WoW #3: Return to Writing
This is the third week of my Writing on Wednesday (WoW) posts where I share the transcript of a recent writing vlog. You can check out the full video series: here, and you can read previous posts in my transcript series:
This week’s video was first posted March 19, 2022, and it’s titled: A Return to Writing on Wednesdays. You can watch the video below or read the lightly edited transcript beneath.
Hello, I’m Amanda Hocking, and I am back with a new video. I know it’s been awhile. I was kind of waiting to record, because I wanted to wait until I had more news about the next book in the Seven Fallen Hearts series – and I do have news, which I’ll get to in just a minute – but I’m still not finished with it.
But now I want to get back into Writing on Wednesdays, so I am going to talk about some writing advice and share some updates.
So the updates. I have been working on the Seven Fallen Hearts, and I have been loving it so much. It is so, soooo good. You all are going to have so much fun with this series. Like I’m having so much fun with it, so I’m assuming you will, too.
I have just been thinking, whatever is fun, let’s do it. I’m not second guessing myself very much, so we’ll see how that works out.
I had to step away from this project for a little bit to work on something else that I’m not able to talk about right now, but maybe someday, I’ll be able to. I mean, someday, I’ll definitely talk to you all about it, but I just don’t want to say anything until I know if it’s a good thing or a nothingburger.
But so I had work on this other thing for a little but, so that was a delay in writing Book #2, but it was a good delay – trust me. Sometimes life works that way. I feel so guilty because this book is going to be out later than I originally thought, and I am just getting back into writing and self-publishing again. Now that I can set my own deadlines, I’m figuring out what works for me and how longs actually take versus how long I project them to take. So my first few times back at the bat aren’t going to be perfect, but I am hoping to get better about release dates as I go along.
But it really just me figuring out how long it takes me to get things done. I am my main boss, now. I mean, the readers and me are my only real bosses, and so I try to take feedback from you all. But then I ultimately know that I have to make the choices that work for me and the stories I want to tell.
So, yes, I’m at hard at work writing the Seven Fallen Hearts series. I’m enjoying it so much, and I’ve been sharing mood boards on Instagram and TikTok. For mood boards, I take images that I find on Pinterest, and I put them together in a board with music to really set a mood or evoke an emotion. That’s how I get in the zone for writing.
I also did see The Batman (2022) a couple of weeks ago, and I absolutely loved it. I just adored it. I wasn’t sure about it at first. I have been so grumpy about it, and I have so many thoughts about Batman in general. I was so grumpy about the idea of a new Batman, but honestly, I loved it. It was so great. It reminded me of The Crow in a really good way, and I feel like after I saw The Batman, I was really thinking about how it made me love The Crow more and The Dark Knight a little less.
But I don’t dislike The Dark Knight at all. It’s still an amazing movie, but maybe not my favorite one anymore.
I have been really lucky, though, in that I’ve liked most of the Batmans (Batmen?). Not all of them, but most of them. I love Adam West, Michael Keaton Christian Bale, Robert Pattison, Kevin Conroy, Deidrich Bader, and Will Arnett. So yeah, I just really like Batman, and there have been a lot of talented actors who have gotten to play him.
But I have weirdly been one of those people who is like, “Do we really need more Batman stuff?” And the answer to that is apparently, “Yes, yes we do.”
The music is like the best thing I’ve ever heard. The music, oh my gosh. It’s Michael Giacchino who is the composer, and he’s already one of my favorites. He took elements of “Ava Maria” and also “Something in the Way” by Nirvana and kind of mixed them together. You can also hear influences from other Batman scores. Occasionally there’s a little note of Danny Elfman (who composed Batman 1989) and Hans Zimmer (who did The Dark Knight trilogy). It has subtle nods to them, and I really enjoyed it overall. I gave it a 10/10.
That’s my recommendation. If you’re not busy writing go see The Batman.
Onto my writing advice. This is actually something I just learned this week, and it’s embarrassing how obvious it is. I realized that a bit part of my problem with why my books have errors even when I edit and revise sooo much. People are like, “There’s errors in your books,” and I’m like “I know, I don’t understand it, but I know.” I have editors and I’m constantly reading and revising and editing it.
And therein lies the issue. I never actually stop revising. I am compulsively editing and changing things, and every time I change something – even something small – it can have a ripple effect.
So then when I go to fix those ripples, I change something new, and then create new ripples, and then it goes on and on forever. But I can’t stop myself. Every single time I read my books, I make changes. Every single time.
There has to get to a point where I am no longer making any revisions or changes to the story. If the phrasing is clunky, it needs to just stay that way, and the only thing I’m doing is correcting punctuation and spelling, nothing more. And I have never gotten to that point. Especially with self-publishing, I’m literally always making changes right up until publication.
I have gotten myself really stuck in a loop, where I am so obsessed with correcting any errors that I am actually constantly creating more errors, which is in turn making me revise even more, blah blah blah, the endless loop continues.
So, I am changing up how I do things. Once I am done with revisions, I have to let my edits just be punctuation and spelling errors, nothing more. I am going to go back and re-edit with this in mind for Virtue, so I should have a more error-free version of it up around the time of the second book’s release.
That is my writer’s tip. You have to stop revising your books eventually.
That’s basically what I’ve learned after doing this for over a decade. You can’t constantly write a book. You have to stop at some point.
People ask me advice, but I am constantly learning new stuff. I know more about writing and publishing than I did years ago, but I do still have more to learn. I am constantly growing and changing as a writer, and I am hoping that eventually I will be able to be exactly the writer I want to be.
There are some things that I do really well, and there are some things that I struggle with.
Not everyone has to like everything I write, and that’s something too that I have to remember. Sometimes I am doing something badly, but other times, this book might not be the right book for them or I am not the right author for them.
There are plenty of authors that I know are very talented, and they have written books that sound like I should love them. For some reason, though, I just don’t. That’s true with any entertainers – musicians, actors, comedians, puppeteers. Some of them I just don’t enjoy, and that doesn’t mean that they are doing anything wrong, or that I’m doing anything wrong. Their thing just isn’t my thing, and that’s okay.
I’m learning to accept that I may not be everyone’s flavor. Figuring out how to be a better author does not mean that everyone will enjoy my books, either. But I’ll figure out who I am and trying to better my self until the day. Or at least I hope so.
Next week I will be back with another Writing on Wednesday video. I recorded this one on Wednesday, which means I won’t have it posted until Thursday, but I was like, “That’s not an excuse to wait until next week to start. Do it today.” That’s what I said to myself, and honestly, that is good advice.
Don’t wait until next week. Do it today if it’s something you actually want to have done. Unless it’s something that hurts you or someone else. In which case, probably don’t do that.
It was a beautiful day here in Minnesota, and I hope wherever you, you are staying safe, happy, and warm, and that good things are coming you’re way. I always hope that for everyone, but right now, the world feels so tumultuous, and so I’m just putting that out there. I do hope that you are doing well.
I will be back next week with more updates about my writing and more advice on writing and publishing. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this, and I also like getting to know what people want to hear, what resonates with them, so I can give you more of the content that you’re looking for. So comment below and let me know if there is anything you’d like me to talk about it.
Until next time, stay safe, be kind, and happy reading.
Read on in the next post, WoW #4: Handling Controversy and Criticism
WoW #2: Updates, Bookplates, & Yellowjackets
This is the second week of my Writing on Wednesday posts where I share the transcript of a recent writing vlog. You can check out the full video series: here, You can read previous posts in my transcript series:
This week’s video was first posted February 17, 2022, and it’s titled: Release Dates, Bookplates, & Yellowjackets. You can watch the video below or read the lightly edited transcript beneath.
Hello, I’m Amanda Hocking, and I’m finally recording a video for my weekly writing advice series. I have not been able to record in my office for a little while, because we had a water heater leakage. The utility room is right across from my office, and we had storage in there. But with the water, all the stuff from the utility room was moved into my office.
The water heater was fixed, and now I’m moving everything back into storage. I’m also cleaning up and reorganizing my office, so it’s not in a filmable state right now.
I tried filming in the living room, and the dogs think they need to be in the center of everything, and the cat does, too. So I’m here, filming in my bathroom.
In my last video, I said I hoped to have more information about the Seven Fallen Hearts, and I don’t have much yet. I’m still working on Book #2, and it’s going well, but it’s not ready for release date and pre-order info quite yet.
I’m also hoping to open up a shop on my website soon. It’s taking me awhile because I’m so apprehensive, and I want to make sure that I’m doing it right. I just want to make sure that I’m not signing up for more than I can deliver, and so I am being very cautious and moving very slowly.
When the shop does open, I will be selling signed bookplates. As we get closer, I’ll show you what they look like and explain more about them. The idea behind that is that I think it will be easier having stickers on hand selling autographed books, because this way I don’t have to keep an inventory of my books in stock. A bookplate can go in any book. This way you won’t have to rebuy a copy of a book that you already have, either.
Assuming this all goes well, in the future, I may have limited signed copies of new releases and maybe other books on special occasions. But I want to see how it goes with bookplates before I start adding stuff on.
Eventually, I would like to add things like bookmarks and artworks, but again, I’m starting very slowly, so it may be a while.
I am hopeful that the shop will open sometime this Spring, and that the second book in the Seven Fallen Hearts will be out by the end of Spring 2022.
I am really excited about Seven Fallen Hearts series. This this world is so fun, and I am really excited for you guys to see what’s coming. You can read more about the first book: here.
I’ve just been working on all that and taking care of my animals and my family. That’s basically what it keeps me busy. I have a big TBR pile that I am going through way too slowly.
Also, I just wanted to do a quick mention for the Yellowjackets. I watched Yellowjackets on Showtime. It’s this really cool, gritty series. I absolutely love it. I can talk about it forever if you guys are interested.
I loved it so much, and I could tell it is it is there are similar themes that it touches on as Bestow the Darkness. Which is my gothic romance folk horror novel that I released in 2021. It’s different, but there’s a lot of similar themes and topics. I could tell that we’re inspired by a lot of the same things, and so I very much love Yellowjackets.
I think it’s going to be an exciting spring, and I think there’s a lot of good stuff coming. I’m very optimistic about 2022 even though I was really optimistic about 2020.
I am getting back into writing advice on Wednesdays, so please leave a comment or question about anything you’d like to hear me talk about it, and I will likely address it in a future video. I am always open to suggestions, and I want to know what you all think.
That is it for today. As always says, stay safe, be kind, and happy reading.
Read on in next week’s post WoW #3: Return to Writing.
WoW #1: Writing Advice
As some of you may know, I’ve been doing a writing advice series on YouTube. You can watch the full thing: here. I’ve decided to start posting the videos here on my website, so people don’t miss them, and I’m also going to be including a written transcript here below the video.
I’m only on my fourth video of 2022, but I thought I would go back and add the first three videos here as well. I’m starting with my first video now, and I will post the other videos and transcripts over the coming days until I’m all caught up.
For those of you who don’t want to listen to the video or just want to look back on what I’ve said, below I have a lightly edited transcript of the video:
Since this is my first video of 2022, I wanted to take a look back at 2021, and I wanted to take a look forward at what I have coming up for this year!
If you didn’t know in 2021, I published three books. The first book that I published was in January last year – The Ever After, which is the final book in the Trylle Saga, and it’s a doozy! I really loved this book, and now that the nine-book saga is complete, I really ought to do a retrospective on the worlds of the Trylle, Kanin, and Omte.
The next book I came out with last year was Bestow the Darkness. It is my first book written for adults, and it is a very, very dark gothic romance. It’s kind of steamy, with strong elements of folk horror. I really love this book, but it is different than the others I’ve written.
The final book I published last year is a re-release of Virtue. (I go more in depth about what that means and why decided to revise and rewrite a previously released book in this post here: Virtue Re-release Explained). It’s a sweet fairy tale romance, and it’s the first book in the Seven Fallen Hearts series.
So, The Ever After was the last book I released with my publisher, and I have returned to self-publishing this year. It’s been really great for me creatively, but I’m still on a bit of a learning curve (or re-learning curve?).
When my publisher and I couldn’t come to agreement about my next series, I was nervous about going back to self-publishing. The whole industry has honestly changed so much since I started way back in 2010, but it has been really great for me. It’s liberating, and I feel more bold and more connected with the choices I’m making – both in terms of writing and in terms of overall career decisions.
With a publisher, you pitch a book, and then you are contracted to write that book. So I would feel obligated to only work on that book, and I missed out on just following my whims and creativity. Sometimes, I can get inspiration, and I just want to work on that for a bit, but it often doesn’t go anywhere. They’re whims for a reason.
What I’m learning about myself is that writing things just because I want to is still a part of my process. And it’s not that I don’t want to write the books I was contracted to write. It was that I felt like I was cheating on them or something if I worked on anything else, and that became really stifling for me creatively. I needed to allow myself more freedom to express whatever ideas it is that I want to express, not just the ones that are commercially viable.
The past year or so, I have been writing so much, and I have gotten back to my roots about why I love writing, and it really has been so fantastic for me. I do have to spend more time doing things are necessarily as much fun or fulfilling – like formatting and marketing – but overall, I’m really enjoying where I’m at right now.
None of this is to say I had a bad relationship with my publisher. I don’t actually have anything negative to say about them, and I really enjoyed my experiences there. Everyone I worked with there was very kind and passionate about books, and I definitely think we put out some fantastic books together! So no regrets there.
With all that, here is what I am planning on coming out with in 2022. My main focus is going to be working on the Seven Fallen Hearts series. Virtue is book one, and like I said, it’s already out now. I am hoping to come out with the second book sometime in the next several months, but I don’t have an exact release date yet. It basically depends on when it’s finished and polished and ready to go.
There are going to be four full length novels and three shorter works (short stories/novellas), for seven works in total in the Seven Fallen Hearts series. I don’t know when they will all be out, but I am planning on the entire series being written and released by mid-2023. Hopefully sooner, but I’ll see how good I get at making (and keeping) deadlines for myself now.
I am also working on a young adult series inspired by Greek mythology called the Dynasty of Starlight. It was originally going to be a stand-alone book, but it’s growing and growing, and I’m thinking it will be at least two books, maybe three. But because of the nature of the series, I’ve decided that I want to write them all before I start publishing. I am hoping that I can get the first book out by the end of the year, but the Seven Fallen Hearts is going to be my priority, so I may have to wait a bit longer on that.
I also want to thank you all for making 2021 as good as it was for me. It wasn’t a great year, not for basically anybody, but so many of the good parts I’ve had come from the support of readers like you! So honestly, thank you all so much for all your support. Any time you read a book, or tell a friend about my books, or check it out from the library, or leave a review, you’re honestly making the writer’s day. We love you all so much! Or at least, I know I do. 🙂
Until next time, stay safe, be kind, and happy reading.
Read on in next week’s post WoW #2: Updates, Bookplates, & Yellowjackets
Introducing the Seven Fallen Hearts
In a world filled with Magic, Love might be the final answer in the war between Good and Evil
When Lux is sent after a sheltered Princess, he disobeys his Master. Now Lux is battling goblins, sea dragons, and his own heart.
The fairy tale begins in Virtue – the first book in the Seven Fallen Hearts. This second edition of the book includes revised and extended scenes.
Get Virtue in paperback or ebook amzn.to/3IZi7Rc
Over ten years ago, I wrote and published a fairy tale romance called Virtue. It was something I wrote for me, during a tumultuous time, but I kept thinking about it all these years.
Finally, I came up with a concrete idea for the world. I have reedited, revised, and extended the original Virtue. I’ve re-released it in paperback and ebook, and it is now the first novel in a series that I’m calling the Seven Fallen Hearts.
Below are common questions I’ve gotten about Virtue and the Seven Fallen Hearts.
What changes did you make from the original version of Virtue to the new edition?
I explain more in depth in my YouTube video (which you can watch: here) but basically, the original work had some problematic issues. Things like body-shaming and some internalized misogyny, which I needed to change.
I also expanded scenes and chapters to make the story richer and more in depth, and I made a few tweaks to the final chapters to make the book more open-ended for the rest of the series.
What is the Seven Fallen Hearts? How many books will there be in the series?
The Seven Fallen Hearts is a young-adult series featuring fairy tale romance and fantasy adventures. There will be four novels and three shorter works (short stories/novellas), so there will be seven works in total in the series. The first book Virtue is out now, and the second book will be out in early 2022. The entire series should be out in paperback and ebook by mid-to-late 2023, but I do not have exact dates for publication yet.
If I bought the ebook of Virtue years ago, will it be updated automatically to the new one?
No, I’m sorry. The ebook is low-priced, though, and there will be sales in the future. Virtue is also out in paperback for the first time.
How do I know which version of Virtue I have?
The copyright for the new edition is 2021, and it has a blue cover with a butterfly on it. Any other cover or copyright date is the old version. The new version was published on December 15, 2021 and the old version was removed from sale before that, so if you bought the copy before that day, it is likely the old version, and if you bought it after that day, it is likely the new version.
Anything else I should know about Virtue?
My Blood Approves Theme Week
This week I’m having a themed work across all my social media where I talk about and celebrate my bestselling vampire series, the My Blood Approves Saga.
Later on this week, I’ll be posting trivia and hosting giveaways. But for now I’m taking questions on the My Blood Approves Saga. Ask me anything about any of the books or characters, and I’ll answer them in a video I’m posting on Friday.
All five the books and the novella in the saga are on sale, so if you haven’t read them yet, now is the perfect time!