I started a mailing list – now what?

Long time readers of this blog will remember that I have a bit of an issue when it comes to finishing artistic projects, but since I completed the first draft of Feeding Jasmine Valentine last year, I feel like I may have broken through that particular wall. My second draft is now fully underway, and the story line and characters have evolved in ways that feel exiting and interesting to me. I feel like I may have finally hit my stride a bit, have worked out how to fit creative time into my busy week, and each week make a little more progress.

When I was pregnant with my son I found I suffered quite badly with fatigue, and didn’t manage to do much. But one of the things I did enjoy was laying in the bath listening to podcasts. While I was doing this I discovered the Best Seller Experiment, which is a great podcast. I have been a member of the Best Seller Academy for six months now and I think that this is one of the things that has helped my find my flow a bit.

While I’m not really that close to having that final perfect draft, I have been thinking about my publication strategy a lot. There seem to be several options:

  1. Try to find an agent, and then that agent will try to find you a traditional publishing deal with a big publishing company
  2. Self publish through Amazon or Kobo or one of the other platforms.
  3. Try to get a publishing deal with a small press, with or without the step of getting an agent
  4. Some combination of all of the above

I’ve been going back and forward between options one and two for quite a while now. There are advantages and disadvantages to each that I will probably discuss in a later post, and I have basically come to the conclusion that it’s too difficult to decide. So, in the spirit of being a member of the Bestseller Academy, I’m going to try a little experiment of my own, by giving both strategies a try at the same time to see which one works out better for me.

I have a draft of my first book which is a fantasy novel (find out more about the whole project here), and I’m working on a second draft. I’m going to try to make this as beautiful as possible and then try to get an agent for it.

In writing the new draft of my fantasy novel I have actually rough plotted three novellas that would be prequels to that novel to try to work out some character back story. I’m going to take advantage of having done that bit of work, and attempt to write and self publish these as a little trilogy. This has the advantage of growing a little following for the fantasy world ahead of the other book, and if I can’t find an agent for it I will not be hitting the ground cold with that book.

In pretty much all of the research I have done around successful publishing, I have found that one key piece of advice is to have a mailing list and news letter. I had been resisting this as I didn’t really know what I would write to people about. Now I have set myself this little challenge I think I have something to actually update people on, so I have taken the plunge and set up my mailing list. I’ll be attempting to doing quarterly updates on my progress, and hopefully have some fun as well. If you are interested in hearing how I am getting on with things, you can sign up to my newsletter here.

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you want to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.

Trying to be a new parent and creative at the same time: Write everyday?

IMG_20200302_041051151 It’s been almost 9 weeks since I had my baby and I’ve been beginning to get back thinking about how to be a creative person, at the same time as being a new parent. It’s been quite a learning curve, but I think that he’s beginning to settle into a routine, which means I’m beginning to be able to predict when I will have a little bit of time to engage with my creativity.

For anyone who has followed my blog over the years, you’ll know that I’ve always had several projects on the go, including writing a novel, making art (some of which is available here), and trying to finish a documentary, as well as a day job. The big, important thing I have learned since having my baby is that I am only likely to have a little bit of time in any given day, so I need to choose wisely how I use it. Most of my projects involve getting out camera kit or bits of paper or other stuff which will a) take half of the short amount of time I have to set up, and b) will be abandoned half way through my trying to do what ever it is I am trying to do to get tripped over or sat on by cats.

At the moment I’ve chosen to focus on my writing because that’s the one project I have that I can pick up and put down easily.¬†At home I have two computers, one which is a mac that has all my film making software and word on, and a chrome book which is really designed for using a range of apps and the internet. At the moment I have a draft of my novel on the go in google docs, which means that I can work on it from either computer. I’m finding this really helps. I almost always have the chrome book to hand to add in a few sentences to a page. I turn on the mac for moments when I know I will have a bit longer to do a more concentrated bit of work.

I’ve also been listening to a podcast called The Bestseller Experiment (check out the website here), which has been going for several years now. I started right at the beginning and find it’s a good thing to listen to when I’m in the bath in the evening. The podcast is full of interviews with people who have written best selling books, and has lots of interesting insights. One of the big messages they have, which has come out of interviews with lots of authors, is to write everyday, even if it’s only 200 words. I am trying that out at the moment, which is a different approach for me, as before I was saving my creative work for times when I knew I would have a big block of time (half of which I inevitably spent procrastinating).

I am finding the write every day approach is helping a lot, as it forces me to keep continuity on a single project. I’m finding I’m having a lot more ideas as I work this way, and am making a lot more progress than I did with the big blocks of time approach, so this is a win I think. I expected parenthood to be teaching me all sorts of new things. I was concerned that I would lose the creative part of my life to being a mum, so it’s really nice that some of those things are about how to be more creative.

I also make art. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.