Self-publishing is a lot of fun, and good practice for traditional publishing. Producing these books takes a lot of hard work and skill. You don't cut corners on any part of the writing process; in fact, I would argue that you have to work a lot harder, when you don't have a team to help you along the way like you might in a good publishing house.
The first four books were like learning how to ride an annoying bike with a flat tire, and no one in site to help. I made mistakes, of course, but now I am fixing some of the things that didn't go so well, like the covers. That one the left is a prototype of what I want redone and thank goodness my friend is helping. I also did a deep think about the concept of a series. It's not really a series, but they are part of the same familia, some of the stories are distant cousins, not members of the nuclear family.
So, on a random note, I had a panic attack yesterday because I realized I hadn't opened the draft of The Harvest in a long time. That's not what caused the panic. A few months back, when I was having computer troubles, I backed up my files to the cloud, but must have transferred folders over instead, thereby removing the files from my computer. Panic! Anyway, I found what I believe is the last "finished" version of my novel, and it needs more work. I want it to be finished for the pitching wars.
First, I have to finish my collection, Not Your Abuelita's Folktales; then, I'm sending it off to beta readers.
OK, I got up to early too to write, again. Of course, it doesn't help the Game of Thrones is so damned interesting.
Roll with the punches and stay true to your craft. #barrioblues
On Saturday, January 26, after months of negotiating, The Cook County College Teachers Union, Local 1600 reached tentative agreements for Faculty and Professionals/Part-Time Professionals. That was an amazing end to months of negotiating and hours of hard work to get my members a fair contract. Although my work on the Faculty Negotiation team is not over, it's high time I get back on a regular writing schedule and that I finished my collection, Not Your Abuelita's Folktales.
I also got a fellow Union member and writer to offer to translate La Bruja in the Orchard and quid pro quo support for him, which I am more than ready to do. I am also going to ask a friend to redo the covers of the Bruja books. I asked my friend Brett, but he is on vacation right now, I think, and he is designing the cover to the collection mentioned above. These are all exciting prospects.
Well, back to writing before I crash.
Keep writing all and fighting your good fights! #barrioblues
Yeah, I kind of feel that happy and at peace. I worked on my collection Not Your Abuelita's Folktales for for more than an hour going over the old writing and crafting a few more bits. From the last story in the collection, I really like the main character Isella, but I am noticing that a lot of my female characters aren't fundamentally likeable. But, screw it, I like her, and that is what matters. That is not to say that you will always like your main characters because they develop how they want to, often, but this one has moxie and is dynamic. She doesn't give a damn about social conventions.
This week, I also got some great advice from a mom-author who is traditionally published, Amanda Rawson Hill. She recently put out The Three Rules of Everyday Magic. Many of you know I'm really busy with teaching, union organizing, church work, and community organizing. And I have two small children and a wonderful husband whom I'm devoted to. So, I asked her how she managed home life with four kids (and I think one on the way). My niece, well technically, my second cousin, who knows her was pitching her book over the holiday break, and she mentioned that when Hill had a deadline, she would watch all four of Amanda's kids. Wow! What an angel!
Hill basically said she had a great support network, and advised that I talk to my kids and husband about the importance of the writing, which I have. However, what she did say that really inspired and validated my process is that she only writes for an hour and a half each evening, every day. That is about what I put into my writing, when I am consistent.
I write from 3a.m. to 5a.m. Monday through Thursday and sometimes on weekends. This morning, I wrote from about 5a.m. to 6:20a.m., once I stopped messing around on social media. Ahem.
I do love the advice of having a network of support to help watch the kids. In the past, I have focused on my writing team, and thank god I now have great beta readers and Brett designing the covers. Now, I think it's high time to get some of my fans/friends to lend a hand because my family and I won't be able to go to hotels for me to finish books. :(
Well, it's 6:40a.m., and I have to make breakfast and pack lunches.
Just to put the bug in your ears, my next projects include Not Your Abuelita's Folktales, a translation of La Bruja in the Orchard, 2nd editions of both Bruja books, and the ever constant revision process of The Harvest. Yeah, my life is awesome like that.
Work a little at a time and keep up your writing momentum! #barrioblues
Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Like me, Martin Luther King Jr. believed in social justice and labor rights. Thus, all my Amazon profits are going towards our chapter strike fund. Both Faculty and Professional units go out Feb. 4 if the CCC continues NOT to bargain in good faith. www.amazon.com/Dr.-Maria-J.-Estrada/e/B07GS9MJBQ?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1548065973&sr=8-1
I started teaching creative writing last week, and since I can't offer advice I won't take, I have been waking up at 3a.m. to honor my writing schedule. However, I am still doing course preparation and a shit load of union organizing plus other job duties. My next book is going slower than what I would hope, but that doesn't mean I have stopped working on my publications or stopped reading.
In fact, I am going to ask my friend, Brett, to design a similar book cover for the second and third books with a branded image. That means I am going to go through the texts and clean them up some more and launch them as second editions. I also want to write a forward to the second book to explain that it is a Bruja in the Barrio book, but not necessarily a sequel to the first one. However, the characters are going to converge in book 3.
My main projects after that are going to be me translating La Bruja in the Orchard, and start revising The Harvest for pitching wars. I have had enough distance from the novel, and need to get back to it. I miss the novel, so it is time to return to it.
#Keep dreaming and fighting for your believes. #barrioblues
See, I shouldn't have bragged about getting better last time I blogged. I got uncharacteristically sick the week after and tanked. I missed all the major holidays, which sucks. I didn't even read during that time. Now, I am back at work in Chicago and started teaching yesterday, so I am up at 2a.m. on my early morning writing schedule.
Unfortunately, I am still really sick and have caught another bug, but I have enough energy to produce work. The real block to my creative work has been the pending strike, which is beginning February 4th for the City Colleges Faculty and Professionals. The strike planning meetings are growing, but they don't conflict with my writing schedule, thus far. My energy though is not as high as usual. It was actually pretty low when I taught yesterday, which is not like me at all. :(
Enough crying. This morning, I am aiming to produce five more pages of "The Christmas Gift", the last story in my collection Not Your Abuelita's Folk Tales. I may crank out one more story, since I am not on a tight schedule, but we will see. I'll let the muse take over.
I hope you are able to get over any writing obstacles. Don't let anything get you down.
Hit it, one sentence at a time. #barrioblues
Dr. Jesú Estrada,