This month's guest blog is by author Jim Shomos, a self-publisher who writes romance novels. He'll be discussing his latest book, More Text Than Sex, as well as telling us about his writing and publishing journey.
Jim's stories have skipped across film, TV, web, radio, magazines, songs and novels. His debut novel, Up Here, published in 2020, started life as a screenplay. It was shortlisted in the top-5 of the Australian Writers' Guild 'Romantic Comedy Script' competition, alongside The Rosie Project. Jim has collected nominations and awards in Cannes, from Film Victoria, and the Australian Writers’ Guild. A confessed ro-man-tic with a passion for Haigh's Chocolates, Arsenal, Melbourne Victory, cycling and blueberry muffins. Sometimes cycling for blueberry muffins.
Buy Jim's latest novel, More Text Than Sex.
What's your latest release?
More Text Than Sex was released in September. It is a relationship comedy-drama set in the music business. The story explores the disarming and unifying power of music, despite the chaotic industry that often creates it.
While surviving the professional mayhem, sexual tension and complex personal lives, their passion for music spins Annie, Cat and Robbie into a confronting version of sanity. As award winning singer/songwriter Tania Doko kindly wrote, “This book is much deeper than an edgy contemporary romance, More Text Than Sex is a slow dance with the very soul of music.”
What's the book about?
- How music–-more than any other medium–-brings people together, no matter their cultural background, beliefs, gender or financial status.
- The messiness of romantic relationships in an industry that magnifies the mess.
- Love can’t find you until you find yourself.
Why did you write this book?
I’m a romantic and drawn to exploring relationships in a modern world. Songwriting, as a lyricist, was my original creative passion. So I’ve had a peek into the music biz. The story premise based around three complex characters running a songwriting contest for a record label popped into my head many years ago, and wouldn’t leave until I’d written the story.
As record labels shrunk, merged and corporatised, opportunities for non-performing songwriters diminished. Under the romantic storyline, this book is an ode to the craft of songwriting and in particular, the non-performing songwriters in the world.
Tell us about your writing process
As a reader and writer I’m driven by story. Somehow, story ideas drop into my head. The good ideas hang around and nag you till you write them.
Most of my early work is done with pen and paper. I explore and outline the story. Develop the characters and their backgrounds. Create the world. I research only as needed, because that can become a black hole of wasted time and energy. In screenwriting, structure is everything. This works for me with novels too. I use a large art type notebook for this phase of the process. The more I understand the characters and story before I begin writing the novel, the easier I find it is to power through and finish the first draft.
I work about five hours a day on the one project. Often more on a first draft (80,000+ words) to make sure it’s finished within four months.
Where are you in your writing career and your journey?
I worked in the screen industry for over twenty years before I focused on novels.
More Text Than Sex is my fourth published book. It’s something I’m proud of. Reader and industry reviews have given me confidence to keep chipping away at the craft. As an indie author, I now have four products, which is critical to making marketing worthwhile. Most importantly, I love writing novels.
My sunset career will be writing novels, screenplays and songs. No matter what level of commercial success I achieve, I’ll always be writing in those three mediums.
Any other advice on self-publishing?
Discipline. I know there are many more talented writers than me. My biggest talent is discipline. I finish projects and re-write as much as needed.
Real writing is re-writing. A songwriting mentor gave me that advice many years ago and I’ve found it relevant across all writing. I seek feedback from the second draft. I’ll do a third draft, then two drafts with an editor. Another two passes with a proofreader.
Part-time, not spare-time. We all have stages of life where writing time is scarce. Committing to a regular amount of hours, either daily or weekly, is more productive than trying to write in bursts when you have ‘spare time’. Momentum is everything, especially with a first draft.
Indie-publishing is a business. You can’t ignore the basics, especially marketing. If you aren’t comfortable with any aspect of the business, find people that can help – either paid, or via the many forums and social media groups. Authors are amazingly generous at sharing information and tips.
The publishing part is the easy part. Even for a non-tech dude like me. You can do much of it yourself, or pay reasonable rates for formatting books and covers. Even editors. The hard part is still the same as heritage publishing: writing a good book, and marketing that book well.
Buy Jim's latest novel, More Text Than Sex.