improve-my-writing-skills-cat-reading-book

Why Do I Write? – A Series of Reasonable Events

I started seriously writing at the age of 23. By then I had my first degree, and a masters, and I’d toyed with the idea of a few professions. Nothing really held my interest. I’m awful at focusing on a thing I’m not captivated by.

I can’t remember where the decision came from – I’d always enjoyed writing, but actually writing books was something which happened to other people.

My first attempt was a steampunk story. It was called The Death of Yantian Drow and it ended up being 140,000 words long. That’s an insane number, looking back on it. I forced myself to write 1000 words a day and somehow I kept up!

I still have it saved somewhere, and I imagine I’ll take a look at it again at some point. It never even made it to the proof reading stage.

My second attempt was called Spire and I even made it to the submitting stage. I have a page full of rejections from agencies! It was quite the learning curve. As with anything – rejections will wear you down after a while. Here’s the important thing – don’t let it jade you. Don’t become bitter. Bitterness is the enemy of life.

As a break I tried short stories and actually had a little success with that. A story of mine called Husk will be published as part of a collection some time this year.

Bolstered by this I turned back to long form writing. By this point I had a dozen little projects half made and I realized I needed more focus. To this end I wrote up a list of those I really wanted to get finished. You can read a little about these here.

Coming next month I’ll be dipping my toe into the dark waters of self publishing. This will be a collection of short stories called Death Echo and will come out on Amazon.

Depending on the experience I might stick with self publishing, or return to the wheel of submissions – or both! … Probably both.

Where was I going with this?

giphy4

Oh, right.

Why do I write?

I like to make things up and I dislike reality.

That’s not to say I dislike MY reality. I have brilliant friends and a partner who couldn’t be more perfect – but reality is generally a bit disappointing. There are less dragons and spaceships around than I hoped there would be.

Writing is my way of coming to terms with that.

I write – not because it’s the only thing I’m good at – but because it’s the only thing I WANT to be good at. If I’m good at writing then I can really knuckle down on ignoring reality and building my own little world.

If others end up wanting to come with me to these little worlds then that’s even better.

tumblr_inline_mx58f2syrx1s1ggck

Sorry for the self indulgent ramble… everyone needs one now and then!

Over to you – why do you write?

– Sebastyan

crimson-key

Self Publishing and Imprints

We’ve all seen them. Imprints are key part of publishing. As readers we might not really care about them, but as a writer, especially as a self published writer, they become more important. Below are the various imprints from Penguin and Random House after their merger.

3031519-inline-i-prhblogbn4

And here are some others:

dkblue-bedlam

hawkesbury-press-logo-from-canva-mono-jpg

anchor-logo

 

An imprint of a publisher is a trade name under which it publishes a work. A single publishing company may have multiple imprints, often using the different names as brands to market works to various demographic consumer segments.

Some of those above are established publishers with offices and staff, others are self publisher imprints. The trick is – if you look professional then people will assume you’re professional. Also BE professional… obviously…

giphy3

In a previous post I talked about how buying your own ISBNs and how when you do this you are prompted to give a Publisher Name. Picking a name is one thing, but you should also think about your imprint design. One publisher can have multiple imprints if the genres it publishes are different enough; often having one for children’s book, one for horror etc.

You can pay an artist, or make your own via various free design programs online and it’s not too hard to come up with something striking. The Penguin logo was originally a doodle by a junior member of staff!

The key is to make sure the image doesn’t fly in the face of the content matter. You might not want a fluffy cloud slapped onto your horror novel.

Crimson Key Publishing is my own publishing house, and the featured image above the blogpost is my imprint. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. What do you think?

Happy writing!

– Sebastyan

 

coins-money-heap-close-up

The Daily Dot – Scrivener 50% off!

Hey everyone!

The Daily Dot are doing a 50% off sale on Scrivener.

Scrivener is – from what I’ve heard – ideal for writers. It’s word processing software designed with long form writing in mind. I’ve been putting off buying it for a while but I guess I have no excuse now!

Here’s a direct link to the sale.

If you haven’t used it before let me know how you get on. If you’re a Scrivener Veteran then comment below and give me tips! ^_^

Happy writing,

– Sebastyan

 

book-cat-hd-wallpaper

What’s In A Name: Crimson Key Publishing

A few weeks ago I shared a post describing ISBNs and how to approach them. Here’s a fun little titbit – when you buy your ISBN you are prompted to supply a publishing name.

It’s not legally binding, and the site does say that it’s up to you to make sure the press doesn’t exist (Google to the rescue!). Yet it still feels like a big and very real step. This is the name and imprint that will appear inside your self-published work. It’s important that it’s not too incongruous from your topic, or any future topics you intend to publish (I still find it strange to see a horror cover with the cute little ‘Penguin’ logo). Having your own name is a little bit noobish so it’s best to go all out and have a proper title.

I’m a keen gamer, and I can spend hours on a character creation screen trying to decide the right name, so to be faced with a choice when it’s something that will really matter… well… it was nerve-wracking.

tumblr_inline_o8clbpvq891t0c07o_540

An hour of Google translate trying to find a decent word in Latin got me nowhere. By that point it was the early hours of the morning and I was getting annoyed at myself. Fortunately my beloved came to the rescue with her addiction to keys (which is pretty damn phallic if you ask me, but anyway) and we came up with the above.

My first self published work will be under the imprint of Crimson Key Publishing.

I like it. It could be fantasy based, it could be horror based, it’s ambiguous but interesting.

Now to design the imprint…

– Sebastyan

cool-war-robot-mobile-hd-wallpapers

Meeting Edits Head On

When I was in university I was one of those students who would get an essay back, only to skip to the end to get my grade and then never look at it again. My ability to write academically suffered because of this.

Years later during my Masters I had to really focus on my mistakes, but even then I struggled to really take it in.

Now that I’m pursuing creative writing it’s more important than ever. The hardest thing is trying to understand how I can make such simple mistakes? We’re all guilty of it, but I mean… the wrong kind of ‘Where/were’ in the first paragraph? How did I miss that!?

giphy2

Haha, this sounds more negative than I meant it too. It blows my mind how blind we can be of our own work sometimes.

TD:LR

Proofreaders = vital

– Sebastyan

p.s. Like the cover image? Follow this link.

2ff3d6a700000578-0-image-a-3_1452361502549

Setting Goalposts in Writing

Writing is lonely, even in a blogging rich community. When it all comes down to it the root of our passion begins at an empty word document with just our thoughts for company.
I enjoy structure, to a point. Writing has none. You can write and write and write and get nowhere in traditional writing. Then when you do get through things are out of your hands. You have to wait on other people’s timetables.
Self publishing is a little different. You can set your own goalposts because you have more control. In this case you have to rein yourself in to not go rushing off and putting stuff out there which is under-cooked.
will
What’s true for both is that when your doing all this, on your own, you have to set realistic goalposts. You can’t just say ‘I’ll write a novel’. That will drive you insane. That’s the end game, not the immediate goal.
Instead think along the lines of a set word count every day. I consider it a good day if I write 600 words and I have two novels finished and an anthology of short stories (anthology coming out soon!) so it does mount up to something.
Life is a series of journeys all made of little steps. We all get to the end eventually. There’s no need to rush ahead and lose your mind. Pace yourself.
Consistency is the key, find your dreams and stick to them – soon enough they’ll start sticking to you.
– Sebastyan
01-cat-wants-to-tell-you-laptop

Criticism Of Your Writing: The Importance of Humility

Criticism is difficult. As writers we create entire worlds. We are GODS! How dare petty mortals dictate how we should alter things!?

giphy

 

Yet ours is a flawed creation. We are too close to it to see its problems. There’s no shame in that. A parent won’t care for the flaws of their children because they love them unconditionally. The same goes here: We love our creations and are thus less likely to see their faults.

The sooner we come to terms with this and the sooner we’re able to take on criticisms the better these worlds will become.

Criticisms (constructive ones at least) provide fresh foundations for our creation. They make it better, stronger… faster?

giphy1

If you built a ship but accidentally left a hole in it you’d WANT people to point it out. It’s that or drown.

Ask for feedback, absorb it, let it propel you forwards.

– Sebastyan