Dark Time

craneI wasn’t sure about publishing this. I tend to self-censor massively when I post things about being down or less than positive. Just like how I go back through old diaries and either pull pages out, or throw everything away. It’s terrible. A really bad habit. That side is a very big part of me and I shouldn’t keep pretending that it isn’t there, and that those feelings, however awkward they may be afterwards, don’t exist or matter. They came from somewhere so should be respected and acknowledged. I guess I am tired of hiding that part of myself and pretending that everything is always okay.

It’s a bit of a dark time at the moment. I keep looking at the heap of paper that makes up book two and thinking ‘what’s the point?’ and ‘is it worth it? Probably not’. I think it’s the struggle of getting anyone to give a damn about the first book (either for review or purchase), coupled with the fact that in the first book, Rise of the Reaper, I’m introducing a new world and characters means unavoidable world building and some exposition – the start is quite slow, but I don’t think it is realistic for characters to not ask questions or be told about this new world, and the same for readers.

The world, and some backstory to stuff that will be relevant needs laid down as a foundation. I was very painfully aware that it might be too much, and that the pace might be affected, but I had to weigh it up against what I thought was right for the characters and stories going forward – right for what made sense. This is a magical land, often torn apart by wars, so the younger characters are going to want or need to know more. It is hard to get right and I don’t know that I ever could.

pam1I shouldn’t get down about that specifically, or that it has been an issue for some people, but I think it is because it was one of my fears. I did my best to distill the information, because I believed (and still do) that it was the right thing to do, and it has to stand. It makes me worry for book two, though – how do you deal with recapping that for a potential fresh reader? Anyway. I think that’s just a couple of elements of my overall blue mood these days – some additional life stress doesn’t help, of course. I hate being anxious and blue about things.

Being an indie publisher can be pretty shit. In fact, that’s most of the experience so far. I’m pretty jaded by it all. Two or three years in and it is endless money out and nothing back in, a nightmare to get reviews, a massive time sink as you scour the net for information, magic marketing bullets, more potential reviewers, or constantly spend money on and tweak Facebook ads, waste money you don’t have on Goodreads, and more.

Through all this you have to start on the next book. Right now I really don’t want to, but I have to. There’s nothing else I am good at, nothing else I have a chance of making a career with and earning a respectable living, supporting my family, gaining a sense of self-worth, etc. But all I see right now is months of aggravation, thousands of pounds in copy-editing, proofing, and formatting, stress over covers and blurbs… and for what? A third book that doesn’t sell. I could be hopeful – that’s my usual stance (short for burying my head in the sand and hoping for the best). At least I could make book one free and use it to push book two like all the marketing bumph suggests, ad nauseum.

But with all that ahead, it pretty much kills any passion for getting into Darkwalkers. I think I would be better off pitching for freelance article work – at least I could have a hope of bringing in money for my family. Maybe once I’m into the book it will get better. I doubt it, because the start will be a dick to get right – the start and end are always the most stressful of any book. But there we are. The show must go on. Hopefully I’ll feel more positive in a few days.

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