(I’m currently writing Mermaid Problems, my first novel. Read about how I started writing fiction here)
I mentioned in my initial writing post that I’ll be posting chapters up on Wattpad, and want to have at least four chapters ready to go and four being revised before I start publishing weekly. That’s still my goal, and I currently have six chapters written and am revising the first five right now. I kind of planned the book out in five parts, and the first part is completed.
Once I got near the end of the first part, I realized two important things. 1) I didn’t know what happened next (part one had always been pretty clear in my head) and 2) I didn’t know how to figure it out. I knew enough about writing to see that my protagonist was just reacting to everything around her but had no real motivation. And while I had some idea of the plot, I didn’t have any clue how to arrange things. How does pacing work? I’ve read a lot of books that fall apart midway, and I really didn’t want to write one.
At this point I was dealing with a lot of resistance to writing, and our summer had gotten very busy so I considered just sticking it on the back burner until fall. I was trying to choose where to focus my limited energy, and writing was not something bringing in an income. I had a friend call me out on it and ask me if I was wanting to stop because of time, or if I wanted to stop because writing is hard… Well, it was mostly the latter so I kept plugging away.
At this point I was binge listening to the AuthorStrong podcast. It’s a great listen for authors starting out because the hosts are a new author and her mentor. There’s also a lot of craft talk, where I find that the other writing podcasts I listen to are more marketing based (which I love, but I need the craft help!). AuthorStrong had a great episode with Libbie Hawker talking about plotting and I immediately bought her book Take of Your Pants and read it in a day. Then I read it again while writing notes for Mermaid Problems, and it all came together for me. Thank you Libbie! Sometimes you just need things explained in a way that clicks with you, and that’s what Take of Your Pants did for me (also, it’s funny to tell people about).
I’ve found that having a more solid plot has helped me a lot with my sporadic writing schedule. Knowing what the next scene will be saves me a lot of the sitting around trying to remember where I was. I don’t have the whole book plotted down to the scene, I have the key points worked out but no details. I then plot each part (of my five parts) in more detail as I approach them. This seems to give me the flexibility to work things out, but I still know where I’m going. However, it’s my first book, who knows how long this will work?
I have a solid plan now, but am still struggling with writing time. I’ve decided that now is not the time to stress. My oldest starts Kindergarten full time in a month (cue the tears) and our life will be much more scheduled. I’ll take a look at my work time then and get more regular writing in.
I’m going to be the first to admit that I think more about marketing than any first time author should. I know it’s more important to write the book. I know this. But between my cover design business and my general INTJ need to create amazing strategies, I just can’t help myself. I often hear authors sighing about how they just want to write and forget about all this marketing nonsense, but I’m so excited to put my ideas into practice and see how they work.
To start with, I’m 95% certain that I’m going to use a pen name. Not because I want to hide, not because I don’t like my name, but because I’d rather have my book brand separate from my cover design brand. Easier for google? I’m planning to publish under Rose Sandvig, which is just my middle name instead of my first name. Nothing fancy. This still took me three weeks or so to decide on.
For my Wattpad launch, I’m planning on creating a landing page that both rosesandvig.com and mermaidproblems.com will point to (don’t go there yet, I own the domains but I haven’t built the site). The landing page will include the book’s description and links to the book on Wattpad, a sign up for when it hits amazon, and a sign up for the newsletter campaign I’m planning to run while I’m publishing on Wattpad. This campaign is going to be a really fun way to interact with my fans (who I hope to acquire…) with Q&A videos and fun artwork that release weekly to people who are reading along.
Finally, I’m working on the book’s cover. Of course. I’ve got it sketched out, and when it’s finished I’ll be able to use it for the landing page and put it up on Wattpad. I’d like to have that all up a month before I start publishing, just to know that it’s all in place. The header image is a sneak peek at the sketch.
I really need a solid deadline, but I still don’t know what my fall schedule will look like. I’m going to be spending half of next month camping. I am trying to just not stress about it too much. But I’d like to start publishing mid-October. I’ll have a firm deadline in my next update. Promise.
And that’s where I’m at right now!