I don't really have any resolutions to make; I generally do not like to do things of that sort, because you set the bar too high, and then you set yourself up for depression because you can't reach them.
My health is good, and my state of mind is much more positive than my last post. I feel optimistic for the coming year, and I plan to accomplish things that were once distant, vague ideas and dreams.
In November came the culmination of a dream, of sorts. My debut novel "Parasite Girls" was released as an ebook. I knew full well this was going to be an uncertain exercise in what NOT TO DO, when it came to self-publishing.
There's the original link for you e-book fans, plus two other sites. Thanks to Smashwords, the ebook is available through a number of such sites, very good distribution.
Of course, I should have also done print-on-demand or POD at the same time. Well, I have done so with Createspace:
Createspace is operated by Amazon.com, and for the most part you can get around a lot of the costs. I did not think I could, but that came to prove untrue, but you do need to know a couple of things:
Be prepared, as was the case with Smashwords, for formatting issues. You will need to be pretty savvy with Word and its variants, plus also how to properly format a document within parameters they set.
When it comes to a cover, they'll get you. Createspace offers professional design for $399. Don't! You can get it done for less, and more to your own specs.
I was fortunate to find Mitch Bentley of Atomic Fly Studios in Harrisburg. I won't go into the cost, but it was less, and he's done fixes and revisions at no additional charge. Thankful I am to him, and his patience; he had more than me at times.
You can submit your own, suffice to say. The proofing and other examinations required do take time, but not that much. Make sure your work is ready to go, and that you are not jumping the gun.
There will be false starts, hangups and holdups, but it's all geared toward getting your work as good as possible.
Now one thing you need to know about the POD thing: it does look quite good once you get it together. Word of advice: do not use unusual or way-out fonts. Createspace does not generally go beyond specific ones, but you can find what you need to make your work stand out.
The book form of "Parasite Girls" has pretty fair-sized type, so if you have vision issues this will suit you. The final count was 256 pages, about 69-thousand words. Standard sized for a novel, and I have to say, to hold it in your hands is rather cool.
My initial rush came in November when the ebook went out; a great feeling. The book is even better.
So now the fun begins of promoting. Since I don't have a PR person or the money to do this, I'm on my own. I'll be plugging away with that, and hopefully there will soon be another public reading.
The one in December was sparsely attended, the whole event was, but that's how it goes. For me, I had a good dry run and that is for me instructive. Lots more to do in that line, and I'm finding ways to get the book out there.
I will have at least one radio interview in the near future, and there will be other things I'll do to get the interest stimulated.
I'm finally an author. OK, so some big publisher didn't sign me and I'm not a fixture in the windows of bookstores (yet)...so what?
The landscape and business has changed. It is more difficult on a lot of fronts, but you can be creatively free.
That leads me to give you a stern piece of advice: when you think you have the book ready, YOU DON'T.
Why? You need a professional editor/proofreader. One you do NOT know; one who knows what's what with books, and what makes the English language go. Get one who is reputable and has a track record. You will learn a lot.
I have learned that my writing style has changed a great deal over the years, and in looking back I see the improvements needed.
I do not stop writing. I have finished a new book, "A Moment in the Sun," and I am working on editing that. The book is Young Adult, but has some serious matter for people of all ages. I examine the hikikomori, or as I call them in the story, the "Dwellers."
Nearly one million people in Japan alone (many men, but some women) do not leave their rooms. They are not agoraphobic, it's something else. We all know someone of this kind of recluse, and I've been one on a lower level. I examine different parts of my life, and have added them what I hope will be compelling work one day.
My follow up work for 2014 boils down to one of two works: "Time the Healer," a YA story that is long, serious and at times harsh. Or "The Drifters," a more adventurous and fanciful tale.
What to do, what to do? Think I'll need someone to look at these and say which is a good follow up, or a good first step into YA, which is what I primarily write.
I have other adult or straight fiction, but not ready. Suffice to say, I'm not done. I will put out my own work and do my best with it. Eventually, more things will break from this, I am certain.
You can see little bits of the here and there of my writing at www.behance.net/torygates -- I'll add more things and change stuff around as time goes by. There is a lot more to do, and I cannot stop this process. The creative one has been hot for nearly six years, and I am enjoying it thoroughly. I do not enjoy some of what it does to me, but that's gonna happen regardless.
So...I am hopeful that 2014 is better for you, and that we all carry on in the right directions.