Tag Archives: writing

A Writer’s Struggle

I often read articles about writing as a business: how to get sales, how to market, is it worth it? Some of these articles say the same thing, and though I would hope against the truth, much of what I find is the same.

No. Published or otherwise, a writer may not be able to support herself just by writing books. If you’re making money as a writer, it’s not because you’re writing fiction. You’re writing non-fiction How To books and freelance articles for blogs, dealing with subjects that don’t matter to you at all.

I’ll be honest: Lately, I’ve been thinking about giving up. In fact, I’ve been at that place many times in my life. It’s always just a phase, but the truth remains: I’m not able to support myself as a writer, and I may never be.

Writing has been a struggle for a while now. I’d say it has been for the past 2 years since I started my current job. It’s not always a question of what I should write – I do have a few ideas put back – but it’s finding the time and focus when there is so much else going on. At some point you realize that you’re an adult with an adult life, and no matter how you slice it, a part of having an adult life is always going to be bills.

The honest truth is that what you do with your life all comes down to money – the stress of needing money from somewhere and not making enough to pay those dreaded bills. And this applies to doing anything you love. Sometimes you just can’t manage to get paid for it.

In the midst of these thoughts, I was out one night after work, thinking that I just couldn’t do it anymore. I wondered if all my effort was worth it, and if I gave up writing, could I move forward? What else was out there? I looked at my phone and saw that someone had tagged me on Twitter. I checked it out and there was a link that led me to Instagram. There, I saw a picture of the books in my Nevermor trilogy. A book blogger was doing a post challenge, and when asked which author she would like to meet, she chose me.

I actually started tearing up. It just meant so much to me to see my books like that, in print and in someone’s possession. To have someone say that they love my work certainly makes me feel that I don’t regret what I’ve done and am doing.

It really does seem that every time I start feeling down, something like this comes along to lift me back up. What I am doing is not at all for naught, though it has been difficult to find time for it.

Things are harder now. My day job requires so much attention that I can’t even think about anything else, develop plots or ideas. I have approximately one serious writer friend, and now we have both become so wrapped up in having day jobs that we barely talk, let alone write together. Lately and for a while, the only thing my brain can think about is making money. How can I make money with my books, and do people really do that? From what I’ve read, even most published writers struggle.

The truth is, I don’t need too much to live right now. That may mean a downgrade from the life I’m currently living, but I believe I could do it. I think I could be perfectly happy without a job, but how to get there? What is enough for happiness?

I have 10 books for sale right now – 10 beautiful books – and a few more that I wrote in my twenties and haven’t released yet. I honestly want nothing more than to be able to support myself with writing.

The night after the Instagram pic, I dreamed an entire plot, and I was so excited about it! It felt so good to know that there was still something there, almost like a sign, that my own mind was telling me ‘we’ve still got it’.

I’ve started thinking: maybe writing can still be accomplished if I try to make time in my life for everything. A schedule. Everything has a time and place. Because of how inspiration strikes, this may not be completely possible, but there must be some way to organize this instead of me wasting so much time moping because I’m unhappy and worrying that the spark is gone. That happens with you overthink everything.

I’m happy to say that I’m writing again, and it feels good. Does it erase all the stresses that life in modern society brings? No. But maybe with more effort and learning, I can finally get to a place where everything balances out. I’m looking forward to finding that.

Shadow Sun Book Trailer and Preorder Info

First I have to say: Happy Anniversary to Project Nevermor! I missed it (again) but it has been 3 years (wow) and that deserves some recognition.

For those who haven’t seen it yet, the book trailer for Shadow Sun has been released! It’s simple, but it does the job. I’m pleased with it, and I think it sets the mood for the book very well. Feel free to share it if you’d like. That helps get the word around, you know. 🙂

Instead of simply promoting my book and leaving it at that, I thought I’d give a little info about how I made this trailer, for any who are interested in making trailers for their own books.

First, I’d just like to say that this trailer cost me absolutely nothing to produce. I used Windows Live Movie Maker, which is a program that was already on my computer. The images are my own, the music was free, I added my own voice, and I put it together myself. If you’ve also seen the trailer for Nevermor (I didn’t make one for Forsaken Dreamscape), you may not know this, but I probably spent about $100 on images to put the thing together. This time, I didn’t do that. I had my book cover, and I told myself I was going simple. That’s what I did.

I didn’t really have a plan when I started it.  I had already created a few images in a photo-editing program that I have, and so those images for the end of the trailer were already created. Of course I also had my book cover at the ready, which is all I really used to make this trailer. I like the way it looks like it’s animated, but actually it is only a few still images that I cropped from the book’s back cover image, and ran them together quickly with a slight animation effect. Ta-da! It’s snowing! Then it was just getting my vision together, finding the right music (which I had already downloaded a while ago, and was lucky enough to have on my PC already. Also, if you are using music, be sure to follow the rules of whoever created it. If they are giving it away for free use, they may ask you to mention them or link to their site.) I had to be sure that I placed all the proper information about the book in the trailer, so that it can stand on its own and let people know what it is, and then there it was! Finished!

I had to mess with it for a while to get it right, and it took me several hours, but I’m happy with the end result, so the time was worth it.

This video is linked in directly from my YouTube channel. Did you know I had one of those? Okay, so there isn’t too much there yet, but I’ll be adding a few video interviews and readings in the near future to give it a bit more life. Anyway, you can follow me there to see all the videos that I post. HERE

In addition, Shadow Sun is now available for preorder on Amazon! HERE Why is this a good thing? Because you can get the special preorder price, which is only available through this offer. Plus, all preorder sales are counted as first day sales, so it helps to push the book further up on the bestseller list. As for other online sellers, I haven’t arranged for that yet, but the print book and Kindle versions should be available on the day I announced: 11/3/15. It’s possible also that soon, the ebook will be available for preorder through B&N, Smashwords, and iTunes as well, but for now it can only be found on Amazon.

Once again, be sure to add the book to your reading list on GOODREADS: HERE

Lots of links to follow in this post…I have a lot more planned on the road to Shadow Sun’s release day. I’ve got more videos and ideas to share. Very soon, I’ll begin posting sample chapters of Shadow Sun on Wattpad, and I’ll begin posting those weekly until release day, so that should get you six chapters as a preview before release.

In the meantime, be sure to follow me on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Wattpad, Goodreads and this blog for more info on this and all my other projects.

Thanks again for your support, everyone!! I couldn’t do this without you!

THE NUTCRACKER BLEEDS Hardback Edition is here!

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post, and I apologize for that. I’ve been busy, and unfortunately only part of that has been with writing, but I’m hoping that I can do a little better in 2015. I know there are a few things I really need to address – mostly about the Nevermor trilogy – but I’m going to save that for another post and stick to the matter at hand.

I have not yet shown any pictures on the blog of The Nutcracker Bleeds hardback copy, so I’m going to do that now!

IMG_0478[1]IMG_0484[1]IMG_0480[1]IMG_0485[1]As you can see, the book looks great! It’s 6×9 black linen casewrap with gold foil lettering on the spine, with matte dust jacket on the outside.

The binding is sturdy, the printing looks nice, and I’m very happy with it overall. In fact, if I can find the time, I plan to sit down with it myself and have a read to get the full experience on Christmas.

This edition of the book is only available through Lulu.com, and can only be purchased by US buyers. but the ebook and paperback have both been set up for extended release, so those should be widely available by now. If you want to find it, (or my other works) just try doing a search for ‘Lani Lenore’ at your favorite online bookstore and see if I show up. (If you need links for different countries, let me know and I’ll see what I can come up with.)

A reminder: there is a coupon code for Lulu right now that will save you 25% now through Christmas! Enter KTP4 at checkout to get this deal (also may have to set up an account with Lulu).

Each time one of books is printed and sitting on the shelf in front of me, I feel so excited, and I just hope that others have that feeling as well. I know that some of you do. 🙂

Another year is winding down, and it has been another great one for me and my books. Thanks to all of you for your continued support, and I hope I can make next year just as great! I’ll be back with more Nevermor news as soon as I can get my affairs in order. (I’m moving soon, so my life is in a bit of disarray, but I hope to be back to normal after the holidays.)

If I don’t manage to post again before the end of the year, I hope you all have a great one, and you’ll hear for me again soon!

Rewriting an Existing Story vs Writing from Scratch

As many of you know (but for those who don’t) my Nevermor series is based on a Peter Pan fanfiction that I wrote back in the day, approximately 10 years ago. Yet throughout those ten years, I’ve given it a bit of attention from time to time as far as editing and updating the content, gradually improving it along the way, and when I decided to take on this project, I thought I’d be golden.

I made a pretty big mistake – which in reality may not have been a mistake at all. I didn’t READ the one I’d already written, only relied on MEMORY to drive me as I created the new book.  I finished Nevermor and was feeling good about it, and I thought: Okay, the second book is already written.  All I have to do it tweak it some, clean it up a bit, and it’ll be done!

So, so wrong.

While I was able to go in a whole new direction with Nevermor and guessed that I would fix this one accordingly, I hadn’t taken the degree of material that I would have to remove or completely rewrite from Forsaken into account.

In a way, this has been good. I love what I did with Nevermor and I don’t regret it. The rewrites are tedious, but this approach is forcing me to correct things that I didn’t like about the story instead of letting them slide – to really examine the plot and the characters and set things up a bit better.

Consider, there are 10 years of writing experience between where I was and where I am now.  That’s certainly a lot, and worth the effort to capture.

Here are a few of the things that I feel make the rewrites MORE difficult than if I was simply writing it fresh:

Sorting through sections/sentences – There have been many instances in which I’m picking through portions of the rewriting as if looking for rotten spots, trying to decide if I should keep this piece of a sentence and work with it or simply trash it and write another. In the past, I was NEVER able to delete anything I wrote. If I wrote a paragraph, it stuck, even if I stated the same thing in another paragraph later. To say that I can delete portions of my writing truly shows how far I’ve come in understanding what is better for the story.

I added new details in the new book that affect this one more than I thought: It was my intention that all the books should go together, and yet stand alone in their own way. Instead of drawing one long story out over three books, you’re getting three great stories that go together, but also stand alone with their own plot. So, I wasn’t too worried about the new book, Nevermor, being different, but because of the way that I looked into the past and built onto the story, certain details about the characters have been affected. It’s not a bad thing. It gives the characters more life. It just makes the rewriting more difficult.

There is less building and new discovery – The main thing I find discouraging about this one is that I keep getting bored with it as I go along. The reason for this is because I don’t have as much brainstorming going on, and I don’t feel the exciting rush of new ideas as I build this story and watch it unfold, because it is already there. I have built onto a few things, and that was fun, but it’s difficult to remember the contours of this clay I was shaping so many years ago…

When I first started this conversion project, I probably would have told everyone that this was the way to do it:   write the second book first and then go backward. (ha!)  In the end, I’d almost – ALMOST! – rather just be writing this from scratch. It’s going to be awesome in the end, but working on it has seriously been giving me a headache!

But I digress. It is the price that must be paid for art. So, now I turn to it once again.

I find that I keep cutting my wordcount as I delete paragraphs and add new ones, and right now I’m drifting somewhere around 140K, but that’s still a good number. It’s progress!

Forsaken Dreamscape: progress and what’s changing

I’ve let the blog slip this month, but I haven’t had much to report. I set aside the month of April for Camp NaNo, during which my goal was to rewrite the first few chapters of Forsaken Dreamscape. I’m pleased to announce that I have reached my goal of 30,000 words and have pretty much gotten myself where I want to be chapter-wise!

It’s going well. I can feel the characters growing so much more this time, and the story is carrying itself a bit better in the beginning. I think this is going to work out. 🙂

It didn’t occur to me until yesterday that what I am doing with these rewrites is what I have done with every fairytale I’ve ever twisted. I take a story that’s already there and I note the elements I want to keep, and then I rework everything so that I can keep the important stuff but yet it flows in a different way. Simple, right? Eh…

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned that I wanted to make notes about a few things that have to be different this time around. If you haven’t read Nevermor, Forsaken Dreamscape, or if you want to be surprised, you might want to skip over it.

For those who are curious, here are a few things that are changing:

  • One of the most obvious things, I think, is that there is no crocodile anymore. Those scenes will be rewritten and fully re-imagined when the time comes.
  • Wren no longer has the fire breath, though I will still include the same idea and purpose for the demon kiss, just without that element.
  • The fairy character, Anasia Angeldust is no more. I always hated that part and reallly wanted to get rid of her. Now I have. Yay.
  • The Rifter character has been presented in a different way that I think everyone will find more agreeable and realistic to the storyline.
  • The circumstances for the corruption of the world have been adjusted in order to line up with the Nevermor storyline.

I think this covers some of the major differences within the first few chapters, at least.  These rewrites will, I believe, show how much I’ve grown as a writer since I first wrote them 10+ years ago, and will allow this story to truly become something of its own. For those who only liked the beginning and no longer enjoyed it after it got darker, well, you’re out of luck. :/

I, on the other hand, am very excited for myself and for the story. 🙂

I’m getting closer to completing what I’d like to call my ‘first draft’. (Chapter 1-5)  What was once 23,000 words has grown to 30k. Still, I’m a long way from having it ready. Many of these words are scattered around, but I had to cut into what I had, and in ways that was harder than starting from scratch.

On another note, sales for Nevermor have been, well, better than most self-published writers probably get, but still a long way from being great. Still, I’m thankful for what I’ve gotten and the bit of attention I’ve managed to get. Most of my readers have come from Wattpad (That’s only my guess) but others who have come across the book randomly seem to really love it. I’ve read it several times myself and I really believe in the book. It’s good. I just wish I could let more people know about it. I’m still working on all that.

One thing that has baffled me is that I’ve run Facebook ads and gained several hundred Likes, and though people seem to be responding to the idea of the book, I’m not seeing near that many sales. It’s sort of baffling me. Maybe you can help me out.

When you get ready to buy a book, what do you have to take into account in order to purchase it? Is it about more than just the cover and description?