Hit the brakes

It’s been a while since I posted, mainly because I’ve been busting my guts working on the anticipated release of Shadows May Fall. It’ll be two years this month since I first started writing it, so needless to say I’m ready to be done with it once and for all. I learned how to successfully put a print book together, a first for me, and just yesterday I was sitting down with my red pen in hand making what I expected to be the final corrections.

Then, I got a voice message on my phone. It was from a publisher I had submitted to back in April. I sent them a query just as I was straddling the fence about self-publishing and they were the only traditional publisher I directly submitted to (I did the agent thing for about a minute in early days) and when the summer came along I proceeded with getting things together to get this book ready for publication, including posting it on Wattpad and learning how to make a dead tree book. I even switched up the pen name — originally I had a brand new one, but when I decided to go indie I made the decision to use one I had previously published romances under.

Needless to say, after ten months, I was pretty surprised to get the call. I thought about it for the afternoon and decided I would send them the full manuscript.

A bit of irony here: my decision to go with this publisher or go indie was prompted by a session I attended on traditional publishing vs self publishing in which the editor I submitted to was one of the panelists for trad publishing (the other was one of their own authors who also self-published.)

So, just over a month before my planned publication date, I’m hitting the brakes. Barring the publisher giving an auto-no after I told them it was currently on Wattpad (though having an established readership might actually help from a business perspective,) the publication date is suspended indefinitely.

What this means:

a) They’ll offer a contract, and publication will be at least a year from the date of signing.

b) They won’t offer a contract, and the publication date will most likely be next winter (depending on how long it takes them to read and whether I have to nudge.)

I could have said it wasn’t available and proceeded to go indy, but they’re a great publisher (my Christmas stocking was filled with three of their books this year), they have a YA imprint, and they publish the sort of thing I write. I had planned to submit something else to them down the road, but I assumed that Shadows May Fall and its subsequent books were all no-go.

Normally this is something I would keep under my hat, but I’ve had some readers ask specifically about a print edition and I had promised 2017, so I figured it would only be fair to be upfront.

I’ll be sitting at the computer all weekend trying to put together the manuscript. It’s been AGES since I had to whip something up for submission. Then I have to scour everywhere for mentions of a publication date.

After that, I wait, and I get to work on something new — because that, my friends, is the whirlwind that is publishing.

The Wonky “T”

Writing full time on an iPad.

The “T” key on my laptop is wonky. I’ve tried everything to fix it, save for Krazy Glue. My last resort is going to the Apple store and see if they can fix it, but I’m not quite prepared to be that person who walks into the Apple store because I can’t fix a key on my laptop.

I have a Bluetooth keyboard I can pair with my computer, but I’m not really a desk person. I like to write while sitting up in bed or with my feet up in front of the TV, and using some sort of lap-desk setup can be a little awkward.

This was not good. I’m set in my ways. I like writing the way I write. I started off using a typewriter and only traded it in for a computer because I couldn’t get a new typewriter. I like the whole package.

I have an iPad Mini that’s getting past its prime, but with the wonky “T” making the writing process aggravating to write the way I’m comfortable, I decided to give the iPad a go as a dedicated writing device.

As it turns out, it’s pretty damn good. I’ve edited Shadows May Fall on it, carrying the iPad to work and whatnot to tinker at it when I’ve got some free time. I’ve written two novellas and one short story (trust me, this is a lot for the summer months when my productivity plummets) and I’ve plotted out an entire series spanning several generations. I’ve organized my notes across different services. I’ve done way more on the iPad than I thought I would, and I’m actually thinking of turning it into my full-time primary writing device.

I haven’t mastered the part where you get a book to ebook/print using an iPad and I’m not even sure it’s possible, so I’ll still need some sort of device to get to that point (and this is where I become a desk person). However, it’s totally doable to write full time on your iPad, and best of all it’s distraction free.

Below is a list of apps that I’ve used. You don’t necessarily need all of them, but I’ve found that they’re worth the money.

Scrivener ($19.99 US)

Whether you’re writing a 6-book novel or you like to tinker with short stories, this is the app to have. I’ve got all of my writing saved in one project file now, versus before when they were sorted as Word docs on flash drives, cloud drives, and so on. Novels and novellas I’m working on get their own project file, outlined in parts, chapters and scenes, written in its entirety and kept completely in one compact place. When your writing is done and you’re ready to move onto the next step, just send it as a Word doc to your favourite cloud service .

Google Keep ($0)

Some folks swear by Evernote, but I rarely use it for writing. I just don’t like it, to be honest. What I do like is Google Keep, where your notes look like they’re pinned to a bulletin board. You can label them, add photos, and so on. Simple and free, yet totally my thing.

Wordly ($0, Upgrade Available)

I’m hesitant to include this because I’ve found that focusing too much on word count takes away from simply sitting down to write. However, for those of you doing NaNoWriMo or want to time how many words you can write in a specific period of time, Wordly is a nice little app.

A Novel Idea ($0, Upgrade Available)

I. Love. This. Ever since I decided to expand Shadows May Fall into a series spanning over several generations of the Monroes & Gastons, A Novel Idea has helped to keep track of it all, but it would work fantastically even if you’re working on a stand-alone work of any length. Even better than the character sketches in Scrivener. I can bring up a character sketch and see where he or she fits into subsequent books, his or her relationship to other characters, and so on. Love love LOVE.

Wattpad ($0)

Contrary to what some writers will vehemently argue, giving your work away for free is not necessarily a bad thing. Margaret Atwood, always eager to try out new things for authors, is active on Wattpad. You can load your completed book like I did with Shadows May Fall or you can load chapters as you write them to build a readership. Use the app to do this, and to read what other people are writing. I haven’t gotten around to using Tablo, but I plan to do so next month. I think it’s pretty much the same idea as Wattpad, but whereas Wattpad is geared more towards young adult, Tablo has a more general audience.

Byword ($6)

Ok so you don’t need Byword, but I still like it. When I need a break to just sit and write something for fun, Byword is like a fresh sheet of paper.

Dropbox ($0)

Syncs with just about everything.

Google Music (for example)

Wherever you get your tunes from, you can have them on your iPad while you do your thing. I personally love Google Music ($10/month) and its playlists. Get yourself some nice headphones to go with them.

And, finally, in honour of my wonky “T” key, a Bluetooth Keyboard. When you want to sit down at a desk or table and feel like you’re using a computer, just stand up your iPad, connect your keyboard, and boom. It’s almost like working on a desktop.

Now, all of these apps you can also use on your iPhone, so if you want to give it a whirl on a Plus, go for it.

So there we have it. How I managed to trade in my laptop and plough through multiple projects on an iPad. Could I ever give up my Mac? Probably not. There are programs I use on that which can’t be found on Windows (which I’ll probably blog about at some point,) and frankly I just love the operating system. However, I could give up my MacAir for a Mac Mini, which is about $3-400 cheaper and use the iPad as my dedicated writing device.