Chasing Readers, A Fundamental Flaw

So, I’ve realized I hate blogging.

This is an especially problematic thing to admit when you’re a self-published author struggling to build a devoted audience. The thing is, writing is an extremely personal thing for me, as you can probably expect, and sitting down to do such a thing for an extended period of time often leaves me feeling emotionally-drained.

I’m quite good at what I do, even though writing fiction in and of itself comes with its own Santa’s sack of stressors and spectrum of insecurities. But at the end of the day, if I’m going to write, I’d rather direct that expendature of energy towards long-term projects, such as The Quest for the Crystals or Eri, the Monster Sealer (The former of which is going quite well in its second installment’s drafting).

If I’m being honest, blogging is easier in some regards, because I don’t really have to think much about structure or formatting — everything just seems to come together pretty organically, whereas writing fiction is rife with overanalyzation, underestimation, and copious amounts of self loathing and theraputic alcohol.

Fact of the matter is, when it comes to blogging, I just don’t have a lot to say. Or at least, it certainly feels that way.

If I’m writing for a larger audience — or attempting to — there’s this sense of pressure on my shoulders that demands that everything I write must offer my potential readers something. Giving stuff away for free has been the go to mantra of bloggers, artists, and dot-com entreprenuers since the dawn of Internet Capitalism(tm), because when you give away something of value enough times, people will begin to pay attention to you. Apparently.

This includes tutorials, advice and insider secrets, webinars, e-books, behind-the-scenes insights, et cetera. Look no further than Geoff Goins, Mark Manson, Tai Lopez, and every other web-funnel guru with an e-mail list giveaway (Yes, I realize I’ve only listed men here — they’re the first number of folks who popped into mind. Don’t have a cow). These guys make a killing by giving stuff away for free, because people value what they have to say, and wish to pay them for whatever services they have to offer.

All I want to do is write fiction. I don’t care about maintaining Facebook adverts. I don’t care about chasing after whatever trendy hash-tags are available on Twitter. Nor do I really desire to spend every waking moment vlogging my way across Youtube John Green-style when I should be sitting down at my word processor.

All of these things feel like superficial distractions to me, that may or may not aid in building in audience — but only if I have a solid audience already established. Which I don’t. These things aren’t guaranteed. I know plenty of struggling authors and artists in the same boat as me, desperately chasing after someone — anyone — to pay attention to them. And I kind of can’t help but pity their desperation.

I’d rather spend what available energy I have focused on telling honest and engaging stories that entertain the most important audience to date: myself. This is a somewhat scary thought, because I know deep down that the stories I have to tell are important ones, that need to be shared far and wide, except I just don’t have the emotional capacity to sit down and whore myself out online for a smidge of traffic.

I’m an introvert by nature. I’ve always been a lone wolf, and the idea of forcing myself to engage in social media-centered fellatio in dire attempts for Sempai to notice me feels somewhat unproductive and exhausting. Just thinking about logging into Wattpad or Twitter makes me want to take a nap and avoid anything related to the Internet.

I feel like I’ve rambled in a few directions here, and ultimately, I’m not sure what the answer is. I don’t like blogging, and I hate social media even more. But as a self-published author I feel almost obligated to take part in these acts, because every other self-published author and dot-com success story tells me I have to, in order to be viable and relevent.

But what about all those other artists and authors I know who believe this, and are still total unknowns?

Obviously it boils down to genuine connection — but I’ve never been very good at putting myself out there, pushing myself into public spaces and being the centre of attention. Most people get on my nerves easily, and I’d rather not have to John Green my way to success if I don’t have to.

Part of me really envies John Green though, and every other content creator out there who has enough of an outgoing personality to pump essays and vlogs out at a consistent rate in order to satiate whoever throws a couple bucks towards their Patreon account.

I just don’t have the energy to expend that kind of effort. What do I give away that’s useful to other people? I don’t have a lot to say, nor do I see myself as an effective mentor-figure. I’m just a spooky YA author who cries like a baby at opening credits to Don Bluth films and consistently has Doom 64’s title theme stuck in her head.

It’s a lot to consider.

How about you? What would you like to see from me? Off the cuff journal entries? Short stories and poetry? Reviews? — What kind of advice do you have, if any? If you’re also a content creator, what’s your experience been like in this frontier? I’d love to know.

 

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The Rule of the Playground

Genre: Young Adult | Comic | Comedy |

Kiefer Bloodman is a troubled child. A misfit and social outcast at best, the Rule of the Playground, “survival of the fittest”, has become an ingrained way of life for him. But where lies the balance between “survival” and “schoolyard bully”?

This four-paged character study about childhood societal pressure vs. authentic expression was produced and presented for the online-based course, How to Make a Comic Book, led by artist and mentor, Patrick Yurick (of Making Comics fame).

Click here to start reading.

It’s my birthday!! [BOOK LAUNCH GIVEAWAY]

Hiya, Ghosts and Ghouls!

Today’s the day. Grab your copy of Killing Sabrina from Amazon, COMPLETELY FREE — from now until April 11. All I ask for in return is a quick post-read review.

If you’re a Sterile Dirt Club subscriber, (and if you’re not — why not, fam??) and already have a copy of Killing Sabrina — don’t worry. I got you covered. 😉 Check your inbox for your very special treat, and tell all your friends and family about this killer giveaway!

(If you’re a new subscriber between April 7 and April 11 and don’t get the email containing today’s bonus, please e-mail me and we’ll get stuff sorted out.)

BONUS: as an added treat, all you Quest for the Crystals fans get a bonus chapter this week! Don’t miss out on Chapter 13: Revelations from Innocence.

Okay. That’s all from me. Off to go have a picnic in a graveyard, somewhere. Enjoy this Saturday, my beautiful monsters.

Stay creepy!

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The Quest for the Crystals: The Book of Wind

Hey, Ghost & Ghouls!

So, over the last couple of months I’ve been busy over at Wattpad, showing off my latest YA fantasy adventure serial, The Quest for the Crystals: The Book of Wind.

It’s about a skunk named Regina, and her hedgehog friend, Dwain. They’re orphans, no thanks to some jerk-ass canines who took it upon themselves to slaughter everyone in the kids’ village. Now Regina and Dwain are looking for answers — and revenge.

In a nutshell? Wind in the Willows meets A Song of Ice & Fire. That’s right. No messing around.

This first novel in the Quest for the Crystals saga a tale that’s been in the works for well over five years now. It’s something I’m incredibly proud of, and feel a liiiiiiittle selfish just keeping this tale of political intrigue and high fantasy all to one little corner of the Internet.

So, if you’re not already following me on Wattpad to take part in this weekly-serialized adventure, you’re in luck. Starting today, I’ll let you in on the action too – every single Tuesday.

Chapter 10 just dropped today. But hey, that’s no fair to you, my dear reader! Click here to start reading from the beginning.

‘Til next time, Ghosts & Ghouls!

Stay creepy. 😉

 

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NaNoWriMo and the Truth About Inspiration

It’s been a super long while. How’s it going, Internet? With National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) just around the corner, I figured it would be pertinent to touch on something many novice writers find themselves at combat arms with.

Inspiration.

It takes a lot of guts, courage, and time management in order to pound out a 50,000 word manuscript in as little as 30 days. But for many writers, they cannot help but eagerly face the opportunity. However, like winged ants in search to begin a fledgling colony of their own, many writers will rise to the occasion, but very, very, few will succeed to reach their goal.

In fact, even outside of NaNoWriMo, you’ll find many writers (perhaps there are those among my readers who can relate) who very rarely finish what literary ventures they start. We grow weary of our projects; they become a bore, or cumbersome, or we’ve written ourselves into a corner and don’t know how to find a guiding light. New, lustrous, ideas tempt us elsewhere, and some of us fall victim only to be left feeling just as unsatisfied in the long run.

It’s a vicious cycle. And that’s where “inspiration” comes into play.

Many writers (myself included for the longest time until only recently) swear by the creative muses. If we did not feel inspired to write that day, we did not write that day. If we did not enjoy a current project, we would set it aside, claiming “Oh, I’ll tackle this later when I feel more inspired.” Then weeks pass, then months, sometimes even years, and very little would ever get accomplished.

The bare bones truth is that very few novice writers finish what they start. Unforced creativity very rarely swims to our artistic senses. The fact of the matter is that you have to sit down and just do it. Just write. Write though the pain, and the agony, and the lack of inspiration. At the end of the day you’ll thank yourself, you’ll feel better, and each and every day you do this it will become easier and easier (for the most part).

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo, I want to leave you lovely creative types with the following, below. I want to see you succeed at your works. Not just your NaNoWriMo projects, but with all of your creative and non-creative ventures. If you are absolutely serious about being a novelist, or a journalist, or whatever else the writing field has to offer, I encourage you to take this advice on “inspiration” to heart:

Inspiration is a hoax. You want inspiration? Plant your butt and start typing. Type until you reach 1,000 words or more. Every day. I don’t care how hard it is to do that; I don’t care that you’re mentally exhausted after three sentences. I don’t even care if you’re bleeding out of your fuckin’ eye sockets. Whatever you do, don’t get up. Just write. Just do that. Inspiration? Romanticized bullshit. You want your inspiration? Paycheck. Advance. Royalties. There’s your inspiration. Now quit your bitching and get creating.

With much love,
E.E. Blake

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HERE ARE SOME RESOURCES TO HELP YOU BUCKLE DOWN AND GET SHIT DONE:

Write or Die (Online writing prompt that eats your words the longer you procrastinate – I found this very handy during my first NaNoWriMo venture.)
Focus Me (Blocks distracting programs for a set time, total customization. Free trial, full version is about 20 bucks — but totally worth it)
Cold Turkey (Handy social media blocker)

For more, read this Mashable article, “6 Apps That Block Online Distractions”.