I’m really excited to share the news that Lauren, my editor extraordinaire, has received my second draft of My Last Days and has begun her journey on removing all of my unnecessary commas, overuse of characters thinking out loud, and she’ll probably point out how my main character’s a moron or something equally overlooked by everyone that read the first draft.

I feel like a little kid anxiously anticipating Christmas morning showing up, but it’s only October 1st. I can see the end almost there and I wish there was a fast forward button to get from point a to point b and just have it be done and ready for anyone who wants to read it to do so.

There’s still months left on the journey (if the last book’s editing process is any indicator), but we’ve done some things to make editing easier. This time, rather than using Word’s “track changes”, we’re using the app that I wrote both books in. I found some revision functionality that I didn’t know about during A Sour Chord’s writing process, so we’re going to use that. Hopefully that makes life easier for both of us.

More updates to come! Hopefully you’re as excited about my second book as I am. And if you’re curious, I’ve already started character creation for the third book. My mind truly never stops running.

There’s four major eBook providers, well three major ones and then Google. Of those major players (Google, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon), only Amazon lets you make your book free for a period of time. You get five days every six months to make your book free. I had good luck with it when I did it last year and just did it again last week. (If you don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you missed out on that announcement.)

Like last year, I had some good results. Lots and lots of downloads over the five day period, which coincided with my repetitive tweets and messaging about it. The number of downloads last week essentially doubled the number of people who’ve downloaded A Sour Chord. Which, granted, isn’t a whole lot in the last 9 months, but I’m still happy to be getting feedback from people about it.

A friend from high school read and finished it in a couple of days last week and had this to say:

Shit. Wow. Totally unexpected. Great job M. Jandreau. My hat is off to you. I LOVED LOVED LOVED it.

It was accompanied with a glowing (and much more wordy) review on Amazon, which truly made my day. I came into this not looking for money or fame, but looking to touch people emotionally, to get into their heads and make them think and feel and live and love. And that’s what I’ve been doing from the feedback I’ve been getting, and I truly love it.

My Last Days is just about ready to go to the editor to get chopped, sliced, butchered, beaten up, slapped around, and kicked in its proverbial teeth. I’m hoping that we’ll get through that pretty quickly and move onto the final draft before having the artwork done to be published.

Once that happens, my idea for book #3 will start getting planned out. Talk about an expensive hobby, I hope at least one of these books makes me a couple of bucks, because I’m bleeding money into this hobby of mine. Editors and artists are expensive!

If you read A Sour Chord, I’d really love it if you could drop a review on whichever site you bought/got it from. Even if you hated it, I still love seeing the feedback!

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since my last update. In fairness, I took a week off from everything – which is very unlike me – to move and get settled into my new place.

As I sit at my desk in my new office, the sound of morning commuters zipping by on the road, the sun shining in through the windows above my monitor, I’m optimistic about what this change brings to the table. Happy about where I’m going and what I’m doing, and elated to share all of it with you.

I’m happy to report that as of a couple of weeks ago, I’m done with the second draft of My Last Days. Lauren, my editor, is reading the first draft now to get a sense of the story.  Once she’s done, she’ll do the edits and give me her feedback and then we’ll get those incorporated into the book and call it a third draft.

Once the third draft is done,  I usually like to read it over once or twice before calling it a final draft. That way I’m really sure that I like the story. That’s usually an important thing when finishing up a book, right?

I’m hoping to be done with this by May, which is when A Sour Chord went live in the bookstores last year, but we’ll see. This is still very much a hobby (I haven’t even sold 100 copies of A Sour Chord yet, and still only have 3 reviews on Amazon) so I’m not in a huge rush. But if I can knock out a book a year, that’s not too shabby in my opinion. Sure, it’s a financial drain to pay for all of the editing and artwork and publishing fees when you’re not making any money back, but it’s nice to know that even if one single person reads it and loves it and calls it their favorite book, that’s good enough for me. Just having someone flipping through the pages of a book I wrote on their iPad or Kindle is something that’s completely amazing to me. I’m really happy I’ve gone on this journey.

Which reminds me, maybe it’s time to give away some Kindle copies of A Sour Chord again!

I’ll admit that I’ve been feeling a little defeated lately. The lack of sales of A Sour Chord – though mostly my fault for not really marketing it – have me questioning why I’m even doing this. Not because I want the money, that’s not – and never has been – what this is about. I just want people to read what I write.

If I could make it completely free all the time, I would.

I’ve started diving back into My Last Days now, reading it aloud, to try to get to a second draft. I’ve been making notes as I go along, hoping that I can refine the story and get to a better place with it.

It’s such an arduous process to read and re-read and re-read something over and over again. Well, reading it’s not the problem. Trying to separate myself from it to the point where I can constructively criticize my own work is what I’m having a tough time with.

I was hoping that I could have outsiders do that for me, and provide objective criticism, but a lot of those people who offered to read the first draft and provide feedback flaked out for whatever reason. That, in and of itself, had me questioning whether or not the book was so bad that those people didn’t even want to finish reading it.

Though the few that did said they enjoyed it, so it’s tough to say.

Regardless of what happened with those people (maybe they’re just flakey people, who knows), I’m pressing on and going to get through this first draft re-reading by the end of the month. Then I’ll move on to a second draft before sending it to my editor to run through.

My goal is to have this completely done and ready for publishing around the same time that A Sour Chord went live in the bookstores, which was mid-May of this year. So, fingers crossed that I’ll get it done on the same schedule.

I published A Sour Chord on May 18th of this year and immediately went back to work on My Last Days, trying to finish that book’s first draft.

Since then, sales of A Sour Chord have dropped off significantly, selling maybe one or two copies a month on Kindle or iBooks, none on the other platforms. I don’t know how other authors do it, really. Mentally focusing on finishing writing one book, while still trying to promote the other.

I imagine that the more books I write and publish, the harder this will become. Trying to promote four or five books while finishing a sixth seems like an impossible feat.

I supposed in some cases, successful authors have marketing people or teams that handle that aspect of their business. But since I’m making less than a buck a month selling A Sour Chord, I can’t really afford to spend any money to hire someone to run that part of this for me.

It gets you down a little bit, seeing your hard work get lost in a seas of a million or more other self published authors, all trying to get the attention of someone looking to spend a buck on a book they haven’t heard of. But then something magical happens. A message, a tweet, a random email from a stranger. Someone telling you that they read your book and loved it.

That happened last week, and it made me smile all through the weekend.

A friend’s dad read it. Someone I’ve never met in my life, but I’ve known his daughter for 20+ years. He stayed up past his bedtime for weeks reading it, and really enjoyed it. He sent me a Facebook message to tell me that he really liked the book and couldn’t wait until the next book was released.

It’s the small things. The lives you get to touch, the emotions you get to evoke, the smiles you know you caused. It’s those little things that make this all worthwhile.

This may never be a full time job or a business for me, or frankly anything more than just a hobby. But I think it’s something I’ll always do and always want to do.

I’m still progressing along with My Last Days. I have a few folks still reading it now and hope to incorporate their feedback before getting into the second draft. It always seems to take longer than I’d like with this process, but it is what it is. I’m doing my best to not get discouraged (and also to not just start on a third book while I’m waiting on this one.)