Self-publishing authors motivational writing group

I'm writing "How to Think Like a Venture Capitalist"; a book which teaches people what I learnt about analysing businesses when I was working at a venture capital firm in London.
I’m a retired public school teacher who promised myself and others to publish my writing about classroom teaching methods.
I write comedic mysteries that have been blended up with (ahem) "steamy romance".  
So far I have one self published novel on Amazon and I'm currently working on the sequel. Before that I wrote a staggering number of short stories, and I've read everything I can find on the art and craft of writing - particularly those aspects relating to plot structure.
Writer of rom-coms. 
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Joshua Summers
13:34, 29 May 22
Hi everyone 👋
As I say in my bio, I'm writing a book based on my time as a venture capitalist. So far I've written roughly a chapter.
I don't make regular progress, I've been tweaking this first chapter for months and not setting aside the time to really work on it. A full time job and trying to keep fit by exercising before the working day starts doesn't help.
However, if I do force myself to sit down to write I really enjoy it and normally get into the flow and find it gives me energy - so I really need to just get on with it.
How are the rest of you doing with your books?
persistedagain
18:28, 29 May 22
I have filled notebooks and thumb drives to create this guide.  I am not looking for status or recognition so I am not interested in publishing in professional journals.  I want working teachers to have access instead of just academics.  
I have been rethinking how to present my information and I probably need to create a blog or other format to truly reach my audience.  
Katie (K.T.) Croft
19:54, 29 May 22
Hi! :) 
I am (theoretically) working on my second fiction novel...but covid and general ennui have conspired to make sitting down and being productive somewhat elusive. Hopefully checking in here will give me some inspiration! 
Joshua Summers
06:16, 30 May 22 (edit: 06:18, 30 May 22)
Well good morning to you both.
I found my self awake a little earlier than usual, and, mainly to have something to write here(!), I forced myself to open my Google Doc and get going.
I'm pleased I did! I still didn't add anything substantially new, but I found a paragraph in my first chapter that had a concept in it that I could explain with more clarity. So I simplified the initial paragraph and added an additional one with an easier to follow explanation.
I'm also happy that I got in touch with my book again. I find that it's much easier to make progress when I'm familiar with the text, but if I don't look at it for a while, I always have to spend so much time rereading to get back into the flow of the book. I'm hoping that if I can regularly work on it, I can spend less time rereading, and more time writing.
Katie (K.T.) Croft
20:29, 30 May 22
Do you guys work from an outline? I suppose with non-fiction you sort of have to?? 
What about writing goals? Any timeline that you're trying to follow?
Joshua Summers
22:21, 30 May 22
A long time ago I made a presentation to explain how venture capital works to a friend of mine. Just like the book I want to write, it started from with simple concepts and built on them. But I've found that for the book I actually have to start in a much simpler place, and build at a slower pace. So that's been a challenge to stop me from converting it into a book so quickly.
I don't have any goals (in any of my life lol). Do you?
Also, how was writing your first book? (Feel free to link to it!)
Katie (K.T.) Croft
17:04, 31 May 22
Do you have a publishing plan for when you get your book finished?
My writing goals are to try and knuckle down to get book 2 of the series I've started done by the fall. I'm not sure how realistic that is based on my recent output...but we'll see! :)
I have a fairly complete plot outline already so in theory it's just a matter of keeping my butt in the chair in front of my laptop and not ending up playing Angry Birds.
I have a website that I also need to update a bit (ktcroft.com) and as I'm not very skilled with techy stuff that can be a time suck.
My first book...so that was an interesting journey. Basically, the short version is that I started off writing (posting/commenting) in some of the sort of 'lost girl self-help' kind of subs on Reddit. Over time (years) the posts/comments that got the big responses from others were of the personal hijinx variety. (Apparently, I have a small gift for making embarrassing revelations entertaining). That led to me oversharing my short catalog of true events...and after that, I started trying fictional short stories. THAT led to the idea of merging mysteries (which is my favour genre to read) and the sort of steamy shorts that I was familiar with writing together. And 'Katie Undercovers' was born! The first novel isn't going to make anyone's fine literature of the year list. But I hope it's a fun and page-turning romp for those who are into that sort of thing! :) 
It's on Amazon http://mybook.to/TheNightSwimmers and is free to read (if you have Kindle Unlimited). 
Mippipops (Maria)
00:31, 01 Jun 22
Sounds great, adding it to my list!
Joshua Summers
13:21, 01 Jun 22
That's really impressive, and a nice organic way to get into writing.
Congratulations on the five star reviews by the way. What is it like having a self published (well reviewed) book on Amazon? Do you get any purchases?
Also nice to meet you Mippipops. How is your rom-com writing going?
Mippipops (Maria)
14:23, 01 Jun 22
Nice to meet you, too! Btw, a venture capitalist would be a great MC for my next series. Your book could help me with my research. 
I’m halfway through my first series and received some critical (but necessary) feedback from a beta reader on my current WIP just last night. Went to bed feeling discouraged, but woke up feeling motivated. 
Anyway, this week I’m going to try some writing sprints. An author I follow swears by the pomodoro method, so I’m willing to give it a shot. Have any of you had success with writing sprints?
Katie (K.T.) Croft
14:55, 01 Jun 22
Hi Mippipops! 
I used pomodoro quite a bit at one point a few years ago. It was a useful tool! I guess I found once I'd reached a certain word count, and I was fully into my story, that I didn't need it as the momentum I'd built up was enough to keep things going along. But now that I'm starting off on a new project it might well be exactly what I need to try and build momentum again. Thanks for the reminder - I should probably try it again now as I'm struggling.
Katie (K.T.) Croft
16:17, 01 Jun 22
Joshua - The 5-star reviews were definitely a 'boost'. Though the folks over at goodreads.com have been far less generous. Some of that was deserved...the first version published had some grammar and spelling issues that my diligent beta readers didn't catch, and I think I also managed to upload an earlier copy. But the current ebook version should be (fingers crossed) essentially error-free.  
And the 5-star reviews were mostly from Reddit friends who had followed my online writing career for years previously so they were all heavily biased in their support. 
It's been published on Amazon for about a year now. I had two weeks of free give-aways of the kindle version so the total number of sales/downloads is 384 (3 paperbacks, the rest ebooks) which made me around $121 (US) in total sales. But in the fiction world these days it's apparently all about cranking out more books. The more you have...the more you sell. People are more inclined to purchase when they see a whole catalogue of work as that means two thing: 1) If the author is prolific that tends to mean they have figured out how to write an entertaining story so there is some sense of security in the making the purchase and, 2) If the reader likes the style then they are happy because there is 'more where that came from' just waiting for them.
Mippipops (Maria)
16:38, 01 Jun 22
Hey Katie, when you went back to edit your book, did you use a program or hire an editor?
I’m using prowritingaid, which is helpful, but it does nothing for tense changes (my personal weakness). 
I’ve found an affordably priced (and well recommended) editor on Twitter. I’m just SO tempted to put that money towards a better cover. 
Katie (K.T.) Croft
17:12, 01 Jun 22
Hey! I did both. I used prowritingaid for the recent edit (SO much better than grammarly), and I exchanged cover design services for editing from another author who does editing on the side.  I had previously just used grammarly (free edition) and the trust of my few beta readers (most of whom I know only from Reddit and for most of them English is their second language...so!! Ya.)
I'd be interested in hearing about the editor you found! How affordable is 'affordable'? Haha. And I'm certainly up for some beta reading exchange with you if that is of interest? 
As for cover design - my (future) sister-in-law did my covers and is interested in building a portfolio as she has fun with it as a side gig. So she'll probably work cheap - without committment if you (or anyone else) is interested. Just let me know! :)
Mippipops (Maria)
18:36, 01 Jun 22
Yes, I would definitely be up for doing a beta read swap! 
I’ll keep your SIL in mind for cover work. I’m trying out an illustrator based in Denmark, but it’s early days, so we’ll see. 
The editor I mentioned charges .006 per word for both line and copy editing. (Or .005 for just one type.) 
Anyway, in my limited experience, the reputable editors all charge more and the few people I know who’ve hired editors on the cheap have regretted it. 
There have been a few writers in my genre who’ve published without an editor and as the money trickled in, they’ve gone on to hire one. At least one has hit six figures doing it that way. 
Katie (K.T.) Croft
19:54, 01 Jun 22
Yes, I would definitely be up for doing a beta read swap! 
Awesome!! Mine is many months away from being ready for that. How's your progress on your latest at this point??  
Ya, you get what you pay for when it comes to editors, designers, or anything else I suppose. :) 
I think I'll go with that approach that you mentioned...self/beta editing for book 2 (with prowritingaid for sure). And then hopefully if Book 2 sales perform well, and I make it on to Book 3 THEN I will splurge for a pro editor. That's my plan at the moment anyway. :) 
Mippipops (Maria)
20:10, 01 Jun 22
I like that plan!
I’m at 35k (about halfway) through this current story. It’s rom-com but with a mystery subplot (sounds like that part might be in your wheelhouse). Anyway, I’m not sure if any of your betas have done in-line commentary when they’ve read your word, but it’s my favorite way to give/offer feedback. 
Katie (K.T.) Croft
20:44, 01 Jun 22
A mystery subplot you say!!?? I'm definitely in! :)
No, my betas have varied wildly in their feedback and the most useful was the editor/author who did the last pass. But she just copy and pasted offending sections into one document ad hoc and it was up to me to then search for where they came from the manuscript. Not ideal...but I suppose it worked well enough. In-line commentary sounds much better! (I would need some hand-holding to figure out how to do that to give feedback myself).
Mippipops (Maria)
21:14, 01 Jun 22
I’m pretty bad at tech stuff, but I think I could walk you through it. 
It’s a game changer because my beta will write like “so funny” after a joke I wasn’t sure would land, or “I don’t like the way he’s talking to her right here” which prompts me to change the dialogue. 
Katie (K.T.) Croft
22:07, 01 Jun 22
Is that in-line commentary done in word? Or google docs? Or something like that? I do all my actual writing in Scrivener and then I have exported from there depending on who is reading and what they want to use (.epub, .pdf, .doc, etc) but I don't know about in-line commentary for any of those (but I gather word doc files are easy that way if you know how).
Mippipops (Maria)
23:52, 01 Jun 22
Here’s what I’ve found regarding scrivener in line comments: http://avajae.blogspot.com/2015/02/how-to-use-comments-in-scrivener.html
I’m thinking about trying scrivener. Is it worth the switch? 
Joshua Summers
08:54, 02 Jun 22
Hey guys, I'm off to America for a road trip for a week, so will not be writing or replying here for that time (just so you know if I suddenly go quiet).
That reading-swap sounds cool! I will send you both DMs on Reddit so you have each other's details and don't have to share them publicly. (But please keep talking here too 🙏 - I'm enjoying learning from you both and being part of the group!)
Joshua Summers
08:57, 02 Jun 22
Actually, for the moment I can't share your details as I'm not sure who you are on Reddit Mippipops! If you want, send me another DM on Reddit so I know who you are.
Mippipops (Maria)
13:58, 02 Jun 22
Thanks, I’ve just sent u a DM. Have a fun road trip! Without getting too specific, where are you headed?
Katie (K.T.) Croft
16:53, 02 Jun 22
Scrivener is pretty great! I've used it for a number of years now and there is much about it that I like. The two main features that I love: 
1) that it is so much more than just a text editing program, as it gives you a framework and space for you to organize all sorts of different background elements to your story (and include all sorts of things like character photos you find on the web, links to things, lists of characteristics, and plot notes etc. etc.).
2) You can write in whatever font and size you like and then save it out ('compile') the manuscript super easily into whatever format you want (there are tons of options)- using whatever font parameters you want without changing anything of the manuscript in the process.  
All that said I know maybe 10% of what scrivener can do. I have it set up in a way that I'm used to now, but I get the sense it's a Ferrari that I just use for making trips to the laundromat - kind of thing. 
And thanks for the comment link! I'm guessing though that it would work great for me to make my own comments but any Beta readers would need scrivener themselves (and all my source files presumably) to be able to use that to make comments back that I could use. I'm pretty sure that scrivener can export to word doc files super easily so if that's what most people use that might be best(?)
Have a great road trip Joshua!
Mippipops (Maria)
18:13, 02 Jun 22
Yeah, I think the link within the article I linked explained how they were able to import the beta readers comments from word to scrivener. (Although some Reddit comments say otherwise, so I’m not sure.)
I write in Mac pages (I feel like I’m the only person who uses this?) but I think I’ll give scrivener a shot. If it works out, then it’ll be easy to share comments. If it’s too much Ferrari for me, I know I was able to use Google docs to make in line comments with a critique partner before, so we could try that. 
Anyway, I’m working on a new chapter at the moment and hoping to do a 1,000 words today (in case anyone needs a motivation buddy.)
Katie (K.T.) Croft
01:55, 03 Jun 22
How’d the 1000 words go!?? 
I managed….exactly zero today. Haha. Sigh. 
Anyway I do feel like I’ve taken over the thread of conversation here…probably the scrivener etc convo isn’t of interest to everyone else - feel free to DM me on Reddit. I have a few accounts but u/vibratorator (don’t ask…sigh) is one I use often. :)
Mippipops (Maria)
02:41, 03 Jun 22
Finished with a whopping 400 words 🥴. And for sure I’ll message you on Reddit. That username has me cracking up 😂
Joshua Summers
13:38, 12 Jun 22
How has everyone's writing been going?
Mippipops (Maria)
22:26, 12 Jun 22
Not too bad. Received some positive feedback from a beta on my second book. Setting a goal for this week to write 2k a day. 
Did you get any writing done while you were away?
Joshua Summers
22:18, 14 Jun 22
That's great re the feedback and 2k a day is huge. How has that been going?
I didn't do any writing when I was away. I didn't bring a computer with me to minimise my time with a screen.
Mippipops (Maria)
23:57, 14 Jun 22
Taking a break from screen time is so important (I say as I type 🤦‍♀️). 
Writing 2k/day has worked for me in the past, but this current project feels a bit more like a chore. 
Our fellow writer K.T. was kind enough to brainstorm the mystery subplot with me last week, which was really helpful!
Katie (K.T.) Croft
15:59, 15 Jun 22
Super slow writing progress for me last week. But I'm hoping to get some good numbers up over the next few days. (I suppose we'll see).
I had a great time looking at Maria's amazing plot outline and I'm super glad that she might have found any of my rambling ideas potentially useful! :)
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