Wednesday, 7 January 2015

What's Up Wednesday & IWSG



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


Over Christmas, I finished rereading the Harry Potter series, and also read the following books:

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making - an awesome MG fantasy adventure, really creative and fun.

Gone Girl - Wow. This book was all kinds of messed-up, but I couldn't stop reading it. I ended up reading the whole book in a few hours, finishing at four in the morning and getting slightly angry with it, then wandering around in a state of freaked-out paranoia for a day. Now that's what I call a book hangover. :P It was very clever and well-written, if not the kind of book I'd pick up again to read for fun!

Rivers of London - a really enjoyable urban fantasy/mystery. I've been on the lookout for more urban fantasy that does something different (and isn't romance-centric) and I can recommend this one!

A Thousand Pieces of You - a well-written YA parallel-universes sci-fi with great world-building.

The Invisible Library - This was one of those rare books that ticks all the boxes for me. A magical library, alternative realities, adventure and magic. It's one of those concepts I wish I'd thought of, because it's so awesome. The protagonist works as an undercover spy for a secret library that collects fiction from different realities. I have absolutely no idea why I hadn't heard of this book until I found it for only 99p on Amazon - it had "Emma bait" written all over it.


(Side note: ALL THE BOOKS about alternative universes (especially set in London) seem to be popping up all over the place, naturally because I'm self-publishing my own in two months! I've run into four in the past week alone. I don't rule out reading in my own genre and I love this kind of story, but I've had to resort to making a list of Reasons Why My Book Is Different just for peace of mind. :P)

What I'm writing

The Alliance series! I finished the draft of Book 4 on Saturday (77K in 27 days), and moved right onto Book 5! I'm already a mess. (I pull no punches. Sorry, characters. ;_;)

My writing goal this week: As many words as possible on Alliance Book 5! 

What works for me

Goals, challenges and being a crazy organisation-freak. I use my calendar to mark progress using star stickers, and I have a diary to make note of things on specific days. And then I have a notebook with a general list of things that need doing each month. For example, in January, I'm proofreading Adamant, formatting it and making it available for pre-order (before February, I hope! ^^); editing Nemesis; finalising blurbs and sending them to my cover designer; setting up my author street team AND drafting/outlining the other books in the series... which is a lot to juggle when you have a memory like a sieve. 

1. I set writing goals wherever I can. I started with 1500 words per day as a minimum, then increased that to 2K. I also did Camp NaNo in April and NaNoWriMo in November, the YA Buccaneers Writing Bootcamps, Ready. Set. Write., and the monthly WIPMarathon updates. Accountability has made a huge difference!

2. Even in busy times, I tried to write every day, and it added up. Being in the habit of writing every day reduced the fear of forgetting how to write. (Apparently, having written 18 books still doesn't make it go away, though!)

3. Not every idea worked out as planned, but I kept writing through all the setbacks, until I landed on an idea I really loved!


What else is new

The usual Christmas shenanigans, including seeing the family and meeting my cousins' insanely fluffy and hyperactive puppy. Also, presents (book vouchers! DVDs! Pretty new dragon calendar!). Pretending to be sociable and definitely not sneaking off to write when everyone was watching TV. ;)

My boyfriend and I went to watch The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, which was good, but again, I think it could have been one film, not three. (Though we'll probably end up trying to marathon all six films when they're out on DVD. :P)

Then my immune system decided to punish me for pulling crazy writing hours to finish my draft by giving me a cold. So I've been sitting around shivering and watching Agents of SHIELD, Arrow, and Death Note.

And... I think it might be 2015? o.O Aka, the year I self-publish for the first time (!!!!). 

Picture

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.

For those of you who don't know me, I'm Emma, a speculative fiction author, freelance editor and proofreader, a book-hoarder and a restless dreamer. I mostly write urban fantasy with magic, monsters, and alternative universes. I also love travelling, gaming, anime, Studio Ghibli, Harry Potter, LOTR, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Sherlock, the Avengers, and anything Pixar makes. I have a BA in English Literature with Creative Writing and I'm working towards a Masters in tormenting fictional characters. ;)

As I said (and announced last month), I'm self-publishing my adult contemporary fantasy series this year! I've been planning this for a long time (and I've actually been researching the process for over two years), but it's nerve-wracking, all the same, to put a book out into the world without a publisher. On the other hand, it's exciting. I've met and worked with some wonderful people, and having complete control over my book is even more empowering than I expected.

There definitely seems to have been a doom-and-gloom atmosphere in publishing over the past few months, with so many articles on how much more difficult it is for new writers to sell books. I've experienced this firsthand with my small press titles, and it's the reason I've invested my entire publishing budget into editing and cover art rather than marketing - everything I've tried in the past two years just hasn't paid for itself. Sometimes it seems a little crazy to be launching a new series independently at a time where everyone seems to be struggling! But at the same time, this is something I've always wanted to do, and it feels so much more like progress than watching my inbox waiting for that elusive "yes" from an agent. I knew this series was far from mainstream, and having published several books with a small press means I already know the process of getting a book ready for publication. I've a post coming up on Friday with more detail about my reasons for self-publishing, and I'm looking forward to launching the Alliance series!

51 comments:

  1. Arrow, WOO HOO!!!! "You have FAILED THIS CITY!" Love that show sooooo much :D

    I'm going to get to book 2 ASAP! I'm sorry it's taking me so long. Kinda swept up in my own WiP, huh? :P

    That's a loooot of lists you've got going on there. Good luck scratching everything off ^_^

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    1. I only discovered it recently, but I'm hooked!

      That's totally fine! :) I know how research can take over! And it's awesome that you're caught up in your own draft!

      Thank you! :)

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  2. Wow! Your word counts are impressive!

    I felt exactly the same way re GONE GIRL back when I first read it. I enjoyed the movie a lot, too.

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    1. I haven't seen the movie, but I'm intrigued to! :)

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  3. Emma, I'm so stoked for you! Publishing is terrifying no matter what route you go, but I'm wishing you the absolute best. You're going to to have a fabulous release!

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  4. Love this title: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

    Hope you feel better soon and happy writing!

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  5. Your month sounds totally hectic! With proofreading and editing two books, it looks like you'll barely have any spare time. :) Keep in mind to take a break every now and then though! And good luck with all your projects.

    My WuW post.

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    1. Thanks! It'll be busy, but exciting! :)

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  6. That's great that you're going to be publishing your series this year! I hope everything goes well.

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  7. I've had A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU since it came out, but still haven't read it yet. I really need to do that soon because it sounds great. And can we just talk about how gorgeous that cover is?! I came across THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY when I was making my 2015 book list and thought it sounded really cool. I'll have to give it a read as well.

    As you know, I hear you on the other-books-like-mine thing. Ugh. So disheartening, but I think you're coming at it with a great attitude. Reminding yourself why your book is different is a great way to tackle that self-doubt. I've been trying to do that as well. Good luck as you finish up final stuff with ADAMANT! :D

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    1. Thanks! :D It has definitely helped, though I have faced this problem before. Hope your own list encourages you to work on your WIP!

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  8. Congrats on finishing the draft for Book4! The Invisible Library sounds amazing - thanks for the recommendation :)

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    1. Thanks! :) And no problem - it's a great book!

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  9. I got A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU for Christmas, and I can't wait to read it. The cover is amazing! THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY sounds intriguing, so I might have to check that one out too.

    Your word count for 2014 is mind boggling! The only way I could ever crank out that many words is if I had Hermione's time turner. Hope your cold clears up soon, but in the meantime enjoy Shield and Arrow--two of our favourite shows around here. :)

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    1. I've recently become addicted to both of them! :) Unfortunately, I don't have a time-turner, but it'd be useful!

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    2. I've recently become addicted to both of them! :) Unfortunately, I don't have a time-turner, but it'd be useful!

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  10. Don't worry about all the other books set in alternative universes. It's the particulars of the story and how you tell it that makes all the difference.

    Your yearly increase in word count is impressive. Keep it up.

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  11. Good luck on your self-pub venture! I hope it pays off in a big way!

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  12. That is an amazing word count you put in to 2014. Puts me to shame. Publishing is getting tougher, but it is good to see so many, like yourself, are not letting that get them down. Happy New Year, Emma, and much success to you this 2015! :)

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  13. Oh my goodness- that is some rocking word counts. I must buy some stickers!! I am a a chronic collector of at-a-girls and praise, so this tip is right up my alley!

    I need just a little OCDness to get me organized. Too bad that isn't as easily caught as a cold. Hope you're feeling better!

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  14. Oh my goodness- that is some rocking word counts. I must buy some stickers!! I am a a chronic collector of at-a-girls and praise, so this tip is right up my alley!

    I need just a little OCDness to get me organized. Too bad that isn't as easily caught as a cold. Hope you're feeling better!

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  15. Gah I love Arrow! Been watching since the beginning and I'm anxiously awaiting it's return from the winter hiatus. (Two more weeks!) I'm still trying to decide if I'm going to read Gone Girl. I watched the movie recently and it messed me up for a couple days. I'm not sure if I can go through that again. Hope your cold goes away!

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    1. I've become addicted lately! I'm not sure if I want to watch the movie, either, though I've heard it's as good as the book.

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  16. Sounds like 2015 has got off to a busy start for you! :) Best of luck with the Alliance series!

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  17. GONE GIRL is bananas, isn't it? I still haven't seen the movie, but I want to. Her SHARP OBJECTS is equally trippy if you're looking for more. Have a great week, Emma, and best of luck with your goals!

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  18. That's quite some progress on your word count. And may your year go well and not throw anything too disastrous your way.

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  19. I'm wowed by your word count! Good luck with self-publishing and I hope you feel better. Here's to a great 2015 for all of us! :) Ooh, the Invisible Library sounds like something I'd love too.

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  20. Oh my gosh, look at those word counts! What a great idea to keep track for the full year. I don't think I'm organized enough. :) I'm so excited for you heading down a new path with self-publishing I wish you all the best and I can't wait for the Alliance series to come out!

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  21. I really liked A Thousand Pieces of You, and I wasn't sure I was going to when I started it. I ranted about drug use in science fiction and stuff like that, and then I forgot all about it because I was so caught up in the story. It was beautiful. The Invisible Library sounds awesome. I'm adding it to The List. Have a terrific week!

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  22. Oooh the Invisible Library sounds fantastic! I might have to pick that up as a vacation read.

    And hah, I'm a list maker too. Lists make the impossible possible because it breaks it down into tiny steps. :)

    Good luck with all the immense writing and word goals this week!

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    1. Lists do make big tasks less daunting.

      Thank you! :)

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  23. Your word count has really gone up over the years.

    There are a lot of things you can do with marketing that don't cost a dime. Putting your money into editing and a great cover is the smart thing to do. If you have any questions about the process, let me know. (I teach classes on it.)

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  24. Congratulations on your decision to self-publish. Scary stuff, but it sounds like you know what you're doing.
    All six Middle Earth movies at once. That would be a really long day...

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  25. 1500 words per day... then increased that to 2K... then to 3K.
    WOW! Totally impressive!
    Good luck with your self-pub venture. You sound like you've done your homework!
    Thanks for visiting my blog on IWSG day!
    Writer In Transit

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  26. My desk is littered with sticky notes, to do lists, and calendars. I feel you on the organization thing. I've got so much on my mind at any given time, I need all those things to keep track of everything!

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