31 July, 2016

An eight letter word for . . .

I often see these great debates explode over what part of self-publishing is more difficult. I don't think it's something to be generalized, but instead is individual to each person. Writing might be more painstaking for one while marketing is laborious for someone else. Much like one person excelling in Math while another does English, there're going to be things about the self-publishing platform that everyone will have trouble with.

For me, marketing slogans are my weak point. Language has to be handpicked for the message it's going to convey, and with only a limited word count to work with, it gets frustrating.

So like everything else, I take it a piece at a time. Sometimes I'll read over what I wrote, cover my screen, then type a second copy from memory. The "from memory" usually results in some phrase changes—rarely for the worst, frequently for the best. Do it enough times, and I get the best possible marketing spiel I can manage.

The problem is: starting.

I can have all my materials in front of me—the story itself, the story summary, the blurb, the Twitter pitch, the cover art, the marketing pictures—and draw a complete and utter blank. The only way I can seem to push past this is to get my "Eureka!" moment, 'cause once I have that first phrase (no matter where it falls in the marketing spiel), I can shape the rest around it.

"But how do you get the Eureka moment?" you wonder.

For me, it's seeing all my materials, then stepping away and doing something else. I switch objectives, do something hands on (any crafters out there? Knitters? Crocheters? Painters? Laundry folders?), and let my mind clear. The right words will compose themselves for me when I hit the border of "No longer at the forefront of my mind".

Now with that being said, I'm off to sort laundry and hunt me down a few Pokémon to clear my head so I can work out this new marketing slogan!

16 July, 2016

Evolves to . . .

I'm utterly late getting this post out, and I apologize for that.

I mentioned last time that I'd be doing Camp NaNoWriMo again, so I have, in a way; this time, I'm using the first half of the month for some art projects related to my writing. I can't debut that particular art just yet, but I did have to stop and make a character sheet for Pierce, call-sign "Kentucky", one of my main characters in Tragedy of Ice.

Pierce's character sheet, July 2016

Just like being an author, my skills as an artist have significantly improved over the last year. Comparing my lines and colours to the character sheets I did last year, I've come a long way. It may not seem that noticeable to others, but as the artist, I can always tell when my style has evolved.

Kadiza's character sheet, June 2015

I can see it with my old writing, too. Looking at the short stories I've already published, I can see just how much my style has changed and evolved since I began publishing in 2014. Even for things as recent as last year, holding "Evening Hallow" up next to "Comeuppance", let alone to Tragedy of Ice, I can see the nuanced differences in sentence structure, beats, etc. Even the way I describe characters' appearances and mannerisms.

The evolution of an author/artist is one to behold, for sure. And maybe that's what's happening with Comedy of Rain: I'm evolving styles again.


Ash Litton

Ash Litton is a writer and lover of sci-fi, fantasy, and all things fictional. She is the author of Thoroughbred, Evening Hallow, Comeuppance, and Cabover Cabaret, and works on other Appalachian Dream Tales between her ongoing novel projects. She's also written No Diet, No Surgery, No Sweat, an ebook chronicling her weight-loss journey.

When she's not writing, she's drawing, and when she's not doing either of those, she's dreaming up new projects to work on. Born and raised in rural West Virginia, Ash has always wondered what things lay hidden in the hills around her. She attended West Virginia University, where she studied the English language before returning home to her family in rural West Virginia.