All Posts, Creative Consulting, Proofreading

Navigating New Roads

A lot has happened since my last update in May and much of it has pointed me down new roads — some I anticipated and was ready to travel and others I wasn’t sure I’d find myself arriving at.

I took my son in for his final round of evaluation in June and the appointment concluded with him receiving his autism diagnosis. He aligns with what most of us know as Asperger syndrome and is considered as higher functioning, but since they did away with Aspergers as a separate diagnosis back in 2013, they now just consider it under the umbrella of the autism spectrum. It can be confusing to try and explain him to people because he seems so “typical” and much of my efforts in explaining tend to fall short, but then I remember I don’t really have to explain him to anyone anyway. He’s an amazing, intelligent, quirky little guy and the only thing that truly changed is an entry on his medical chart. He is who he has always been, and he’s always been perfect to us. Still, this marked a significant milestone in our journey with him, one that we had been waiting to find out about definitively for almost three years.

Having a background in autism and special education, I am fortunate to have the skills, tools, and knowledge of available resources to help our family move forward confidently. My prior experience is actually where my suspicions stemmed from — I saw certain behaviors and was able to follow the breadcrumbs they left behind. Now that we have this confirmation, we’ll be able to coordinate with necessary doctors, enroll him in specialized therapies, and make sure his educational needs are met accordingly and appropriately. In the midst of the chaos, I have found peace in knowing what to do and what to expect. For the most part, at least.

With that peace, I have been able to put more focus on my business launch and though I will be rolling the full extent of it out slowly, I am pleased to announce that as of today, I am officially accepting proofreading clients.

I will still be working to accommodate the new additions to my family’s schedule and want to ensure each piece of this venture is presented authentically, and successfully at that, so I will be starting small with the launch of my proofreading services initially. My goal with this is to provide indie authors with affordable, quality proofing so that their final manuscript is polished prior to publishing. Please note, however, that I am open to providing services to all authors regardless of how they plan to publish.

As of right now, I will be taking email proposals for projects and will be pricing based on pages instead of by the hour. If you wish to email a proposal, please do so at ardirect@armorrison.com with the following information:

  • manuscript length (in formatted pages)
  • timeframe for completion
  • pricing proposal
  • a little about yourself, if you don’t mind sharing

If you are an indie author with pricing/financial concerns, please know that I am open to discussing options in order to get your piece ready for the public and that anything we discuss is confidential. I am passionate about not only the publication of quality content but also making sure that those who create it are able to afford quality services. Publishing is an expensive undertaking as an independent author, and I wish to lighten that burden to ensure you put your best work forward.

Though my system is considerably bare bones yet and still in development, I wanted to get going on this now instead of waiting for things to be “just right” because I’d be waiting forever in that case. I’m working on getting reduced-pricing application forms up and available for my indie authors and will have a more formal client agreement ready soon as well. Everything is still under construction really, but that’s okay! We’ll just consider it a head start. 😉

I am still planning to launch consulting and coaching services in the near future as well but wanted to take some time to settle into our new normal before adding too much more to my family’s plate. With my husband working full-time outside of the home, one kiddo heading into middle school, and one who needs a bit more of me than anyone else, I don’t want to overwhelm them with too much change, too fast. It’ll get there, though, and it will be exciting when the time comes!

If you’ve read this far, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sticking with me through all of my ups and downs as I’ve tried to figure out which roads I’m destined to travel in this crazy, beautiful life. It has been an honor to have so many of you with me along the way and I am excited to finally see where some of these roads are going.

Finally, I want to add that this will probably be one of the only times I’ll publicly discuss my son’s diagnosis as I want to respect his privacy as much as possible. You will still see me championing certain causes and voicing support for the autism community as a whole, but I don’t want to share anything too personal. That will be for him to decide as he gets older and it would be wrong of me to choose that for him.

Thank you again, and I hope to hear from some of you soon!

 

Updated: 9/2/2018

 

All Posts, Dreamweaver, My Writing

Unrealistic Goals and Rookie Mistakes

If you’ve been following my journey toward becoming a published author, you’ve probably noticed that my anticipated release for Dreamweaver didn’t quite happen and it wasn’t until I was staring down this impending deadline I had created that I realized I’d made a huge rookie mistake:

I set an anticipated publication time frame without understanding how long it’d actually take to research, outline, write, and polish my first novel.

The biggest eye-opener for me occurred when Spring came, and went, and I still wasn’t done writing my first draft. Like, not even remotely close. I’ve never written a book of any kind before, so everything I’ve done since ‘Day 1’ has been a part of my learning experience. How could I have known how long I’d need? I didn’t. And I set myself up for failure in that aspect because there is so much that goes into writing a novel. You don’t just sit and start with page one and write all the way to the end. It’s a labor of love, frustration, patience, and more coffee than any human should probably consume, and it is a chaotic, disorganized, daunting, and exhausting mess to navigate.

And then there was the extra stuff like learning my own unique style of organization, getting over how uncomfortable it feels to digitize everything for the sake of my poor hand, figuring out which program I’d use to compile my story in, and so much more. And on top of the learning curve I was already facing, I had to let an authentic, engaging story flow from a brain that was already rattled by other overwhelming details.

You know that dance of two steps forward and ten steps back? Yeah, that’s sort of what writing a novel is like. But in 20-inch stilettos…on ice.

This book requires more of me than I’ve ever given any other project and it’s terrifying to be under that kind of stress and pressure and know that you’re doing it to yourself. And then there’s the fact that being at home, especially with my kids, makes it so easy to just get lost in the day-to-day and let discipline slide. Sadly, the bank won’t do the same for my car loans…

Anyway, my takeaway from this has been pretty positive despite not hitting my original goal. I’ve come to understand what this process will actually entail and I have a great deal of newfound respect for those who have taken on this behemoth of a task and slayed it.

Coincidentally enough, I was scrolling through Facebook earlier and found an article titled, “10 Things Every Writer Should Do Before They Start Their First Book” and decided to give it a look since it aligned so perfectly with this post. It had some great information, but I found the first item to be especially important: manage your own expectations.

In it, the author stated, “Writing is a job, it’s a commitment. It involves long hours and painful moments, times where you feel as though you don’t know what you are doing, where you don’t feel like writing at all. You need to be realistic about what writing a book takes out of you – but then do it anyway because it’s still worth it in the end!”

And I think that will be what I leave you all with. Writing is a passion-driven and rewarding job, but it is still a job — one that requires fierce commitment and will probably provide you with some form of discomfort in one way or another.

But then you do it anyway because it’s worth it in the end.

 

All Posts

Literary Agents

I’ve seen a lot of discussion in my online writing groups regarding literary agents lately. People have been asking what exactly they do, how to find them, and whether they’re even necessary to have, and it really struck me when I realized how many authors were sort of in the dark on this topic.

I’ll admit, I didn’t always understand their full significance myself, but after perusing the Internet and interacting in groups with those who had all the good information on agents, I feel much better about my understanding of their imperative role in an author’s publishing journey.

So exactly does an agent do? Well, their biggest role is to work as a liaison between an author and a publishing house. Most medium to large scale publishing houses will refuse manuscripts that are sent by the actual author – they typically want only works that are sent by agents. If you submit a query to an agent and they agree to take you on as a client, their job is to find a publishing house that fits your manuscript. Different publishers look for different types of submissions, and agents have the insider knowledge that will help them put your work in the right hands.

lit-agents

Now, if we’ve gotten this far and you’re wondering what a query letter is, don’t fret. It is essentially a letter that explains your story in order to capture the attention of the agent. It is a necessary component to acquiring an agent and is an important skill to hone if you wish to take the traditional publishing route. A well composed query letter also makes you stand out professionally and can give a great first impression with a kick of additional credibility. If an agent can see that you are serious and able to construct a well thought out letter, they will have more faith in you and your manuscript, provided the story stands out to them as well.

More information on drafting a killer query letter can be found at http://nybookeditors.com/2015/12/how-to-write-a-darn-good-query-letter/.

Of course, it is important to find an agent you’d like to submit to, or even a few of them, before you can get much further in the process. While there are many routes to take and plenty of agent directories online, you’ll want to make sure that the agents you’re looking into are legit, and a quick search of the Association of Author Representatives can help as well as taking a look at client lists.

Two directories I recommend include:

By now, you can probably gather that finding an agent to represent you is necessary if you plan to take the traditional publishing route. If you self-publish, it isn’t as necessary, and if you are planning to submit to smaller, regional publishing houses, they aren’t as much of a requirement either. But a trusted agent can definitely guide you in the right direction if you plan to submit to larger publishers.

Here are a few more links with great information on literary agents:

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/how-to-find-a-literary-agent/

http://www.independentpublisher.com/article.php?page=1586

http://ingridsundberg.com/2010/04/15/the-dos-and-donts-of-submitting-to-a-literary-agent/

I hope you found this helpful, and if you have anything add, whether it’s advice, recommendations, or additional information, please leave a comment! I only scratched the surface here and would love more feedback from those who have gone through the process. 🙂

 

All Posts, Dreamweaver, My Writing

Publishing Dilemma

As I push forward on my journey with Dreamweaver, I’ve come across a few hard-pressed decisions in terms of publishing. Namely, whether I should attempt the traditional route or if I should give self-publishing a shot.

I’ve been torn on which path to take for a few different reasons, but mostly because I am not sure what would suite me better. I want to maintain some control over marketing and have a say in the process, but I also like the secure feeling of the traditional path as well.

I have some time – my manuscript is still a work in progress – but it’s never too soon to learn about and create a plan to move forward with.

The downside to submitting to a traditional publisher is the fact that they could reject me. As could the next one. And the next. And so on. They have resources and know-how that I lack, though, so despite the obvious drawback of potential rejection, I am drawn to the alluring qualities that are still present with this option.

Self-publishing terrifies me, though. I have seen many authors self-publish and succeed, and I have seen them fail as well. It takes a lot of time and dedication, which comes with the territory, but the idea of having some of those time-consuming aspects outsourced to a publishing house makes self-publishing a less opportunistic idea for me.

However…I would get to decide how things would move forward and who I would work with on design and editing, and I could publish immediately.

I definitely have a lot to think about.

In the meantime, if anyone else is in the same boat as I am, take a look at this little blurb on Writer’s Digest’s website by Brian Klems titled The Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing (& Traditional Publishing). It has some good, quick information and suggested articles at the end that may help as well.

For those who have published traditionally, self, or both, what route did you prefer and why? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!