week two: life gets in the way

week-two

Remember week one? That was so great.

Week two started with us getting insulation installed on the entire first floor, which turned our just-cleaned home into a war zone one night before my sister came. Then she was here, the day after she left a contractor came, and by then everyone was exhausted for days.

My writing schedule went to shit. I didn’t write Tuesday, Thursday or Friday. Additionally, I read some bleak reports on the self-publishing author outlook. Basically, the e-pub market is saturated right now, and it’s harder than ever to get traction. Amazon is using its genius to try to take as much off the top (i.e., from the writer) as they can. I should have done this years ago (Sorry! I was still trying to be a playwright!). Hugh Howey seems to be traveling the world in his yacht right now drinking mai-tais and taking shirtless selfies on tropical sands, while I and my fellow indie writers hustle and weep. For a lot of indies, it’s a full-time job and they seem to spend more time on self-promotion than on writing, while I’m a stay at home mom who has a few nap-time hours a day to divide among all the other things I have to do.

I spent 100% of my free time on Thursday trying to figure out how to post to the blogging site Medium, based on a book marketing chat I had followed the night before on Twitter. And after all that, I finally accomplished it only to have zero people see any of it! Medium is another full-time job for the people who do it well, and so I decided I could only do so much at a time re: social networking and abandoned that avenue for now. But sometimes it’s just going to feel like wasted effort, because you don’t always know what will pay off until you try it. And maybe it will still pay off at some future time.

But here is the “upside of the downside”–even with all that, I still wrote about 1000 new words, which is more like 2000 when you factor in the words I deleted in order to rewrite. And I even though I was too busy to stick to my new exercise schedule at all, I was apparently also too busy to remember to eat, and I lost two pounds!

I’ll be posting the first excerpt of Chapter 2 on Friday, which I am still rewriting. 2000 words be damned, rewriting one early chapter is a slog that feels like going backwards instead of forwards. This is probably why NaNoWriMo forbids it entirely, but I press on.

If you missed Chapter 1 on Friday (something about an inauguration), you can read it here.

week one, complete. and i’m fee-ee-lin’ good. ♫

weekone72
I’d like to first just pause for a moment in awe that there are eighth notes in this post’s browser address!

Week one has been great–I met and exceeded my writing goals (300 words/day on weekdays)–The Last House in Levittown now stands at 9,210 words. I updated my blog template to be more user-friendly and to better streamline my content, and even added a widget to the homepage to update my daily word count. I also added another widget that makes it easy to follow my blog through either WordPress or by e-mail. I also love saying the word “widget”.

I just plugged in 50k words as a “novel” there because I think that’s what NaNoWrimo says–sort of arbitrary at this point, and a certain number of words does not a novel make, even though you do need a certain number of words to make a novel. I won’t know until I get there how best to break it down in its final version–maybe releasing it in smaller segments, not sure. More to learn about the shape this story will take and also about different publishing strategies before then. For the near future, I’m mostly just concerned with churning out pages.

I’ve just started to learn more about the e-publishing business. Currently reading “Let’s Get Digital” by David Gaughran, which was recommended to me by the author John Birmingham, who recently made the leap himself (although he was leaping from mainstream publishing, whereas I will be leaping from obscurity).  I’m simultaneously reading JB’s newest self-published novel, a great time-traveling romp called A Girl in Time, although I haven’t had enough time yet to read it as rompily as he probably intended. On Gaughran’s blog, he says that curating a mailing list is of unbridled importance and I should have done it yesterday, but I might be unique in that I decided to e-publish before I even had anything to e-publish. So, I’ll get to it when it feels right.

The blog is my central command–ground zero of ground zero, if you will, and it’s been a bit frustrating getting it off the ground in terms of readers. But this is only the first week I’ve published twice, and Friday’s post has had over 50 views (but only after two hours with no hits, in which I kept googling “how to boost blog traffic” while rocking myself, gently.) I’m cross-promoting it on Facebook and to Twitter, where I just opened a new account (my old account, @babesmcphee, went viral one afternoon in 2009 and although that’s one of the most fun and rewarding things to happen to me yet, it kind of stigmatized the account for my own personal purposes and I had long since stopped using it.).

Twitter seems to be both dying and not–I am getting hits from it, but not many. A lot of people who were using it heavily no longer are. I still think is potentially worthwhile over time, although right now it feels a bit nippy over there as I am hanging out in my underwear with only 35 followers! So if you want to see me in my Twunderwear, or even better, follow me, check it out at https://twitter.com/christyhelzner. I was playing one of their hashtag games on Friday and one of my #TrumpNoir tweets got 1300 impressions according to their analytics, so I’m just having fun with it and am happy to see where it goes, or not. I also got like, three free eBooks from authors just for following their pages. Interesting data!

(update: one link was broken, one required signing up for the author’s mailing list, and one required signing up for a newsletter–but it was specifically geared to indie publishing, anyway. so i got one free e-book.)

I’m also closing in a blog routine of one regular post, one novel excerpt, and one progress update per week. I’m going to start posting my novel from the beginning soon, but I have to rewrite Chapter 2 first because I got rid of Penny’s boyfriend (see previous post). I’m sticking to my 300 words/day for weekdays, but weekends are for special projects like that.

Thank you for reading along, and stay tuned! 🙂