Creatively Thinking: Why I blog my novels as I write them

I don’t think a lot of people are worrying about this, but I thought I’d share today why I blog my novels as I write them (or shortly after).

It’s probably not the best marketing move to put my novels on my blog, chapter by chapter, but, well, I’ve never been good at that marketing stuff, for one, but also, I like the interaction I receive when I share my novels on my blog. The interaction is worth more me to than the money, although you might have to remind me of that when we are pinching pennies to get groceries some weeks.

I like that my handful of blog readers interact with each chapter and share with me their impressions or their ideas for how the story should unfold. Based on those impressions, and impressions of friends or family, I adjust and rewrite the story before the final publication. Or sometimes I rewrite it because I like it better. Putting the story up on my blog also forces me to finish it and to edit it chapter by chapter because one, I have “fans” waiting to read the rest of the story (okay, I have maybe 20 people reading and four that comment, but I don’t mind writing it for just those people. I’m not even kidding.) and two, it also forces me to focus on each chapter individually, write before I copy it to the blog to publish it.

I am sure some authors (am I really one of those? I don’t know. . .but it sounds good, right?) wouldn’t want to share their books on their blogs. They’d rather write them, leave them on their computer and then one day get their nerve up and send it to a literary agent, hope the agent picks them up and pitches their book to a publisher and that publisher signs them and their book is marketed to millions and then they become a millionaire. Sharing the book on their blog could mean no one will ever pay them for the book because the readers can simply read the book for free on the blog, right?

Not necessarily.

In my case, I only have about 360 blog subscribers and of those 360, only about 5 interact with me on a regular basis and only about 20 actually follow the stories I share on the blog. Not only that, but of those who might find my blog, how many of them will really want to scroll from chapter to chapter for free, versus buying the book later on Amazon in it’s completed form, or at least “borrowing it” through Kindle Unlimited?

Probably not that many.  In addition, once I’ve shared the chapters on my blog, I take down the page that links to each chapter and replace it with an excerpt and a link to my book on Amazon, or wherever else I might choose to sell them in the future. In the end, sharing the novel on my blog is a motivator for me, but also a nice distraction from other stresses in life (like the news) and from what I’ve heard from those who read it, it’s also a nice distraction from them.

I don’t expect that my novels will ever win awards, but they’re already winning me something else – a little bit of sanity and a whole lot of distraction.

And while I’m on the subject of sharing my novel on here, I have two new chapters scheduled this week: one tomorrow and one Friday.

I am in the midst of writing a new novel called The Farmer’s Daughter, but I haven’t yet decided if I will share it here as part of Fiction Friday or not. I have a feeling, though, it’s a story some of my regulars will really like. I’ve shared a little of it on here before.

It’s the story of Molly Tanner, who still lives on her parents farm at the age of 25 and wonders if there is a life for her beyond the farm. At the same time she’s pondering this, she notices that farmhand Alex Stone is paying more attention to her, but she’s not sure why. Five years older than her and her brother’s best friend, Alex is battling some demons of his own, mainly that he’s falling for Molly but he doesn’t feel like he’s good enough for her. He covers his pain from his low self-esteem and his lack of attentative parents growing up by drinking a lot and dating women.

Other characters are Molly’s brother, Jason, her parents Robert and Annie, her grandmother, Franny, and her best friend, Liz. Robert and Annie are facing their own concerns throughout the book as Robert fights to keep the family farm, which he and his brother have now turned into a farming enterprise, running.

This will be the first book in a series, but I’m not going to overwhelm you with the other characters and their backstories. At least not yet!

 

Oh. So that’s why writing book two has been such a challenge.

I have been having a hard time writing the second part of Blanche’s story and I think it is because I had so much fun sharing the first part on my blog and interacting with some of my readers about it as I went along, and I haven’t been doing that with this book.

A-Story-to-Tell

I was able to go back and make changes before I published the book on Kindle, but sharing it in pieces and receiving feedback as I wrote it, was fun. I’ve heard this is similar to how Wattpad works, but I don’t know if I’m really interested in sharing it with that many people. I don’t mind sharing it with the few people who read my blog, however, because my blog readers are cool people, with similar tastes, who aren’t afraid to give me polite pointers.

I’ve also been struggling with Blanche sharing with me the second part of her story like she did the first part. I’m fairly certain I just heard many of you say to yourselves: ‘I’m sorry what? You think your character is talking to you? How many drugs are you on?” I know. It sounds weird but, yes, sometimes I feel like my characters tell me their stories in bits and pieces and I wake up (because they don’t tell me when I’m awake apparently) and jot down what they’ve shared with me, flushing it out later.

The first part of Blanche’s story came out pretty quickly, but now I’m struggling with what happens since she’s (SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE FIRST STORY) left Hank and come home to live with her parents. I already have plenty of ideas and a few chapters in rough draft form, though, so it is coming together. The second part of the story will introduce a few new characters but also continue the story of other characters in Blanche’s life.

Will Hank find redemption, like my dad is vying for? Or will he disappear completely from the scene? We will have to wait and see – including this writer who hasn’t totally decided what will happen with Hank yet.

And what about the arrival of Blanche’s friend Emmy’s cousin? What role will Judson “J.T.” Waignwright play, if any? And then there is Edith, Blanche’s older sister. How is married life (and parenthood?) treating her? When we left her she was expecting. Hank’s mom was also on scene, hoping to have a relationship with her grandson, and searching for her own healing from her own abusive marriage.

What will happen to Emmy and who is Stanley Jasper?

We’ll see every Friday, starting this Friday when I start sharing chapters from “A New Beginning,” the sequel toA Story to Tell.”