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This Ted talk from Elizabeth Gilbert on “Success, failure and the drive to keep creating” is amazing and is so open and honest it hurts. Writers go watch it. Everyone go watch it! And thank you Lucinda of Something To Move for sharing it on your twitter feed today so I could become aware of it!
So far we have 50 Euro of our 600 Euro goal to crowdfund our translation of Iceland A Stormy Motorcycle Journey from English to German! And if you want to help out but you do not want the book in German you can use the 5 Euro donation to receive any 2 of our books, including Unleash Your Writer: A Workbook To Help You Start & Finish Your Writing Projects, in English!
For any other author out there wondering if crowdfunding a book is right for you or not, check out this interview where Amanda Barbara of Pubslush shares her crowdfunding tips with Writer.ly CEO Kelsye Nelson. (We went with a German bilingual crowdfunding platform, but if I was to crowdfund an English book I would go with Pubslush.) No matter the platform you choose, it is a good video that covers the basics and some great tips on how to succed in crowdfunding your book.
It has been a busy couple of weeks for me. In addition to getting Unleash Your Writer finished and out, I have also been working on getting a crowdfunding project together to get Iceland: A Stormy Motorcycle Journey translated into German. Toss in there my little girl starting walking and you have a woman who loves to see her babysitter coming. Although I would be lying if I said I did not love getting back into the full swing of writing and publishing again. For the first six months of my daughter’s life it was like I had blinders on. Nothing existed for me outside of her. As she began to wake up to the rest of the world I found myself doing the same. And that itch to write began a full fledged burn. There was definitely a learning curve, which is why I stressed in the parenthood section of Unleash Your Writer to be gentle with yourself dear new mama or papa. But practice makes perfect, or Übung macht den Meister as the Germans say. And just as she is getting her feet under control and every day she is steadier and more confident, so am I!
Translating our books is something I have wanted to do for a long time. Although I was able and confident in translating Fernweh from German into English, translating from English into German is not remotely feasible for me. And although The German is all too happy to help me out with formatting issues or cover design, writing is not his calling. He is happy with his one book. Even if he was not, GoEuro is his current baby. He has no time to translate and he likes it that way. However, we thought why not experiment with crowdfunding as a low risk way to get the book translated. If there is not enough interest we have only spent our time. Which in and of itself is very precious as new parents and our professional roles as a writer and CTO of a start up. (I assume if you read this far you know which one of us is which.)
And so the idea to crowdfund the project was born. I will keep you posted on the progress and if you want to support it by either buying our book in English or reserving the future German copy please do so by clicking on the following link!
It’s Finished! Unleash Your Writer: A Workbook To Help You Start & Finish Your Writing Projects is complete and on Smashwords and Amazon! I am quite proud of this one. I love workbooks but I never though that I myself could ever write one. However, since becoming a mama myself I find that a lot of the soul searching that I have done over the years (as well as some of the pressure and pointed excuse deflating questions from my most loved but very dedicated and achievement orientated German) have come into play into getting myself writing. When I first started
writing publishing 2 years ago it was both thrilling as well as terrifying. This is the girl who wrote her first book in grade 5 and then promptly destroyed it because too many of her classmates were talking about it.
That pretty much set the tone for my writing for the next 20 odd years – scribbling in corners that was quickly hid if someone asked me what I was doing. In fact, slammed shut and hidden faster than most people would if you found their porn collection. I wasn’t happy not writing, but I was unable to lay claim to the title of writer. That word loomed large and impossible. Writers were gods to this reader. This is the girl whose most treasured possessions are her signed copies of Anil’s Ghost and Coraline. I almost passed out when Neil Gaiman posed with me for a photo and I am pretty sure a local writer was convinced I was slightly demented as I would shake if I walked into the bar and he was sitting there drinking a beer. I never spoke to him because I knew a restrainer order would be laid against me the next day. How could I possibly ever even DREAM of associating myself with these people? I couldn’t. So I didn’t. I never stopped writing. I just hid it like others do their coke habit. Or a penchant for Chris De Burgh. I knew these people existed. We just don’t confess to being one ourselves.
And then enter The German. He who taught me that you don’t have to work and travel. You could just save enough up before hand and just travel. For months or years at a time. And then he pointed out if I wanted to write I should, well, (let the earth crack open in revelation), but maybe I should actually write. And even more so now that there was this self-publishing revolution going on. No gatekeepers, just you, your work and your readers. And if they like it you make money from it. And if they don’t you don’t. But at least you’re out there trying. And if you succeed or fail you did it ol’ Frankie’s way. And doing it your own way is somehow more satisfying. And you don’t die when a bad review comes in. And it makes it easy to whisper to some people that sometimes you might write. And eventually you tell people that you are in fact actually writing at this very moment. And eventually the day comes when telling people you are a writer is easier if not easy. And one day you just are one. And maybe you are not a booker prize writer and no one goes into spasms because you are in their presence (other than your dog, but he or she would have done that regardless of if you write or not) but you’re happier. And you have such a sense of satisfaction. And it is true some people hate what you wrote but you get others who write you and tell you thank you, they loved it, or that you inspired them to go take their own journey. Which is more than you ever thought you would ever achieve. And it makes writing the next one easier.
And then you have a baby and you’re back to scratch. As I sat there wondering how I will ever write again, I remembered all the work I did to get to where I was. And lo and behold I started writing again. And there was one project that kept crowding out the fiction book I’m writing as well as the Turkey Unleashed book. It was Unleash Your Writer. And trust me, when you get any amount of writing time with a baby in a city without grandparents or other sources of free babysitting you use it. And when a project keeps insisting you write it you let it flow in. Especially when writing time is rare.
And so I did and it is finally out today! It is a workbook that aims at asking the questions needed to get you to step back, look at what you need to do to get writing and then actually get writing. Because just like motorcycling in Iceland, Mongolia or South East Asia, if I can do it, trust me, ANYONE can.
I will admit to being slow to discovering the awesomeness that is Brandon Sanderson. I am now hooked. I will devour all his books. And I googled him because I am in awe with his world building and story telling skills and in the process discovered that he co-hosts a podcast called Writing Excuses. Go listen. A fantastic resource for the budding author looking for inspiration or writing how to.
It has been a little quiet again on the blog front. I returned to Berlin from a 2 month stint in Newfoundland and that particular indulgence in the practice of masochism you can read about over on Unleashed. Then we went to Switzerland for a week to visit the German half of the family. I do not know how many of you have a 1 year old but changing places of residence 3 times in one month results in a rather clingy child who is convinced that if you are out of her sight you too will just end up in Skype like everyone else she loves. However, there are some exciting things coming with an experiment in crowdfunding to get Iceland: A Stormy Motorcycle Adventure translated into German and my next book is almost finished. More to come when regular blogging begins again next week.
These are all pretty well known resources and for good reason. They are simply fantastic in their detail and “how to” approach. You may already know them. But I am posting them here just in case you are just starting out and need a place to start, or are curious as to what I think are the best of the best resources out there for indie writers.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s The Business Rusch series.
Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn Joanna has a great blog and podcast, of which I recommend both.
I am not including any books as I assume if you are checking out these sites for the first time you are a newbie and they have more than enough free info to get you started (as well as to take time away from your writing). Having said that, if you insist on a book then head over to Smashwords and download Mark Croaker’s free e books The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success and Smashwords Book Marketing Guide.
Then do the most important thing (as in above all others) for self publishing success: WRITE!
I will write a post on the responsibility of an author of historical fiction to stick with the historical record at another point. (Although the long and the short of it for me is that as long as you write fiction I do not think you are obligated to stick that closely to it. That is why it is called fiction). But love her or hate her, Philippa Gregory is one of the best known authors in main stream historical fiction. And she has some great writing tips:
Writing a book with a new baby was not easy. In fact, the majority of the book I managed to publish in my daughter’s first year ( Mango Unleashed: A Thai Rescue Dog Travels the World, available as an e-book on Smashwords and Amazon for $3.99 U.S.) was finished before she was born.
I gave myself full permission not to write or work on it at all during her first three months of life. Although I would be lying if I said that before she was born I did not have images of polishing and finishing drafts and starting new work during that time when she would be napping. At least 2 – 3 hour stretches a day! I had no idea that being a new mom would leave me so flabbergasted and awestruck that when she slept I would spend the entire time either staring at her or googling random things that she did to make sure that both she and myself were normal! So there was not a lot of writing at first to say the least.
Finally as I began to feel more confident in my role as a mom I put the finishing touches on the book and released it. And I did so without any fanfare or attempt to let people know it was out. I had more important things to do. My baby stopped napping after 3 months. At least not for longer than 20 minutes at a stretch. Those 20 minutes were my time to check my email, shower and eat. (Only slightly exaggerated).
Part of me really beat myself up over the fact that I was not writing. It took me so long to start writing and getting work out every couple of months. This was a giant monkey wrench and I felt I was letting go of everything I had worked so hard to achieve.
And then I sat down, gave myself an emotional shake and reminded myself that maternity leave exists for a reason. This is a time that no one, even yourself, can expect you to devote time to anything else. Especially at first. You need to adjust to being a new mom. You have a person wholly dependent on you. If you have family who can help out great. But the German and I live in a different country from both our families. We were doing this alone. Sleep triumphed over writing. And yet that made me angry. Which did at least highlight to me that writing was not just a hobby for me. It was how I had started to define myself. It was how I wanted to make a living.
Now that my baby is almost a year old writing has begun to take up a regular place in my life again. It is only really in the last month that I have begun to get my writing time in. She is able to play a little more independently and visiting my mother means I do not mind stepping away and giving myself an hour or two a day to write.
New moms: be gentle on yourself. Your baby will never be this tiny again. Enjoy it, love it, and carry around something that you can record your ideas on when they come. That way around the one year mark when you can start writing again you can start fleshing out all those ideas you were so busy jotting down and thinking about even if you did not have the time to flat out develop and write.