Redefinition

The original intent for this website was to be the public face of my professional writing career. A sort of interactive portfolio. I included Hermes925 thinking that the ongoing story would encourage repeat visits and help me build my brand. I also thought that some day I could finish it and publish it, and have enough online notoriety to get picked up by a traditional publisher that would pay me for the story and help me distribute it.

I realised not long after though that posting the story on my website could possibly be considered ‘previously published’, and would exclude my story from eligibility for almost every publisher I looked into. Crap. If I wanted to actually make money from writing I had to shift my focus away from Hermes925 and look into other alternatives.

I searched online for writing jobs, and writing gigs, and contests, and magazines accepting submissions. All the traditional jobs seemed to be for bid-writing, technical writing or social media content writing for boring businesses. Nothing creative. There were a few gigs that seemed more than a little interesting, but the amount of research, time and effort necessary to write what they were asking for seemed to be more valuable than the money they were offering.

The contests were interesting, but if you don’t win you get nothing. It also bothered me that all of the gigs, contests and magazines would then own that story for the pittance they were asking. You’d never be able to use that story again. It was gone. If I could use the same story for several gigs it might have been worth it, or they paid royalties.

As luck would have it I discovered that one of the writing groups I was in (called ‘Fiction Writing‘) was compiling an anthology called ‘A Horror of Words’, and the theme was ‘ghosts’. I used to love writing ghost stories, so I gave it a go. The group was very supportive and gave me some great feedback, but ultimately my ghost story was rejected.

I’m glad it did, because I realised my story would work better as a longer, deeper, more three-dimensional narrative. I also realised that there was no reason I couldn’t do exactly the same thing the ‘Fiction Writing’ group were doing. I had recently taken over admin duties for a group called ‘Creative Writers‘ that had been abandoned. It had only 32 members and was about to be deleted, but it had already begun to grow, rapidly.

I’d also recently learned that Amazon now offers a printing-on-demand book publishing process, in addition to the Kindle book publishing. I could make a book. I wouldn’t need to pay a bunch of money up front to a ‘vanity press’ that would print my money whether it was good or not. I could do that for free and Amazon would just take a cut of my profits.

Of course, I know that my book won’t sell unless it’s good, so I still need proof-readers and editors, and mentors. I know my writing is good for me, but it needs to be good for others. There was already a great feeling of collaboration between the Creative Writers, so I proposed the idea of creating an anthology together. We would check each others’ writing, and encourage each other to get better.

It was a very popular idea, and there were several great questions that came up that helped me improve the initial idea. The anthology series will be called ‘Monolith’. Book one is going to be called ‘New Beginnings’ and every story in it will share this theme in some way. Submissions need to be 2000-10000 words and be submitted between June and August. Besides that, any genre goes, and you retain rights and ownership of the story.

The admins and I wanted to make a project that we would want to write for ourselves, and it continues to grow and evolve. The latest example of that is a new WordPress page I’ve put together, the Creative Writers’ Press. The hope is that, once we’ve playtested the process with Monolith and ironed out the kinks, we’d be able to offer to publish other books written by the Creative Writers.

This new website has a blog also, and I’m currently thinking it would be a great way to highlight interesting subjects that were discussed in the group that some of the other members might have missed, and articles on writing, and about the spirit of the group. Creative Writers Press is soon going to become my professional face as a writer and publisher.

This page has been great practical experience, but it’s been bumped. However, this could be a good thing. It would allow me to write a little more personally, and less professionally. I haven’t really done a good job of keeping it professional, but there was always the thought as I was writing that some future boss, publisher, or patron of the arts might be reading this.

The atmosphere of this page may change a little. I may speak my mind a little more. If you’re a family member who would rather follow my entrepreneurial efforts as a writer, you may want to switch your subscription to Creative Writers’ Press. 🙂 Go there now!

If you’re still following this page when the next article is written, then I will assume that you’re not the sort of person that would be intimidated, offended or appalled by frank and honest opinions and topics including (but not limited to) sex, nudity, marijuana, heavy metal, gender-fluidity, faeries, demons, witchcraft, success, business, marketing, money, Science, technology, self-improvement, personal development, depression, bipolarFB_IMG_1492162261458 disorder, rebellion, identity and/or freedom. 🙂

It’s going to get real! Either that or this website will get ignored completely while I focus on other things (which is probably far more likely).

Have a great day 🙂

Summoning a Short Story

I was going to try and get a short story written today. At least get one started, but my brain is not cooperating. In America I could put a familiar movie on in the background, pick up a pen, and start writing. Today I found myself watching the movie instead. It was Avengers. A great movie, but one I’ve seen countless times before. When I did get writing it wasn’t particularly helpful.

A US periodical called ‘Fantasy & Science Fiction‘ offers 7-12 cents per word up to 25,000 words. So I used up half a page just figuring out how many pages I would have to fill in my notebook to get to 25,000 words. They want the document printed, so I would have to type it up and print it. That shouldn’t be too hard since my parents have their own printer, but these thought processes don’t actually get the story written.

Even now I’m thinking that I should research UK magazines and find out how many words they want, and how much they pay. I’d be very frustrated if I spent time and effort writing a story, only to find it’s too long, or that there aren’t any magazines that are looking for that genre. I’d like to write The Lord Highwayman, but I’m not sure it’ll sell, being historical fiction. I’ve also thought about writing the barfight scene from Hermes925. It’s in the draft I only have in my notebooks right now. I’m not sure it still fits in the new version of the story I’m mapping out, or even if it has to.

Does anyone know of a UK website similar too ‘Freedom with Writing‘? It’s a website I currently subscribe to that tells you about paid writing opportunities. Or does anyone know where I could start looking for writing work in the UK? Which magazines take submissions and which ones pay?

I should just write something first, then I could send out samples right away to whomever I think might publish it. I can worry about editing the length and content later based on their feedback. If it doesn’t get accepted, I’ll just add it to the archive. I can always dust it off later if I find a niche for it. That’s what I set it up for.

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I’m I just hesitating because I don’t want to be rejected? Maybe. I just need to suck it up. In the states, when I felt like this, I had access to a herbal solution that would calm me down and return my thoughts to the imaginative and creative, instead of the practical. Even if I were to acquire some I’m not going to smoke it in the vicarage. I just need to get writing and let the story out, and hope that I get caught up in the flow enough to keep my concerns from distracting me from my goal.

So having got this all off my chest, I’m now going to attempt to write something. I’m sure you’ll end up seeing some, or all, of it in a future article. Please follow, if you don’t already, so you don’t miss it, and have a great day.

PS. The video took so long to upload I did get a quick draft of the barfight written up, taking into account the new direction of Hermes 925. Click here to read it!

 

Time to Think like an Entrepreneur (Updated!)

I’m writing two articles tonight. If you’re more interested in following on my train of thought regard the Church of Daemonism story idea, then go check out “Just a Rat in a Cage“. If however you’d like to hear what I have to say on the subject of entrepreneurship, then please read on.

Those of you who’ve been keeping up may already know that I’m struggling a little financially. I have no choices left but to succeed, or pack it all up and go back to England where my Family will make sure I get back on my feet. I have to go big or go home. I am tempted to go home, after all I’d still be able to write. Not because I feel I have too, but just because I want to. I fear though that way lies mediocrity and regret. If I’m taken care of, I may lose my edge, my hunger. I could just relax in the warm comforting cocoon of my family’s love, and put my pen down. It’s tempting, and safe. I don’t want to be safe though. I want to be great.

I’ve wanted fame and glory for as long as I remember. As a child I imagined myself a great hero, a famous singer, a cartoonist, or even a religious leader. Each of these dreams faded somewhat as I realised they weren’t my true calling. Hero was the first to go, heroes don’t get teased at school. Heroes are the ones everyone loves. The religious leader one fizzled dramatically, but my Dad has that one covered. I couldn’t draw a character the same way twice, and I stopped singing altogether because the woman I had married didn’t like my voice.

As soon as the internet became available to me I wanted a website. I didn’t know what for though. I tried and failed many times to launch myself into the infinite sea of cyberspace. Often this was inspired by books I had been reading about starting a small business, coaching, self-development, marketing or abundance. I read voraciously trying to find the secret, learn what I was that I was supposed to do. I even started a small business with my former wife, called Purple Phoenix Tarot. It flopped. Not only because she didn’t trust my lead generation and marketing techniques, but because my ‘psychic’ would back out of appointments with clients at the last minute, and the few clients we did have rarely, if ever, came back.

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This time I am both manager and talent, and I will not tolerate any diva-ness from myself. I believe I have found what it was that I wanted to do all along. All the plans I wrote, the characters I created for my cartoons, the crazy gadget designs I doodled when I thought I was going to be an inventor, the backstories I create for the hobby games I play, the books I read looking for the answer, all of it lead to something though natural and enjoyable to me that I didn’t even think about it. Writing.

I’ve read many times that you should do what you love, and you’ll never have to work for a living. I believe that idea may actually be possible, if I approach this using what I’ve learned when trying to better myself. If I apply the lessons of entrepreneurship, self-motivation, leadership, time-management, social media marketing and communication, I really could pull this off. I’m feeling oddly grateful for the difficulties I’ve faced, and the time it’s taken for me to understand what it is I truly want to do. I wasn’t ready, until I had all the pieces. Now I can see the picture and I’m determined to make it a reality.

I’m working on two books right now. A sci-fi story that may become a trilogy, if I feel happy with the pacing, and a fantasy that began as a text based role-playing game I run in a Facebook group. The fantasy is called “The City of Gate: Chronicles“, and it’s basically a retelling, from the beginning, of the game “The City of Gate” that is still ongoing. “Chronicles” because it literally chronicles the adventures that took place in the City of Gate. The city sits on the doorstep of a great fortified gate leading to a paradise. The city’s population were pilgrims and last chancers from all over the known world. They came you the gate to beg to pass through and were turned away. Those that had nowhere else to go made their home right there. There are dragons, wizards, vampires, goblins and dark shadow creatures. It’s a lot of fun.

Dragon attacking City

The Sci-Fi has had a few names. It combines ideas from other stories that didn’t work until I melded them together. The first idea was to follow the story of a sentient ship with no crew, alien in origin, travelling from system to system, collecting resources to maintain itself and keep itself moving, making odd observations on the way. This story was just called “The Ship” and I had sketches of alien plants and animals the ship could come across. The second I remember coming to me as I sat an airport waiting for a flight, thinking it would be cool if the Gates you go through at airports led you through a wormhole to your destination. It occurred to me though that each gate would have to be paired via quantum entanglement with another gate elsewhere. They could never be turned off, or you would have to bring them back together and re-entangle them. I imagined that it would be disastrous should the gateways interfered with one another. I decided that the technology would probably be used instead for space exploration. A spacecraft tethered to earth with a gateway, travelling slowly through space gathering data. Astronaut would be a 9 to 5 job, able to come home for lunch and at the end of your shift. So naturally I called that story idea “9 to 5 Spaceman”!

Another story idea I had, called “The Avalon System” focused on what the world would be like if everyone wore an augmented reality interface, like Google Glass or Shima. I wrote up a quick little scene in a bar between two Avalon users. One picks a fight and challenges the other to a battle. They each choose their favorite gaming avatar, modified with in-app purchases, and proceed to play an augmented reality duel. Originally I have the hero chose a nimble wood elf, while oafish challenger chooses the guise of heavily armed and armored power-armoured cyborg super-soldier. The elfs speed allows him to dodge the tank’s barrage of bullets and slice out primary power lines in no time at all. In the final version of the story, currently being nicknamed “Hermes 925“, the hero is wearing the weaponized armor, and his workplace nemesis publically embarrassed the man by using a naked-but-for-warpaint elf to win the game.

I have a number of other projects on the backburner. I had been working on a self-help book called “Levelling Up” that I may go back to once this experience gives me something personal to add depth and meaning to the catchy phrasing. I also had another fantasy idea called “The War on Magic“, in which a dragon appearing in an American city incites a new wave of terrorism paranoia and resulting in our reality going to war with a parallel magical world. There’s also the aforementioned “Church of Daemonism” idea that would have a sort of Supernatural/Constantine feel to it.

This is clearly a method of self-promotion, and I hope as fellow entrepreneurs, leaders and marketers you can appreciate it. If I’m making a rookie mistake, I’d appreciate your advice. If you’re interested in sponsoring any of the projects mentioned, one of the other articles on my blog, or have something else in mind, please contact me so we can discuss what I’ll need to make that happen. If I’m writing I’m happy, what can I write for you?

Thank you for your valued attention.

Update: I just sent this tweet to Endever publishing to pitch Hermes 925. Wish me luck!