About three weeks ago there was a shift. A number of circumstances pushed me into an even tighter schedule. Seven of my eight books had been pulled from distribution. Yup, you read that right, seven out of eight books were yanked from the shelves.
Why, you ask? Well it really was a case of, “I didn’t know what I didn’t know”. What does that mean? Well for the first five books I had little knowledge about how to properly write a book. I had no idea there were rules to follow for such things as proper dialogue setups. NO IDEA! Nor did I understand passive/active voice, show don’t tell, the list really does go on and I won’t bore you with it.
Let’s push forward and I’ll tell you what the new plan will entail. This new and even more frightening plan is only for the next six months. I’m happy to say that I completed my tenth book and have started the next project. So that’s one thing off of my ginormous to do list.
The Mechanical Dragons series. I’ll be frank because why change now, right? This series has not done as well as I had hoped and thought it would. I love this series, the characters, especially the dragons. They were so much fun to write. But the first two books were riddled with issues that I had no idea about. Well the ones listed above of course, but the biggest most prominent problem, the one that got me a scathing review was the POV (Point Of View) issues.
I was all over the place which made that first book very difficult to read. But I was never made aware of the problem, not even the editor I hired commented on it. And it seeped its way through to the third book. This I believe is why those books aren’t successful. So I decided that I’m going to fix them. I’m not rewriting the story, I’m just fixing the problems I didn’t know at the time were problems.
What’s the big deal you may be thinking? Well on top of the writing of my eleventh book, editing my tenth book, having a book signing for my eighth book, I’m writing four short stories, free giveaways for signing up to a newsletter I haven’t started yet, THEN on top of all that, I’m editing four more books (Mechanical Dragons) for rapid release in January and February of next year in anticipation of the fifth book in that series in March of next year!
I thought one project plus one blog post a month at a time was strenuous, I was wrong. Very, Very wrong. I can’t say that I’ve underestimated myself, I won’t truly know until December when all these projects need to be completed. But I have to say that so far, even though I’m a little stressed (Okay a lot stressed), I’m pulling it off. I’m making it happen. So maybe I have underestimated what I’m capable of doing.
I have two takeaways from this. The first is when you really want something don’t set boundaries that may prevent it from happening. I set those boundaries for myself in January when I insisted that I couldn’t do more than one thing at a time. That I couldn’t split my focus. I proved that in the last three weeks that in fact is not true. Not only did I finish 20k words to complete my tenth novel, but I also edited twenty one chapters of the first Mechanical Dragons books. Plus a blog post in there, well two actually.
The second takeaway well let me tell you about the Guardian Series. It was the first three books I had ever written. I loved this series and these characters and the premise behind the story, the whole shebang. I was at the very beginning of my now career and had no idea what I was doing and made one horrendous decision after another. I published these books back in 2012. And by the time 2013 rolled around I regretted that decision. I regretted not researching, not learning and not slowing down. I regretted that the books were not what they could truly be. The characters, the world, wasn’t as rich as I wanted them to be.
Every day I struggled with wanting to pull the books and fix them. As each year passed by and the more I learned and the stronger the writer I became I regretted those books more and more. I finally made the decision that set my mind at ease, that gave me peace and that I knew I was doing the right thing.
I pulled those three books and made the choice to rewrite, not revise or fix but rewrite those books. Tell the story like it is supposed to be told.
The takeaway? Trust your gut, no matter how badly you want something to happen right now, no matter how much you crave that instant gratification, SLOW DOWN, check all the right boxes, cross your t’s and dot those dang i’s! Regret is a terrible bedfellow.
I may feel as though I’m standing on a house of cards, because frankly I sure as shit am, but I’m happy and content and feel good about the choices I have made.
The final thought I will leave you all with today is a quote from an author I met. I never fully understood it until about three weeks ago. So here it is:
“Never, ever, sacrifice what you want the most, for what you want the most at that moment.”
― James A. Owen, Drawing Out The Dragons: A Meditation on Art, Destiny, and the Power of Choice.