I know its been a while since I posted here. I still intend to post twice a month for the time being. But I also intend to do something different with my authorship.

In September, when I posted my two posts on the sequel to The Dark Proposal, I felt the surge of doubt rise once again. During this whole year of writing the sequel to my vampire novel, I had a wild ride and enjoyed very much creating the vampire world, and delving into the characters that made up that world. I also was anxious over what would become of Claire as she found herself trapped in a world she never wanted to be in.

But at the same time, I had doubts. Not over the story and the direction it was going toward. But doubts over the book’s future. In other words, self-publishing. I had self-published The Dark Proposal when I released it four years ago. That means I used my own money to pay for an editor to make sure everything was grammatically OK, and all-right story-wise. I also used my own money to pay for a graphic designer to create that beautiful cover, as well as money to pay blog tours and advertisers to get the word out about my book. It was all out of my pocket. That’s what self-publishing is about.

But that was four years ago. This time around, I was asking myself if I really wanted to self-publish again.

Honestly, there’s no other way to get the sequel out. I had tried to get The Dark Proposal picked up by small publishers, but since it was not a big hit, it was not picked up. It doesn’t make much sense to self-publish one part of a series, and then use a small publishing house to release the others. It also simply does not work that way.

Realizing the daunting task of having to spend money to get my book out, I began to ask myself what I really wanted this time around. That’s when small epiphanies came forward.

And here they are:

When I self-published four years ago, I was not as fiscally wise as I am now. Looking back, I can’t help but think I could’ve used that money for other things. Sure, it takes money to make money, and I was really gung-ho for releasing my first book. But now that I am older and have been on my own in the expensive city of New York for over three years, I see that money is not something to be fickle about. Even if you are investing it to start a business (because that is what self-publishing is: a business), you really have to ask yourself if it is worth it, no pun intended. Money needs to be spent as wisely as possible.

In case you are wondering, I invested nearly $1000 into The Dark Proposal – from the editing to the promotions. The editing was the most expensive part because you get what you pay for, and most editors wouldn’t work for peanuts. Imagine what else I could’ve done with that $1000? It could’ve gone to savings or retirement or a memorable vacation. The cost of living is high, especially in NYC. So  money cannot be thrown around like it will always be there.

But, at the time, I was gung-ho about The Dark Proposal. I loved it and wanted the whole world to see it. I still love it, and I am still proud of how I write a book and got it out to the world. And it will always be out for the world to read because I am never unpublishing it. It will always be there.

That being said…

Again, don’t get me wrong. I love my characters and I still want to find out what happens to them. I want to explore their worlds more, their histories and their futures. Even though they are fictional, they are in a special place in my heart. Literally!

But I was a much different person when I wrote my book nearly five years ago. Back then, I was reeling from a series of bad relationships, and wanted to get the notion of abusive relationships out of my system. Writing The Dark Proposal was like a cathartic experience for me.

But now, the notion of abusive relationships are no longer in my system. I’ve had better dates and relationships since, and I’ve grown healthier and wiser. My self-esteem is much better. And I got my fears and rage out of my system when I completed The Dark Proposal. Now, four years later, I am not that same person and abuse is not something I want nor can explore anymore. I’ve healed. And that’s a good thing.

So I am fiscally unable to self-publish, and I no longer have the drive to write about abusive relationships. Now what do I do?

As much as I hate to give up on my sequel (again), it is best. It kinda sucks because I do adore my characters. But that is not to say I will never ever write The Dark Proposal’s sequel. Maybe someday when I have a few bucks to spare (like, when I’m a millionaire or so), I will self-publish the sequel. I’ll still work on it, but more out of love for my characters rather than a desperate need to get the sequel out. And I still want to find out what happens to Claire. She has a lot of potential for growth and being an amazing young woman. It will just take a long time for readers to find out.

Anyway, so what do I do now? Well, I have other story ideas that I am now taking notes on, scribbling scenes on, and even working on. I plan to publish my next book traditionally, either by a major publisher or a smaller one.

Which leads to my next ponder…

Should I use my real name for my next book?

Megan Cashman isn’t really my name. Cashman is another form of my mother’s maiden name. Megan is my first name, though. I originally chose to use a pseudonym in order to keep my fiction writing separate from my journalism (I used to work for a major newspaper, and now I freelance while also being an adjunct professor and tutor). After all, would I be taken seriously as a journalist if I wrote a book on vampires?

But now I am considering using my real name for all my future books, including the paranormal ones. I used to think I would use my pen name for the paranormal books, but use my birth name for the more historical and modern settings. However, I no longer care. I want my name on all my books. Because I have something to say, and if it comes in the form of a book on witches, dystopic societies or whatever, then so be it. There are plenty of journalists who write fiction. Among my favorite authors is Sarah Dunant. She goes back and forth between working for the BBC to writing historical fiction on the Italian Renaissance. As far as I know, she had not changed her name at all.

I get that branding is an important issue to consider. But as of now, I am leaning towards using my real name for my future books. I can’t predict what will come first: being a known journalist or a known author. Who knows? We can’t control or predict the future. Either way, one would benefit the other. And I think the two will go hand in hand, believe it or not.

So that is me going forward…

I will not stop with The Dark Proposal. I will continue to talk about it, though eventually, I will start chatting about my latest work (more about that later). I have plans to make it into an audiobook, and even revamp its book trailers.

But slowly and surely, I will start to talk about my upcoming work and what my plans would be as an author of fictional work. And I’ll start right here…

I have just begun work on what could be a YA novel. It is about a teenage girl who is mercilessly teased and bullied by just about everyone in high school. Things aren’t looking up, until she notices some black cats as she walks home…

More about that, as we go on 🙂