January 9, 2021
The Ports of Surset Book 2, Port City is Now Available! In Today’s Post you will find the Ports of Surset Wiki; progress and posting plans; and what fans are asking about how I manage to write a whole book.
The Ports of Surset Book 2, Port City is Now Available! I ran a free kindle eBook download promotion and was very pleased with the number of downloads. I am taking that to mean interest is there, I just have to make it known that it is available. I usually take a couple of weeks off between finishing one book, setting it up for release, and beginning the drafting process of the next book in earnest. That feeling you get at the end of reading a really good book is even more amplified when it is the end of of writing a book you really love. I take that time to monitor my marketing efforts, accessibility of the book to readers and making sure things go off without a hitch. This time, there were hitches. Over the holidays, my accounts in various places were breached due to a phone (not mine) security issue. I have been relentlessly tracking those breaches down and sealing them up. It was nerve wracking and gave me some first-hand experience with what will happen if I anger Amazon, through whom I usually release new books. I have a website that is mine alone and other resources for publishing new books; however, the last couple of weeks have highlighted a couple of things. 1–Amazon makes self-publishing so easy, it almost feels like someone was trying to take my crutches away when I thought I might have to shift my publishing platform. I didn’t enjoy that. It caused me to reevaluate my publishing plan for the future. 2–I need to lock down my author profile and make it more thoroughly separate from my personal Amazon (or otherwise online) access. I don’t log into my day job stuff with the same profile that I use as an author, why would I link a profile for my author job to my personal profile? It seems obvious now in hindsight where things were too closely related. Live and learn! Right?
I am starting drafting of Book 3, The Second Order, today. My Chonky Outline has evolved and morphed to more closely represent the fullness of the conclusion that the story deserves. I had, at first, considered putting out another free prequel establishing the pre-positioning of characters for the major push of the action of book 3. I don’t think I am going to do that after all. I think, instead, book 3 is shaping up to be a three-part finale. I will put it all out as a single volume but it will be written in the form of three acts. I think.
Ports of Surset Wiki
In an effort to maintain my continuity and spend less time double checking a character or world fact and more time writing, I have developed a Surset Wiki. You may have seen some of my SocMed posts with various tidbit facts about the world and the series. When the series is complete, before I begin work on the anniversary box set (Oh, yeah, that is going to be a beautiful thing.), I intend to format and post the full wiki here. I think, as an author, having readers spend time pawing through the “rest of the iceberg” is a top tier achievement and a huge compliment. I greatly anticipate one day being able to enjoy that kind of success. Again, it isn’t going to be available here until after the series is complete but, it will be happening. If there is a question or line of thought that is hinted at in the text of the books but not expounded on as much as it might be, by all means, ask for it to be in the wiki!
What Fans Ask
I get asked all the time: How do you organize your files and keep up with everything that goes into writing a book and revising a book and publishing a book and making money from a book…
My most dreaded question is the amorphous, “How do you find time to write a whole book?” I would almost find it offensive if it weren’t so funny. I don’t think writing enough coherent thoughts in a linear order to fill a book is as uncommon as people think it is… but that is a tangent for next time. Beyond the, “It is what is important to me, therefore I make time,” answer, the obvious response is, ORGANIZATION. I organize my thoughts, my files, my research and my time in such a way that the act of creating flows from conception of an idea into a finished book in a way that feels quite natural to me.
- FILE STRUCTURE OUTLINE GOES, GENERALLY: This PC–>Documents–>Writing–>
- A WIP
- A The Ports of Surset—The currently active series in production.
- B [title]—As the B folder in the WIP folder, this book series is not active. It is the next series I plan to work on. At this stage, I already know the beginning, middle and end of the series. I just have to write it.
- 1—All the drafts and versions of the book manuscripts are kept in their own folders.
- Other folders and documents to support the writing and publishing process are contained in the individual book and Free-quel folders as needed.
- Box Set—Final versions of each book and free-quel will be consolidated into this folder for an anniversary box set production.
- Free-quel 1—There is typically one Free-quel for each book in a series.
- Free-quel 2
- Free-quel 3
- Marketing—This folder contains all marketing plans and campaigns including SocMed posts.
- Temp—Everyone needs a temp folder where research and inspirational links can be stored.
- Z Contracts and Documentation—Legal and tax documentation goes in here.
- 1—All the drafts and versions of the book manuscripts are kept in their own folders.
- C [title]–for workshopping–The pre-draft version of a series goes in here to be workshopped and developed in anticipation of writing.
- B AUDIOBOOKS—The plan is to produce audiobooks for each series after or in conjunction with the anniversary box set.
- G GROUP—This is as important as my own works. Where I sort the submissions of workshop group members to organize my thoughts and provide feedback to them.
- I IDEA BOARD—I make a separate document for each unique idea and combine those that work well together into sub-folders here in the early development of new books.
- W WIKI—This folder contains a desktop wiki program that helps me keep track of the details of each book.
- Z DONE—When a book or series is complete, it goes in here as well as being saved to an external dedicated thumb drive for future reference.
- Z TRASH—Projects that I abandon or which become un-finishable go in here. Things in here rarely have the opportunity to be revived but it has happened. It is also a fairly sparse and empty folder.
It starts, always, with an Idea Board page. Generally, I will have a couple of small notebooks, my phone with access to Google Docs, and perhaps my hubs or my dogs handy to bounce an idea onto. A brief, less than 30-minute, brainstorm of an idea goes, by the end of that initial concept collection, onto a page. Whether it is Google Docs or a page from my notebook, those get transcribed about once a month into the “I Idea Board” folder in my “Writing” file tree. Each new idea gets its own page. That does not mean that it will necessarily get its own book. At the same time that I am creating idea pages, I am reviewing the ones already there. Sometimes, a couple of ideas will stick together in a way that tickles my imagination, and I will combine the pages. I use “Z Trash” folders or “U Used” folders within the “I Idea Board” folder to store the original idea page rather than deleting or over-writing it, in case I want to ever separate combined ideas back into their original components.
When it’s time to choose a project to turn into a book, it is often these melded idea pages, containing several individually interesting concepts combined into a single complex story idea that becomes the next WIP. I move the new book concept into its own folder under the “A WIP” folder. That is the first time a concept is brought out of the creche of the “I Idea Board” and it is an exciting time. Inside the “A WIP” folder, there are usually three other folders. They are titled for the current WIP, “A [title]“; the WIP I plan to begin when the current WIP is complete, “B [title]“; and the WIP I am workshopping to flesh out issues, “C [title].” An entire series starts as a mangled Chonky Outline of major plot beats and disparate, untethered scenes. My workshopping group is really amazing at helping me identify the merit and the excess in these series proposals. I occasionally write stand-alone works as well. Those tend to be in a completely different genre and, so far, are not published for sale, but the finished few may be found here on the website for free download.
Once an idea has made it into the “A WIP” folder, and then occupies the “A [title]” distinction within that folder, it is further categorized within itself. Each series will present itself slightly differently but there are a few basic folders included. Numbered folders “1” through “3” (more if it is bigger than a trilogy) will contain a document with the bits of the Chonky Outline of the series that pertains to each planned book. There will also be a “Box Set” folder, patiently waiting for the final version of each book to be added for the anniversary edition. Ya’ gotta’ plan ahead. Three or more “Free-quel” folders (one for each book of the series) are there to be filled with idea pages to support the release of each book. Finally, the last three folders immediately created in each “A [title]” folder are the “Marketing,” “Temp,” and “Z Contracts and Documentation” folders. The Z folder could as easily be labeled “legal and taxes” but I like “Contracts and Documentation” because it feels less scary.
Within the numbered book folders, files containing the Draft, Revision 1 (or more), Beta Draft, and Beta Revision versions will at different times take center stage. Working folders for covers and back cover copy go in here as well. A last and ultimate folder, “Published,” is created and populated with the final published versions in the various numbered book folders. I don’t even create that folder until I am ready to make my final uploads and approve the final versions for publication. All my attention then can shift from there to the “Marketing” folder, in which I make my wiki SocMed post drafts and use a step-by-step checklist for getting everything posted and available on time. From start to finish, using a flexible and personally intuitive system through which books can flow keeps me from working in old drafts, losing information, or falling behind.
In The News
As of this morning, Covid 19 news has recorded 22.5M cases in the US. With almost 400,000 Covid 19-related deaths reported, the official mortality rate is reported nationally now at 3%, down from last month. With the election results finally emerging from their previously contested and challenged status, I am very much looking forward to hearing from leadership in my nation to help us work together to achieve our common goals and pave the way for individuals to achieve their personal goals. I am basically a happy and optimistic person. I am ready to see some happy and optimistic progress. Down with meanness for meanness’ sake! Down with tyranny of the spirit!
Social, Media and Otherwise
Currently, there isn’t much going on in the SocMed world (for me). I have a series of Surset Wiki posts going up at the moment to support the release of Ports of Surset Book 2, Port City. I am trying to find new and interesting other things to post about, I don’t want to just be a commercial with every post. There is more to me than that. Honest. >.> Anyway… For more information about my books and my dogs and my reasons for rebelling against artificial social expectations, sign-up for the mailing list!
Take Care! –Amy (aka Ubriel Bryne and Jami Montgomery)