Renee Writes

Posts in category Personal Stories

My Life as an Indie Author #PoweredByIndie

Even though I’m not yet where I want to be as an author, I have to say that so far this journey has been a dream come true.

I think the main reason I feel so differently from other authors I’ve read about is that I’m not trying to rush things. I know where I want to go and I know eventually I’ll get there as long as I keep moving forward. So, I take it a day at a time and I’m allowing myself to enjoy the journey.

It wasn’t always like this for me though.

I decided early on that I wanted to self-publish my work. I had many reasons for this, but the main reason was that I just didn’t want to have to answer to anyone else as far as my work was concerned. I have an entrepreneurial spirit, and I’ve always wanted to be my own boss is whatever I did.

There was a time where I had considered traditionally publishing. I was scared. I wasn’t sure I could do it on my own because, at the time, there was a lot of negativity that went with being self-published. Even today, there are groups of people out there who use cyberbullying tactics to bring down indie authors.

Then organizations, like Amazon and Smashwords, made it easy to self-publish. While there is still some negativity, it seems to be dying down. Many readers are turning to indies because our books are cheaper, and according to many, a better value for the money.

I didn’t want to just jump into it though.

I took some time to study the industry and what I would be expected to do. A lot of the negativity was based on the belief that self-published authors put sub-par work into the world, and because of that, the whole industry was suffering.  I didn’t want to be one of those authors.

Once I started publishing, I was so determined to get my name out there. I pushed myself to write and market myself, sometimes for up to 16 hours a day. And I burned out. This thing I loved to do was suddenly more like work, and I began feeling like I didn’t want to do it anymore.

I didn’t give up though. I made myself take a break, and I decided it wasn’t worth doing if it wasn’t going to be fun for me. I stopped setting word count deadlines, and I loosened up my schedule. Now I seem to get more done in a shorter time than before. I don’t write as much as I did, but that’s more due to my health.

I’m not rich or famous, nor is that my goal, but I’m living the dream!

 

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#ISWG: Walking in My Own Shoes?

Hi, everyone! It’s been a couple of months since I did an ISWG post. I’ve been dealing with flu and dislocated limbs (my daughter’s…not my own). I think things are finally getting back on track now.

I couldn’t think of anything to talk about that I haven’t already mentioned on my blog, so I decided to go with this month’s question:

Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn’t think you’d be comfortable in??

What has really surprised me most about my writing is in how much people seem to like it. I won’t lie…I never believed people would hate it. I mean, there will always be a few people who don’t like it. I don’t like everything I read either, but for the most part, I figured people would like my writing. I just haven’t expected some of the feedback I get from my readers, and I’m really grateful for it because it keeps me motivated to keep writing.

I also get some great constructive feedback from other authors who have read my work, which has really helped me improve my writing over the last few years.

The biggest surprise for me, though, is when I write something and leave off feeling like it was probably the most terrible thing I’ve ever written. Especially when my brain fog kicks in like it has in the last few months, I just can’t make my brain focus well enough to write well. Or at least I don’t feel like I do at the time. Then a couple days later, I go back to it and I’m shocked to find it’s actually pretty good. It always needs some polishing, but it’s not as terrible as I imagined it was when I wrote it.

Earlier this year, I wanted to expand the genre I was writing in. Dark fantasy is a very small niche, and while I don’t think I can do light and bubbly, I still wanted to try something else to expand my readership. So first, I tried a short story that was more a paranormal thriller, and then I did a sci-fi thriller. I haven’t gotten many readers for those yet, but those who have read them loved them, so I think I did well in expanding a bit.

I’ve gotten a few readers of both stories tell me they’d love me to continue those stories in novels, so it’s a good sign that I’m heading in the right direction.

So I’ve decided instead of branding myself as a dark fantasy author, I might go with dark speculative fiction author. It makes more sense anyway, especially since even my fantasies have elements of science fiction. I do a lot of cross genre writing within the speculative fiction realm, so I think it’s a better description for my writing.

What about you? Have you experimented with anything new? How’s it working for you?


The co-hosts for the September posting of the IWSG are Tyrean Martinson, Tara Tyler, Raimey Gallant, and Beverly Stowe McClure!

 

 

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#ISWG – One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (But It’s All Good)!

 

I missed last months post, and nearly missed this month as well, thanks to the flu. It’s that time of year here in Australia, and I get sick so easily at the best of times. Of course, I scheduled to get the flu shot the day before I got sick, but thankfully by the time I went in my fever had broken, so I was able to get it. I seriously hope I can avoid getting that sick again. I end of falling so far behind.

I still haven’t finished writing Episode 20 of my Shadow Stalker serial and Episode 21 is due out tomorrow… guess what’s not happening?

At least I’ve been writing little bits at a time though, and Episode 20 is nearly done. I’ll just release stuff as I finish it until I’m all caught up. Thankfully, I have a great group of readers who seem to be very supportive when I get sick like this. Happens to us all, I suppose.

Writing for me is always slow between March and August, so I think in the future I need to plan for that…and that’s what I wanted to talk about today.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the stress and anxiety of keeping up with a schedule, especially when you have a chronic illness. For those who don’t know, I have Hashimoto’s Disease, which is an autoimmune disease which affects the thyroid. I’m one of the lucky ones who doesn’t respond well to the treatment, so most days I feel like I haven’t slept for days, my brain almost always feels like mush, and I won’t even get started on the pain.

I used to get very stressed out and feel like a failure when I couldn’t keep up with writing schedules like other authors, but it was very counterproductive. So I started talking about my illness and my setbacks with others, and it was the best thing I could have done. People are quite supportive, which gave me the push I needed to keep going.

It’s important to recognize your limitations and work with them, rather than trying to force yourself to keep up with everyone else. Instead of worrying whether or not I’m keeping up with my schedule, I rearrange my schedule when I need to, and instead I focus on following a routine. Even when I’m not well, I try to write a little every day. I’ve had days where all I could manage was a few sentences, but every little bit brings me closer to finishing my project.

Some days I can’t write at all, but that’s okay too. I use those days to catch up on other things like emails and promotional stuff. If I can’t get out of bed, I’ll even work from my phone (thank goodness for smartphones, right?). Eventually, I always catch up. It helps that I schedule time off from writing during my daughter’s school holidays, so I can use that time for catching up.

Do you have trouble sticking to a schedule? Do you have an illness or injury that makes it seem impossible? What do you do to keep going? I’d love to hear your story.

Check out some other great #IWSG posts by other great authors!

 

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