I’m going to (self) publish the first of my books. Its done. Well, its not done. I need to have it edited, and a cover made up, but I’m done writing it. Honestly it’s mostly been done for ages, but not finished. I’d run into a bit of a block, and it wasn’t until my psychologist bet me that I couldn’t finish before our next (and final) appointment, that I finally pushed myself to complete it.
The first thing I want to write about in this blog entry is expand upon that, I suppose. In James and Rachael’s first book, they arrive in the other universe and navigate an asteroid field with a breathable atmosphere. The novelette ends when Arty arrives to rescue them, but Rachael (not trusting him) activates a SOS beacon. Unfortunately she only manages to attract the villainous Pacifist Union. In the original version, James and Co would be taken aboard the Pactifist’s ship, and we’d get a hint of what the Pacifists have been doing to the sorcerers (forcibly breeding them with regular humans to ‘breed the magic out of them’). Arty, whose tragic backstory is that he’d gone through the program before, would help them escape using some magical amulet or something like that (of course he’s been preparing just in case they capture him again) and then the group would head to Sanif.
In retrospect, this is kind of appallingly dark compared to the rest of the short book. Maybe that was what was putting me off. My writing does tend to get dark sometimes. But regardless of the reason, it just wasn’t coming. I eventually scrapped it, and wrote a superior scene where a couple Pacifists arrive, and Arty has to fend them off. I enjoy the new scene a lot more, so clearly if I get writers block in the future, I should remember this, and try to reassess where the story is going.
Ok, next thing I wanted to discuss with you, future hypothetical reader, is my reasoning for publishing a series of novellas instead of full novels. Theres a whole bunch of reasons, and writing may help me organise thoughts on the matter better, so if ever I’m doubting myself, I can look back here.
The first reason is that I’m really over reading overly-long stories. Several of the stories I’ve read in the last few years seemed needlessly larger than they should be. Obviously if I’m really enjoying a story, I’d be sad if it ended, but by that same extent, traditional publishing clearly dictates that science fiction must be ~120K words or more, regardless of whether the story needs it. Not every book is a Game of Thrones, nor does it need to be. I’ve found myself looking through ARC’s and seeing nothing but enormous books, and it just puts me off. I write books that I want to read, and at the moment I really feel like shorter books are more appealing.
Next reason: I’m real bad with over-editing and changing my books. This is a common trap for beginner authors, as far as I understand it, and I honestly think it would be of benefit to me to lock off the first few chapters of my story. They’re done, they cant be changed. Move on. My psychologist says I struggle with perfectionism, which for me is less everything i do is perfect, and more wow everything I do is not perfect. That’s depressing.
Also, I’ll get to publish more often. This means more artwork created for my works, more published stories for people to find, and more small wins. Instead of waiting until I finish the entire work, I’ll get to publish a couple things a year. Which is super exciting!
And lastly: I’m self-publishing. Traditional publishing is something I just have zero interest in right now. I’m pretty sure that the Through the Portal redux story would never be picked up by an agent or publisher anyway – for several reasons it’s pretty un-publishable. So self-publishing is the only way. And if i’m self-publishing anyway, fuck it, I’ll do what I want.
So in the next few days I’ll be finding an editor and an illustrator that I like, and fixing up this website. The book will be finished and on sale by the end of the year – and the next in the series will probably be ready for editing by that point as well. Exciting!