A critique of my self-published works.

I become a better writer, storyteller and editor with each story I write. So that leads to the question: Do I regret/hate/cringe at my early works? Answer: Yeah, kinda sometimes. But I still have them up for sale.

To look back on one’s work and cringe is a mark of improvement. Whether it be advancing in a craft or as a person. It means I’ve come a long way, in a good way. It means that my subsequent works will be better in some way. If I just keep churning them out until I eventually create that masterpiece I aim for. But to look at current works, I must look back on my old works to critique.

Fourth Cover

My first publication was Feet or Fins. My mermaid horror. It came out on the 31st of May 2013. This was after I finished my time at UoMelb and realised that I was 23 with nothing to my name. I was a writer with no work. I have to get something out. I think I did almost everything, not wrong, but not quite right. If you know what I mean. So far, it’s my only novel, just barely, though. Just under 51k and has too many POVs for a first-time novel. I did over 13 full book edits, and I remember on my third edit, everything seemed wrong to the point that I rewrote it. Maybe it was the tense? I can’t remember. It’s currently on its 4th cover, and as of last year, I had gone over it again to fix even more errors that I found. God. It really was a learning curve and proof that if I had the sense I do now, I would not have published it until more brutal alterations. But ultimately, I don’t regret publishing this. This little baby has given me much practical experience.

My 2nd work, My Cousin Megan, came out just a year later. A contemporary YA novelette that is Australian in feel. This is a bit more cringy for me because I can feel my teenage angst about living in a country town seep from its pages. Can remember much about writing this. Don’t know why, though. It is also the first story I published overseas.

Thirdly was From the Mountian, a sci-fi short story. It came out just before my 27th birthday. This was a time when I was writing a lot. And I mean a lot. I couldn’t believe how productive I was. It, too, has gone through a few cover changes. I’m thinking that I haven’t found the right image for it yet.

Two months later, The Beau Factor was released, though it had a different name – The Back-up Girl. Unfortunately, the name didn’t suit it. This story was just under 30k and is a YA tale about a girl who’s crushing on her neighbour.

I didn’t publish anything for a year until I got the inspiration for The Witch Room. A short story about two sisters travelling to a witch’s commune seeking help. It’s medieval fiction, and I created the story around a scene that popped into my head randomly at work. The new ebook cover I created in Canva has greatly helped with sales.

In 2019 I published The Things We Do and Sauska (previously called Save One). From memory, I have been working on these for at least a year prior. Both novellas are dystopian, but Sauska is YA and Things is not. I have changed both covers; time will tell if that was a good idea.

Next was my pandemic tales. The Dragon’s Mate at 23k and Matt and Rose at 14k. Both were published in the later half of 2020. Matt and Rose is the first story where I had the main character be a male. I need to do more marketing for these, so I plan to do so later in the year.

My last and most recent publication is Becoming Stardust. This short story is the prequel beginning of the longest sci-fi story I have written. All up, the book will be 120k words, and I had intended it to be published next year. But that’s not going to happen. The novel will need a lot of work, and at the moment, I do not have the time to invest in it, though I have gotten a few good reviews.

What’s next?

Well, 2021 passed with nothing, which might be the case with 2022 unless I produce something. But I’m hoping to push something through. I feel like I’m going through a new season of my life, and maybe when I return to Australia, my brain will change. But who knows?

I completed my 2020 goal :)

I made myself the goal of self-publishing twice this year and I have ūüôā My novella The Dragon’s Mate came out in August and the novelette Matt and Rose dropped only a few days ago. Both are a $1.99 and are available through Amazon and Smashwords plus their networks.

I was worrying about not having Matt and Rose out in time because I seem to be going through a writing/editing slump despite having ample content to produce.

Next year I want to release three stories of any size. I think I can definitely get two out, but I should aim for the stars shouldn’t I.

Writing during the Quarantine

Time, time, time.

Since March I have all the time in the day to write. For the most part I have spent my time equal parts writing, moaning about not writing, and wondering why my organic self cannot work like a machine. However it has not been a complete waste like I infer. These are the things I have done during quarantine;

  • The Dragon’s Mate: I wrote, edited and self-published this novella in two months.
  • Matt and Rose: A novelette that is just about ready.
  • Those in the Forest: Plan for a supernatural story about an escapee from a recluse cult. Only has a few thousand words have been written. Probably won’t be done for at least a year.

My first pre-made book cover

My first attempt at buying a pre-made book cover has been a great experience. I wasn’t intending to buy one but as I was looking at covers for inspiration; I came across the one I wanted. The moment I saw it, I knew I had to get it.

I found this one by simply searching for pre-made book covers and found the website The Book Designer. I searched for witches and boom. This one came up I think on the first or second page. The text was not the same but damn the picture spoke to me. I paid US$95, which worked out to around ¬£75 and I got it done in under 48 hours. I’m very satisfied with how everything went and I will do it again with either the same website or a different one.

 

Good Witch, Bad Witch, and the Undead

Works in progress

Currently, I’m looking at shorter works that I can polish up while I’m in a bit of a writing slump. There is this one group of short prequel stories that belong to a story I haven’t written yet. That’s three years old now and I’m starting to panic. The days are passing by, and I’m not as successful as I want to be.¬†I am also moving to the Netherlands in about two months and the stress is getting to me.

The most current things I’m rotating between are;

  • A social sci-fi YA that I think will be quite¬†long. It’s 60ish thousand words and maybe a third? done. Not too sure where I’m heading with the end. Maybe I might have to break it into two books? Atm, I’ve run¬†out of steam so it’s going on the back burner until I get some¬†more ideas for it.
  • A dystopian novel that is not even halfway through the first draft but I have a guestimate of where the ending is. I’ve changed the POV from first to third so it needs a rewrite.
  • A sci-fi YA that’s over 120 thousand and I need to complete the 3rd draft. I’ve lost a character somewhere and need to resolve that one.
  • The prequel stories I’m editing at the moment does not have a novel attached to them and I need to write a story plan for that, plus write a first draft of the novel.

I don’t think I’ll have any stories ready for publication for at least 12 months. That worries me because I wanted to have more done by now. I’m almost 30 and with not much to show for it. I know when I move I will¬†have some time off and hopefully, I’ll use it to my full advantage.

 

Looking back on my first book

Feet or Fins was first published four years ago. It entered the world quietly because I didn’t market it and that was a good thing because of how bad it was written. I had to have a friend point it out¬†to me and I went back and was like, ‘Yeah, your right. Good thing no one bought it.’

That was my first foray into the self-publishing world and boy was I glad no one noticed.¬†I did like 14/15 drafts of that book and it still wasn’t good enough ūüė¶ But the next draft was immensely better. Thank you,¬†friend.

For the longest time, it was only on Smashwords and then I got over the idea that Amazon was somehow lesser because it was a global corporation and knew that it would help me if I joined. Then I used the site to create a paperback version. By this stage, I had created a second cover image and when I finally got around to ordering a physical copy for myself I saw a few formatting issues. I used asterisks to separate some scenes instead and a few of them were out of place. Recently I updated my cover image again! I think this one is a lot nicer, and it features two mermaids.