naomi_jay: (pale girl)
So Kyle is working stupid late shifts this week (2pm-11pm), meaning A) we won't really see each other except in passing whilst one of us is asleep and B) I'm going to have to cook for myself this week. I know! I've become really spoilt over the past two years. Kyle is an excellent cook, and whilst I'm not awful, I'm nowhere near as competant. And frankly, the idea of getting home and slaving over the oven when I could just get home and start writing doesn't really appeal. I don't like things that interfere with all that glorious writing time, like cooking and cleaning and working.

This is my amazing solution:


I'm going to make the world's biggest batch of chili tonight and live off it for the rest of the week. And since I've been obsessing over Tesco's butternut squash, honey, and sage soup this weekend, I'm going to make a butternut squash chili. I found a pretty straightfoward recipe. I'll need to change it up a bit since I hate onions and refuse to cook with them. They're weird, okay? I think they're weird. And I'm substituting beef broth for stock in order to make the recipe Harcombe-diet friendly. I also don't have a Dutch oven, but I assume cooking it on the hob will achieve the same end result. I'll probably also swap corn for courgettes because I love courgettes more, and it's my chili, dammit.

Anyway. I always get ridiculously excited when I decided I'm going to be all homely and stuff, despite the part of me that's all like "cooking? Are you mad? Have some cheese and get writing!" so I'm quite looking forward to making this. I've never cooked with butternut squash before though, so who knows, it could all go horribly wrong. But finding out will be an adventure!

naomi_jay: (ZP - working from home)
I had squid for tea last night and today I'm ill. Sleepless night, bad stomach, bad head. Blargh. Called in sick to work, because spending my entire working day in the toilet didn't seem like the way forward. TMI! I know!

Anyway, I figured if I'm going to sit at home in my dressing gown all day, I'd work on my plan of escaping office work forever. I've written a bunch of freelance articles for the Independent Publishing Network, two of which have been accepted with much praise, the rest of which are under review. It's not masses of money, but it's a start. I've been researching womens' magazines that accept short fiction as another potential source of income, and generally scouring the internet for creative, possibly home-based jobs that would free me from the tyranny of The Office. 

I don't know why I've suddenly made the decision to say "fuck it" and go for this stuff. I mean, I've always wanted to. When I graduated from uni, I was so adamant that I'd never end up stuck in an office, but Cambridge doesn't have many other opportunities for my skill set, so that's where I've landed. And now I'm rapidly approaching 30 and have come to terms with the fact that, no, it wasn't just the Isaac Newton Institute making me miserable, it was office work in general, and I'm like ... I have to change things.
 
So this is me trying to break free. I've just applied for a job as a creative writer for a games designer (probably don't have a shot, but it sounds amazing!). I'm working on Urban Wolf 3. I'm writing novellas for epubs around that. I'll keep up the article writing, try the womens' magazines... Hell. I will do anything to make sure I'm not still working in an office answering phones and opening letters by the time I'm 30. Do you hear me, Cthulhu?
naomi_jay: (T-Rex writes)

So 2011 is my year of living dangerously and trying new things. One of those things is "making more money from writing." This is a pretty new thing. I spoke a while back about writing for free and why I think it's a good thing, and I stand by that, but if I want to go part-time at horrible office work before I hit 30, I should really be writing for pay.

To that end, I've signed up with a few different freelance article/content writing services. They don't pay much, but if you can write in volume, you can probably earn a good chunk of change. So that's phase one. I've got a few articles lined up, I earn about a fiver for each one that's accepted. I consider that pretty decent for 30 minutes of work.

Now, phase two. This is something I've always wanted to do, but have no idea how to go about starting, and that's freelance editing/crtiquing. With indie publishing on the rise, it seems like a good idea to put the word out that I'm available. I think I'm a good critiquer. I think I can offer valuable advice to writers, and I know I'd enjoy doing so, so why not?

I guess the simplest way to start is by putting together a seperate blog/website for this side of my life, so I'm going to do that. Then I need to spread the word *gulp* I suck at self-promotion. I have all the self-esteem of a dead frog in a jar. Really. I'm weirded out by the idea of advertising myself and jumping into forums and being all "give me your money for my thoughts!" But I do want to do this pretty badly. I'm open to suggestions from the audience?


naomi_jay: (pen and paper)
Right now, anyone who wants to can upload a book to Amazon and sell it on the Kindle. All you need is the technical know-how. And countless numbers of people are doing just that. The Indie Movement is for real, yo. And obviously I'm planning to dip my toes in the water with Wild and Night and Chaos. I've read around, I've heard the success stories, and yeah, the whole thing is pretty tantalizing. So I figure, why not? My odds for success are just as good as anybody else's.

Which is not to say I don't have reservations. The fact that anybody can do something doesn't mean everybody should do it. For every success story, there are countless writers languishing in obscurity. For every gem of an indie book, lovingly crafted, faithfully polished, there are probably dozens of crap-fests that should never see the light of day. And as well as reading the success stories, I've read the endless debate over just who gets to decide what's worth publishing when anybody can do it.

I guess the answer is obvious in one sense: readers will find those gems, word of mouth will help draw attention to them, and the cream will rise to the top. Good. My concern for myself is - am I objective enough to know if my own work is a gem or a crap-fest? As the author, am I actually qualified to judge? I don't believe for a second that just because I finish a book, I've earned the right to publish it, whether it be traditionally or independently. And I don't believe I'm entitled to a reader's money, time, or appreciation just because I published a book. I certainly don't expect to join the ranks of the Amanda Hockings and JA Konraths of the world and start raking in stupid amounts of money for my work (although obviously that would be a massive bonus).

So why am I'm testing the indie route now? And why with Wild, a book that has already failed to find a home with agents and publishers? What makes me think I know so much better than them? Surely according to my own belief, just because I slaved over the damn book for nearly five years, doesn't make me entitled to force it on the public, especially when all those agents and publishers have already rejected it.

Well... I might not know better. I might be one of the failures who languishes in obscurity, and I might end up bitter and resentful and sit around writing blogs about nobody gets my genius and there's a massive conspiracy against me. I don't think I will. I don't think Kyle or [livejournal.com profile] chaostheory  will let me, as they've both promised to bitch-slap me the minute I start acting like a diva in any case. 

So no, I might not know better. I might achieve nothing. Or, I might sell some copies and find some new readers who really love it. Frankly, I don't think I have anything to lose. I'll write more books. There'll be at least two sequels to Night and Chaos, and based on my beta readers' reactions, I'm hopeful that at least will find a happy home on the Kindle. And you know what? I love Wild. I believe it's a good book and I want to share it with people. The indie route gives me the opportunity to do that.

So, no, I don't think that just because you can do something, you should. And no, I don't believe that every single thing I write is worthy of being pushed on the public. But I think 2011 is going to be my year of living dangerously.

naomi_jay: (hello cthulhu)
Points of Interest:

It's October 13th! Which means there are still eighteen days to sign up for Anti-Nano, if you haven't already joined my fledgling cult. And you should totally join - there might be cupcakes! You can certainly never rule out the possibility, anyway.

My friend [livejournal.com profile] laburton has re-released her urban fantasy novel, STORM OF MAGICK on Smashwords (and I believe the Kindle release is imminent). You should check it out.

In other news, I have A Plan to rid myself of my horrible job and start a new life at a cocktail bar in the tropics somewhere less teeth-achingly stressful. Part of this plan involves writing lots of novellas and publishing them on the Kindle to make some pocket money. I know! I'm backtracking. I do think there's a lot of potential pitfalls involved in self-publishing, and I do find the "We'll show them all!" attitude of a lot of self-pubbers towards those of us working towards traditional publishing tedious. I still believe everything I said back in August about why I want to write and what I want from my writing career. I don't think traditional publishing is dead, and I still believe I have a shot at the agent-publisher-bookshop dream, despite a ... down-turn on the agent front recently. 

That said, I want to change my life. My job makes me deeply unhappy and I can't afford to just quit, sadly. But I had this epiphany on Monday morning whilst stuck in traffic on the way to my horrible job: There's something I can do about it.

I can write and put what I write on Amazon and see what happens. I'll still be writing novels for small presses and with the intent to submit to agents. That part of my plan will never change; I believe wholeheartedly in my dream. But if I can make enough money self-publishing to go part-time next year ... well, I need that. I need to change something or I'm going to fall apart. I'm prepared to take a few risks in order to change my situation now, something I've been afraid of doing in the past. I shouldn't be afraid. I should be brave. This is me being brave and taking a risk. 

(Actually, trying to make head or tail of Amazon's Kindle guide is taking a risk. An FAQ should not have subfolders and videos. Just saying okay?)

I had a very useful conversation with [livejournal.com profile] nathreee  recently that helped me clarify my thoughts on this matter and pushed me to make a decision. I've always said that I don't think it has to be "either or" when it comes to self-publishing versus traditional publishing, and I think I'm a good enough and self-aware enough writer to do this the right way. So that's that. Watch this space. This may lead to my Paranormal Romance Secret Identity being revealed, but more details when I have something worth discussing in details.

The other part of my plan is to step up the job hunt, because whatever happens I need to get away from the Institute. I applied for two jobs today. Surely if I just keep applying, something will eventually come through, right?

Anyway, this post went a bit off-topic. I'll leave you with this message from our Anti-Nano sponsor:

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