A Writer’s Story
A couple of years ago, a writer I was talking with told me that I was living the dream. I hadn’t thought of it like that. The writing, editing and publicizing feels very real, but—looking back—I can see that I’ve been very fortunate. I’m a published author, both traditionally and independently. I earn regular paychecks through my novel Automaton and through the Kindle Serial The Exigency (under the pen name Sierra Storm). I write stories, full time. But living a dream?
I first decided to be an author when I was twelve or thirteen. Writing started out as something I did when I was bored or out of reading materials, but after my stories started coming to life, things changed. And I loved it. My family opened a small bookstore at about that time, so I had the awesome privilege of meeting published authors, publishers, and distributors on a fairly regular basis. By the time I was in high school, one press had already taken an interest in one of my books. I was giddy with excitement, even though the deal fell through in the end.
It would be another four years until I got published in a literary journal, and another eight until my debut novel was accepted by Jukepop Serials. I think my teen self would have withered away if I knew I’d have to wait that long.
After my official launch of the self-published edition of Automaton last May, things changed so quickly that it was hard for me to keep up. Since I was self-publishing, I had to control everything. I had to buy my own cover, “tweak” the story until it was almost unrecognizable, and run a book tour all on my own. I learned that there’s a reason why book tour companies charge several hundred dollars to do the work of looking up the right blogs, contacting the right people and timing it all into a limited span. I oversaw the audiobook production, designed a website based around the book and recorded a book trailer on Youtube with no actual film experience.
Not everything I planned worked out. I haven’t looked into translation work (which was originally supposed to happen last summer) and the sequel for Automaton probably won’t release until late spring—instead of last fall. I also looked into doing a Booktrack edition with a unique soundtrack, but was overwhelmed at all the work involved.
A day of work for me involves writing in one story (usually between 500 and 2500 words), editing in another, and working on layout and cover possibilities on a third. I also try to publish regular articles on my website, FinishThatNovel.org, and actively research the latest movements and tools in the writing and publishing industries while maintaining an active social media presence and tracking long-term goals. It is a full-time job, not (as some have suggested) bumming out on the couch all day watching YouTube and playing computer games while writing when I feel like it on the side. Being a writer can be difficult, stressful and even overwhelming. But is it worth it? Oh yeah. Bring it on!
I AM AN AUTHOR, BLOGGER AND A JOURNALIST.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”