I've spent most of my life fighting through layer after layer of Writer's Block. I push these blocks back with grim determination, over and over forcing myself to do it. Eventually part of the process gets easy enough and comes out well enough that I don't hesitate or have to fight myself to get started. I trust myself to get it done, to do it right anytime I sit down to do it.
My current bottleneck for many years has been getting around to editing my novels. I'm okay with editing short stories. I write them and often edit them the same day. It's no big deal on a short story. It feels like part of the process. I usually write them because something in a submissions call or a set of guidelines intrigued me and I think "Hey, they might give me some money." That worked twice for pro publications, so it's not a bad place to look for starting points!
I've got way over 50 trunk novels. I've got maybe five million words of fiction behind me at a conservative estimate. That is some serious practice. It's also a major backlog. Out of all that fiction, only one of those novels made it to print. Raven Dance is still available at Amazon and iUniverse.com still sends me a royalty check every now and then. I expect more copies will sell when my next book hits publication, especially since there's a nice cheap e-book version now besides the $25 print book. That's a bit much to expect an acquaintance to drop on a new author they just heard of because they met him in a chat or something. Though maybe not. I may have overestimated how big $25 is in the budget of someone with a good job.
I think of it as a quarter of my food budget for the month, so it's a pretty big deal.
The e-book is in a price range for unemployed friends who just met me in a chat.
So I want some more e-books out there. The only job I ever wanted is the only job I'm physically capable of doing on anything like a regular schedule, year in and year out. It doesn't take going out or standing in front of an easel or dressing in something more presentable than sweat pants and a t-shirt. It can be done in the middle of the night when I'm at my most productive instead of demanding that I get up in the morning and pretend to function.
Two nights ago I was hanging out with Nonny and Nico in two different chat windows. Nico was working on editing her kick ass kinky vampire erotica novel. Nonny and I were shooting the breeze about publishing. She gave me a link for some numbers - the 100 top self published e-book authors among them. Copies sold, over a hundred thousand in one month for the lady at the top of the list. I looked at that and thought, wow even at a buck a book that is massive, in one month, that is somebody rich. She's probably getting more like five or six or seven bucks per book. High end e-books run up to ten or twelve bucks and have a nice high royalty percentage too. I'm sure she's a millionaire. I'm sure she pays a professional accountant to make sense of her taxes. It can be done.
The ones on the bottom of the list were moving a thousand copies a month. That's still a lot of money. Five or six thousand dollars a month is enough to be paying market rate for a nice apartment in San Francisco with plenty left over for good causes, season tickets at the San Francisco opera, tailored hand made suits from Chinatown that fit my asymmetrical crooked body.
While I was drooling at the successes, we started talking about the costs of production. E-book production is within my current, diminished finances. I have enough money right now that I could do it by end of June or July, if I'm only a little bit tight on food and incidentals. I can handle the formatting fee just for not getting as many Kindle books the month I do that.
This month I spent $60 to get Diablo 3 because I've been waiting for that for too many years and need something to goof off with on sick days. It'll be good for years of goofing off. But while I'm waiting for it, I'll earn it.
I've busted the block. I just put in 15 hours of editing The Sword of Arkatyr, which is going to be my first e-book publication. Tentative launch date is this fall. It might be sooner if my Beloved Editor works on her part of the process faster. It might take longer if Life Happens. But I am very close to being ready to send it to her.
What's left now is a chapter project. 2,500 words or so of introducing the characters and hooking the readers. My protagonist is a royal bastard. Literally, his dad's a King and his mom was a village girl who was very pretty and wound up as a different rich man's mistress later on resulting in my hero's beloved baby sister.
How does it feel when somebody calls you a name that's literally true, and the name is something that gets blanked out by censors because the word itself is too obscene for children's ears? What does it take for the school bully to find out that word stings? When it's something the child can't control, because he didn't exist when his mom conceived him without doing the proper ceremonies first?
That's what it boils down to. The term "bastard" is synonymous with "jerk" or "asshole." Yet it has a literal meaning that's just wrong, that is in itself immoral. People should not be punished for things their parents did or didn't do. Not in my view.
It's a cool dragons and elves traditional fantasy novel. It'll introduce my take on dragons and elves and dark elves (what Dwarves in Tolkein's universe were based on), with plenty of magic and a mage-assassin who becomes a hero because it needs to be done. At the end of it, a couple of hard men cry, which is another very cool thing about writing in 2012. Heck, I cried when I wrote that last chapter and my eyes were moist on the rewrite.
It's a good book. It's a good little book. It's the best of my current skill and I've been underpublished for way too long.
My old therapist Roland gave me some good advice back in 2000. He said "Go ahead and prostitute your art. You're not prostituting yourself. You've got to remember you're the pimp. Your books look good. Dress them up and send them out. Tell them to bring you home some money."
As we get closer to the big debut, I'll do more updates. Sword of Arkatyr will be in your hands in 2012, unless Life Happens. Which is a whole lot of why it hasn't happened sooner.