It's time for What's Up Wednesday, a weekly meme run by Erin L Funk and Jaime Morrow. Here's what I've been up to this past week!
What I'm reading
I read The Palace Job, a really fun high fantasy adventure about a mismatched group who plan a heist on the capital of their republic. There's a ton of action and humour and some great characters!
I also read Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke, a great sci-fi with awesome worldbuilding around the idea of parallel/alternative universes (this may be a current obsession of mine!).
I also read Talon by Julie Kagawa. I was really looking forward to this one, but I didn't enjoy it as much as her other series - I found it a bit slow-paced and cliche in places. But the dragon mythology was pretty awesome.
What I'm writing
Shiny Book 3! I'm NaNo-ing. Slowly. Well, it feels like that, probably because it's winter. I've mentioned before that I suffer from SAD, which basically means I spend summer running around like a hyperactive squirrel and writing drafts in 24 days... and then winter flopping about on the floor wondering why the words won't write themselves. Le sigh. But I WILL beat this! *switches on light box*
I also finished the first draft of the prequel novella I've been working on since August (don't ask how I wrote a novel draft in 24 days, but took four times as long for a short novella, because I've no idea. :P). And did some revisions on the second book. I need to do at least one full-on edit before I send Shiny Book 2 out to betas, but I'm still crawling through Darkworld Book 3. One more read-through before I return it to my editor for round-two edits!
What works for me
I kind of hesitated on sharing this because it's not a popular opinion, but I find that reading books in the same genre as I'm writing is one of the best ways to get inspired. A lot of writers warn against reading similar books to your work-in-progress, but I find that when I'm in the mood to read a certain genre or sub-genre, I'm more inspired to write it, too! For instance, right now I'm all about the high fantasy/sci-fi and alternative universe stories. The book I'm writing takes place mostly in another world, so I'm trying to work out how to get the balance of worldbuilding/action right.
What else I've been up to
Sorting out exciting things for my upcoming release! Sign-ups are still open for Walking Shadow (Darkworld #2) - I'm organising a cover reveal, book blitz and blog tour (because I apparently don't have enough to do already. :P)! If you'd like to help out, you can sign up here!
It's also time for IWSG! The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the creation of Ninja Captain Alex, and is a great way for writers to share their worries, support and encouragement.
As I have two book releases coming up in the next two months (my Darkworld novella and Walking Shadow), I've definitely been feeling the pressure a bit. I'm doing all the blog tour organisation myself this time, and I think one thing that always comes with being published (whether you're traditionally published, self-published or with a small press) is that feeling of responsibility. These days, writing is only part of an author's job, and it can sometimes feel like the book's success depends on doing ALL THE THINGS - it certainly felt that way to me when I was first published! But there's only so much one person can do, marketing-wise.
This time last year, when Darkness Watching first came out, I almost reached meltdown level. I was organising book blitzes and tours, emailing reviewers, running contests, on social media... and, well, I can't say the results matched the number of hours put in (to say nothing of the money spent on organised blog events, tours and advertising!). The comparison game can be deadly at this stage (I can't count the number of times I saw other writers complaining on social media about "low" sales which were twenty times higher than mine... seriously, who does that?!). So this year, I made the decision this year to focus on the WRITING first. No checking sales numbers, no obsessing over marketing - in fact, earlier this year, I decided to opt out of spending any money on marketing at all for the foreseeable future. As for the rest, well, I'm going to keep writing. Keep creating new stories. I'm a writer, not a marketer, and my number-one aim is to write stories readers will love, and given the plans I'm making for the next year - watch this space! - this is more true than ever.