Too Many Cooks Spoil the Books

I’m I’m a serious bind with the sequel to The Watchmage of Old New York, “Cold Iron.” I was talking to my critique group last week and said that I wasn’t getting any useful feedback, or any at all, from them. It’s true. I bring in a chapter, and everyone just says that it’s great, and I know that it’s flawed.

This is going to sound really arrogant…

The problem is that I’m a veteran writer and writer’s coach of almost 20 years (it’s not skill that makes you a good writer as much as practice and experience), and except for one other person that rarely shows up, everyone else is a dabbler. I’ve been part of critique groups and workshops for 25 years. They’ve been part of 1 or 2. They don’t have the experience to see my work’s flaws. Instead of a give and take, I spend all of my energy coaching them through their writing and even giving mini classes–something I usually get paid for. I need to find a group of more experienced writers, but there are none in my area.

In a blatant attempt to get me to stay, the creator of the group edited the whole novel. Sounds great, but I already have an editor. Now I have 3 different edits for the book (from the group, from this guy, and eventually from my actual editor) and I can’t start revising until I have all three and can integrate their ideas.

Worse, the guy from the group thinks I should expand it (it’s already over 80k) when I want to reduce it. It’s very confusing and annoying. Having more than one person critiquing or editing your book at once is bad news. You end up with too many versions of the same piece. I want one editor per draft, and I was getting that. Now I’m getting a headache.

I hoped to get the book out this year, but I’ll be lucky to get it out next (the first Watchmage book came out in November of 2015). It’s only on the 5th draft, and I’d like to do 5 more. I would rather but out a quality book than a fast one, but I’m under a lot of pressure to get that book out. With a series, you need to keep the books coming at a regular basis, or readers will forget what happened in the previous book. As they say, the best promotion is another book.

I’m basically losing any momentum I had, and I didn’t have much to begin with.

I don’t know who’s more arrogant: me for complaining that I wasn’t getting quality feedback, or the guy that decided to edit my whole thing, suddenly thinking that he can give what I asked for when he couldn’t during group.

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Humble Brag

So the good news is that my blog broke 17,000 views the other day. I don’t know if that’s good or not, but it’s a few thousand more than last year. The bad news is that I was hoping to break 20,000, and it doesn’t look like I’m going to do that. Still, I’m happy.

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Less bragging:

I got my review for The Watchmage of Old New York back from the Writer’s Digest 24th Annual Self Published Book Awards. No, I didn’t win. I did score an average of 4 out of 5 though, but I feel that I could’ve done better. The full review pointed out some weaknesses, some i was aware of, some I was not. I’m considering posting the review. It’s brutally honest. My mood has been pretty shitty for some time now, and the review didn’t make me feel any better. I know that it’s a big contest and a 4/5 is pretty good considering that thousands enter. It just feeds into my insecurities that I’m not good enough. But hell, what good writer thinks they are? If you don’t think that your work is shit, you’ll never try to get better.

The constant rejection from agents has been hurting me too. I’ve pretty much given up.

Man, all of my stuff goes to dark places these days. I’m having trouble writing the 3rd Watchmage book. The second one is still in edit phase. My super secret romance project under a different name (shhhhh!) is almost ready, and the website going along with it is becoming something bigger than I expected. I don’t talk about sexuality here for good reason, but I’m human and it’s a big part of who I am. Like everyone else, I need to be loved…preferably as often and in as many different positions as possible. 😉

Ok, that’s why I don’t talk about it here.  Bad Craig! Naughty, evil Craig!

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Ok, I’m punching out. I’m freaking starvin.

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Conference Excitement

Two weeks ago I was asked to give a presentation on The Hero’s Journey for Indie Authors Day at the Tivoli Library, near Bard College and about two hours north of me. I thought, “that’s great, I love doing workshops, and I love talking about The Hero’s Journey. A presentation is more like a lecture, but maybe I can jazz it up to my normal style. And it’s just in time to prepare people for NaNoWriMo.” Even though it’s not at Bard, its mere proximity had a special influence on me. I was accepted there as an undergrad, but couldn’t afford it.

I was excited. I AM excited. Especially when I found that it would be far larger than any of my normal workshops. It was a new challenge for me, but I was ready. Later I would be in a panel discussion with other authors, and the whole thing would be recorded and put on the net.

I even made The Watchmage of Old New York 99 cents on Amazon to go with the event (psst, you should buy it. It’s super awesome).

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Kindle 99 Cent Sale!

I’m running a short promotion for the first half of October. The Watchmage of Old New York  is only 99 cents for Kindle! If you like historical fantasy, mysteries, and weirdness, you’ll love this book!

Here’s the back page blurb:

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It is 1855, and Nathaniel Hood walks between two worlds.

As the Watchmage of New York City, Nathaniel is charged with protecting, regulating, and administering justice to the myriad supernatural beings immigrating to the city. When his policeman son, Jonas, is brutally beaten by Veil Dwellers—creatures born of human legends and dreams—while investigating a kidnapping that has the city in an uproar, Nathaniel breaks his vow not to interfere with human society and joins the search.

While searching for the kidnapped infant heir amidst the broken lives of the supernatural on the Bowery, father and son discover the heir’s terrible secret born in ancient magic, lust, and blood.

The Watchmage of Old New York is an expansion of the award-winning and highly popular serial from JukepopSerials.com. It’s a blend of fantasy, history, humor, and mystery, wrapped in a well-detailed and vivid mid-19th century New York.

There’s never a bad time for a book. Lately I’ve been reading books through the Kindle app on my phone. I’m never without a good read, and you shouldn’t be either.

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New Review For Watchmage!

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Getting reviews is painful. There’s the struggle to actually get the review, as most readers don’t bother to review the book (even though that’s the best thing that they can do for an author). The other is the fear from putting yourself out there for critique and the knowledge that a bad review can sink a book’s sales. In fact, many reviewers and other authors will give their competitors 1 star reviews out of spite. That makes me so angry that my eyebrows furrow into one Uberbrow (the Uberbrow is a fearsome beast). We’re not competitors. It’s not like there’s a limited number of books to read, and the goal is to hook new readers for everyone. Once someone gets the book bug in them, they’re a reader for life.

Reviews are rare, so it’s perfectly acceptable for me to jump up and down when I get one, especially when it glows like Bruce Leroy at the end of The Last Dragon (and if you haven’t seen The Last Dragon, watch it RIGHT MEOW). Here’s the review:

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Pardons

Pardon my absence. I recently started writing the third novel in the Watchmage Chronicles, not to mention my daily excursions hunting the elusive pokemon (my calves are killing me). Every time I want to blog, I end up working on the novel.

So where’s the second book? I decided that I acted in a rash manner when I eschewed an agent and self-published. I was angry at the way my publisher was treating my first novel, and the “agents” that came forward to represent me were obvious scams. Not to mention the pervasive fear that keeps coming back: I will die before I finish my stories. I know that has to do with Valerie’s death, but it’s a part of me now. You never know when the end is coming, so spend every day as if it’s your last. If it’s my last, I’ll keep writing.

Not that I regret self-publishing–I like the personal control–but I live too close to the buck, and I don’t write fast enough to make a solid living with it. A novel a year is about all that I can manage.

Instead of releasing the next book right away, I am querying agents, hoping that they will overlook the fact that it’s already out there. I dug myself into a hole, but I want to climb out.

Even if no one bites on Watchmage, I have ideas for new stories. Worst case scenario is that I keep Watchmage self published and go for an agent with that one.

Anyway, I’ll try to blog here more often. I have an idea for a new article on writing, that I think will go over well.

Have a super awesome happy fun time day.

Craig

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