Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Author Triumphant: inspiration & spark

This post is Part 5 of a series to augment the Author's Manifesto available for free download. Start with Part 1 here.

This and other inspirations of mine are gathered in the Spark Directory for you to explore.

Find more map-making content in my Cartography Directory.

In Part 1 of this series, I began writing my first stories. And though I'd already decided to re-draft and edit my first novel, maintaining my devotion proved difficult as life twisted and turned. Dissatisfied with my day job and life in general, I found it hard to leverage my free time into writing time.

Once again, I fell out of the habit of writing. Then I discovered Tara Swiger, who worked to help creative business owners find direction, motivation, and organization. Her idea of making a map to achieve business goals resonated with me, but since I wasn't a business owner, we passed like ships in the night. A few months later, I'd turned my knitting and rug-making hobbies into an Etsy storefront, and I joined the ranks of Tara's Starship group under the guise of a craft-business startup.

Amidst the clarity and support of this group, I decided that if I launched a creative business, it had to be based on writing stories. The Starship group supported this change of direction, and over the next year I poured myself into my creative work. I documented my writing process, honed it through trial and error, and established a weekly writing schedule that helped me meet my writing goals.

Check out this Author's Manifesto for more of my inspirations!

I also revisited some fantasy cartography tutorials I'd encountered during my gaming days, and I remade my map of the Known World. I loved the map-making process so much, I decided to make a map for each of the novel's four parts. With each map, my delight grew, and I adopted map-making as part of my writing process. A map for each of the book's fourteen chapters naturally followed.

By the time I'd finished the manuscript, the self-publishing arena had advanced far from the stigmatized vanity press from which it started. Quality works were being self-published, grabbing the public's attention, and landing post-publication deals. Rather than tacking another year onto my release date, I published the finished manuscript and maps in a single frenzied week. Then I slammed headlong into a long-avoided setback: marketing.

While I figured out how best to reach my audience of fantasy fans, gamers, and lovers of tropes the world over, I began work on the second book in my series. The Tales of the Known World saga spans centuries, continents, and at least eight impending novels, all of which cannot be written fast enough.

That's it for this series! Check out my latest inspirations for more.

download the Author's Manifesto here, or start your adventure below.

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