Hello one and all!
Welcome and thank you for visiting my blog. Today we celebrate the 2nd annual All Authors Blog Blitz. I am blessed and happy to present Mr. D. John Watson. Take it away D!
The Journey of a Writer
“The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet.”
I guess if I had to say one thing about my experience since I first decided to publish, it would have to be that it’s been a very interesting couple of years. I’ve learned a lot over that time, made some great friends and met a lot of interesting people. I’ve even gotten some opportunities that I might not have had otherwise.
But at first, it was a very frustrating time, a few interviews, a couple of reviews and more than a couple rejections from agents and publishers. I spent hours, online and in groups on FaceBook and Linkedin. I put up a blog about the world I was creating called Irindia and beyond but I found that one, hard to keep interesting and I eventually let it slide. I might go back there at some point. There were twitter groups and twitter itself, but at the end of it all, I was growing very frustrated with the whole thing. My rating on Amazon was 4½ Stars and I’d even managed to sell a few. But it wasn’t quite what I’d expected and for that I really only have myself to blame.
My first lesson was that all of the friends who were so excited about my upcoming release and said they couldn’t wait, did just that. I eventually got tired of it and sent them all free copies, hoping to garner a few more reviews. Anything to get my book out there and to my knowledge only a couple of them actually took the time. Oh well, I can understand that, I’ve been offered plenty of free books but they weren’t all up my alley as it were. And not many adults read YA fantasy.
And at the same time, I was determined to make the dream happen. I looked at the reviews, pulled the book down and went through the editing again before republishing. This time, I opened it up, not just Amazon but Smashwords, where I offered coupons and discounts, and twittered every one of them. But aside from a few more sales, I was still not getting where I wanted to go and I had another book well on its way to being complete.
Then I learned about book trailers and I had a decent movie making program so I figured why not? Everyone goes on Youtube right? So I took three days, and made a trailer. I have to admit, for the first time, it as pretty good and I had people with me to offer opinions.
But I was learning, I’d made mistakes and now it was time to correct them. My biggest problem was marketing, I had no idea what that was. And ARCs? What were those? But I was starting to make friends and they were teaching me things I never knew. On of those friends was someone who I’d known for years through my martial arts career but I’d never realized what a great graphic artist he was. I’d initially tried to enlist friends to help with the cover design and then tried it myself but the result was too much like a comic book so I took another route… limited license picture on a template. That friend saw my original comic book type cover and after three tries knocked it out of the park. Now I have my cover, one that grabs the reader’s attention.
Eventually it came time to take a hard look at what I had written and the results of my trial as a full fledged indie author. I wasn’t happy with what I saw so I decided to take a crack at going to a traditional publisher. So I pulled down the book, once more, and followed a friend’s advice. I became more active in my chosen groups, selecting those that helped me and where I could help others. I started attending book launches and offering advice and opinions where they were appropriate and I really started to make connections like I should have been making before I went solo before.
I also got another break, that a friend was starting a magazine and she asked to write a guest article. I said I would and then it occurred to me I didn’t know what to write, but had an idea, and I dusted off a partial article I’d been playing with just in case I ever got the chance to do this. It took some time and a lot of changes but I finally got it in. I guess I did pretty well, I was offered a regular feature in All Authors Magazine. So now I was a writer, people were reading what I wrote but there was one thing I hadn’t gotten yet, the YES from the publisher.
At some point, I realized it was time to give others a platform to promote what they do so I dove into the blogging world again and this time, came up with Artistic Reflections. It’s only a few months old and not quite the smashing success I was hoping for but it’s not about me, it’s about other authors, letting them speak about whatever they want. And not just writers, artists, editors, beta readers, anyone who is involved with publishing. And still I waited.
But no news is good news they say and eventually, I got the email I was waiting for. Anyone who’s every tried to publish and queried a publisher has seen that envelope or email notifications has dreaded opening it. I know I did. The answer to the question you’ve been for is in here and you’re not sure want to. In this case, I had to now, we all have to know and it was good news. The Chronicles of Irindia was going to get the care I wasn’t able to give it when it first published.
So now my manuscript is in their hands and the journey begins again. But I hope I’m a little wiser now, little more prepared. Now the waiting begins again, this time it’s to find out what they want me to correct and what the cover will look like. I sent them the idea my friend did and I really hope they use it.
But in the mean time, I’m going to continue getting every interview, I can promote myself as much as possible, learn even more, and I can help others promote their work. I’ve taken my first steps in a larger world than I had ever thought I would, my first step on my thousand mile journey.
D. John Watson is the author of the YA Fantasy Series The Chronicles of Irindia being published through Master Koda Select Publishing. He also writes a column called Randomness in Writing for All Authors Magazine and operates a blog called Artistic Reflections on Blogger.
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