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 (!!!!).
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!