A Well-Educated Boy — Random Thoughts

9/5/12 — That’s when I created the Scrivener project for A Well-Educated Boy. Five years ago. It probably started as little more than a bare bones idea, and it isn’t atypical for how long I can work on a project. In August of last year, I was apparently considering devoting November to actually writing it, during NaNoWriMo . It didn’t happen, and even now, though I have tons of notes and a very good idea of how it will turn out, I’ve written only a few thousand words of possible text.

As is usual with me, now that I’m stepping into the deep waters, I’m already thinking ahead to promotion. Several years ago, I posted segments of a novel on Wattpad for a while, but found that the effort of attracting attention was just too time-consuming. Quite a few people say that there is good writing on Wattpad, but finding it is a frustrating exercise in skimming hundreds of pathetic attempts at creativity. So, making yourself known by commenting and rating can be an exercise in futility.

And yet — I still, now and then, give some thought to trying it again. The young adult audience is built in, and a recent commenter on a writer forum said that there is a significant audience on Wattpad for dystopian/post-apocalypse fiction. Boy isn’t post-apocalypse, and its dystopian elements aren’t as exciting as stories like The Hunger Games or Divergence. It isn’t an action novel, and unlike Hunger Games and Divergence, it isn’t more fantasy than science fiction. So is there an audience for a young adult/dystopian novel that is more thoughtful than action-oriented? I have plenty of time to think about it, so I’m not inclined to say yay or nay right now.

9 thoughts on “A Well-Educated Boy — Random Thoughts

  1. I still pop by Wattpad to see what’s up in the only group – ‘Anyone there over 35 – Second edition’ – I’m still connected to. But when I was serializing PC, it was helpful, and I acquired a small number of people who I still stay in contact with, some of whom also provided words I could use on the back cover and Amazon pages.

    I’m way out here in left field, writing what no one else indie (it seems) is writing – so I take my support group, however badly it fits me, where I can find it.

    It’s in ‘the throw a lot of feelers out, maybe one will catch on with someone’ category.

    You are wise to think marketing – it will come up eventually. The answer to your question – is there room for what you’re writing? – is yes; finding your tribe may be the hardest thing you ever do. I know finding mine is. The number of feelers I’ve thrown out, etc., feels overwhelming, partly because I have NO energy. But it’s my own fault for writing what I do, and I don’t care – I’ll figure it out somehow, because there is a universe of people who will like it once I get past their stupid automatic filters: no indie, no book not on the NYT list, no book that expensive (for some), no book which doesn’t have a hardcover version… They will get hooked on story. This thought keeps me writing, because the story isn’t finished. We’ll see how the determination holds out.

    But they can’t discover what doesn’t exist – so that’s my part: make it exist.

  2. When your trend hits – YA with serious thought behind it – you can follow the marketing, change the cover, change the ads, change the ad copy. But what you cannot do is write the book. That takes time, and for us, MORE time (too many competing things, too much life).

    So write – and pay attention to the trending stuff as you get close to the end of the writing. And even after publishing.

    You care. That will show.

    But the books have to be finished. Which is exactly what I’m telling myself: when the third is almost ready to go, it will be easier.

    Meanwhile, I have to get the short story prequel up there (just a couple of days effort, as the cover is done).

    And I’m toying with a new advertising idea. I’ll let you know if it takes off, or goes plunging over the cliff’s edge to its doom (like its predecessors).

    1. For someone who has even less energy than I do, you’re taking on an awful lot. And making me feel like a layabout. It’s just barely possible that I might take a look at trends now and then to see if blurb, etc., needs a revamp. But if past history with my other books is any example, it’s not too likely.

  3. I’m trying to make ME feel like a layabout! Not you. You have finished work – I’m trying to get to that point. It’s a strange lassitude which comes over the poor brain at some times: I have hours to write in, and not one brain cell which will turn over. Very frustrating. I promise the amount of energy expended in cardiac rehab only increased by 1/8 – I’m hoping that’s it, and I’ll get used to it in a couple more days. I have to increase so slowly that staring at the screen is minor compared to crashing myself, so I just grit my teeth, try to do something useful with half a brain, and wait it out (occasionally, you’ll see blog posts written in that state of mind, but they invariably mean I might be coming out of it, because I can’t write in the real staring-at-the-screen mode).

    So far, it always comes back.

    1. Not to worry, it doesn’t take much to make me feel like a layabout. Sure, I have published work, but they’re more manageable than an epic like yours. And if I compare those few to the number of nearly–finished stories that are languishing, I’m definitely a layabout.

      1. I have the feeling that if you were not having the health problems some of this wouldn’t be as hard. It would still be work, though, but work is just work.

        I am being a complete layabout about rewriting, for the third time, my description – and probably all my ad copy – because, though I’m getting a few clicks on Amazon, not a single one has converted into a sale in a month, which means that I have some more thinking in front of me.

        My ideal reader is like me, only healthy, so it’s hard to figure out how to get to readers who ignore ads!

        1. I’d probably be beating my head against the wall if I worked as hard as you do with as little results. I’ve reworked a blurb now and then, but I can’t deal with the advertising and promotion stuff at all.

          1. Well, I’ve gotten more of the failing techniques out of my ‘to try’ list. That has to count as something.

            I want to be ready, if/when some of my other writing makes a group of people suddenly decide they want to read my fiction.

            The short story HAS to go up asap.

            It’s just been a bit rough physically, and mentally has been a whole week of no brain. I worked anyway, and when the brain came back for a short while, found it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Cleaned it up, added a few transitions, made sure I could follow the pov – and voilà!

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