January has been a good month! In this newsletter I'll talk about how far I've gotten on Acrabha Stone Book 2, an idea I've had to support fanfiction and my progress as an amateur author in general.
I have settled more into my writing schedule and it is showing its effectiveness. Word count progress has slowed, however, this has to do with a strategic review of the manuscript of Weak and Mighty. So far I’m satisfied with the first part I’ve written, but as multiple plotlines have emerged, I’ve found it difficult to retain the core focus of the story. Namely, with Hyrestl and Rylen.
I’m rereading the entirety of Weak and Mighty (a common practice among authors) to re-center the story and make some needed strategic decisions. Notably, this has to do with character and plot management. I should note that I’m not finished with the manuscript yet. The two most important plots are those of Hyrestl and Rylen. There are other essential plots that are opening up and becoming more important, however, I believe I have been letting these other plots and characters start to take over. So, I have to cut back on characters and plot so they only play supporting roles.
I have also been occupied with researching and engaging in learning for computer programming. This is to explore my idea for a website idea I’ve had for my publishing company, Open Eppic. Now, I’m sure you didn’t notice, but I created a sole proprietorship publishing business to publish my books through. This way, the publishing company listed on the book is mine and not BookBaby or any other self-publishing distribution service.
Anyway, I’m sure some of you have heard my idea in posts before. The Open Eppic website would be a place where I could sell my books, but also where other creators of stories and art would be able to sell their own original creations and creations inspired by my stories, characters and settings.
However, in my learning process and research online I’ve found some things out. First, programming takes time and is difficult, though rewarding, engaging and fun in a way. It’s a little like solving a puzzle that’s more interesting (for me, at least) than Sudoku or word cross.
Second, creating a custom website from scratch to the level of Wattpad, RoyalRoad, FanFiction.net or Archive of Our Own would be quite monumental for just one person. It would likely take a couple years to get it done right.
Third, the cost of maintaining a website, especially as it grew larger, would make it financially difficult.
Fourth, website creators like Wix or Weebly aren’t able to create a website to the level of customization I’m seeking.
Fifthly, the thing that really put my heels into the ground for this idea (at least for now) was a comment someone on Reddit made. Summarized, they said this idea wasn’t something new and there were many web developers who had this idea and tried to implement it. Mostly, these websites ended up as online communities of writers supporting each other with readers not having any clue they existed. What sets the success of webnovel and fanfiction sites like Wattpad and RoyalRoad apart from others was their ability to grow their website and most importantly, the size of their reader base. These sites have readers, an audience, so to say. So, as I have no audience, I must go build one, which means writing my next book and learning the basics of marketing.
Now we get into the other part of my month. I created a checklist of things to do for marketing and my business in general. On my days off, I set myself a goal of either interacting on social media or making a post. Weekly, I’d like to work on my author website at least once, learn and implement some coding and work on a free webnovel. The webnovel would be an attempt to draw in people from Wattpad and RoyalRoad and to increase my visibility as an author. The webnovel would be simple in nature, 1-2 characters with a fun plot and setting. There’s some outlining that needs done on that first though. Monthly, I would be writing a newsletter like this one, doing a writing exercise and an infrequent promotion like an author signing or other promo.
I only started that checklist halfway through the month but I think I did fairly well. I underperformed on the “daily” social media goal, didn’t work on my website, and didn’t do an infrequent promo.
Oh, just a thought. I might be able to start a really rough approximation of the Open Eppic website idea on my current author website. Might need to juggle it though and convert over to a website designer that has a free webstore.
Anyway, that’s been my month. Feel free to send me comments, ideas, suggestions, questions and answers.
J. Elias Epp