Updated: Apr 10
In this BLOG series, I’d like to share some of my thoughts on and experiences with self-publishing. Part 1 is more personal background chit chat and doesn't contain much that is useful for self-publishing.
Please, however, stick around and read it anyway.
I love watching movies of almost all genres. My favorite movies are the thriller, mystery, crime types. The Departed, written by William Monahan, directed by Martin Scorsese, is one of my all-time favorites. I love, love this movie. Except for the ending before the ending. If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t seen it, then I’m saying, “WHAT? GO WATCH IT ASAP!”
I’m sure this will sound familiar - it's movie night and you're scrolling through movie after movie, reading descriptions and reviews, trying to decide if the ninety or so minutes are worth your time. After thirty plus minutes you hand the remote over to your spouse (partner, friend, dog) and tell them to pick one. They scroll back through everything you’ve already looked at and eventually toss the remote back in your lap. And it’s another night of TV reruns. Been there, done that, have the t-shirt.
It seems movies like The Departed are few and far between (sigh) and one of the reasons I began writing. Books were a second reason. Ah, books (bigger sigh). I don’t like when good books end. I even go so far as to prolong reading the last few pages, even though I probably already know how it ends. What can I say? I don’t believe all good things must end. I believe all good things should go on and on and on. Like banana cream pie and Christmas. Those are two things that definitely shouldn't end.
About the same time I was running out of things to watch, Twilight took the world by storm (I read the books and watched the movies). I began researching and reading screen plays. If you’ve never perused through a screenplay, try it, you’ll like it. I did and soon I had screenplay fever. I bought screenplay writing software and wrote a screen play. I submitted to contests and even won an award for one of my screenplays.
I was on my way. Visions of fame and fortune danced through my head. Soon I would be invited to meet all the best movie directors, guest star on all the talk shows, and eventually walk the red carpet on my way to receive my first Oscar. OMG. What am I going to wear? What am I going to say in my acceptance speech? Well, I would definitely thank all my fans, and especially my husband and family, who have always supported my endeavors.
😊 Dreams are good.
However, back in the real world my phone wasn’t ringing, and the invitations weren’t pouring in. My movie script award had been stuffed in a drawer somewhere to be forgotten. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t give up. I just faced facts. I didn’t live in California, the movie industry mecca, and had no intentions of moving there. Competition in the industry is rough and tough. Breaking in was a tall mountain to climb. Like Kilimanjaro tall. I decided to try something more attainable. Thus, began my adventures into the wonderful, rewarding, and oftentimes frustrating world of self-publishing. Another tall mountain to climb, but at least I wouldn’t have to move to California to succeed.
Time for more research. I read articles, bought books, and watched hours of podcasts, before ever typing my first word. Despite all my preparation, my first book The Harvest, was a challenging endeavor. The story, a post-apocalyptic vampire alien saga was the easy part (I still had Twilight and TWD fever). Everything that came afterward (editing, publishing, marketing) was anything but easy. I made a ton of mistakes and learned from my mistakes. That's what life's all about, right? The Harvest, and the two books that followed in the series, Eve of Man and Light of Eve, had moderate success. Nothing I could retire on, but for a first time unknown, I did ok.
I’m not a big fan of ok. I wanted to do better than ok. Which meant going back to the drawing board, going back to researching and watching and learning.
Somewhere between The Harvest series and my new series, I was diagnosed with the BIG CASINO, well not really the BIG one, more like the Little Casino. In other words, I had cancer. Ahg! Such a crappy thing. Needless to say, this threw my life into a tizzy for a time and my writing fell to the wayside. Surgeries and radiation were the topics of the day, week, month. I spent more time in hospitals and clinics during that period of time than in all my life prior. For someone like me, who exercised, ate right, never went to the doctor, never took medication (except the occasional ibuprofen) the cancer had been a real kick in the gut. A double over, knock my breath out, kick to the gut. As I expect it is for anyone receiving such a diagnosis. Lucky for me, my cancer had an extremely high recovery rate. Thank the Lord! I’ve been cancer free for several years now.
I had an excellent support system during this time, especially my husband, my mom, my mother-in-law, as well as all my family, and a few friends. Still, I struggled mentally longer than I struggled physically. In my mind I was like, “Well shit on a shingle, I’m not going to live forever.” I began writing again to take my mind off the fact I was not invincible. Don’t take that in the literal sense. I know we all must face our mortality eventually. I just wasn’t ready to think about it.
During my hiatus from writing, I watched every crime show available on TV. To this day, I can’t pass up NCIS or Criminal Minds, no matter how many times I’ve seen an episode. I also streamed the shows that I had missed over the years, like Justified, The Wire, The Closer, Blue Bloods, Chicago PD, The Mentalist, etc. and true crime shows like Buried In The Backyard. Not to sound like the dull tool in the shed but... I finally came to realize crime stories were my thing (duh) and maybe I should start a new book series, one revolving around crime (duh again).
Before I decided on the details of this new series, I happened upon reruns of Rizzoli and Isles. I watched every episode. I also watched the 3 seasons of Absentia, an Amazon Original about a broken FBI agent who overcomes tremendous odds to survive. These three strong female characters helped me to create Detective Riley Finn. A gifted detective with an I ain't taking crap from nobody, attitude. I really enjoyed writing The Gardener (hope you like(d) reading it). It’s a bit dark, but crime ain’t supposed to be pretty, right?
I know I didn’t cover much of anything on self-publishing. However, in the next chapter of this series I will delve more into topics, such as Amazon KDP and other things I’ve tried over the years.
Until next week.
Be Safe, Be Happy,
Disclaimer - I’m not an expert on the subject of self-publishing, other than my own experiences in self-publishing.
I’ve always wanted to add a disclaimer. 😊