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The Ascent of Hassle Mountain

When you’ve finally finished drafting your book and your editor has returned it to you all shiny and untangled, when you’ve paid them and set up your accounts on the various self-publishing platforms you are going to use, it feels like you have fought long and hard but finally, finally, almost reached the top of the great peak of Hassle Mountain and are almost standing at the top of the world – the wind is fresh and cool and you feel as if you could just reach up and touch the stars of Success in the sky above.

You take those last few steps up Hassle Mountain, by contacting a cover person and a formatter, and look up to take in the majestic sight of your finally being at the top of that mountain of complicated and confusing stuff you have to do to get published and

 

…oh, look, another mountain. That one’s called The Greater Hassle and if you look carefully you can see the triplet peaks of Bureaucracy, Confusion, and Financial Difficulties. What you can’t see is the summit. And if you call out to the camp you can see across from you to send you a line so you can zip over? Well, you’re going to be told that you’ll need to head on down to their lower camp on ISBN Point first, and for that you’re going to have to go around the Unhelpful-FAQ cliffs of Bureaucracy’s sheer face to be able to get anyone at ISBN Point to help you.

Good luck not plummeting to your own certain doom while you try to navigate that fucker. The easy part is over, the hard part just beginning. Suddenly those stars you could touch seem so very far away. Don’t forget to breath, though – remember your oxygen tank, because you will need it.

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2017 in On L.C. Morgenstern's Work

 

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Project Status 5 – Cash Strapped and Exasperated

I don’t have the money to get my manuscript – which is WRITING ADVICE – professionally copyedited.

Oh, make no mistake; I’ve had people look over it, but no professional copyeditors. The main edit was content editing and the main person I’ve had to edit it is a second language English speaker – although she’s been speaking the language longer than I’ve been alive. Still…

This whole experience has made me realise not only how complicated publishing is (what the heck is trim size, anyway?) but also how expensive it is. And how the deck is – due to the nature of the beast – stacked against those who simply cannot afford to spend c. 1k on a professional editor, or cover design, or marketing, or formatting (which can easily get up to 3k total!). I mean, even the “cheap” rates of the major publishing platforms like Smashwords and Amazon’s Createspace and Kindle are still ultimately very expensive for anyone who doesn’t have that much, or any, money to spare. And then, of course, books which are not professionally edited, covered, etc, don’t do as well on the market or – worse – give the author a bad reputation. But if I wait to have the money to spare I’ll never get published.

I totally understand why these things are expensive – I mean, my own sibling is an editor and is struggling to find work (and won’t even give me a discount, despite knowing I’m the poorer of the two of us). And the jobs do take a lot of skill and effort.

But it’s frustrating. So is the whole system of formatting, etc, for self publishing sites. Could someone please assume I’m an idiot and explain it in a click this, click that way so I don’t have to get confused by all the options?

I’m still hoping to get this book out before the end of October. All (sure, “all”; like it’s not a huge bleeping mountain of confusing) I have left to do is make the accounts on the necessary websites, format the work, make a cover, and, um… have I missed anything?

Oh why do I even bother asking? It’s not like people understand that there’s a difference between hitting a like button and actually interacting, anymore. I hate like buttons. I have nobody to talk to and the walls can’t hold up a decent conversation. The ceiling’s all high and mighty and the floor’s all down and trodden.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2016 in On L.C. Morgenstern's Work

 

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Project Status 4 – Folding and Fury

Not getting distracted from your writing is important. So is not getting stressed out by obligations so that you can’t write. This blog isn’t getting me people to talk to – which is why I started it – and it’s crushing my ability to produce my actual stories, so from now on it’ll be an if I feel like it/have news production schedule.

 

Project Status 4 – Folding and Fury

I’ve been trying to get a writers group working for a few months. Last month I began doing a content edit/critique for the only regular apart from myself. At the same time he agreed to do a light punctuation edit on my nearly ready to publish characterisation advice book. Since then I’ve read almost as many pages of his work as there are of my work, always getting his chapters back to him promptly, while he has only done seven pages of my work and has – since giving me those seven pages – been utterly silent and non-responsive on the subject of my work since. Nevertheless, he always responds near immediately to the return of his own work and talks about taking the edits in right away, so he clearly has the time.

I’m feeling very used right now.

I keep telling myself that maybe he forgot (but I’ve referred to it in emails about his work, so he’d have to be deliberately not acknowledging those bits) or that he’s busy (but not too busy for eighty something pages of his own work, taking in the critiques, and – if he told accurately – rewriting parts of his chapters) or that maybe he hates it and thinks he’s being nice by not saying anything (which is a break of agreement, unintentionally cruel, and unlikely because he seems like the sort of person who would – carefully – say something or at least lie to get out of it). You’d think that after all the times I had my helpful nature abused by other students in Uni I would be used to this sort of shit happening, but apparently not because I still got blindsided by it and it still hurts. I’m furious with him for the radio silence. I’m furious with him because, whether he meant to or not, I got used. I’m furious with myself for not seeing it coming. Mostly, though, I’m scared. If I can’t get this situation sorted, then my writers group will fall apart before it ever truly got to form and I will be, once again, without anyone to interact with. Blathering here is all well and good, I suppose, but with no one ever responding to me here and the rest of the world treating me as non-existent unless they want something out of me (a content critique, incidentally, is a service that can be a profession and is often paid for when friends don’t do it for each other)…

I’m furious. I’m feeling used. I’m tired. I’m tired of being used, of being angry, and of being friendless. I’m tired of putting in so much effort and getting nothing back. I’m tired of trying to build things, like this blog and the writers group, only to be walked over again and otherwise ignored – of trying so hard and watching everything fall apart anyway. I’m tired of being a failure.

I’m tired of not being able to make myself give up. I’m tired of knowing when to fold ‘em but not doing it because part of me is still too stubbornly optimistic to admit that it’s pointless. I’m tired of being torn between the remains of my self-worth wanting bloody revenge on those who wrong me and the exhaustion of experience telling me that if I could just give up that last kernel of self-esteem I could give up completely, instead of repeatedly finding myself in these situations and being trapped – unable to figure out how to fix it and bitter that I’m too damn stubborn to be capable of giving up.

Fuck it, I’ll publish it anyway – without waiting for him to bother to do his edit.

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2016 in On L.C. Morgenstern's Work

 

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Project Status 3 – Warning: Idea Off Leash

Do you ever have an idea that gets totally out of control? The sort which you intend to grow into a nice, quickly written, self-contained, light novel – just a bit of silliness, really – but which then gets off its leash somehow and before you know it has morphed into a massively complex, socio-political mess which is insisting that it would rather like to be the next A Song of Ice and Fire, no matter how much you tell it “NO!”?

I’m having that problem tonight. It’s an old idea that I figured out how to make work – only for it to get completely out of hand because of that. It’s going to need massive amounts of research and planning. It’s also got hopelessly poor timing, because I’ve got four other writing projects (and this blog, and a job, and a need for a second job) going at the moment. One is in the editing stage (actually, I need to get around to doing my taking in of the edits, but it’s always frustrating and depressing), one in the writing stage (I’m on chapter four), one in the plotting stage (apparently the characters have decided on sit and talk as a plot, as opposed to the adventure I intended), and one in the research for plotting stage (in order to write a story focused around a character’s job, I need to know exactly how it works and that basically means learning new jobs in this case).

What I’m basically saying is that there’s not going to be a proper post this week, because I’m busy chasing a rabid idea. See you (kind of) next week?

 
 

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