I’m Published (FOR REALS this time!)


Today has been a crazy roller coaster ride. Not only did my first book release for the second time, but I also had a wild, off-the-walls toddler and a sick husband to tend to. I’m frickin’ exhausted! But I couldn’t be happier to be a published author once again…this time with a publisher on my side!

The publishing journey so far has been a learning process, to say the least. I hope I come out of this a better writer and, more importantly, a better person. I’ve learned a lot about myself through this: specifically, who I am. I’m tough, driven, and determined, but I’ve got plenty of flaws and weaknesses that come out in full force when I’m sleep deprived and stressed. You learn who you really are when you’re put through the wringer, and that’s definitely what happened over the past year as I tried desperately to finish and publish my first book before hitting twenty-five years of age.

I came across this quote from my intro post in this blog, which was published four years ago. It brought tears to my eyes:

“I am a young, budding writer (20 years old) who has big plans for the future. I’m hoping to publish my first book before I’m 25 (a longshot? Yes. But it’s doable).”

It happened. I’m published at twenty-four.

Being published feels incredible, but it’s also a lot of hard work with no promise of reward. There are literally millions of other books out there to be found amidst. Even with the wonderful support of Team Limitless, I still feel a little lost at sea sometimes. How do I keep this needle from disappearing in the haystack? How do I make sure people don’t miss out on this story?

Here’s what I’ve learned. The only thing you can do as an author is take a deep breath, let go of criticism, and keep moving forward with your nose in a book. Whether it’s your book or another person’s, keep your nose in a book. It’s good for your writing and your brain. Also, don’t compete with people or monitor your ranks by the hour. Trust me, I know how hard that is, but it’s toxic, and it really doesn’t change a damn thing.

Focusing on improving my writing is what I plan to do from here on out. DORK is only one of my ideas, and I’ve got two more that are just begging to be written (more info on those later). First, I need to focus on DORK Two, which I’m guessing will be released sometime in March 2016. That’s another thing I’ve learned: being an author, a true one, doesn’t end with one book. The first is only the beginning.

Thanks for reading my ramblings. Hopefully I’ll be blogging more soon and have lots more exciting news to share.

This is my book if you’re curious:

DORK FRONT COVER

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Diary-Rockers-Kid-D-O-R-K-Book-ebook/dp/B01882ARMM

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Diary-Rockers-Kid-D-O-R-K-Book-ebook/dp/B01882ARMM

Be sure to enter the Goodreads giveaway for a chance at one in three signed paperbacks!

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27848302-diary-of-a-rocker-s-kid

Ciao for now!

HD

Advertisements

Writing Through Depression and Anxiety


“I have to get this book done. I have to. I have to!”

“But no one’s going to read it. You suck compared to all the other writers. No one even gives a crap about you.”

“It doesn’t matter, this book has set my brain on fire. It needs needs needs to be written. Now now now!”

“Shut up, lay down on the couch, and do absolutely nothing. It’s not like anything matters anyway.”

“Everything matters! All the freakin’ time! I never get a break! I’m gonna explode!”

“You’re such a loser. You’ll never amount to anything. Just lay down on the couch and give up, because that’s the only thing you’re good at. It’s all you’ll ever be good at.”

“What if…what if you’re right? What if everybody hates me? What if I lose all my friends and end up a bitter loner for the rest of my life?”

“It’s bound to happen. You might as well just quit while you’re ahead.”

“No…no! I need to do this! It’s in my blood. It’s burning my veins! I need to get this done!”

“Ugh, you suck. You’re so wishy washy and weak. It’s no wonder nobody cares about your stupid book.”

***

That drama, combined with an occasional interruption from my voice of reason, is on a constant loop in my head all day long. Depression and anxiety is no joke, folks. That lethal duo can honestly drive a person to insanity. If you’re unlucky enough to suffer from either or both of these mental illnesses (or any others), believe me, I feel your pain.

Writing requires an extra burst of fortitude whenever my illnesses both rear their ugly heads at once. It’s paralyzing. I’m afraid to write, yet I have to write, yet I don’t feel like writing or doing anything else for that matter. Wanting to do something and doing it used to be so easy as a kid, and now it’s all I can do just to get out of bed in the morning.

Depression is mean. It sucks the life out of you. Anxiety has good intentions, but it ends up being a pain in the ass. Caring about getting things done and keeping your friends is great until it turns into excessive, out-of-control, panicky worrying. Reason is good. It’s grounded. But sometimes it’s hard to keep around. It fades into the background whenever it sees depression and anxiety stalking down the alleyways of your mind, ready to strike.

Mental illness has many causes. It could be a hormonal imbalance, a result of trauma from your past, or it could be just the way you’re wired. I’ve always been kind of an anxious person, and certain difficulties in my past brought that tendency out and magnified it. At least, that’s my self diagnosis. I’m sure there’s more to it than that.

It always gets worse when I have a deadline, though. Right now, I’m desperately trying to get pre-edits done, but it’s not going as smoothly as I thought it would, and I’m panicking. What if I don’t get it done on time? What if I ruin the book while I’m trying to fix it? What if I piss somebody off by cutting out a part of the story they liked?

Truthfully, in the end, all I can do is try my best to do right by myself, my publisher, and my future (and past) readers. If I mess up, I mess up. I’ve got the “human being” excuse to fall back on if some faulty detail slips past my perfectionistic eyes. Also, now that I have an editor, the pressure is not all on me. An extra set of eyes will come in very handy for catching small details and smoothing out the kinks in my writing.

The best thing to do as a depression/anxiety sufferer is STOP, take a deep breath, and let reason take the front seat. Reason won’t steer you wrong or make you want to tear all your hairs out one by one. Reason will guide you to the solution. Reason will save your life.

Thanks for reading! Follow me here, on FB, and/or on Twitter for news about my upcoming series with Limitless Publishing, Diary of a Rocker’s Kid (DORK).

-H.D.

Writers, Don’t Do What I Did


This is just a quick little nugget of advice for any and all writers/authors out there.

DON’T. JUMP. INTO IT.

Today makes it a month since my first novel went live on KDP, and since then a ton of it has been updated or changed. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I was not prepared and I should have waited the extra month like I said I was going to. Now, after a month of revising, updating, and taking advice, I finally feel like my product is what I want it to be, which is why I’m willing to sell it in a paperback version.

So yeah, I guess my first release was just a trial run.

I swear the second book’s release is going to be a lot smoother. I’m going to save up the money I need for a blog tour (which I really wish I could afford right now), a book trailer, and a fully-formatted, professionally covered book. By the way, in case you’re new to this biz, you’re going to need at least $1,000 to launch a book successfully with all the bells and whistles. Just FYI. Self-publishing is not free unless you’re just publishing for fun and not because you want to make a career out of writing.

So yeah, to anyone who has a month old copy of my book, I deeply apologize. The new version is pretty different. If you bought or downloaded the old version and didn’t get a free copy of the new one, please let me know and I’ll send you a PDF. This will not be happening again.

TIA for not hunting me down and stoning me to death.

-H.D.

RANT: Not Happy With Amazon


You would think that a company that makes money off of YOUR books that YOU spent so much blood, sweat, and tears working on would actually care if you’re successful or not. So far, that has definitely not been the case. My experience with KDP Select has not been a good one and I really wish I could call it quits, but I’m stuck in a contract for 75 more days.

Not only is this whole “page count pay” thing they’re implementing kind of bogus, but I know for a fact that they have blocked some reviews from people that did not need to have their reviews blocked. In my personal opinion, blocking book reviews just because you’re friends with someone on Facebook is NOT. OKAY. Just because I “friended” someone who was gracious enough to read my book and review it for me does not mean I bribed them or know them in person! Clearly, whoever came up with this policy is not in touch with how the modern world works. We friend and follow people for networking purposes and keeping each other updated, not necessarily because they’re our best friends.

If you are a supporter of the freedom to network and the rights of authors and artists everywhere, please sign this petition on Change.org. Amazon needs to be made aware that they are infringing on authors’ and users’ privacy and the networking that all of us work so hard on day in and day out. Also, personally, I think KDP Select should be something you can opt out of. It’s not for everyone, and making you stay in the program for 90 days with no way out is a bit excessive in my opinion. 30 days might be reasonable, but 90? I don’t recommend it. Get your book out there on every platform you can, folks. The publishing/self-publishing world is a jungle, and you need every advantage you can get.

Peace out, homies… Sorry for the rant. And if you signed that petition, Amazon authors everywhere THANK YOU.

-H.D.

5 Truths about Self-Pub


It’s been a week since I self-published my first novel with KDP. When I was doing research for self-publishing, I saw a lot of people bragging about their hundreds of books that sold per day and how effective their promotions and countdowns were. I didn’t realize then that most of those people already had an established audience, and had clientele that were already interested in buying their book. Being a first-time author who has never really accomplished much else in life (besides being a part of a wonderful family, that is), I had no idea how invisible I truly was until I tried to self-publish a novel. In some ways, it’s a lot like digging your way out of your own grave.

Truth #1: No one cares.

Okay… maybe not no one. Some of your family and friends will support you, but no one else out in the real world has any idea who you are or why they should pay attention to your work. This does not mean all is lost; it just means that you are going to have to work a thousand times harder to get your name and your novel out there. You have to be really creative with your marketing and the description/cover artwork for your novel, or you’re going to get lost in the shuffle. That’s just how it is.

Truth #2: Self-pub isn’t free.

As soon as you start putting a self-pub novel out there, you are going to have a lot of offers for help with marketing. The thing is, most of those marketing services cost a minimum of $10/month. If you expect to make money off a self-pub novel, you have to have money first (which, unfortunately, I do not) or have an established clientele/audience already.

Truth #3: It’s a lot of stress.

That whole nail-biting thing I mentioned in a previous post has not let up ever since I submitted my novel to KDP. My stomach is still in knots as I type this. I’m constantly checking Amazon to see if I’ve sold any copies or if I’ve got any new reviews. It will steal your life and your sanity, so just be prepared for that.

Truth #4: Self-pub is liberating.

Not only can you make sure your novel or book keeps all the important parts and stays the way you want it, you can also upload new versions if something does have to be changed. Made a mistake while editing? Just upload a new version. Need to fix a scene or inconsistency? Upload a new version. Need to change the ending so it will match your next installment? Apologize, and upload a new version. It’s quite nice, actually.

Truth #5: Self-pub can work.

In all honesty, the fourth truth about self-pub can make all the other ones worth it. I love having control of my work and being able to have full say over what stays and goes. That doesn’t mean I’ll never consider traditional publishing again, even for this novel, but it does mean I’m not giving up hope just yet. So far, I’ve got two great reviews and a decent amount of downloads and buys, so we’ll see where this book can go with self-pub. If I strike it rich with the lottery or something, I’ll hire some people who can help me with marketing and make it really big.

All in all, self-publishing is a challenging, risky business and if you like letting other people handle things for you, it is not for you. However, if you like having control over your own work and not having to wait on rejection letters and denied manuscripts, self-pub might be for you.

Here’s the link to my self-published, ages 16+ YA novel, Diary of a Rocker’s Kid, in case you’re interested: D.O.R.K. on Kindle

Hope you all have a great day or evening!

-H.D.

Reeeeeejected.


Nobody likes that feeling. But it is a huge test of your determination as a writer and/or composer. I’ve sent in music to a publishing company before and it got (nicely) rejected, and just now I received a rejection letter from an agent. Hearing back in the same day as a first-time writer, I thought it was probably an “I don’t have time for inexperienced writers, go somewhere else” rejection letter, and in a way it kinda was–but at least, again, she was nice about it.

What do you do when you get a rejection? And this isn’t only for writers. In life, we face all kinds of rejection. Sometimes from family, sometimes from friends (and crushes), and sometimes from complete strangers. When is it acceptable to quit?

Well, in the realm of publishing, at least, the concensus seems to be “when you die.”

Did you know that “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” a multi-million dollar franchise, was rejected 140 times before it was finally picked up?? “Gone With the Wind” was rejected 38 times. “Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone” was also rejected multiple times.

My new mantra is “never give up.” Rejection just means there was something in my story that did not agree with the agent’s personality or belief system. Okay, so I won’t bother her with it again. But as she told me in her letter, publishing is a subjective business. She didn’t believe in my story, so she didn’t waste both of our time and dollars trying to promote something she didn’t like, and I can respect that.

It’s the same way in life. If one relationship or friendship doesn’t work, another one will. Rejection from family is tough, but there’s usually someone else to fall back on, and sometimes you don’t even know they’re there until you need them. And if strangers reject you, who cares? You don’t know them anyway.

Never. Give. Up.

There’s always a new direction to be taken, all you gotta do is decide if there’s one to be found or if you have to make one.

~N.L.

Sources:

http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/arts/literature/14-best-selling-books-repeatedly-rejected-by-publishers.htm

http://www.examiner.com/book-in-national/30-famous-authors-whose-works-were-rejected-repeatedly-and-sometimes-rudely-by-publishers