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.)

I’ve got a handful of people reading My Last Days right now. Not to tell me that I missed a comma or a closing quote or the like, but to tell me what they think of the story. I read through it twice when I finished the first draft and I’m not fully sure that I love it. I like the idea, I like the message I (think I) conveyed with it. But I’m just not sure that I’m in love with the whole thing.

So I’m hoping for some good feedback from those folks that are reading it now. So far, nothing either way, but hopefully soon I’ll get some feedback.

In the meantime, I feel a lot like I’m spinning my wheels. I feel as though if I’m not writing anything, I’m wasting time. Which is a weird feeling, given that this is not only just a hobby, but it’s not like I have a drove of fans waiting for my next book, or a publisher that’s hounding me to get something written.

I just feel like if I’m not doing something, I’m wasting the day.

Sure, I’m working my day job, I’m working on a website or two for fun. But other than that, every day feels more of the same. I wake up, eat breakfast, sit at my desk for eight hours and then do some chores and tasks, make dinner and watch TV. It feels very repetitive lately and I don’t know why I’m in this rut.

Maybe it’s because subconsciously I wanted A Sour Chord to do better than it has done. Maybe I wanted someone to email me, call me or write a review online telling me how much they loved it. Maybe, on some level, that’s done some damage to my mentality and it’s starting to hit me. Maybe the book’s not as good as I wanted it to be.

When I first started working on A Sour Chord, I didn’t tell anyone. I did that on purpose because I’ve, many times in the past, started things and not finished them. That’s sort of my motus operandi. I’ve started and quit so many things in my lifetime, I didn’t want to get anyone excited about this until I knew I was done.

Then when I finished, lots of people were excited. Friends and family wanted to read it. So I, foolishly maybe, started sending it out. I realize everyone’s busy and have their lives to think of, but some people that were so excited to read it still haven’t. It’s been almost three months since it was entirely done and for sale, and some of those folks still haven’t read it yet. Am I being sensitive about that?

I’m wondering if I should start working on something else while My Last Days is being read. I don’t know how long that whole process will take this time. From the end of the first draft through editing, through artwork, through re-reading, through reader feedback until publishing for A Sour Chord was more than a year.

I’m hoping, based on what I’ve learned from last time, My Last Days will go faster. I’m also hoping that once it’s published, I’ll sell some copies. While it’s not — and never has been — about making money for me, it’s sort of nonsensical to spend thousands of dollars on editors and artists to create the finished product when it’s only going make a couple of dollars.

Maybe I need to hire a marketing person. I’ve learned, quite quickly, that I have no idea how to market anything. I was hoping that I’d publish and people would just find the book, but that appears to be the wrong way to think about things. Maybe it’s time to regroup and rethink my strategy.

That’s all I’ve got for today. I realize this is mostly me rambling the thoughts I’ve been trapping in my head for the last couple of weeks, so I apologize.

It seems like it flew by once I started working on, it really did. Once A Sour Chord was published and for sale, I started hitting My Last Days again. And hit it hard I did.

The total word count is just over 92k, and the story seems to all warrant such a word count. I’ve read through it twice now since I finished writing — to do a rough edit for punctuation, grammar and spelling — and I think I enjoy it. I’ve got it out with a half dozen people to read and give me their feedback, so hopefully they’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

When I first started writing it, I was lost. I didn’t really know where it was going or what I was trying to say, but as I progressed the story sort of unfolded on its own.The characters told their own story and I was just their narrator.

One of the most interesting things about My Last Days, at least to me, is that it’s in first person. I don’t often write in first person, but it was a fun and unique challenge to do so.

From here, we begin the process of gathering feedback from people, incorporate any feedback into the story and then move on to the editing process. Once that’s done, we do artwork and then we publish. It really is pretty simple.

The hardest part, from here, will be the editing. It sucked my will to live last time and I really didn’t enjoy it much. Not even a little bit. But it’s necessary and has to be done, so we all do it, right?

If you’re interested in reading My Last Days to give some pre-edit feedback, I’d love to have you check it out. Just drop me a line either on Twitter, Facebook or via the Contact page and let me know which format you’d prefer (Kindle, PDF, Nook, iOS) and where to send it and I’ll get it over to you.

I look forward to finishing this up and picking what I’m going to write next. I’m thinking, after two of them, maybe it’s time to write something a little less dramatic. Maybe a suspense novel? I’m not sure I can pull that off, but I have an idea and am willing to try.