people we talked to, and just hanging out and talking about writing with some of my favorite people. I got to know David Wright, and Quotidianlight along with a lot of other really amazing people. I felt like a part of the communit.

But STP also had it’s problems, the biggest one, and the one we eventually couldn’t get past, the scheduling. Too many people pulled in too many directions and it just made things eventually fall apart.

On the plus side, STP was a great experience. Because of it I started my own vlog, which I plan to do more of, and I will be streaming games every week now. I might even start playing Minecraft on Twitch again (because I already play a TON of that game.)

I’m going to miss the show, but I am looking forward to new projects, and finishing more books so that I can share them with you.

Keep creating guys!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 10, 2015 in On Writing

 

Tags: , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 927 other followers