Friday, 23 January 2015

Writing Diary: The Year Begins

Blue mushroom

These are my updates and plans so far for the year. I've put the sadder things earlier and the happier things later, but overall I'm doing okay. I've been given a Playstation Plus subscription, which has made a lot of difference. I've been playing my free games and generally trying to not think too much about things. I also have a trip planned to see a friend later in the year, so there are positive things to focus on.

But there are still some less great things, so let's get going...

Deleting Things

I don't believe anyone's noticed, but I've deleted most of my old blog posts. In the past, I coped with the negative responses I got to blogging because I was reasonably secure in other ways. I had savings and things were going okay. Now that isn't the case, things have been more unsettled for me, so it's been harder to cope with the responses. If I had a support network in the community, I might still be okay. But as it is, whenever a blog post gets linked around, I get a lot of hostility and have no one I can really talk to it about. Family might be sympathetic, but as they aren't in the community, they don't really understand the specifics.

The result is things I've tried to do to take my mind off things have all crumbled when I come online, because there will be another hostile comment waiting for me. I tried to deal with it by not writing new things, but this didn't work, leaving deletion as the only option I had left.

I've also deleted most pictures of me. I gave it a go for a few years as people said they just wanted a name to a face, but that was unfortunately not true in a lot of cases. The pictures were used to judge me in a negative way. Bond with the blue mushroom instead. It almost looks like a face if you squint.

This also means I won't be putting out the blog book. I'm just not in a position where I can weather the storm it'd produce. Maybe in twenty years things will be settled, but I have to acknowledge that it's not going to happen anytime soon.


I've said before that I wanted to review more things, as I felt reviews were one way I could promote stuff (and reviews mostly get a positive response, which makes a nice change). To continue this, I've put copies of the old reviews from this blog (including comments) on a new blog. I'm also slowly moving over copies of my Goodreads reviews. Future book reviews will go on the blog and Goodreads.

I'm also officially open to review requests. Don't self-reject on those requests, as the worst I'll do is not reply. You don't lose anything by sending a request. (I've actually always had some review requests, so having a policy on it makes sense... it means I can set what I take and how/if I reply.)

Book Plans

One of the things I've had to decide is what to do about novels. From a business perspective, writing a sequel for a book that isn't selling is a terrible idea. But I know I won't feel happy if I keep delaying Sunstruck's sequel, so I will be writing it after the cozy mystery. And then hopefully writing the cozy's sequel.

After that, I'll need to do something else if they still aren't selling. Probably standalones in different genres to see what sticks. But I'll feel better knowing each series has two books before taking a break from them.

Print Books

I've had some questions about books in print. I do intend to do this, but it's going to be slow. I'm aiming for a print Sunstruck by the end of 2015, and Rainbow Lights after that (the print Rainbow Lights will be illustrated, so it will take longer). One of the reasons for slowness is I can't afford copyeditors, so I'm doing several more editing passes on Sunstruck to get it as near correct as I can.

On that note...

Sunstruck Amazon Update

There's a new version of Sunstruck available on Amazon. New as in it has some small corrections, not that it's majorly different. I've realised a lot of people don't know how to update their books, so here's a brief guide if anyone would like to update their copy.

Optional step: if you write notes, highlight sections, and all that annotation stuff, you need to make sure your device is set to back them up. Amazon will warn you of this when you try to update. This is set on the device, not on your account as a whole.

1. Sign in to your Amazon account.

2. Hover the cursor over "Your Account" to get the dropdown menu. Select "Manage Your Content and Devices".

3. It might make you sign in again. Amazon is like that.

4. On the "Your Content" tab of this page, there will be a list of all the ebooks you've bought. If an update is available, it will have a button to the right of the title saying "Update Available". Click the button and agree to it!

If you've not done this before you might have a lot of updates waiting for you. If you have no updates and you've never done it before, it's possible you've got updates set to automatic. Update all the books!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Solstice Octopus!

I got an Amazon giftcard for the solstice and I used it to get this octopus. It's very soft! And made by Wild Republic.

Cuddly octopus

Cuddly octopus from the top

Cuddly octopus is watching you

Saturday, 20 December 2014

End of 2014 - Writing and Fish

Cartoon Honeybee

The year is nearly over. I don't have a whole lot to say, but I might as well say it now, as I've probably published all I'm going to this side of January.

I had two short stories published: Never the Same (Strange Horizons) and On Shine Wings (Unlikely Story). For next year, I sold a story to Lackington's and Never the Same will be reprinted in The Humanity of Monsters (ChiZine).

In self-published stuff, I released my urban fantasy novel Sunstruck.

The basic overview is my self-published stuff doesn't sell much. Sales increased a bit when the shorts came out, but I've still made less per book than I make selling single shorts to places. For now, I will continue to prioritise writing shorts for submission, as it's my only real income. My main hope for the future is to find something more commercial to write about to self-publish, but that's not a happy thing as that basically means cutting the diversity and avoiding writing about the things I love. I wish there was a way to have it all, but my current work has an audience of a couple of dozen people at most. That's not enough to survive.

Not a lot else has changed. I still need money. I'm still very isolated, partly because I lack money to go back to my old hobbies where I made friends. I miss having people I can talk to about stuff in private. It's all about the money really, as it has been for some years now.

In better news, I got new cockroaches and fish. I plan to eat a lot of food for the holidays, and I'm still working on my art course (my current theme is bees). Things could be worse.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Story/Art at Unlikely Story

Cartoon Honeybee

In my (probably) last story of the year, "On Shine Wings" is up at Unlikely Story. It's part of the Journal of Unlikely Entomology and it's all about bees! In space!

Story Link: On Shine Wings

You'll also note the artist for the story has a stunning resemblance to me, making this my first art sale. The art piece is titled "Spacebees", because my ability to title doesn't when it comes to pictures. It's acrylic paint, tea and ink on watercolour paper.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Photo Contest (Bees)

Earlier in the year, I stumbled across one of National Geographic's photo contests. It had a small entry fee, which I couldn't pay. So though it looked fun, I didn't enter.

Roll on some months and I've sold stories and earnt money. With a little time to go on the current contest (as it ends on October 31st), I entered a photo. I think this is my best photo of the year so far. The bumblebee was caught on the flower after getting soaked by the rain, so there's a little story behind it too. I doubt a bee picture has much chance in the nature category, but I figured it'd be fun to enter, and you never know unless you try.

The official entry page is here, where people can like it on Facebook or post it to Twitter. That doesn't have any impact on the contest itself, but it's there if you want it.