writing

Amazon Erotica Dungeon, Editor Auditions, and the Inevitable Delayed Schedule

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So it’s been a super busy week for me on the writing and self-publishing front. Editing for the second book in my Course for Adventure series has ended up taking almost three weeks longer than I anticipated. I rewrote the first couple of chapters, twice. Something I’ve never done before, but I’m happy I did. The beginning is much better now, and after two more passes, I’m finally satisfied with what I’ve got.

Which means it’s ready to be sent to my editor. The editor I used for the first book in the series is fantastic. She’s got an excellent reputation, I’ve used her before and work well with her, and I just all around love working with her. All of that, though, means that she’s at the very top of my price range. So I thought I’d try and find someone new. Which is what I’m currently working on, I’ve gotten several samples to review, and I’m also waiting to receive an estimate from my preferred editor. Basically, it’s a lot of money, I’ve already spent a lot of money, and I have no way of knowing if this series will even sell.

Helping things immensely (not lol) after I updated the cover for my book Abducted Amazon decided that it was erotica and put it in the erotica dungeon. Which means that it will be harder for people to find my book, which is an already difficult thing for people to do organically. I’ve been lucky enough that Abducted has stayed in the top 100 for Free Sci-Fi Romance for the last few years, but with the switch over to Erotica, it’s been removed from that list. Just after one day, I’ve already seen a drop in downloads. I’ve contacted Amazon, but they’ve told me it’s going to take about five days to review my case.

I’m playing the waiting game right now, and I hate waiting. To distract me I’m finally starting on Course for Adventure #3. I’ve got quite a bit of notes for this book, and it’s the one in the series I’ve really been looking forward to writing. So I’m going to focus on that excitement and try and ignore all the other things going on.

On to the fun stuff! I just finished watching The Boys on Amazon. It was a bit depressing, had a predictable twist, but I liked two of the characters a lot, and I’m always up for more Karl Urban. Still playing Minecraft, always playing Minecraft. I wish I could get into a game that actually had an ending. Reading wise…honestly, I’ve had a bit of an issue getting into books these last couple of weeks. I’ve tried reading two, from authors that I enjoy, and just not getting into them. I’m hoping that changes cause I miss reading.

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And we’re back to editing.

 

I feel like I was just here and I guess I was, but here we are another book so more editing.

The common advice I’ve been reading right now, regarding self-publishing, is that you have to put out at least a book a month. I am unable to put out a book a month. It would be lovely and I’m kind of close, but unless something changes and I’m able to do this whole writing/self-publishing thing full time, it’s not going to happen.

If that’s the case, apparently, you’re supposed to hoard up books and then release them really fast. Some people say once a month, some people say once a week until you’re finished. While I can understand their reasoning for such a fast pace release, and I can’t deny the results a lot of people have, I can’t seem to tolerate the idea of putting out an entire series in less than a month. It’s taken me months to write all of them and then I’m just supposed to throw them all up at once or staggered over four weeks? Then go down to once a month. Which I’ve already stated I can’t do.

Taking all of that into consideration, what I’ve decided to do is have the first two books written and ready to go. Release the first, then a month later release the second. While I’m waiting for those release dates I’ll continue writing at my current pace and it will take a few months to get back up to over a month between releases. My hope is that by then my readers will be willing to stick around. Time will tell.

In other news, the last couple of days I’ve been working on the blurb for my next release and so I decided to look at the top 100 books in Sci-Fi Romance on Amazon. Once I weeded out the books that aren’t really romances and show up on the list for algorithm reasons, I discovered that a vast majority of the books in the category are…well, nothing like what I’ve written. Somehow since the last time I looked at this list, which was a few months ago admittedly, an overwhelming trend of books about domination have taken over. I’ve now lowered my expectations for my release and I’m worried that I’ve wasted my time.

It’s a lot of work this self-publishing thing.

Finishing a First Draft and New Book Covers

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This is not related to my book covers at all, but I feel like an image is necessary for Social Media and I haven’t yet figured those out lol

This week my plan is to finish writing the first draft of Book Two in my new series Course for Adventure. It’s taken me a little bit longer to write this than the first book, but I knew that was going to happen. I spent a week visiting my family, so no writing then. My sister and niece came to visit for a few days, so no writing. Then I had a few mental health days that I had to take to recover from everything.

While I scheduled some of that time into the deadline I gave myself, I didn’t schedule all of it, so I’m about a week behind where I wanted to be. However, a week behind is within my acceptable range.

During this time while I wasn’t writing I was still able to get some stuff done book related. I’ve been able to read some advertising articles and I’m hoping that later this year I’ll be able to put that new knowledge to use. I’ve also been working on new book covers for my already published books.

Book covers are incredibly important. This will be the fourth book cover for my first book, and the third revamp of my first series. Covers are hard to make, but they can be super expensive. The most I’ve spent on a cover was $250, it turned out amazing and I loved it, however the series tanked and including the entire series, not just the book with the great cover, I have yet to make my money back. So, for now, I’m sticking to self-made covers.

I am not a professional graphic artist. I’ve taken no classes and have no artistic skills in that area, and I don’t plan on offering many tips on that front. I use a website called Canva.com to make all of my book covers. The options were pretty limited at first, and after several upgrades they’re still limited, but I’ve learned to work with them. However, if I had to do it all over again I wouldn’t have bailed on Gimp so fast.

All that being said, I think at this point the covers I create, while not $250 worthy, are not that bad. The difference in quality between my $2-$5 covers compared to the $250 ones is not big enough for me to find a way to pay that price. Now if my financial situation changes? Hell yeah! For now, I’m going to continue to spend my money on editing.

Anyway, I’ve got updated covers to go for most of my series, though; I’ve got one more left to do. I’ve also got covers created for this new series. I actually think they’re the best I’ve made so far, which makes me happy. My plan is to update the covers and the back matter for all of my books in the coming weeks when I submit my newest book for pre-order. Hopefully, I will be able to make my tentative August 5th release day, if not it will be August 12th but I won’t be putting my book up for pre-order until I know for certain.

In non-book news, I have gotten back into Minecraft. Previously, I played only a couple of hours and got tired of looking up recipes for even the most basic stuff, but after updates, and now with a shared friend server, I’m having fun.

I’ve been watching a few comedy specials when I’m not minecrafting or working or taking care of kids. Nothing I can think of the titles for right now, but most of them were funny, and I only bailed out of two.

Reading wise, I picked up a couple books from the library. One was a cozy mystery from an author I love, but I was really disappointed in it. This is the second book in the series that has left me more annoyed than happy, so I might be dropping it, which makes me sad. I’ve got another book checked out that I really want to read and after one chapter it seems awesome, but it’s due back, and I’m going to have to go back to the bottom of the queue.

Oh well, maybe next time I won’t be as busy, lies I tell myself.

Cut Scene

This is a busy week for me. Not only is it the Fourth of July, but my sister and niece are visiting. So instead of making a blog post, I’m going to post the scene I had to recently cut because I remembered my couple were on opposite sides of the globe. It doesn’t work, but I didn’t think it did a bad job showing at least one of the character’s personality.

This has not been edited and is a first draft, so all the usual disclaimers.

A group of humans was walking toward her now. Three of them taller than any human she’d ever seen in her entire life on Earth. One looked incredibly nervous, his eyes somehow looking everywhere all at once. While another took firm, precise steps at the lead of the foursome. It was a foursome, Lily could just see a small woman standing close enough to be part of the group, though, still slightly to the side. However, the two tall men that had caught her eye weren’t what kept her attention. The third man, standing as tall as the nervous one, but broader, had a jagged scar across his forehead. His eyes were narrowed and his face seemed to be in a perpetual scowl, he oozed menace from every pore in his body.

Watching in rapt attention as they walked by Lily couldn’t take her eyes off the man with the scar. There was something about him, something beneath the danger, that piqued her interest, and wouldn’t let her look away. She watched as he took large forceful steps, his work boots clumping as he went. He was wearing a jumpsuit that barely fit, straining across his broad chest like it might explode off of him at any moment.

Did he work on the ship? That would explain the poorly fitting clothes, the ship probably paid well enough, but clothes for someone that size wouldn’t be cheap and he would have very little luck in the second-hand shops. Leaning over onto the railing wrapped around the platform Lily watched him until he disappeared on the skytrail.

 

Edits Back!

Oh my goodness y’all I got my edits back from Anne Victory!! You have no idea how excited I am to correct all my mistakes lol. Even though the turnaround was surprisingly fast my anxiety had started to attack. I had decided that they were probably going to tell me that it wasn’t ready to be published and needed a ton of work. All of which I have heard happens from editors, though, never to me. Thankfully, that is not what they said, at all.

Cue brief period of relief before diving in to see exactly where I fucked up.

One of the things I love about them is that they include resources where I can get better, so I thought I’d share these here.

Understanding English Grammar, Eighth Edition

http://www.chompchomp.com/handouts/commatip07.pdf

https://www.dailywritingtips.com/the-royal-order-of-adjectives/

I promise, I will try to read them and implement them, but I’ve read a few grammar books at this point and only so much sticks at a time. Maybe one day…

Alright, I’m back to edits and working on the sequel!

Editing

So I’ve done what I can with the book I was writing. It is now in the hands of the amazingly capable and talented crew over at Victory Editing. Until they send it back I’m going to work on the next book. The fun never ends!

Before I do that, though, I thought I’d write a bit about my editing process. It’s been pointed out that I have issues with commas. I either use too many, or not enough, and basically, I’m very aware that with a gun to my head I would not use them correctly. There are typos and I will use the wrong word, even when I know what the right one is, and sometimes I’ll use an incorrect spelling. It’s madness! So I hire editors as well as go through several rounds of drafts and my own personal edits.

A good editor, like Victory Editing, is expensive. They are definitely worth the expense because I can always tell that my words are so much better once they’ve gotten their hands on them. Occasionally, their tips and tricks even penetrate my thick skull and I learn some things.

However, I am not always in a position where I can afford the services of an excellent editor. I have a couple other options that I’ve used, some better than others, some I will never use again. At a minimum, though, I try to at least get a proofread done, as well as all the things that I do myself. In a perfect world, I would do more, and if I ever win the lottery I will be going crazy, but until then I do what I can.

Because of this, though, I often struggle with self-doubt, with whether or not my books are worth reading, worth buying, or worth even finishing. I’ve written several books in the last two years, and it’s because of that self-doubt that I haven’t published anything. I think I’m probably always going to feel like what I’ve put out there is not good enough or that I could have done more. Maybe not, but we’ll have to see.

Alright, enough reflection!

I am currently reading Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente, it’s highly entertaining but not really a fast read for me. Incredibly creative and I end up getting lost marveling at the words.

I finished watching Good Omens (FREAKING AMAZING) and haven’t really picked up anything else. Really need to finish the last season of Supernatural…

I have also been sucked back into The Sims 4. E3 revealed the upcoming expansion and everything was on sale so I thought I’d give it another shot.

Almost two years

It’s been almost two years since I published a book. During that hiatus in publishing I’ve written 6.5 books. They are all in various stages of readiness, some of them need some serious work. Some I thought were ready to publish, though, not under Cassandra Logan, but upon further thought I decided they just weren’t there yet.

I toyed with launching two different pen names. I love writing Sci-Fi romance, but I’d also love to write just Sci-Fi and Paranormal romance and Urban Fantasy and, oh yeah, Paranormal Cozy Mysteries. I am not wanting for ideas. In fact, my ideas folder and notebooks are positively bursting and if I could learn how to not need sleep I just might be golden.

When I started publishing, way back in 2012, I had zero kids. I now have two. Two young children are a lot of work. They’re also emotionally and mentally taxing. My time to write shrunk from whenever I wasn’t working my “real” job to stealing minutes whenever the kids were distracted.

That worked surprisingly well when I just had one, but with two it has been much more difficult. I found myself overwhelmed with depression and anxiety, often not able to do much outside of taking care of my kids, and that not as well as I would like. After breaking down, I finally took the advice I’m quick to give to people and I sought help.

It’s been about nine months of working on my mental health and I’m finally feeling able to do everything that I once did. However, I’ve learned some things along the way.

My husband is an amazing man and a great father, and I need to utilize his skills more often and not try to take on everything without help. Help is good. Help makes life manageable.

I need to make sure I’m taking time off for me. This is a difficult one, even if you don’t have kids. It’s very easy to get wrapped up in working, then taking care of your home, and taking care of your friends and family. All of that is fine and good, but I can’t let it push me to the point where I break because I haven’t been looking after myself.

This is all advice that’s already out there. Advice I’ve read from several people I respect, but apparently it was a lesson I had to learn the hard way.

Anyway…lol

Writing update! I should be finishing my rough draft for the first book in my new series, Course for Adventure, this week!!! Then I’ll take a couple passes in editing, then ship it off to an actual professional editor. While they’re working on it I will start the next book. My hope is to be ready to publish on August 5th, 2019. We’ll see how long editing goes, though.

I’ve been watching the newest season of Lucifer on Netflix and holy shit it’s really good. I love the shorter episode count cause it means they’ve been flying through things and each episode has more of an impact.

I read the J.D. Robb book Leverage in Death and its mind boggling to me that almost fifty books into the series and I still love it. Roberts has got some serious skill and I am envious.

Last, but not least, I am still playing Civilization VI. I’m actually feeling pretty happy because I beat my first immortal game. Next stop deity! Probably not anytime soon though.