Friday, 23 September 2016

Helping Writers One Story At A Time

Writing is a struggle. Not just creatively, but financially. Unless you're lucky enough to have a rich patreon as Harper Lee did, you'll be balancing the cost of writing alongside all the daily expenses of living. There are times when there is nothing left. We writers have to become creative in raising the funds needed to publish and to get our name out there. We have to find ways to pay for editing, cover art, promotion, and so on, while we wait for the book, the one which will sell thousands of copies and fund future releases.

How do we raise the funds needed? Fellow Untethered Realms member Misha Gericke is trying to answer that question by taking two very different routes - fiverr and Patreon. 

I love Fiverr. If you need something done at an affordable rate, it's the place to look. When I purchased new covers for my short story collections, I bought them from a pre-made book cover site. They weren't expensive, and I was not charged extra for a few minor tweaks. When I realised I needed 3D renders, and the same site charged $30 per cover, I knew I had to find an alternative. One quick fiverr search and I found someone who would do all three for $15. It wasn't a tough choice.

Apart from the obvious cost-saving element of fiverr, I've often wondered if it's a viable way to earn money myself. There are of course well established members offering everything from cover design to editing. But like any new starter, they would have started at zero and built their reputation from there. So, Misha joining fiverr has given me the perfect opportunity to learn what it takes to succeed. I will be following her progress with keen interest.

Misha is a talented writer and driven in her desire to succeed. If you use one of her services, from beta reading to mentoring, you'll get the very best she can offer. Drop by her fiverr page and take a look at what she's offering. If you need any of those services and you'd like to help another writer in the process, why not give Misha a chance? 

The second route she's taken is Patreon.

Patreon is radically different to fiverr. Much like Go Fund Me and Kickstarter, it's a crowd-funding site. However, there's a big difference. Rather than trying to raise a fixed amount for one big project, patreons pledge ongoing monthly amounts. Pledges can be as little as $1. Misha does a great job of explaining how it works and why she's joined here. In short, it's not so much about the money, but about getting her name out there. 

Over the years, I've read some scathing attacks on authors using crowd funding sites to raise the money needed to publish. There are those writers who believe it's lazy and bad form to ask for help. Writers should shed blood and tears to raise the money needed to publish! While I appreciate their perspective, there are writers like Misha who are already working a day job, another job offering writing services, as well as trying to find the time to write themselves alongside the milieu of daily life. In the end, they don't have any time left to earn extra money or promote their books. Should these writers give up their dream because they fall just short of what they need? I'm sure you'll have already worked out my answer.

I'm keeping everything crossed for Misha. It's time all her hard work paid off.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

News from the Book Realm

I love sharing book news from my fellow Untethered Realms authors, so today's post was a joy to put together.

Coming this October is the third elements of Untethered Realms anthology, Ghosts of Fire. If you've read the first and second anthologies - Twisted Earths and Mayhem in the Air - you'll know you're in for a treat.

To find out more and read exclusive sneak peeks, blaze your way over to the Untethered Realms website.

Christine Rains has revealed the covers for her upcoming urban fantasy series, Totem. Aren't they stunning? The first book, Dark Dawning, is released on October 17th. All three are now available for pre-order.

Freefall, M Pax's Backworlds Book 7, is on its way! The first draft is completed and the editing has begun. I'm especially thrilled about this piece of news - I love this series. If you like science fiction and space opera, Backworlds is a must-read.

That's it for this month's book news post. Do you have any news you'd like to share?

Thursday, 8 September 2016

It's A TV Show Jim, But As We've Known It

If you're a Trekkie like me, you'll know September 8th 2016 is a significant date for its fans. Fifty years ago today the first episode of Star Trek was aired on NBC, and one of the most iconic and fan-loved series began its journey.

My love affair with Star Trek started during re-runs of the original series in the late 1970s. I was allowed to stay up past my bedtime to see it, and though I watched many more science fiction shows during that time, nothing compared. If I had to put into words what it was I found so fascinating, you'd have to read straight on until morning. So, I'll try to shunt the deuterium from the main cryo-pump to the auxiliary tank and keep it brief.

As I've said many times before, Star Trek was different. And I liked different. I always have and always will do. To me, having a crush on a pointy-eared alien seemed natural. Wishing there were more scary aliens in the next episode was something everyone should want. Dreaming I'd be a science officer on the Enterprise seemed way more appealing than becoming a hairdresser or air stewardess. Why would anyone want to stay on Earth when there was a whole universe out there to explore?

Star Trek was certainly the trigger for my life-long fascination with all forms of science fiction, be it TV, films, or books. It's the reason I started writing. My earliest attempts at writing were poorly written fan fiction. Of course, not all the souls I've encountered have understood my fascination. Like Khan Noonien Singh, they task me! I win them over, eventually. Resistance is futile as my other half now quotes on a regular basis.

Today I shall be celebrating all things Trek. I'll watch some favourite episodes from all the series, perhaps a film, and end up wishing I were young again and about to discover a TV show with strange new worlds. Then I'll smile, because there's a new series coming in 2017.

Live long and prosper, my friends.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

IWSG: Finding Time to Write

It's time for September's IWSG's blog post, which seems to have come around faster than the Enterprise travelling at warp nine. At least it feels that way to me.

What is the group's purpose? To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

September's IWSG question: 

How do you find the time to write in your busy day?

This month's question left me with a dilemma, because I'd already discussed finding time to write last month. To be fair, I talked more about a lack of time rather than the finding of it. However, the group members who read my post did offer some fantastic advice, some of which I'm now implementing. Housework? Not until I've hit the keyboard. Asking for time-out to write and not feeling guilty? Yes, and yes. Saying no to people without having to justify my reasons? I'm working on it.

Today I'd like to talk about a condition that can be a challenge when it comes to making time to write - Clutter Phobia. The slightest thing being out of place or unwanted interloper will have me rearranging my entire writing area. Desk messy? Take everything off, clean, and then rearrange it. Mountains of writing stuff needing to be sorted and refiled for the thousandth time? Do it now, because you sure can't start writing until it's done. 

It's not as bad as it sounds, and I'm sure a large part of it is procrastination. However, I've considered this issue for some time now and decided on two separate strategies to stop the constant need to tidy and rearrange my desk. 
  1. Go through years worth of writing detritus and separate it into 'keep, place in garage for storage, or bin'. Store everything in the garage except for laptop, printer, stationery, relevant writing books, and the files and notebooks for what I'm currently writing. 
  2. Every evening, give my desk and writing area a quick tidy and polish before bed. No major re-arranging allowed. 
I completed step one on Sunday. I went through the usual stages of denial, including telling myself I needed everything and the most random of objects was a much-needed writing totem. After a couple of traumatic hours, with boxes being packed and unpacked and packed again, three boxes of writing stuff went into the garage. What was left went into a trunk I bought a couple of weeks ago, which is to the left of my desk. As you can see, there really is nothing left to rearrange. At least that's the plan.

Clutter phobia be gone!