Ari & Milo on Wattpad ~ So Worth It

When I started posting my novel Ari & Milo as a serial on Wattpad, I wasn’t sure what would happen. It was an experiment. I didn’t know if readers would find it, or if I could keep up with doing a new drawing every day, or how I would feel about putting up my work for free.

It turned out to be a really nice experience in so many ways.

Ari & Milo: the first cover

First, I’d always wanted to design a cover for one of my books, but I had no idea how. I discovered sites like Book Cover Zone that have pre-designed book covers where all you have to do is put in your own title, author name, and tag lines. It was super fun to check out the images and contemplate how they might match my novel. Genres have their own parameters for cover art, and this made me think about whether Ari & Milo was more sci fi or romance, more YA or mature. I started with one cover, and halfway through, I switched up to another one that felt like a better fit. In each case, I added some details (two moons, a futuristic border effect) to fit my story even more.

Ari & Milo: the second, final cover

Second, breaking the book into short chunks was an interesting exercise, and focusing on 2,000 words each day gave me a chance to edit once more under just the tiniest bit of pressure. I love small-scale editing, and it was satisfying to go over the novel once again, word by word.

Third, the drawing was a blast. I’ve learned a ton about how to use Procreate, and I relished trying out different styles and effects. Most often, I worked from a photo or two to get my contours, and then I made the images my own with colors and smudging. It was a treat when my niece Julia Hart contributed a guest drawing for Chapter 24 Black Cat. She is one of the people who inspired me to try digital art. (Thanks, Julia!)

Here’s a time-lapse video of my artwork for Chapter 21.

Fourth, the support from readers was heart-warming, and just the encouragement I needed. I have one super reader in particular who voted for each chapter within minutes of my posting it, and that was truly validating. Her comments were a delight. (Thanks, A!)

Finally, I feel a sense of completion and closure for Ari & Milo. This is a novel I worked on for over two years, always believing in it and hoping it would find its audience. I’m aware that the concept is an unusual mix of sci fi, romance and YA, with mature themes, so it may have limited appeal. That’s okay. It’s my work. It’s the best I can do, and now it’s out in the world for free. I don’t have to market it, or try to convince anyone to pay for it, or worry about reviews. This novel has a sort of purity to it, and posting it on Wattpad has been freeing.

So I’m glad I did it. I would do it again. And best of all, I feel encouraged to keep writing.

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