I just self-published my novel Syphons. And, I feel like I have a better grasp of what it takes to be an indie-author. I will admit that the process had me equally tired and excited to create more works.
Hopefully, this funny infographic will explain my feelings about self-publishing.
Fellow indie authors did you feel the weight of the world on top of your head when you published that first novel? I’d love to hear your comments below!!
Ten years ago, in my 9th grade high school biology class the idea for my main character, Solstice Bellatrix, popped in my head and I started to flesh out the plot for my novel Syphons.
Around that time in my life, I started reading the Touched by an Alien Series by Gini Koch and I fell in love with the main character Kitty “Katt” Martini’s witty banter and of course the slew of aliens she met, fought, and fell in love with. Only problem was the main character was incredibly skinny with a great rack (it’s in the novel), and Anglo which I feel is kind of the norm for most popular sci-fi novels I’ve read.
I kind of felt bummed that there wasn’t a female sci-fi character that reminded me of myself; strong, plus-sized, black, etc…
As far as I can remember the only African-American (AA) main characters I’ve read about in science fiction novels were usually one off characters or secondary characters. My first time seeing an AA character in sci-fi (eva!) was actually Will Smith as Agent J in Men In Black (Can’t Wait for MIB International, BTW).
I really created Syphons because of this selfish desire to be represented in the realm of sci-fi. Because I love the genre so much!! I love seeing body positivity and diversity in the realm of sci-fi. And, I’m glad to see other indie and traditional authors creating either curvy, multicultural and/or complex female characters.
Seeing diversity in science fiction not only grips my attention but makes me want to give the authors who are killing it my money!!
Anyway, Syphons is a work that comes from my heart and took a lot of blood, sweat, (tons of) tears and patient beta readers (thanks, gals) to make this novel possible!
Even if you’re not a fan of sci-fi or really aren’t into the drama of 20-somethings fighting parasitic brain-eating monsters with the help of a telepathic hottie and his team of top secret agents, you may find a piece of yourself in my writing and novel and it may motivate you to test out the genre to look for other fantastic reads.
If you are interested in my novel, feel free to indulge in this yummy blurb:
Curvy, Fierce and A Total Riot! Solstice Bellatrix has already died once, and she is not about to let history repeat itself.
When Solstice awakens in a luxurious penthouse, after a near-death experience at the Skyline Lounge, she meets the handsome owner, Alexander “AJ” Ward. Alexander is a telepathic entity with many secrets, including one involving her.
Solstice learns that her best friend is kidnapped by dangerous parasitic monsters know as Mindstalkers. Thankfully, Solstice has AJ and his friends; a team of Edge agents and fellow Guardians of The Collective Mind to help save her friend.
Together they will take on a corrupt Queen and her colony of parasitic drones.
Will Solstice find her friend in time? Or will she lose everything, including her mind and the guy she’s fallen for?
Sunshine beamed across the tall windows of the public library as I made my way towards the Sunlit Literary Festival that Saturday afternoon. Hope in my heart, and a little pep in my step. I walked briskly past the man who asked me if I wanted to sign up to vote regarding assault rifles.
I declined and made my way into the auditorium, where a woman greeted me with a smile behind a sign up table, complete with a schedule for today’s event and a couple of free reading materials. She smiled at me kindly, and leaned into her cane, she asked me this question:
“Oh, I know for a fact, just by the way you are dressed, that you are here as an author.”
At first, my cheeks felt hot, and my brows widened. I told her,
“I’m not an author,” I said quickly without truly listening to her words.
It was clear to see that my name wasn’t at the reading panel table, where real authors sat ready to present their work. And, it’s not like I had my work published recently and ready to receive awards. Though, I did carry a copy of my ARC of Syphons in my purse, just in case.
Then it dawned on me, as I gathered papers the real reason why I was there. I spoke up after imaging a leg appearing out of thin air to kick me in the but.
“A-Actually, I did write a short story for the contest, but I’m not an author, I’m a writer.”
The next things the librarian said made me think deeply.
“Well, that does make you an author. You wrote a story, you’re here to present, you’re an author. Do not sell yourself, short! Good luck on the contest.”
I sat down, feeling a little better after speaking with her. In the pit of my stomach, butterflies swarmed and flew angrier with each presenter. First, a young woman who thanked her father for being her inspiration, she won the teen writer’s award.
As the day went on and the second place winner of the creative writing contest got on stage. My anxiety hit a pinnacle. I knew for a fact my short story didn’t win. The second place winner’s heartfelt story about her best friend who left her a pair of jeans that helped her travel through time did an outstanding job. My work, would never make first place.
As the day went on and the next presenter, this one the author of The Girl from Blind River, Gale Massey was up next and she shared an excerpt that had me sitting on the edge of my seat.
My hand touched my purse and my book, Syphons suddenly didn’t feel so important.
Why did I even waste my time writing a novel when clearly I’m an impostor? I’m surrounded by real writers who know what they are doing! I’ll never be like them.
Gale Massey started taking questions and someone asked her why did she choose to write her story. And, she said something along the lines of: She chose to write what she cared about. As a woman writer, as someone who is interested in poverty and how it affected single mothers, women, and their children. She wrote what she believed in and no one should stop you from writing what you want, otherwise.
Finally, the time came for the winner of the Sunlit Writing Contest to take the stage. And, while I knew I didn’t win, I was happy to hear the winner’s story. A story about life and birth. Two things that made sense and obviously deserved to win.
My story might not have won the writing contest. But, I enjoyed my time spending time with other writers, authors, and artists in the industry. Maybe next year, I’ll win. I just need to keep on writing.
I started taking blogging seriously in 2012 when I signed up for the Tribe Writers Class by Jeff Goins. I knew that I wanted to be a writer of some sort, but (a) fear of being judge by well-meaning family members, (b) I needed steady and stable income for said family, (c) I couldn’t justify to anyone including my mentors why I wanted to get a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.
So, I decided to blog in secret while working full-time. In order to get the best of both worlds.
My initial attempt at blogging had to do with life after college. At the time I just graduated with my A.A. Degree at the age of 18, and had no plans of continuing higher education (bachelors or higher).
The blog was known as The Life Major (no longer active). And, I made great blogging companions throughout that project. I figured that I could share with the world what I thought about tuition rates, gap years, etc. As I became more confident with the blog, I started sharing my work with friends.
They found my content bold, witty, and entertaining. I shared my heart and soul on that first blog and hoped to gain readers along the way. After getting such positive feedback, I shared my blog post with my family. At this point, I was confident that they would appreciate my ideas since it was becoming more than just a hobby.
Unsurprisingly, I got the reaction that I should’ve, in hindsight, seen coming. My family felt indifferent or didn’t care about my blog posts. One family member even started a heated discussion about how pathetic I sounded in my blog posts.
Hearing that about something as simple as a free, public, blog crushed me. I couldn’t crawl out of a steep series of writer’s block. I couldn’t even function as a writer, let alone a blogger. No matter what positive feedback I received, I slowly abandoned my blog.
By 2017 – 2018, I got out of a two-year battle with self-hatred, depression, loneliness, and writer’s doubt.
I didn’t even pick up books to read any more. I didn’t want to be reminded of writing or literature. I had off and on battles with family whenever I tried to keep on my writing journey. So, I was sick of fighting and buckled down and focused on doing the thing I hated the most working behind my desk at the day job.
The lack of books and writing in my life was so bad that I abandoned my local public library. My library card even expired from lack of use (who knew!).
When I started therapy to deal with some of my dark emotions, she stated that I should go back to blogging.
I told her, I couldn’t. She said I should go back and just not tell anyone. I started thinking about writing again, by now my family members were so distracted with themselves they had no way of knowing what I was up to. And, my love of writing became stirred up again when I came up with an idea for a shapeshifter story that wouldn’t leave my head.
I decided to give it a try. I was already beyond depressed. What could really go wrong?
My idea for a new blog consisted on something basic, my pen name is D. A. Smith and I liked to write about writing. So, I came up with D. A. Smith Writes.
I was able to give away over 100 copies of the short story, and I received 2 reviews. I never told a single person IRL about writing the short story. But, online I blasted the news on my blog and social media accounts.
Slowly, I got out of the fear of blogging and created more articles about things that would pop-up in my head. And, then in December of 2018, I decided to publish my first science-fiction story that I’ve re-written over the years.
I wrote the novel called Syphons. Blogged about the process. Held giveaways in order to market the release of the novel. And, I even managed to scrape up the money to publish my novel as a paperback-edition with a gorgeous cover.
My fear of my family’s approval is still strong in my heart. And, to this day they don’t know that I’m back at blogging.
But, now I have over 50 posts, a bunch of fantastic followers on social media, one great short story, and a soon to be published novel.
I’m glad I came back to blogging. And, this is how I got started with it.
What’s your blogging origin story? I’d love to hear it below in the comments. Don’t forget to like the story, if it touched your heart.
You just sat down in front of your laptop. Grabbed yourself a cup of coffee or maybe popped open your energy drink. And, then your cat appears out of thin air. As your beloved companion makes their way towards you, you realize that it’s a trap and they are blocking you from creating the next bestseller.
Why do cats lay on your keyboard while your typing?
Here are my theories:
1. You Give The Laptop More Attention Than Your Kitty
Cats may seem to be anti-social. But, they want your attention. You’re just staring at a screen with a mouse that doesn’t even have a heartbeat. Have a soul and turn your attention back to your cat.
2. Your Cat Is Bored
Because you’re always working on your bestseller. You don’t have time to take out the cat toys or treats. So, now your cat is bored as all get out and what’s better than laying on your hands while you write.
3. You Are Being Punished
I believe animals can sense the energy of an individual. If you promised to do something for your feline pal but it escaped your mind because you are at the last climatic chapter of a novel, then your laptop will become your pet’s sitting post until you understand what you’ve done.
4. You Forgot to Feed Your Cat
How dare you? This. Is. Horrible.
5. The Fan Warms Them Up
When you’re typing on a flat surface, eventually your laptop may start to heat up. Even with the fans blowing under it. So, what’s better than having a kitty heating pad made out of plastic and glass?
6. Your Kitty Noticed You Were Stressing
As I mentioned before. Cats just know. So, if you’re stressed out, stuck with a plot twist or suffering from writer’s block. Maybe your cat just wants to lighten the mood and soften your heart.
7. Your Cat Cannot Reach Their Literbox
If you keep the literbox in a separate part of the house like the garage and/or bathroom, and the door is shut, you better let your precious pet reach their spot to conduct some business of their own.
8. You Are Lonely
You purchased or adopted your cat because you needed a companion. Writing is one of the loneliest jobs in the world (if you know of any other ones let me know below). So, your cat is providing you with some TLC and company.
9. The Erratic Movement of Your Fingers Triggered Their Instincts
Your fingers are probably about the same size and shape of a mouse depending on a cat’s vision. And, that skiddy nature of rapidly typing fingers may leave your feline flicking its tail back and forth waiting to attack you at just the right moment. They just happened to land on your keyboard.
10. Because They Freaking Can
Cats are one of those animals that don’t give any cares in the world about your feelings. Even if they love you. They will still choose to lay on your keyboard, because they can, and what are you going to do anyway? You’re going to let them stay there, maybe, pet them, and then walk away to grab another cup of coffee.
Is this true for you and your cat? Let me know in the comments below.
As I write this, I’m sitting at Sunset Park. Sunlight sparkles down on the dancing waves. Boats and wave runners are filling the relative silence with the growl of their motors. The sky is bright, blue, and clear. And, the breeze brushing against my skin is unexpectedly cool, but refreshing for mid-April in Florida.
Why exactly am I at the beach?
More like why not?
First, it’s a beautiful day, it’s one of my goals on my writer’s life bucket list.
Sitting at the beach, working on a book, with a fruity drink (okay a lime-flavored ginger ale, but still fruity) has always been a dream of mine. And, with Syphons my debut sci-fi novel out in a few days, I have more goals in store for that novel.
First, I plan on attending the Keep St. Pete Lit – SunLit Festival. For almost the entire month of April, there are fun literary happenings going on around town. From author readings to poetry slams, it’s going to be lit (pun-intended).
I entered to win their annual story contest. It’s one of the first writing contest I’ve entered, and though I’m not sure about the competition, I’m just glad to say I participated. After judging takes place and the dust settles, I’ll post my short story here. Hopefully, it wins ;D.
Next, there’s the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair coming up. I’ll be attending that to learn how other authors sell books and also to pick up a few good reads of my own. I haven’t been to a book fair since the Scholastic Ones back in grade school. So, I’m pumped for it!
Also, I’ve been working on a cool new book trailer for Syphons. And, I will be sharing that with you lovely readers soon! I just have to do some final edits.
Finally, I just discovered that one of my local libraries is having a book fair in the middle of summer and all local authors are invited. If I sign up for the book fair, this would be my first opportunity to sell my debut novel to the masses and get personal with a few local authors.
So, that’s my plan after publishing Syphons. I should add as a side note, I have about three regular job interviews lined up, one seems really promising. I hope to find something that allows me to keep up with my literary goals and dreams!
I hope you’re having a fantastic day and soaking in the sun rays whenever you can. If not you can enjoy my pics above.
Thanks for reading!
Don’t forget Syphons A Novel is available for pre-order for the temporary low price of 99-cents. Yes, the entire novel is only 99-cents and it will not stay that way.
It’s funny, the old saying that goes like this: You don’t miss something until it’s gone.
The last couple of weeks, I’ve been worried about how to sustain my disabled mother and myself financial. I have a lot of pressure on my shoulders as a 24-year-old who has been working full-time for almost a decade. And, I do miss the relative security of disposable income.
Any experienced writer can agree that financial stability is always in the forefront of most artistic ventures and dreams. And as an aspiring indie author, I know how easy it is to be sucked into the hype that you need to write a lot of books, make a lot of money, and quit your job to travel the world.
Nothing wrong with those dreams. Just got to remember reality hits and life happens. When I was younger, my only reason for wanting to be an author was to make tons of money and travel the world. Now, I just want to try something new: like writing a book people would want to read (even if it’s free).
Life is short, money comes and goes, but books can take you anywhere. When my family struggled in the past due to my abusive father, I had novels and short stories to escape to. My love of books led to me receiving a scholarship to one of my dream schools (though family responsibilities prevented me from going).
This last month and a half without a day job, I learned a lot about myself. I’m resilient. And my novel isn’t that bad, especially when you have enough time to re-read it almost 100+ times a week, (ugh editing). There’s no such thing as quitting your job to travel the world, if you’re a writer. You will be working harder in general as a writer. Generating ideas. Meeting deadlines. And, more.
My biggest fear has come and past: writing without a day job. My cushion is getting flat, but I have an interviewed lined up. I’m keeping hope intact and letting go of the past sting of being booted by my old job.
Anyway, this post was more like a peak into my world outside of writing fiction. I will say that the time I spent writing and promoting my work has been a joyful learning experience.
This #IndieApril don’t forget to thank your favorite indie authors for the hard work they do with minimal resources and tons of ideas.
Yesterday, I was feeling bummed, I had a job interview and haven’t heard back, thought I slayed it, but still feeling ghosted by the company.
Anyway, I was going to head out for lunch, my mom wanted me to grab her one of Starbucks Dragonfruit Refreshers.
So, I obliged even though I wasn’t craving anything caffeinated at 12 in the afternoon.
I head over to my local Starbucks, there’s four cars ahead of me. Fantastic! I’m sitting here hangry, and now I have to wait in line for a drink I didn’t even want!
So, I place my order, the guy was super chill and professional. I pulled up in the drive thru, only two cars ahead of me. The driver of the car at the window must’ve ordered for a team or something because it took way too long in my opinion, then again I it could’ve been my hanger.
I rested my head on my steering wheel contemplating my life. When, finally the driver at the window left, and I pulled up, one driver ahead of me.
He moved a lot faster, by now I had my last twenty to hand over to the cashier.
He shook his head and handed me my drink, telling me that the guy in front of me had paid my drink.
I was so baffled, I forgot to pay it forward.
Thank you mysterious driver at Starbucks who bought my drink in Florida!
Where did March go? I can’t believe it’s already April and less than 31 days from the release of my novel, Syphons.
Check out the blurb below:
CURVY, FIERCE AND A TOTAL RIOT!
SOLSTICE BELLATRIX HAS ALREADY DIED ONCE, AND SHE IS NOT ABOUT TO LET HISTORY REPEAT ITSELF.
WHEN SOLSTICE AWAKENS IN A LUXURIOUS PENTHOUSE, AFTER A NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE AT THE SKYLINE LOUNGE, SHE MEETS THE HANDSOME OWNER, ALEXANDER “AJ” WARD, HE’S A TELEPATHIC ENTITY WITH MANY SECRETS, AND ONE ABOUT HER FRIEND, CARMEN.
SOLSTICE’S BEST FRIEND IS BEING HELD HOSTAGE BY DANGERS PARASITIC MONSTERS KNOW AS MINDSTALKERS.
THANKFULLY, SOLSTICE HAS AJ AND HIS FRIENDS; A TEAM OF PROFESSIONAL EXTERMINATORS AND FELLOW ENTITIES. TOGETHER THEY WILL TAKE ON A CORRUPT QUEEN AND HER COLONY OF PARASITIC DRONES.
WILL SOLSTICE FIND HER FRIEND IN TIME? OR WILL SHE LOSE EVERYTHING, INCLUDING HER MIND AND THE GUY SHE’S FALLEN FOR?
What do you think?
Right now, I’m happy and equally overwhelmed. I plan to give as many updates on the progress of Syphons as I get closer to Launch Day.
I’m also starting a brand new giveaway!!! (Yay!)
Rules and prizes for this new giveaway will be mentioned in a separate post on April 3rd, 2019.
I’m having a great start to April. How are you doing? What’s going on in your creative journey? I’m looking for new bloggers to follow, please leave me a comment below and I’ll check out your blog!
Welcome to the first week of April. Proving that old adage that April Showers brings May Flowers. And, speaking of May, on May 3rd, 2019, my debut novel Syphons will be available for paperback and kindle edition.
One question that I’ve noticed pop-up in my social media feeds as a new writer is where to find someone to edit or proofread your novel?
Most of the time that question pops up because self-publishing authors are looking for a reasonably priced, but reputable professional.
Sarah didn’t need to twist my arm to provide her with this review. As a paying customer, I am pleased with her work and professionalism.
While working on my final draft to send to Sarah, I discovered a manuscript glitch which transformed all of my apostrophes and quotes into mini-boxes (I was almost defeated). After fixing the glitch, I sent my manuscript over to Sarah.
She not only took the time to double-check for any signs of the glitch, but she gave me the correct word count for my manuscript and reduced the price of the invoice, accordingly.
Why am I telling you all this? Because, I had a rookie moment, and counted my chapter names as words for my manuscript, and Sarah caught it and was honest with her work and told me before I paid her for the wrong word count.
Not only did I receive my 60k manuscript back in 3 days, but it was reformatted for readability, and she included the clean copy along with the edited manuscript so that I could compare her work.
I absolutely love Twisted Tree Publications and will be using Sarah’s proofreading services again in the future!
Would you like to see what our hard work produced?
I’m looking back at my list of confessions as an aspiring author and I’m starting to realize the first couple of confessions were ludicrous, funny, and yes at times insane. But, I’m going to try and make some sense out of my confessions and use them to explain the bigger picture with certain things.
Yes, I like Thoughts of Dog (@dog_feelings) on Twitter. It’s sweet. Inspiring. And, funny.
I started using social media strictly for business and to gain more readers for my blog and to find more blogs to read. I love to find great articles by new writers and picking their brains by reading their fantastic words.
I’ve discovered plenty of writers through scoping the blog retweets on Twitter and Instagram posts from popular bloggers on the “Gram”. I can see the value of having Social Media as a tool.
I’m able to connect with readers and writers from all over the world.
I can promote my work.
I can even create content to get opinions from complete strangers.
But, I also know that social media has this one quality that is almost detrimental to any writer: it sucks up a heck of a lot of time!
I can easily lose an hour just watching and reading Instagram posts. An hour spent NOT working on my novel or learning a new way to promote my book. It’s not the fault of the social media website, I get that. I have to accept responsibility. And, I also know like with most things balance and keeping track of what you are spending your time on is very important as well.
So, what do you think? Is Social Media your Friend or your Foe? Do you have any tips to help us not to get sucked into the world of never ending posts and videos? Let me know in the comments below!
Here’s my new synopsis for the back cover of my novel, Syphons. A hot new sci-fi available May 3rd, 2019. (Just in time for “May The 4th Be With You”.)
Here’s the synopsis again for your reading pleasure:
Curvy, Fierce AND A Total Riot!
Solstice Bellatrix already died once, and she’s not about to let history repeat itself.
After surviving a terrible girls’ night out on the town, Solstice awakens in the luxury penthouse of a handsome stranger with telepathic abilities named Alexander “AJ” Ward.
AJ leads her on a mission to save her bestie from a group of dangerous parasitic monsters know as Mindstalkers. They are not alone, professional agents, and fellow entities team up with them to take on a corrupt Queen and her host colony of parasitic Drone entities.
Will Solstice find her best friend in time? Or will she lose everything, including her mind, and the guy she’s falling hard for?
Sci-fi lovers, what do you think? Feel free to comment below!