Sitting down to write has been a little tough lately. I don’t get writers block, in the sense that I can’t think what to write–I plan too much–so I always know what I need to get down on the page. It’s just that writing relies on me wanting and being able to write. I’m just getting over a cold, which has dragged on for about a month. It left me feeling pretty wiped out, lacking concentration, and just wanting to sit and be. Prior to that there was some stuff going on around me which made me feel very set apart from everyone as I did not think or feel in the same way as everyone else seemed to, it kind of compounded some personal wider established thinking around this, so I was a bit distracted, in my own head and feeling a bit stressed and miserable. So, it hasn’t been the best time for writing for me. All that is heaped onto some struggles I have with writing in general.
My January in writing started with a tax return. What fun. As my writing can only be considered a hobby considering my low earnings, I’m hopeful I will only have the 2017/2018 return to do before taking advantage of new tax rules allowing for a minimum of a £1000 additional earnings before the need for a separate taxation process beyond main earnings. Of course, I would like for my writing to earn me more than a £1000 and for that to by my main source of income… (I earned £320 last year, and while I know that will not pay any bills, that’s supported my board game habit, and I’m chuffed at earning anything from tapping away at my keyboard!)
January also saw me doing some writing too. With one wholly new project finished in ‘The Darkwood Mysteries (13): The Ghosts of the Black Museum’, I set about planning the next three. One of them proved to come more readily into my head than the others, so to avoid brain ache I just went with that one. The other two can get more head time to cook up into something easier to get into the keys. I opted for ‘The Darkwood Mysteries (17): The Slaves of the Underground’. It will be the penultimate of the next run in my series, but it will still pack a punch. It will see Darkwood and Hobbs separated under sad circumstances, and then reunited in desperate circumstances. The next run doesn’t let up on the bashing of Darkwood and Hobss. I’m a mean writer daddy. There will be a return of an old friend, an old enemy, a return monster, and a newly visited ancient Cthulhu style city. Read on for an extract after the jump…
October saw the release of a collection of all ‘The Darkwood Mysteries‘ currently available. Darkwood and Hobbs, the heroes of these Victorian tales of horror and adventure, can think themselves lucky. They only have to deal with criminals and the supernatural, and they have me to bail them out. I, on the other hand, have to write and then self-publish their exploits. I only have the staff of me to do this. And, as I have recently found… I can be f****** useless. Okay, that’s a little harsh, but within the three days of formatting and uploading this collection to Kindle I nurtured a red, hot, and smothering self-rage at the stupid mistakes I kept making.
Let me start my tale of torment at the very beginning. First, some context. I write. Frustrated with the traditional publishing approach of differing submission requirements and waiting forever to get nowhere, I decided to self-publish. Through a mixture of many people wanting my money to promote my books, and me not being one to shout about my work, they don’t get promoted. I guess I rely on the chance of readers stumbling across me. I’m no self-publishing guru. Of course, I am not actually relying on chance. I am relying on whatever algorithm on Kindle gets you seen. It’s akin to having every book in the whole history of the world in one place, and hoping the senile librarian leads a reader looking for ’50 Shades of Grey’ to the aisle with my book in it. Whilst I’m not on the bestseller list, I’ve enjoyed periods of (very) modest sales. And although they flat lined in the last year, ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’, along with ‘Ivory’, have always had the least amount of sales. Bordering on being completely unseen.
It’s been a couple of years since I have done any serious writing. That disappoints me so much. However, studies are over with and I have my life back. That study and work period reinforced that time is precious, and so I headed back into writing wanting to streamline what writing involves for me. That is cutting down the amount of writing related work that isn’t actually writing. April saw the website get a little spruce up, courtesy of my other half. ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’ is no longer a separate website, but a page on my author site, and soon I will stop using the social media accounts for this series and my self-help title ‘Get Over It’. That way I can just focus on one social media account as me, sharing whatever I find interesting, from writing, weirdness through to geek, to Victorian history and to self-help. Eclectic as I am. One of the last tasks before I get back down to writing was to reformat ‘Get Over It’… Formatting. What fun. I have learnt that images can be resized in a few ways, which, if you’re a novice self-publisher like me, you might find useful to know.
March has been another month of non-writing writing stuff. I have rewritten the synopsis for ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’, and the character profiles for the two main characters, Darkwood and Hobbs. It’s amazing how much I love writing, but HATE writing synopses and summaries like that. This is for the upcoming condensing of all my work under one website and social media under my name instead of my titles. The new covers for ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’ are now uploaded to Kindle and Smashwords. With those done, I turned to my self-help title ‘Get Over It’. I’ve slightly tweaked the title, and decided to have a bit more fun with the cover. It was quite plain before, and while it’s a bit busy now, it’s more colourful and playful, which I like. Go on, I know you want to have a look. Check it out and see what you think…
February has all been about photoshop. So, after some drawings, downloads, and lots and lots of mouse clicks and drags, I have tweaked and changed all the covers for ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’ and created a new logo. Being the perfectionist I am, I’m not a 100% happy with them, but I think they are an improvement on the previous covers. I like the boldness and the simplicity of the new look. I think they read better, but I’m not sure the silver leaf effect works well on the images at the centre of each cover if there’s too much detail in them. Especially so as a thumbnail–although I guess there aren’t too many covers which do actually work at thumbnail size.