Use Your Resources!

I’m a lot of things: I’m smart, I’m funny, I have a brilliant smile and, of course, I’m humble. And I’m human. I have a couple foibles, a couple things that make me slightly less than the perfect homo sapien I was designed to be (I did mention that humility thing, right?). I procrastinate (terribly). I set high standards for myself and my work, and often fail trying to achieve incredibly difficult things. Sometimes, though, those high standards make it impossible to move forward.

Sometimes life simply gets in the way.

Sometimes everything falls down around you, things come entirely too fast—you know what? The short answer here is it got to be too much. With Rocky passing and trying to embrace the grasp of a new Day Job Dragon (cuz I get to eat too!) and produce professionally and get something out on my blog and Facebook page and add to the word count for Come Hell or High Water (which wasn’t going too well), it all got to be too much. This all became a horrible cycle with no end and I got overwhelmed. I became <gasp> human.

I needed help.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve never really had a plan. I kinda live my life by jumping in the pool, you know? Once you’re in the air, there’s no turning back—you’re just gonna get wet. So when I decided I wanted to publish, I just dove in, kinda haphazardly. Kinda immaturely. Kinda unprofessionally. I assumed I could just figure it out and everything would be gravy. And then the book came out AND YOU LIKED IT! That meant I had to have a blog and a Facebook and a Twitter account and a Goodreads page and how the hell can I get a book trailer built? I’ve tagged along on blog tours, participated in challenges, created fictitious marketing ploys that I couldn’t really deliver on. I was just doing shit. And I was doing it poorly.

I want to do it right.

That meant I needed a plan.

My mother had a saying that I still hear in my head whenever I can’t figure something out: “Use your resources! Ask somebody!” A long time ago, when I was bullshittin about some middle school project involving poster board and glitter, I’d hear that familiar refrain and curse under my breath. And then ask somebody and get the help I need, about 12 minutes before the project was due. Now, I get what she was trying to say…only damn near 30 years too after the fact. But considering my predicament, I decided to ask somebody.

This week, I had a consultation with Shannon and Toni—the lovely ladies at Duolit Self-Publishing. You may not recall but I wrote a piece for them last year about Managing Expectations for Indie Authors. We had fun and they’ve been my homegirls ever since. Now, though, I needed them professionally. Now I needed someone to help me make sense of it all. And they delivered both a harsh dose of reality and swift kick in the booty—all done professionally of course!

Here’s what that dose looks like:

  • I need another blog. Wait, what? Another one? This was a tough one. Truth is, I struggle with what I should put here on Crooked Letterz. I love talking about villains, about exploring the darker side of stuff, about tearing up Disney shit. But it runs counter to the positive and uplifting message in my books (ok, I even had to laugh at that one). So I gotta set up a new blog. Something that can explore the larger themes in the Heaven Falls series—things like duty and freewill, choice and consequence, forgiveness and mercy and revenge and justice. You know, the light stuff. I am taking suggestions for names.
  • I need a blogging schedule.  You know what would be awesome? If you—and me—had an idea of when I was going to post next and what I was gonna talk about. Sounds amazing. This sounds stupid but I never considered setting a schedule for when I was going to post and even defining WHAT I was actually gonna say. Novel concept huh?
  • In addition to the blogging schedule, I need an overall posting schedule. Do you know how difficult it is to maintain interesting commentary on a blog, a Facebook page, Twitter, Goodreads, and still write pages on a novel? And do my job? And spend some time with the family and try to housebreak this damn puppy (more on that later)? Tough stuff, Maynard. But a simple schedule might make some sense out of the maelstrom.
  • I missed my book deadline. Again. There I said it. All year I’ve been teasing you with release dates for Come Hell or High Water that just can’t happen. Aside from all the personal shit going on here at the ranch, this one has been exceptionally tough. All of these characters live somewhere inside of me and all of them are in dark, lost places. It’s tough to go to that well, stay there, and try to climb back out. A couple times, I got stuck…yeah, that part is fun.

So here’s the good news: the book is about 80% complete and it certainly covers some items I hadn’t planned on (in a good way). I remain surprised by the story and that keeps me interested, which, in turn, keeps you interested. On the down side, those unintended sidebars, those sneaky little subplots, have to be developed and concluded. And that just takes some time. So for a release date, let’s just say FALL 2013. Sorry…

In the end, I fell off my horse and honestly didn’t know how to get back on it again. I wanted to but the whole foot in the saddle while the animal is moving thing didn’t work for me.  Now I have a plan. Now I have a way forward. What this means is I’m climbing back on the horse, slowly, surely, one step at a time. I’ll be up and riding soon—just be patient with me.