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Indie Author: Lessons Learned From Lost Words

I’m running a series for my newsletter subscribers; a fantasy story that leads into Era of the Scourge Book 2: Warblooded, out this winter. Unfortunately (Lesson 1), I hadn’t finished it by the time the series started.

I thought I could rectify that this past week. I’ve been only a holy tear, cutting back on my social media so I could focus on finishing this story. Sure enough, I had a two thousand word day on Tuesday that would enable me to finish the story the next day.

Then, it was gone.

Three or four hours of work was flushed down the proverbial toilet just like that. Few things are more disheartening in this business than putting everything you have into an endeavor only to have it taken, leaving you with nothing to show for it. 

Unless you learn from it. Then, it’s worth something, at least.

I came away from the experience with a bruised ego and having to play catch up, but I did learn a few things I’d be happy to share.

1). Know Your Software.
My editor and I both use Scrivener and Dropbox to get stuff done. I write, upload to a folder, she grabs it, does her thing, and re-uploads. Simple, right?


Dropbox, like most cloud-based software, doesn’t like it when two people edit the same file at the same time. Dropbox has a workaround, though; it will create a “conflicted copy” which is a file of one person’s work, while the other person’s work will be saved with the original title.

See the wreck coming yet?

Often when I write, I’m offline, and I can’t sync until I get back to wifi. Then, the sync process happens without my knowledge. Both my editor and I were backed against the wall with our deadline, so she began work without my having synced the work I’d done on Tuesday. Hence, when I logged back onto wifi, her conflicted copy didn’t take my work into account, and for some reason, my upload didn’t record what I’d done.

A day’s work. I can still hear the toilet flushing.

I learned to always, always, ALWAYS ensure my work was uploaded to the cloud before turning my editor loose. Ensure the upload and then check, just to be certain.  Know the limitations of your tools and don’t assume. It may cost you.

2). Respect Your Deadlines.
I’m a plotter/pantser hybrid who’s trying to become more of the former than I am the latter. Writing is hard enough. But when you’re an indie, that’s only the beginning of your labor. After you’ve written, you have to market, release, and engage your audience. All of these can be herculean tasks on their own.

If I had finished the story before releasing it to the fans, I would’ve been able to spend much more time on the business aspect of things and I wouldn’t feel so rushed at the end of each week. Had I not felt so rushed, I would not have put myself in the position that cost me a day’s work and the end of the story.

Deadlines exist for a reason. Use them and respect them.
Writing is a craft and a passion, but it is also a discipline. In order for one to be successful at it, planning and careful execution is required. Plan ahead, know your limits, stick to an agenda and your errors will be greatly reduced.
Thanks for reading.

Avery K. Tingle is a brand-new writing coach and author of multiple short stories across varying genres. Epic fantasy “Era of the Scourge Book 1: The Ring of Asarra” was named a recommended read by Amazon and is available as an ebook or audiobook. Ask how to get a free copy of the audiobook!
Scifi/Romance  “The Anniversary” is available in print as an ebook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Oyster, and Page Foundry. Ask how to get a signed copy!
You can also read urban drama “The Price of Justice” for free.
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