It’s Almost (Self-)Publishing Time… – An IWSG Post

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Let’s be totally honest. Writer’s are insecure, like…200% of the time. We occasionally have little bouts of confidence and genuine belief in our abilities, but the overwhelming majority of the time we’re little balls of misery and self-loathing, rocking back and forth in the corner, insistent that we have no talent, no prospects, and that anyone who ever said they liked our books was a dirty, dirty liar.

That said, I personally feel that the most powerful moments of insecurity come right before something is about to be published.

I’ve been working on “The Other World” for more than a decade, no joke. That wasn’t all consecutive, of course. It began life as a therapeutic way of dealing with my then-boyfriend breaking up with me. Those early drafts were very, well…terrible. It was a Mary-Sue story in which everyone loved the main character except for herself, and she made a massively huge deal about her own breakup, as though it was literally the end of the world. It was absolutely horrible, but at the time it served it’s purpose. It made me feel a little better, and it was a reason to put words to paper.

Eventually it grew and evolved. I’m not joking even a little bit when I say that I restarted this particular story from scratch at least a dozen times. It was my NaNoWriMo novel twice, and I would regularly return to it and completely rewrite it whenever I would get bored or frustrated with my other works. And as time went on and I learned more about proper styles of writing, what turns readers off, and so forth, the story changed more and more and more. Eventually it became a series. Characters transformed. Main plot points shifted dramatically. To be perfectly honest, at this point what I have in my Scrivener file has extraordinarily little in common with the original story. It has matured spectacularly from what it started out as. Even I – as a completely self-loathing writer – can see that. The story that I am currently performing final edits on is nothing like the self-absorbed cathartic ramblings that I first put down back in college. It is much, much better. Infinitely so.

know this. And yet, as I wait (im)patiently for my cover artist to send me some ideas, and I finish those final edits on Book One of the series, I find that little voice beginning to whisper in the back of my mind. “This is complete crap,” it hisses. “Your beta-readers are liars, and you’re a talentless hack who will never have any real success as a novelist. You should delete the entire file and never speak of this story again.”

That voice is a bitch. I know this, and yet it is exceptionally difficult to quell her. I have become the master of procrastination, taking much longer at each step of the writing process than is reasonable, because that voice slows me down, weakens me, and convinces me that it’s pointless. She’s a complete and utter bitch and I hate her.

So I say this to you now: moving forward I am going to do my level best to smother that voice and bury her deep, deep down where I can’t hear her hateful hissing. I’m going to trust that my beta-readers weren’t just being nice to spare my feelings, I’m going to work with my cover artist to create something beautiful and attractive, and I’m going to put that something out there for the world to see. Then I’m going to take what comes as it comes. And then, regardless of the results, I’m going to sit at my laptop, and I’m going to get to work on finishing Book Two, and I’m going to start the process all over again. Because that’s what a real writer does. We murder that voice in cold blood – no matter how many times it resurrects itself – and put ourselves out there regardless of the vicious whispers.

Who’s with me?

Goals and Aspirations in Review – January 2017


Well, we’re a full month into 2017, so as tradition entails, I shall share the success-or-failure concerning the goals and aspirations I set myself for this particular year. And I’m warning you in advance: it’s not gonna be a happy tale.

I hate to sound so dismal with the first ‘goal review’ post of the year, but January was just a really odd month. I’ve felt very strongly like time is being swept out from under me on a momentary basis. Even as I’m typing this, I feel like it was only two minutes ago that I was looking at the clock and growling, “When did it become 10 o’clock?” and now I’m looking at the clock on my laptop to see that it’s only a few minutes away from 11. How is this happening?

But for now let’s set aside the concern that I may have been cursed with some kind of mystical time-stealing spell, and get into January’s review.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…You know when things are so bad that all you can really do is laugh? I wrote about this yesterday for the monthly Insecure Writers Support Group post, but I’ll reiterate in shorter form: I’ve had the worst kind of writer’s block that I could possibly imagine. Literally every time that I’ve sat myself down and tried to write, I’ve just stared at the screen for an hour or so before closing the program. Nothing wants to come to my brain. I am a blank slate. I’m a crappy desktop computer sitting on the blue screen of death. I’ve got nothing, and it has been one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever experienced. I need to rectify this in February, but I’m not even sure how because I’ve never actually experienced a complete and utter inability to write anything before. Literally the only writing I actually did was the two blog posts at the beginning of the month. 
Mini-Goal #1.a. Publish more erotic fairy tales.
One of my unspoken mini-goals for January in particular was to publish the second fairy tale, which I already had 90% written. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, due to the above-mentioned inability to write. You’d think, if anything, complete and utter smut would be easy enough to write, but nope…I couldn’t even do that. So this goal had a 0% accomplishment rating for January.
Mini-Goal #1.b. Start writing blog posts again.
HA. This was actually suggested to me as a way to maybe work my way into writing again, but it definitely wasn’t on my mind in January. It was a busy month, and as I previously mentioned, any time I did find to write I foolishly spent staring at a blank Scrivener screen. Maybe I should have tried to blog instead, but it genuinely never even occurred to me because I was too busy staring at those blank screens. That said, I promise to keep this in mind for February if I continue to be completely and utterly incapable of writing fiction. 
Mini-Goal #1.c. Find ways to promote the book.
          I will honestly say that I did, in fact, attempt this one in January. Unfortunately I just didn’t figure anything out. 😐 There are a million ways on the internet to promote a book, but you’d be amazed at how many stipulations there are to keep people like me from being able to use them. For instance, many free promotion sites require your book to actually be free, which is an option, but not something I really want to do since I’ve already done free e-book promotions multiple times and gotten absolutely nothing out of them. Other sites want you to pay to be promoted, and the cost far outweighs the likely return. Other sites require that you have a certain number of reviews on Amazon before you’re even allowed to apply. I could go on, but I think you get the point. So this one just continues on, I suppose.

#2. Get healthier.
I’m not actually sure what to say about this one. There were definitely moments throughout January that worked toward this goal – I went for a couple of runs, made a point of standing instead of sitting where I could, got my first eye exam in (no joke), 27 years, and have been making a point of trying to drink more water (although I can’t give up my coffee and tea). On the other hand, there’s been a lot of eating of bad foods and sugary crap, and at this point I can’t tell if I’m tired because there’s genuinely something wrong with me, or because I’m actually sleeping too much in an attempt not to be tired, or because of some other issue. Straighten up and fly right, body! GEEZ. On the upside, at least I haven’t gained any weight lately. 😛
Mini-Goal #2.a. Walk/run 10k steps per day.
Another laughable one! According to my records I accomplished precisely two 10k-step days in January, and my average daily steps was 7050. My FitBit even cheekily suggested that I reduce my daily step goal to 8000. I’m not even joking. And I did it; I let FitBit tell me that I’m fat and lazy and need to make “more reasonable” goals. Henceforth, until I learn how to not be fat and lazy, this mini-goal will be changed to “Walk/run 8k steps per day.” 
Mini-Goal #2.b. Take daily “me time”.
          This one is debatable. Since I haven’t been actually tracking it like I did last year, I’m not really sure exactly how well I did because I’ve been too busy to really be able to remember. lol I think I did half-decent on this one though. There were days I had hot baths, days I sequestered myself away and played stupid phone games, and days I curled up on the couch with my cross-stitch project for a few minutes. There were probably a couple of days when I was absolutely non-stop from dusk ’til dawn, but I think for the most part I did take at least a few minutes a day for myself.

#3. Work on my online presence – specifically, YouTube.
I’ll give myself at least a few props on this particular goal, although, as usual, most of the props should be given to Jason. In particular he made a “promise” on our social media that we were going to do a video-a-day for the week of our 1-year anniversary as “Tracey’s Basement”. So I was kinda forced to do it. But I did still do it, so I’m taking my accolades, whether I deserve them or not.
Seriously though, above and beyond the videos we did at the beginning of the month, we filmed and published 8 vids in 7 days during our anniversary week, and only one of them was a major pain in the ass. Slowly but surely I’m learning how to speak better, flow better, keep my volume up, and all those other little things. So yay for me.
Mini-Goal #3.a. Learn to respond immediately.
There’s not much that really needs to be said about this, although I will say that I am getting better. I’ve been responding to most social media/comments/etc immediately. My weak point is emails, because they take longer, so I tend to consider them as something that can wait, but then I forget to get back to them, so I’m still working on that one.
Mini-Goal #3.b. Focus more on daily social media.
This is an uphill battle, but I do think that I’m getting better. Some things are harder than others. Tweeting is something that can be done fairly easily on a daily basis, but I often don’t know what to do with things like Instagram (for which Jason takes most of the channel-related pictures) and Facebook (which is basically just a place to repost the Instagram stuff), and most of the time I just forget that SnapChat even exists. I’ve been trying to encourage myself to do more by making all four platforms part of the daily checklist in my planner, but I also often forget to even look at the planner, so it hasn’t been helping as much as I thought it would. lol Twitter though? I’m doing okay on Twitter. 
Mini-Goal #3.c. Come up with new video ideas.
This last one, I’m not really sure what much to say. I guess it’s going okay? Jason and I filmed a few different things in January (mostly different styles of collectibles, which has been a long time coming anyway), and I managed to convince a few different companies to send us stuff to review, so I suppose that counts as “new video ideas”. And we’ve also been working on trying to set up some gameplay videos via a program that should sync the gameplay and webcam footage so that we don’t have the delay problems we had way back during the last ones we did, so that’s a distinct possibility for the new future. So, yeah, okay…I’m gonna say that this one went well for January.

So that was January. There were a few good points, no doubt, but overall I mostly feel like I blinked, and the month was gone, and I’d accomplished next to nothing. Hopefully things will perk up in February; I’m hoping for a little more sun, since dreary weather seems to exacerbate time slipping away from me.

Here’s to February! Oh, and I just wanted to remind you all that if anyone figures out how I can subsist on 2-3 hours of sleep per night, I’m still patiently waiting for that very important information. 😛

How was your January?

New Year, Same Insecurities – An IWSG Post

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So it’s the first Wednesday of the year, and hmm…seems like I’m still pretty insecure, so I guess I’ll keep making Insecure Writers Support Group posts.

I already wrote a Goals and Aspirations for 2017 post the other day, so I won’t repeat everything that I’ve said about my writing goals, but given what kind of post this is I will tell you how insecure I’m feeling about the whole thing.

For one thing, when I was going through all my numbers for 2016, I realized that despite actually putting forth some real, major effort (at least in the first half of the year), I actually wrote over 25,000 words fewer than I wrote in 2015. And this is in addition to the fact that I all but quite blogging in the second half of the year specifically so that I’d have more time and energy to focus on writing fiction. That is a worrying trend for me and it makes me wonder if – at this point in my life – I’m even capable of turning it around and moving in the other direction. Or will I just keep dwindling and dwindling until I’m basically writing nothing at all? It’s a thought that definitely troubles me.

Additionally we’ve got the whole self-promotion thing. I’ve never been good at it, but I seem to be getting worse, not to mention running out of methods to try. Changing the cover to “Nowhere to Hide” seemed to help a bit, for a short while, but that influx has long since died off and we’re back to being lucky to sell a book a month. I’ve tried giveaways, I’ve tried contacting reviewers, I’ve tried ads…none of them really did much of anything except for an extremely tiny boost during the actual event and then nothing afterwards. I’ve even sent books off to fellow YouTubers (which was more of a present thing than a self-promo thing, if I’m honest), but while their unboxing videos gave us a spike in subs to the YouTube channel, they did nothing for book sales.

I get that zombies aren’t for everyone, so you’re definitely going to get a lot of people who might look at the book and then just go, “Nah, not my bag,” but I have to be honest, I truly believed that I’d sell at least a few books a month instead of having stretches of months at a time of absolutely nothing, and it’s getting really old. I put a lot of effort into that book, I genuinely believe that it’s good, and I’ve had numerous people who don’t even like horror and zombies tell me that they enjoyed it.

But I just can’t get people to buy it. And it’s infuriating. And, justifiably, makes me pretty damn insecure.

I’ve considered sending it off for the Self-Published Book Awards (by Writer’s Digest) again, but I don’t think I want to waste the money. The last time my $75 entry fee got me a pathetic, four-sentence “feedback” e-mail that basically told me that my cover and summary were crap and didn’t really say a damn thing about the book itself at all. I’ve changed both the cover and summary since then, but the overall lameness of what they consider to be “feedback” doesn’t really put me in a mind to waste more money on them.

And so I sit here, thinking and frowning to myself and wondering what else there is I can try that’s not going to cost me money, because so far almost everything I’ve done has cost me money and I haven’t seen a return on it at all.

Also, just as a final note, I don’t know if this has even occurred to anyone who is reading this post, but if my thought process seems horribly disjointed, half-complete, and generally unfocused, I can confirm that it is, in fact, all of those things, because nothing has changed from 2016 and I’m still always doing fifteen things at once. While writing this post I’m also eating breakfast and trying to slam a bunch of coffee into me since I didn’t sleep well last night, chatting online with a friend who lives on the other side of the country so there’s only a few hours a day we can really catch each other, sending messages back and forth with a fellow YouTuber asking his advice on some things, and obsessing over the fact that I haven’t put away any of the Christmas stuff or cleaned up the basement to make way for all the videos we’re super behind on.

And people wonder why I’m insecure. 😛

Goals and Aspirations for 2017


Okay, so yesterday I told you all about how 2016 went for me, personally, and I explained that I wasn’t horribly disappointed or anything, but that it definitely could have gone better. But that’s looking into the past, and a new year is about looking into the future. So where do I hope to take myself in 2017?

Well, to be honest, I have more goals and aspirations than I’d like to admit for the coming year. Not that having goals and aspirations is a bad thing; it’s just that I’ve found in the past that having too many of them tends to stretch a person thin and make it damn near impossible to accomplish anything. That said, I’m finding it difficult, if not impossible, to narrow the list down any, so I’m just going to go ahead and explain what I hope to accomplish, and we’ll see where the chips fall.


This is my major goal for 2017, because let’s be honest here: I can hardly even call myself a writer with the amount of time and effort I actually expend writing. And here’s the thing: I might never be a success at it, and I might never actually become popular or make any real money, but it is literally the only thing I’ve ever truly wanted to do ever since grade school, and I hate that I perpetually take none of the steps necessary to make it a reality. I wrote one book – go me – and have failed miserably at both promoting it and following it up. A writer has to write, and being a writer is extremely important to me, and I won’t be happy unless I strive toward that. End of discussion.

Mini-Goal #1.a. Publish more erotic fairy tales.
I was genuinely curious to see where that venture would lead, but I managed to stop at precisely one publication, which anyone in erotica will tell you is completely and utterly pointless. So I’d like to follow up some more on that throughout 2017, hopefully putting out one each month or so.

Mini-Goal #1.b. Start writing blog posts again.
I’m not committing to anything by any stretch of the imagination, because the truth is that it’s hard enough to find time to write my fiction, never mind spending time on things like blogging, but I would like to start throwing something up on here every now and then again so that it’s not just links to YouTube videos day after day.

Mini-Goal #1.c. Find ways to promote the book.
I mentioned this yesterday, and also pointed out that I have absolutely no ideas on how to do so, but I’m determined to figure it out one way or the other because my book sales are abysmal and I can’t stand to look at them any longer. So if anyone has any ideas, please feel free to send them my way!

#2. Get healthier.

Staying really broad on this one because I want it to be an overall thing. Would I like to lose some weight? Absolutely. Would I like to eat better? You betcha. Would I liked to wrangle my mental health into something that resembles a reasonable, well-adjusted human being? Damn straight. And that all falls under “health”, so let’s just go ahead and say that I want to be healthier, in general, whatever that should mean.

Mini-Goal #2.a. Walk/run 10k steps per day.
I don’t know why I insist on setting myself up for failure with goals like these, but I have to admit that it does make me feel good when my FitBit vibrates to let me know that I just hit the 10k mark, so why not keep trying?

Mini-Goal #2.b. Take daily “me time”.
I’m not making this a specific part of the main goal this year, and I’m not going to try to time it out or anything, but I’m still dedicating myself to attempting to spend at least a few minutes a day on something that is 100% all about me, whether that be coloring, cross-stitching, reading, or curling up and watching a show that neither Jason or the kid could give two damns about.

#3. Work on my online presence – specifically, YouTube.

And of course, there is YouTube, which has been growing and expanding and has become kind of a life unto itself. This goal has lots of aspects to it, but the main part is just to focus and do my best to put my all into it.

Mini-Goal #3.a. Learn to respond immediately.
One of the biggest flaws that I have when it comes to having an online presence is response time. I am horrible for checking a notification on my phone, swiping it away without responding to it (whether it be a comment, tweet response, e-mail, whatever), and then forgetting about it until a day or two later. I want to start working on responding to things immediately so that I don’t end up with huge build-ups of things to get back to all at once.

Mini-Goal #3.b. Focus more on daily social media.
There are entire days during which my Twitter feed is blank, and sometimes there are huge stretches of days during which I neither Snap, nor update a Facebook status, nor post something in the Basement Geeks group. That has to be rectified. I have to start taking to these platforms daily to keep my online presence fresh.

Mini-Goal #3.c. Come up with new video ideas.
And this is the difficult one because, to be honest, I’ve been feeling a bit in a rut. Not only just because Funko Pops are drowning me and I’m so sick of people assuming that Pops are all we do on the channel, but also because there’s a lot more effort involved in switching things up than one might thing. Want us to do a gameplay video? Awesome…it only takes two hours and fifteen headaches in order to set up the living room with the lights, camera, and gameplay capture equipment, not to mention rearranging the furniture into a format that works for recording. Want us to start talking more about horror stuff and our creepy collectibles? We’d love to! Except that it looks stupid talking about that stuff in front of the Pop wall, and clearing out the room with all the horror movie stuff requires us to find a new place for our “photo studio” set-up and throw away several stacks of stuff that there is simply nowhere else in the house to put. I’m not trying to sound self-defeating or anything, it’s just that as much as I’d love to just say, “Today we’re going to try doing THIS kind of video!” it’s never just that simple. It generally requires a lot of extra work that no one sees or appreciates, which also takes up a ton of extra time that I don’t really have. So, yeah. I didn’t mean to end off these goals on a sour note, but there it is. lol

So there you go. Above are all the tortures that are going to rip at me throughout the year of 2017. Sounds like fun, right? I’m totally not over-extending myself, right? Right.

So with all that said, I’m off to actually, you know…attempt to get moving on some of these things. Wish me luck, and feel free to share your goals and aspirations for 2017! Cheers, everyone!

“Nowhere to Hide” E-book on Sale!

We’re getting ever closer to the witching hour, my dear friends, and I thought that perhaps some of you might be looking for something creepy to read as we approach the spookiest of holidays. Until Halloween has passed us by,  the “Nowhere to Hide” e-book is on sale for $0.99! You can’t beat a novel for a buck, right? Right. So be sure to pick it up before October ends!


To Write, or Not to Write: An IWSG Post

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This time of year is always extremely frustrating and stressful for me because it’s non-stop stuff that has to be done. I have to get numerous tasks out of the way before winter hits. I have to make my daughter’s (and sometimes my husband’s) Halloween costumes. I have to start cleaning for the upcoming holidays, not to mention shop…a lot. There’s chores and work, and tasks concerning my daughter’s school. These days there’s also YouTube and all that having a channel entails.

And then National Novel Writing Month comes around, and it’s like, “God DAMMIT, why couldn’t Chris Baty have decided to create this challenge in, like, March?

I’m having a hard time deciding whether or not I’m going to do NaNoWriMo this year. I’ve gotten so busy, between my work, and YouTube and all the other random stuff that comes with accursed adulthood, that it’s been months since I wrote more than 10k in 30 days, never mind writing 50k in the same amount of time. And I know that NaNo is as much about having a reason to write as it is completing the goal, but I really really don’t like not completing the goal. Last year I competed and lost, and while I still managed to write a nice number of words, it felt frustrating losing the challenge.

And honestly, that’s where I’m going to leave it for today, because I already got a bunch of whining and moaning out in yesterday’s “Goals in Review” post, and I don’t think it really needs repeating. 😛

How are you guys feeling about NaNoWriMo 2016?

September 2016 Goals in Review


Okay, I’m gonna go ahead and warn you guys in advance that September was simply not a great month for any of my goals. Part of that is because of being busy with various life stuff, and getting totally stressed out because of my job, but if I’m honest I have to say that I’m not even really quite sure what happened in September. The month just seemed to completely fall apart on me in numerous ways. So let’s just go ahead and get this ‘Month in Review’ over with, shall we?

Goal #1. Take good care of myself, specifically by walking 10,000 steps per day and taking at least 15 minutes per day to do something fun/relaxing.

Goal #1 is probably the most epic fail of the month because I didn’t even manage to accomplish a part of it. For one thing, out of the entire month, there was only one day on which I managed to hit 10k steps. One day. That’s ridiculous even for me. And to add to that, my average steps were only 6550, which is the second lowest average I’ve had all year. That number should actually be slightly higher, because there was one day during which I’d forgotten to charge my FitBit and it died on me, but the extra steps would probably only boost the average buy a couple dozen. Totally pathetic.

But to make matters worse, I didn’t even manage to pull off the 15 minutes of “me time”…not by a long shot. I counted 19 days where I managed to do something – usually just lounging on 9Gag on my phone or playing that silly Sailor Drops game. That means there were 11 days in September during which I couldn’t even manage to find myself 15 minutes. Not 15 minutes. And that is just depressing.

Goal #2. Build more readership/viewership by putting more focus and energy into my blog posts, shooting more fun YouTube videos, and putting more effort into self-promotion.

The second goal isn’t a complete fail, but I’m not really feeling a huge level of success here either. I’ve definitely been trying to put more time and effort into things like the YouTube channel’s social media, interacting with other channels and the like, and that’s definitely a good thing but it doesn’t seem like it’s doing a whole lot of good, really. We’ve stagnated a bit in terms of new subscribers and followers, and while that’s not necessarily our fault (it could be any number of things, really), you also can’t help but feel a little like you’re climbing uphill with no shoes.

Meanwhile, a little bit of good news is that the new cover for Nowhere to Hide does, in fact, seem to be making a difference. I still wouldn’t call my sales anything worth talking about, but at least there’s the occasional e-book sale, the occasional number of Kindle Normalized Pages Read popping up, instead of months of a completely dead graph. So cheers for that! I definitely need to put more effort into promoting the book though, because I’ve really been neglecting that aspect of being an author lately. Bad Tracey.

Goal #3. Write as much as I can, including writing an entire novel from start to finish.

And then there’s this. I wrote a grand total of 6689 words this month which, like my step average above, is the second worst number I’ve come up with all year so far. It’s better than nothing, there’s no doubt about that, but I’m consistently depressed with my apparent inability to commit myself to the thing that I actually love doing the most.

To accentuate this personal failure, I’ve been getting reminders in my email about how National Novel Writing Month is less than a month away, and I just don’t know what to do with that info. I want to participate, because I’ve participated every year since I discovered the challenge, but I know I’ll fail. I haven’t written 50k words over the course of the last five months, so what are the chances I’ll be able to write that many in one month? Pretty slim I’d say, and I just don’t know if I feel like setting myself up for that failure right now.

So that’s that, I guess. I didn’t intend for this post to be so moody and depressing, but those are the facts, I guess. And it doesn’t help that I’ve been feeling tired, stressed, and pretty much just burnt out in general. Tomorrow is another day, right? I promise I’ll try to keep telling myself that, if you guys promise to believe it.

How was your month?

Small Changes = Small Victories (an IWSG Post on the Proper Day)

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So, in the drunken-stupor-like haze that has apparently become my life, I actually posted my IWSG post last week on what my brain was telling me was Wed, Sept 1st, but was actually Wed, Aug 31st. I posted it early in the morning and went to work fully certain that it was Sept 1st, and didn’t really figure it out until late in the evening, by which time I’d gotten a few comments on the post, making me not want to reschedule it. So…yeah. If you want to read the post that was meant for today, here it is:

And someone, for the love of god, please figure out how I can get an extra 4-5 hours of sleep per night without completely destroying what little productivity I have. @_@

August Goals in Review


We are into September, ladies and gentlemen, and although I do have a few good things to mention, I’m going to go ahead right now and admit that it has been a stressful, headachy month, so let’s just jump right into it, shall we?

Goal #1. Take good care of myself, specifically by walking 10,000 steps per day and taking at least 15 minutes per day to do something fun/relaxing.

This, right here…just no. This was a really, really bad month for this goal.

Okay, I’ll admit that the steps part wasn’t all that bad. I did manage to have nine 10k step days and about a dozen other days that were extremely close to 10k but just didn’t quite make it. On the average I walked 8509 steps per day, although that number isn’t exact because my FitBit actually crapped out on me and I ended up losing two days, so I had to estimate based on what I remembered seeing those days. (Sidenote: after a long and arduous troubleshooting session with FitBit they did, in fact, send me a replacement tracker).

The other stuff though? Man…I did not take care of myself this month, and to be honest, I was a ball of stress most of the month. I only managed 21 days with “me” time, and most of that was just watching Sailor Moon at the end of the night at camp while half falling asleep. And it wasn’t actually for lack of trying so much as it was completely forgetting to even try. I’ve been so busy, so tired, and so supremely stressed out (have I mentioned that yet?) that on several days I just flat-out forgot to try to have a few minutes to myself. It’s been absolutely ridiculous.

One thing that I’m trying for September is just to write a few paragraphs in a journal every day. It’s not going to be a useful journal with anything that will ever be shared; the whole point is basically just going to be to get stuff off my chest, even if it’s just to my computer, so I can hopefully breath a little afterwards.

So that was that.

Goal #2. Build more readership/viewership by putting more focus and energy into my blog posts, shooting more fun YouTube videos, and putting more effort into self-promotion.

Strangely this was probably the best goal of the month. Jason and I did lots of fun videos, including a Facebook-only live event that we called “Pops & Shots” (spoiler alert: I got really, really drunk). I also began contacting possible sponsors/partners in an attempt to make the YouTube channel more viable and have new content, and I’ve already managed to hook three subscription box companies into sending me a free box to review. One of them is even running a giveaway along with the video, so hopefully that’ll bring me some new views and subscribers.

On the book side of things, I finally got the new cover and summary up for “Nowhere to Hide“. If you’re looking at this blog from the actual blog and not the WordPress Reader, you’ll see that I’ve updated the theme to reflect this fact. I’m not sure I like it, but I wanted to have my one published book be a defining feature of the blog, so feel free to tell me what you think. And, of course, check out the book! I’ve been sharing it on different social media, and several of my lovely Basement Geeks have already picked it up, so that’s pretty awesome, although it looks like sales are stagnating again. I’ve set up my first ever ad campaign through Kindle, so fingers crossed that that goes somewhere.

Goal #3. Write as much as I can, including writing an entire novel from start to finish.

And finally, there’s this goal, which is almost never where I want it to be, but on this particular month it was just absolutely pitiful. There was just no time! I couldn’t find moments to write, never mind genuine chunks of time. All in all I managed to write a grand total of 3279 words this month, which – I’m not absolutely positive, but I think – is my worst month so far this year. That in itself is extremely depressing, and is definitely one of the subjects of my stress. At least most of the words I did write were fiction, but still, that’s so pitiful. Most serious writers have that kind of word count in a DAY, never mind an entire month. Gah. I don’t even want to talk about it anymore.

So yeah, long story short, that was my month. It wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, although I’ll definitely admit that the marketing side of things isn’t going half bad. But seriously, if anyone has any ideas as to how I can get 2-3 fewer hours of sleep each night without turning into a howling, emotional wreck, that would be extremely helpful because there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

And with that said, I’m off to try to relax for 15 minutes. 😛 What was your month like?

Small Changes = Small Victories (an IWSG Post)

IWSG badge

Has it really been a month already? I must be getting old, because lately it seems like I blink and it’s the next month. Ah well, I’ve got a few things to mention today!

First off, last month I mentioned that I was extremely frustrated with the release of my first erotic fairy tale because public domain issues made it practically impossible to promote it in any way, shape, or form. It turns out that I was very wrong about this – not about the impossibility of promoting something that’s public domain, but about labeling my story as public domain in the first place.

It seems that when I saw the option for “Is this book public domain?” I completely misunderstood the concept. In my mind I was thinking, “I’ve written a story based on a pre-existing public domain story, so therefore my story is public domain,” but that’s not true. Your story is only public domain if the majority of the story is actually the original story; if the majority of your story is original, written by you, then it is not pubic domain. There are exact numbers, but the long and short of it is that if you write your own, original story that’s only based on a pre-existing one, it’s not public domain. By choosing to say that my story is public domain I was actually saying “I do not own the copyright for this story”, and that is why you’re not allowed to use the promotional tools or choose to earn the higher royalty option.

So I got that all straightened away and, yay! A few sales rolled in! And then stopped… ^_^; Okay, they haven’t stopped completely. One pops up here and there, and I see people reading pages on Kindle Unlimited as well, so that’s something. I haven’t worked out the exact numbers, but I’d say I earned about…$4 or so on this story in the past month. Which is more than I earned on “Nowhere to Hide” for about six months in a row, so there’s that.

Speaking of “Nowhere to Hide“, it got its makeover! After a minor bit of quibbling over the finer details, a major change to the back cover summary, and the addition of an author photo and mini-bio, we are live with the new look! And honestly, I could scarcely be happier. I love the new, more dynamic cover, I love the new summary, and I love the fact that my picture is now on the back. Unfortunately I haven’t actually seen a physical copy of the book myself yet (god, shipping between the US and Canada just gets slower and slower…), but one of my lovely YouTube buddies picked it up and told me it looks great, so I’m going to take his word for it. ^_^ 

So far the changes haven’t really translated into sales, except for the few that I got from a couple of my YouTube subscribers and friends, but that’s also partially because I’m having a hard time with the promotional side of things agan. I don’t want to just spam my Twitter and Facebook accounts over and over again, but I haven’t found many better options since most promo sites are paid and I’m not looking to spend any more money on this project at the moment. Any ideas, fellow writers?

Oh, and of course, if you’d like to check out for yourself, here it is!

Well, that’s it for me this month. Unfortunately I’m so ridiculously busy that I’m actually typing this up on my phone on the bus to work and it’s starting to burn my eyes, so I’m going to give them a break now. Cheers, fellow insecure writers!