Saturday, 25 June 2011

99 Cents? Yup.

I've been reading a lot about price experimentation. Basically, this is where a writer adjusts the price of his/her e-book to see which sells best. "Gasher Creek" has been selling, but I'd like to see what a price tag of .99 cents does.

99 cents! Yes, it's true, but I have to accept that, although I've been writing for years, I haven't been publishing for years. No one knows who I am outside of a few friends and family members. Do I think "Gasher Creek" is worth more than 99 cents? I do. But what I think doesn't matter. What matters is connecting with readers. If I stumble across an author that I've never read before, I'm going to be very wary about giving him/her my hard earned money. But 99 cents is cheap. You can't even buy a chocolate bar for 99 cents anymore. I can give a new author a try for 99 cents.

In other Birch news: I just passed the first 10,000 word mark on my new novel! I'm still not sure if it's going to end up being a novel or novella, but I'm having a lot of fun working on it.

Will write more soon.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Writer's Block: For Reals?

Up until a couple weeks ago, I would have said, with absolute certainty, that there was no such thing as writer's block. Does. Not. Exist. A pathetic excuse for a frightened writer. I've been writing since I was 11 years old, and I had never experienced writer's block. And then it happened. I got writer's block. 

Yup folks, some boogie men are real.

After publishing "Gasher Creek", I started to have trouble writing new material. I had a pile of short stories, a couple old novels, and a bunch of new ideas. And I couldn't work on any of them. I just couldn't. I tried--I spent hours trying. I even put some of Ray Bradbury's tricks to the test, but nothing happened. It was just gone.

This, to say the least, was a terrifying experience. I felt like I had lost an arm or a leg. It made me think of poor W.P. Kinsella, who lost his writing ability after being struck by a car. But I wasn't struck by a car. So how did it happen?

I still don't know, however I have some suspicions. I think it was either:

a.) The fulfillment of a goal that I'd had since age 21 (finish and publish a novel). Now that the goal was reached, what reason did I still  have to write?
b.) The positive responses of readers. This may sound odd, but I think it gave me a bit of performance anxiety. Could I make my next project as good?
c.) Trying too hard. I think I was forcing myself to write, and forcing yourself to do anything is never a good idea. 

So what did I do to reverse this? Well, I did nothing. Seriously--I stopped writing. I set it aside and watched TV. Went for walks. Got REALLY depressed. And then, a few days ago, it just started again. Snap--just like that, after a three week absence. I got an idea, and I started a new book.

I don't understand it. The creative process is mysterious to say the least, but now it seems even stranger to me. And that's the word, I think: A stranger. A shadowy guest that comes to spend time with you for awhile, and then bids a fond farewell. Where he goes, I have no idea.

I've had plot knots take days to unravel. Sub-conscious symbols from my own life have popped up in my stories without my knowledge. I've even had disagreements with my characters (and they always win), but I've never had my ability simply leave without so much as a note.

Quite rude, this muse.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Oh Well

So, I finished the 2003 sci-fi novel and didn't like it. You know how a movie's first two acts can be great, but then it just dives in the third? This is what happened. I liked the characters, I liked MOST of the story, but then it just fell apart.

With the sci-fi book retired, I'm now free to write all new material. I've been editing for so long now that "new material" sounds frightening to me. However, I have six brand new short stories to write (the other four are re-writes from earlier versions), so I'll have a chance to remember how it's done. It's very exciting, and very nerve wracking.

Some good news! I'm only three downloads away from achieving my second sales goal. I've had a few "maybes" and "I mights" from people, so hopefully the numbers will start to climb. I've also been brainstorming about new marketing ideas, and hope to try a few of them out.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Baking a new batch o' short stories, reading a super old novel

One short story down, nine to go. The first one is a strange, creepy little story--just the way I like it!
I'm also loving the read-through of a sci-fi novel I wrote way back in 2003. Back then, I had a terrible editing phobia, so I just tucked it away and forgot about it. Glad to have re-discovered it!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Out with the old, in with the new

Unfortunately, I've decided to retire another novel. I had high hopes for my fantasy comedy, but I've lost the passion for it. Also, it sucks. I could try to re-work the story, but it would be like starting over at the beginning again.

Fortunately, this hasn't happened to me very often, but it does happen (most writers have stacks of unpublished books that will never see daylight). It's a bummer, but with a pile of short stories to edit, a six year old sci-fi novel that wants to be re-considered, and a novella in the works, I think I'll keep busy for the rest of the year.

Still, it's always hard to say goodbye...