Over this past weekend, I attended a local anime convention called Tokyo in Tulsa. By attended, I mean I sat at a table in the Artist/Exhibit Bazaar and froze. I left a few times for various reasons (basic necessities and the like), but I otherwise stayed in the Bazaar area to promote and sell myself as an author.
I was not the only independent author there. There were a few others as well, and I'd had the chance to speak with them at one point or another. It was a very learning experience for me, a reminder of what it was like to have vendor (basically) space, but it was also on a whole new level. Mainly because this time I was there to promote my
works instead of the works of others (I tried to sell specialty t-shirts back in the day - one failed business venture down, only upwards to go.
The weekend was also when I announced when I will be releasing my fifth publication, the third in my Arc of Fantasy
. It is November 4, the cover art is done, all that remains is getting promotional items to spread the word and getting the book ready for publication (on top of working near full-time hours). So there is that.
As I said, the weekend was a learning experience. I will be, over the next month or so, going over The King and Queen of Wands
and Sigyn's Flowers
for content updates and formatting. I plan on getting Photoshop so I can get all of the covers across the board universal. (Plus, I want to start doing paperbacks and hard covers through Lulu and Barnes and Noble.) This is all thanks to one of the self-published authors who mentioned changing the font sizes and removing the double-spaces. Silly me, I published my manuscripts as if I were sending them to a publishing company to be typeset by them instead of doing the typesetting myself. Learning, experimenting, and going from there, and I do appreciate what this young lady told me. It's only going to help me in the long run.
I also received some critiques from another independent that came across to me as backhanded and negative. I've said this before. I work as a server. I have bills to pay, and I'm supporting a career on top of the bills on a single income that fluctuates day to day. (To note: retail would also fluctuate so, while the income would be steadier, like any job, the hours I would need to do more than just survive are not necessarily guaranteed.) As such, I work within my means to get things done, which means buying ink cartridges, buying my own copies of my books, and buying stock paper to print my own business cards and bookmarks. So I do the best I can with what I have, and I've been quite pleased with how my bookmarks and business cards have printed out. (I had leftovers from ShutoCon - I didn't have the money for the ink cartridge to print more - what extras I had were done by my sister Friday after we'd left for the day.) I'm proud of myself and all that I am accomplishing with what I have. Life hands you lemons, you kill the lemons, crush them, and drink their souls, right? Right!
The author was nice enough but was also quite new. He was there to promote his first book, and we actually did buy each other's books (at the same time, no less, which I still find hilarious). However, each day there was some type of "critique" over what I was doing. Friday, it was that he could tell I'd printed my own bookmarks. Saturday, my table didn't look professional enough, and I needed a black tablecloth. Sunday, it was that my book covers could have been better when I'd used stock images through CreateSpace because I really don't want a crappy-looking cover. While his cover is interesting and he's happy with it, you can tell that the image resolution was low, so it has a very cartoon-ish appearance. His writing style? I don't know yet.
Now I am certain he thought he was helping me, and I am often open for criticism. It was his tone of voice, like he was sad that everything I had was not to his
standards over my
standards. I have a copy of his book, and it is not to my overall standards, either. In fact, I will be aiding him in getting it revised once more to be re-published. How you approach a fellow author is very, very important. Michelle Kay was just so awesome (we did book trades) and sweet so when she mentioned the font size and spacing, it was like a light going off - I didn't think of it. Thank you for bringing it up.
This is where it's really hitting me that this independent author business is not for the faint of heart. Because I will go back and fix errors in my manuscripts, upload them again, and I keep doing so everytime I find something that needs a wee bit further expansion, a wee bit of tweaking, and a wee bit of fixing. This is a never-ending process, but it's also one I quite enjoy because then I get sucked into my own stories, and I pat myself on the back for making myself cry as my own personal reader.
Then there is also this: Every time I release a book, I have to update the manuscripts again. Add that new title or at least when it's coming out. Add a teaser to the end of the previous book (in the case of the Arc of Fantasy
series) so people know that it exists.
As an independent author, it is a constant thing of self-editing (because even critiquers and editors can miss things and accidentally create their own errors). As a writer, I am never done writing the first story or the second or even the third. It's all part of the process, and some days I really dislike it. I can't deny that. However, I also love it. I can't imagine doing much of anything else for the rest of my life.
I'm feeling a little more fortunate in that some of my family is coming around and being more supportive of my career as an author. And I have a best friend I can talk to and have her be a sounding board for what I'm doing. She may not get the whole science-fiction/fantasy thing, but she gets that I love what I do. I have a sister who works on the cover art for me and just does this amazing job with every request.
And I feel so blessed to have had the amazing people next to me at Tokyo in Tulsa as well. The guys at Equinox Comics were awesome and watched my table for me when I had no one else with me . . . okay, I kept asking the one guy to watch my plushies while I was away and to destroy anyone who would attempt to take them from my table. He was so awesome about that, and he drew a head sketch of Fayt Leingod for me. You can't get any cooler than that, in my book. The Canterlot KC group was also awesome. I hope next year they're next to me again. (Yes, I am wanting to return as an author to Tokyo in Tulsa next year. While this year sales were not what I would have liked, I will keep trying. That is all any author can do, is keep trying.)
I am aiming for attendance, at least, for YoumaCon, which is the first weekend in November, and I put myself on a wait list for artist space (because writing is art). That's also when Ravensrealm
will be unleashed upon the public. Sigyn's Flowers
will turn into a short story anthology so, once I get a certain number of stories uploaded, it will no longer be a freebie for download.
I'm super excited for what the future holds for me. I'm not done writing, not done publishing. Not by a long shot.
And now for the cover unveil!
Happy Odin's Day, my friends!!!