Time to Get Back on the Horse

It’s not like I’ve been doing nothing over the past year, but I suppose it’s pretty close to it.

Affording an editor is difficult. It also sucks for me that I can only afford it so rarely, but I’m not going to not edit.

So I need to get back on the marketing and conversation and hop right in there. Yeah, because that’s simple, right? It’s only been a year, there’s only like a sixty percent chance that everything has changed and I’m back to square one again.

For those who have been reading along, hullo.

For those who haven’t, welcome. My name is R.J. Price and I am the author of the Seat of Magic series, which follows Aren in her journey from a young woman to a queen the likes of which her world hasn’t seen in over a thousand years.

I’m not perfect and don’t believe for a second that I am, which causes problems when I’m supposed to get on a soap box and tell others to buy my product. It’s something that I need to work on, inflate that ego a little more.

I know there are people who enjoy my books, I just don’t know where they are.

Except for that one odd thing that happened in Australia. But I suppose I’ve already had my fifteen minutes there, and I do hope the series was enjoyed as much as it appeared.

In the mean time, I’m going to poke my fingers together and stand in the corner muttering to myself.

Oh, I will be publishing a book in early 2018. It will be the fifth book of the Seat of Magic series. I’m also hoping to publish a book in 2019, a new world for a duo of books called Hellfire and Brimstone.

If you’d like to support my work, please purchase a book and then leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Tell your friends, post on Facebook.

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I’m Not a Great Conversationalist…

It’s been a long time, like a really long time. Turns out, helping someone get started is a full-time job.

That’s believable, right?

Trying to do the re-write just hasn’t moved, so whenever I’ve had the urge to write, I’ve gone to Aya and helped her a bit with her stuff. She’s finally getting ready to launch her first book, has three more written, has four more planned, and is currently ripping her hair out over a couple of characters who won’t listen to her.

Aya likes to repay help whenever she can, she doesn’t like being in debt to people. At least, not to people she physically knows.

So she’s helped me set up an office, is trying to coach me on social media, and kindly only asks after the next book every couple of months.

A few days ago, I received a message from a new reader. Said something like, “found you on iTunes because your books were on the front page.”

… I… may have called Aya and yelled at her.

I don’t have iTunes, all I can do is find the page for Trouble and see that there are links to other books, and no reviews yet. I went through quite a bit of my contact list to find an Apple user. Kind of surprised how few people have Apple that I know, I figured it’d be like one in three, but apparently, it’s more like one in ten.

That’s not to say it’s not as popular as you might think, so much as I have an odd collection of contacts.

They told me it was still on the front page. Number nine, I think it was when they found it.

Now the call to Aya does take a little more explanation.

I haven’t been doing social media. I haven’t set up advertisement. I’m not actually certain I’ve put a link to iTunes anywhere in any of the previous advertisements.

Basically: I didn’t do it.

Whenever there’s something unpredictable and untraceable, I panic. Blame my parents or years or predictable living, or even genetics, but my first instinct when I see a surge I can’t explain is widespread panic.

So I talked to Aya and she said she hadn’t done it. Then she said.

“Well, that’s a shame.”

“Because you wanted to claim it?”

“No, it’s a shame that you haven’t been working on the fifth book like you’ve been telling me you have. You can’t just start a pre-order for it on top of this wave.”

I would have made a strangling motion, but we were texting.

Have you ever texted an author? Just blocks of conversation bubbles, miles long.

Anyhow, this is probably the universe telling me that I need to get back to work. I can’t quite afford an editor yet, but I should do the re-write and have it ready to go for when I do. Then I should write the sixth so that it’s ready, and so on and so forth.

I wish I could write at Aya’s pace. A book that would have taken me three months, she does in a month, sometimes a week if she’s having a good time of it.

Teaching is a Learning Process

Someone asked me for help publishing from the ground up. I gave her the research I had, a link to my blog posts and asked if there was anything specific she needed help with. She now has more followers than me and no book, so I asked what she was doing…

“What you told me to!”

To which I groaned and dropped my head on my desk.

The two of us have been talking back and forth. She’s been coaching me on the social media things, including (but not limited to) calling me stupid for my resistance to post on Twitter. It’s all right though, I don’t take it personally.

I dare say I made an online friend.

She’s more outgoing than I am, is what I believe it is. She has no problem getting up in the morning and saying hello to everyone she sees. Good for her, great for getting people to see that you exist.

I can teach her about marketing and research, how everything works. She can teach me how to use Twitter. I feel like a doddering fool on there and don’t want to say anything at all.

New To-Do List

  1. Read through Highest Lord and get off the pot. There’s nothing wrong with the book, it’s my ego telling me to burn everything to the ground
  2. Finish the edits for Five Years Dead, which is the more detailed ones, that may require altering facts. Polishing some things off.
  3. Finish writing Blank Slate trilogy.
  4. Author bio pic, still.
  5. Different marketing for Trouble. Unless one of the people who have gotten back to me will make it explode, this needs to be seen to.

My long term list is more about writing. I want to get to writing, but there’s a slight problem wherein my apartment needs a thorough cleaning.

The past couple of days I’ve been reading through Sit Pretty to check for problems in the hard copy. Think I got them all. Thanks to my editor pointing it out, I finally noticed that my quotes are off. Some are the curly kind, some are the flat kind. It changes throughout the book.

I’m betting the flat ones are in the sections I wrote on my laptop and the curly ones are the ones I wrote on the tablet. That’s fun. So the entire thing has to be reformatted and I will forever see the apostrophes and quotation marks.

It’s a good thing it was pointed out to me.

So Many Things

So tired… stupid clocks changing.

Actually, I’ve done the same thing for years, worked late and then up at this time for work the next morning. The real thing that disturbed my sleep was the heat in the apartment because I don’t have control over the radiators. That’s controlled by the landlord, who I contacted several days ago about the heat.

Normally opening the windows would solve that problem, but when you get home and have to go straight to bed, you can’t exactly air out the apartment. Which means I didn’t exactly sleep, which means I’m not focused.

Reading through Sit Pretty, I’ve only found three possible errors. For the first half of the book or so. I’m so glad this one is reading better than Trouble. Or maybe I’m just more critical of Trouble because it’s the first in a series.

I am still considering the cover for Highest Lord, I’m not sure I agree with it yet. For the fifth book, I’ve decided to do some re-writes before I send it to the editor. This is the book where it begins to shift away from Aren and Av. I have the next couple chosen, have for months. After them, I know who else gets attention.

Because the point of the series is the changes that Aren brings to her world, it doesn’t have to follow Aren that closely. After the fifth book, we probably won’t ever see from Aren’s perspective.

Oh, but I now have two possible covers for the fifth book…so I’ve got that going for me, at least. If I can decide on a name for the fifth book, I may purchase the cover before the book goes to the editor.

Writing is starting to nag at me. Which is annoying because I’m trying to do all the other things to get two books off the ground.

Maybe if I were a bit more organized I could devote an hour a day or something to just writing.

Updates on Plans

So it’s been almost two weeks. I haven’t forgotten my list from the first of March. So how far have I gotten?

1 – New author pic: the cold… ugh. But at least, I have an idea of what I want, I just have to figure out the how.

2 – Update author bio: Nope, not even started. That’s what happens when I have to write about myself.

3 – Create a new author interview for Goodreads and Smashwords. Both give premade questions. I redid Smashwords’ interview and added a couple of questions. I just keep staring at the Goodreads ones, not wanting to answer.

4 – Update book page on WordPress. Done. The series were separated into their pages. Some updates were done, such as where to find them, their review status (which was well over a year old) and a cover. Goodreads offers an “author widget” which could do about the same thing, but I’ve been unable to get it to work yet.

5 – Create book pages on GoodReads for Highest Lord and Five Years Dead, if they’ll allow me to without the cover pages. Nope, not yet. 

6 – Finish edits on Highest Lord, maybe cover that sucker and get its hard copy formatted. Edits are done, went through grammatical edits of Five Years Dead, kinda feel like burning the whole project to the ground. Ego, or is it actually bad? I won’t know until I publish it. 

7 – Continue trying to market TroubleOh, definitely done. I still take a look about nearly every day. Once I have Highest Lord ready to go it’ll be a lot easier to jump up and down and say “look at me!”

Last night I also posted about hours. Now, I keep obsessive track of things like this. I’m good with metrics, at least, I think I am. Once I discover an area that is a ‘time suck’ I can make changes to behaviour patterns to get more time. Thankfully it’s just me who has to make the changes so there shouldn’t be much fighting.

A couple of weeks ago I booked the first week of April off from the day job. Every winter is a blackout for vacations and depending on the support I get from everyone else, I want to start biting people, or crying, in December. The longest I had ever made it before was January. This year it was the end of February.

The vacation is a staycation. At home, not much money and no friends. Mr. Friend is going out of town for work for two weeks. So it will quite literally be me and my cat, and possibly Mr. Friend’s cat as well.

The plan isn’t to take the full week off of writing. That would be insanity. I can’t even take the full week off actual work. By the third day, I’ll want to go back, by the time I do go back I’ll be excited to get back to work.

I do want to restrict the writing as much as possible. So barring a spike in sales, I won’t really be doing marketing that week unless something really comes up. For the writing side of things, I might work on the third book of the Blank Slate trilogy. Though after seeing Five Years Dead edited, I’m not sure I want to see anything besides the Seat of Magic series come back.

I think that means it’s ego. I’m also pretty certain I cried when I say Trouble come back. Just need to breathe and get through it.

So besides finishing the trilogy, which is only part of a book left to write, I have little in the way of plans.

Actually, what I’d really like is to set up the office properly with what furniture I’ve got. Instead of having chunks of it all over the apartment. To organize my books and journals, update the accounting system.

All work for the writing, though.

I’m also going to look into any festivals or events going on, maybe walk down to the castle and have a picnic on the lawn. Maybe take the long walk on my own this year. Which would be longer this year…

The long walk involves leaving the apartment, walking to downtown, then up the escarpment and to a Value Village. Which is a little odd, because we’ve never bought anything there… Then from there to a park that’s over the escarpment, looking out over the city.

From there the walk goes back to where we came up the escarpment, and down into downtown. Stop for either store bought ice cream, or to the ice cream parlor if it’s open, and then on to home.

When living downtown that walk would take three or four hours. Now I’m half an hour away from downtown (walking) so it’d be four to five hours.

The long walk is a new tradition, but it’s also… a statement, I suppose. Couldn’t do that in my old city. There were some places you could walk, but you couldn’t be bold about it. You’d drive to parks and go in pairs.

I never understood that there was simply a feeling in the air until I stepped out of my downtown apartment in the new city and actually looked around.

So every year I take the long walk. I tempt myself with Value Village trinkets, check out their clothing, then go and have lunch before returning home utterly exhausted. To ice cream, wine, and some video games.

I’ve never actually checked to see how far I walk, maybe this year I should.

Anyhow, those are my starting plans for my week off of the day job. Anything to keep from writing, so that I have an actual break from everything. As much as I love writing, everyone needs a break, lest they crumble one day.

Tax Time Again

Every year I get a little better, that’s what I keep telling myself. Just a little better.

Last year I didn’t account for having a home office set up because I barely understood what I was doing, the local tax specialists were going to charge me an exorbitant sum to do my taxes because I count as an indie business.

This year I sat for well over an hour, mulling over my taxes because something didn’t seem right. Still don’t have it right, but at least, I got the whole thing working and I’m on the right track.

I will not hire this out, I will not hire this out, I will not…

In order to claim a home based office you need to know how many hours your “business” is open for, how many days, how large the office is compared to your home, and what you use in your business.

Authors and artists don’t exactly have set hours… well, not really.

Even when not on social media, I work for an hour before I leave for the day job, on the commute to the day job (more often than not) and before I clock in for my day job, then when I clock out for my lunch. Then of course, the commute home, and when I get home, I begin working while preparing dinner and doing chores around that.

I should seriously look into whether or not that would mean the meals could be counted in some fashion. If you work a day job (in Canada at least) and you work during a meal period, you have to be paid for that period. So… same thought applies.

It was as I sat down to do all my math that I realized just how many hours I devote to this ‘hobby’ of mine. I don’t have a proper office set up, but I do use quite a bit of space. I should bring in an actual desk and an actual computer and then keep the laptop, or get a new one, and start setting up actual hours.

I haven’t had a day off in forever and since January 19th. I was only off then because Buster passed away and that day was taking care of him.

Today I took a partial day off. Taxes counts under accounting which counts as doing the work. My own taxes would be done in half an hour, it’s just been the accounting for the writing that’s had me near tears.

For my partial day off, I prodded a friend of mine off my couch and we took a walk to downtown.

While he complained about his boyfriend, but I got him off the topic. Except, all I had to talk about was the writing. Didn’t want to talk about the day job.

Because I’m not worried about it burning down if I take a day off.

Once downtown we went to the grocery store, picked out a few items, then walked to the bayfront. Living right on a Great Lake is fabulous. Living in a city with actual clean, safe parks makes me all atwitter.

So we had a nice lunch, except the goose that came upon me and was begging for my sandwich. It was cold, it’s always colder down by the bayfront, so we ended up leaving before I wanted to leave simply because I was cold.

Then we walked back downtown, picked up a few more items from a store and came back to my place.

Where I immediately began looking at my taxes again.

I need to set time aside to do things. even while sick I market or do social media. It’s time to set boundaries, to start drawing up actual hours.

You know, take a day off once a week to play a video game or go on a date. Or anything besides writing. So that I have something to talk about besides writing.

So. I need a planner, but can’t afford to buy one. Or more of, it’s not an absolute necessity, I can get free planner apps or even do it in excel or some sort of spreadsheet. With the planner, I’m going to record my hours for both the day job and the writing along with what those hours for the writing were devoted to.

By doing that I’m hoping to isolate any problem areas to make some things more efficient. Maybe even figure out any habits and use that to my advantage.

Oh, and, of course, take time off. At least one day a month, preferably once a week, where I do nothing writing oriented.