The hardest part about writing
When I began writing my first book (around 1999) my background as an author consisted of a mail-order writing course in the 1970’s and 2 university-level writing classes in the mid 1980’s.
The first course at university, taught by a seasoned author, filled me with so much wonder that I took a 2nd course. Unfortunately, the instructor loved poetry. Not the fun ditties or haiku’s I write on my own blog or for catsatthebar.org, but the stuff that makes you feel as if you’re walking through a dark cave with spider webs sticking to your hands and face, wondering why there isn’t a bathroom when you need one.
The instructor held the black hole of poetic doldrums toward the class and made the mistake of asking, “What do you think about this book?”
I held up my hand. Eagerly, he smiled and pointed at me.
“I can’t believe a tree died for this,” I frowned. He was not amused, nor was I particularly eager to delve into the depths of other peoples depression. It was like eating raw chicken livers at every meal for an entire semester.
Then there was the ill-fated screen writing course. On the first day of class, the Junior College instructor started out by saying, “Writing is hard.” Like listening to classical music used in horror movies, her lectures were more depressing than the writing class that had morphed into torture by poetry.
The computer age brought with it a move away from mail-order courses and into the world of on-line learning. With the luck-o-the Irish beaming down upon me, the first course I found was better than any of the others. Jerry Cleaver, author of the international best seller, Immediate Fiction, lays it all out in a way that doesn’t make you feel as if you’re the slime of the writing world (http://www.immediatefiction.com/). His words ring true (now more than ever), “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”
I didn’t quit. Instead I spent more money than necessary for a manuscript analysis trying to find out why agencies and publishers had no interest in my first attempt at a book. The insight she provided made me cry—with joy! I had answers!
“There’s a backstory here,” She wrote. “You have to find the backstory.”
Ends up, the first book I wrote is now the basis of book 15. The first of the series starts with Atto Run: The 1st Level of Hell. Yes, I had to travel several generations back to the present to find the beginning of the story!
Did I give up? No! As usual, I did had to do everything backwards, starting with writing books number 8, 9, and 10. But those characters had parents and grandparents a hundred years before 2126.
I had a dream: Literally. Every single night until, finally, I began to write it down. The rough draft for Atto Run: The 1st Level of Hell completed itself in a month.
With no money and no talent for editing, what was I to do?
Nagging my sister to read the manuscript, she finally did so just to stop the pain. Her advice? “You need a good editor.”
“You’re the best one I know,” I said to the woman who spent 30 years of her life teaching effective business writing and grammar.
“I hate editing,” She grumbled.
“I’m a professional nag,” I reminded her, pleased when she said she’d try to help.
I was well aware of one fact: This wasn’t going to be easy
You can read about the 1/2 blind leading the unwilling beginning with https://rantingalong.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/writing-when-you-aint-quite-right-part-1/)
The good news is that after 2 weeks of nagging, prodding, and redirecting the attempts at editing, it became apparent that I shouldn’t waste money on editors who use marks and squiggles. I might as well try to read Chinese.
You can read about my quest to find an editor and my trip from Florida to Bromont, Quebec for extreme editing at https://nudgewinkreport.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/olympic-cat-petting-marathon-dog-staring-extreme-editing-and-horsing-around/.
WooHoo! The book is edited, what next?
Instead of waiting for an agent or publisher to respond (when I turned 102), I took matters into my own hands and self-published at https://www.createspace.com. I’ll tell you right now that if I hadn’t received expert advice and assistance from a friend, book #1 wouldn’t be on amazon.com or kindle today.
That dream completed, I turned my sights to the next phase:
There’s one word that describes my experience with the marketing monster so far:
If you think writing a book is hard, Marketing is like trying to fly to the moon using a tall pine tree and a giant rubber band.
When you have a face and a voice for writing, Marketing sucks!
Tell me how a ½ blind dyslexic with Tourette Syndrome who has a tendency to replace words with others when she speaks (at times with unfortunate consequences), and an anxiety level through the roof will last 5 minutes on a talk show?
I can guarantee, the anxiety attacks aren’t pretty.
All those years I joyously climbed the Mt. Everest of writing just to be knocked off the mountain by someone else’s $20,000 ad campaign marketing avalanche?
This is about as good as my marketing talents are going to get:
The first 4 chapters of my book are at http://www.attorun.com/atto-run-free-chapters/ It takes all of 10 minutes to see if you want to read more.
My book is free on Kindle unlimited. If you’re not subscribed to Kindle Unlimited, the Kindle version is $4.44. The paperback costs less than dinner at Golden Corral. And Atto Run has a 5 star rating.
I’ve made it this far. I’m not about to turn back now. I may be the worst ever at marketing, but I’ll continue writing until I can’t remember my name…or how to type…or where I live…or