Learning By Reading, Or Trying To Figure Out How To Be A Professional Blogger

Since I happen to be at a writer’s retreat today in Des Moines sponsored by the Iowa Writer’s Corner, I decided to have a nice photo of the state capitol on this blog post because I’m trying to be topical without oversharing. You’re welcome. It has been great to hang out with my fellow writers that I’ve gotten to know and just write, revise, and shoot the breeze with them. It’s been a fantastic experience.

I’m the awkward looking dude in the green cap in back.

I’ve also been working to try and see what I can do to turn this blog into something more… professional? I’ve been working to try and continue the research that I began to just dip my toe into a few of weeks ago. I think I’m… slightly less nervous about starting a good email list than I was last month, and I’m eager enough that I want to actually get going on putting it together.

There have been a lot of things that have rattling around in my head. I now have at least one writing project that is not only “shovel-ready,” as they call construction projects – one book all but done, and an idea for at least two sequels. (One of the common pieces of advice I keep getting is that series are a good sell. One-shots, not so much.) I’m trying to get my head around the idea of actually trying to send it out to possible publishers or agents. Trying to find the perfect audience for a sports drama with an LGBTQ theme might be interesting. I’m not sure that there are too many publishers, for instance, that have a sports emphasis. There are more than a few LGBTQ-oriented publishers, however, but it would be interesting to find out if they would accept a project from a straight cis-male author.

More and more, however, I’m beginning to wonder at this point in my life whether it makes sense for me to just move forward on the self-publishing route. It’s a lot more straightforward to do it these days with all the technology that’s out there.

But then… I’ve always said that I always considered myself more of a sergeant than a general. When I was a reporter, I never could imagine that I would ever sit in an editor’s desk, making the big decisions. I definitely never want to be a principal at a school rather than a teacher. If you think it’s work running a classroom, try and run an entire school. It seems like all of the principals that I ever worked with had really packed schedules and lives.

And going into business for myself would be, at least a little bit, me being in charge. It’s something that’s a bit intimidating for me, and that’s an old feeling I’ve had. But as time goes on, I’ve begun thinking about what I’m waiting for. Maybe I’m not going to be a massive bestseller for my books, but at least they’ll be published. I’d rather have a group of books to talk up rather than just one.

So, that means getting onto ConvertKit to see if I can even begin to set up an email list and figure out what kind of goodies I need to give out to those who decide to sign up. It means looking into Gumroad and seeing if that is a good alternative to Amazon or whether the latter is the best bet. (It’s nice that I already have an Amazon page). Also on that list is Substack, Campfire Blaze, Canva, Netgalley, and Booksirens. (If anyone has had positive or negative experiences with any of those platforms, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.)

With that in mind, I’m moving forward. For right now, that means doing a good investigation into these programs, at least one every two weeks. I’m not going to get everything right, and not everything is going to work. However, I want to keep making progress, even if progress for one day looks like trying to get access to an old PayPal account.

More coming up.

Writing Journal, 10.11.2020: Slow start to October, to be honest

Not much to write about for the past two weeks, because… I haven’t been doing much writing. At least, not as much as I want.

Work has been busy, enough so that I’ve looked longingly at my father’s retirement-life schedule. 🙂 But, I am getting through things.

I’ve been a little disappointed that I have not had the mental energy to try and reach out to fellow writers in the Des Moines area or my town’s area to try and network. Part of that is COVID, and part of that has been the grind that any typical school year is.

I think another issue is that I’m beginning to get really over Facebook, which might still be the best way to get in contact with other writers or network. Frankly, if it was not for this blog and its “companion page” on Facebook, I would delete my account for sure. I have deleted the app from my phone for at least the fifth or sixth time and it has stayed off, to my delight.

That’s not to say I’m not online. I’m staying on Reddit and Twitter, although I only go on Twitter sporadically. I spend a lot of time on Archive Of Our Own (AO3), the fan fiction site where I have been posting my most recent writings. There are several stories there I am following, and it has been a great mental break to read stuff there.

I think I will wrap it up there. Not sure if I will continue to post journal entries every two weeks or try and get it back up to weekly. I will see.

The stats for the last two weeks are below. The first week I exceeded my quota: 500 words per day over the week or the planning/revising equivalent (30 minute per day), which would add up to 3,500 words per week or the equivalent. The second week I wasn’t so lucky.

Keep safe, everyone.

Week of 9.27.2020:
+4,151 words written.
Days writing: 6 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 2 of 7 for 90 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 6 of 7 days.

Week of 10.4.2020:
+2,228 words written.
Days writing: 4 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 2 of 7 for 60 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 4 of 7 days.