Tag Archives: indie author

Five Things I’ve Learned Since Becoming a Writer

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Actually, there’s a lot more than just five, but in the interest of keeping this short I’ve narrowed it down.

First, I learned that everybody and their aunt thinks it’s the coolest thing that you wrote a book.  Friends and acquaintances treat you like a local celebrity.  I almost started to believe it!  I was like “Do you know who I am?”  And the mail lady was like, “Yeah, I’ve been delivering your mail for about ten years.” You’re inundated with emails from strangers who loved your book and can’t wait for you to write your next novel.  When you write the second one, people are still fascinated by it.  Mostly people who don’t know you very well.  Your friends are getting sick of hearing how cool people think you are when they know you for the nerd you actually are.  By the third one, everyone calms down and they realize you’re not really a celebrity and resume treating you like the everyday, normal person that you are.  In the end, you’re left with a small base of loyal fans who you will love forever.

Second, I learned that marketing is not easy and people who choose to go into that profession must be a glutton for punishment.  The big wigs don’t pay trillions of dollars in marketing research for nothing!  There’s a science to it that I’m struggling to understand.  I thought, “Great, I wrote a book, got great reviews, and now people are talking about it.  I’ll just sit back and let my novel be read by thousands!”  It turns out that’s not how it works!  Who knew?  There’s nothing that makes you feel so small and insignificant as tooting your own horn to the sound of silence.  It’s very awkward, and I think I’m doing it wrong.  I’ve read marketing books, I’ve joined support groups for indie authors, and I’ve had some success.  But it’s two steps forward, and one step back.

Third, I learned this is an emotional roller coaster ride unlike any I’ve ever taken!  And I have three children!  One day, things are in a slump and I’m telling my family that I’m going to take a year off and re-evaluate my choices.  I’m going to try to improve my writing and give it a go another time.  Then someone tags their friend on Facebook in the comments of one of my promotional posts saying “Jane Doe, this is that incredible book I was telling you about!” After I read that, I’m in my kitchen like “KIDS!  Momma’s back on!”  Then sales slow down and post interaction on Facebook comes to a halt, and I’m back to “I don’t know guys, maybe I’m going down the wrong path.”  Then a friend does me a solid and promotes my book on her page, and someone I’ve never met comments “Oh!  I’ve heard of her book.  They were talking about it in a Facebook book group. They said good things.”  I got that wide, toothy, creepy-clown grin on my face, turned to my kids and I’m like “People are talking about me!”  Can you believe it?  People were talking about my book!  Then I wondered if she maybe mixed me up with somebody else.  Then I was back to doubting myself.  Today I’m good though.  For now.

Fourth, I learned that you absolutely must have a Facebook account.  Zuckerberg basically owns me.  He’s got what I need, and I can’t shake that soul-less eyed, twerpy kid.  I’m pretty sure his cocky-ass knows it, too.  After a long love/hate relationship with Facebook, I spontaneously and quietly deleted my account.  I felt free of my chains.  I wanted to make a shirt that said: “Suck it Zuck.”  I walked away and never looked back, for six months.  I had no regrets over the deletion.  I spent my newfound free time with my kids, enjoyed my summer, and continued writing novels and other short stories.  Then it came time to tell everyone about my upcoming book.  Do you know where everyone is?  Freaking Facebook.  Yeah.  I tried to release the book without being on the social platform, but sales were pretty much non-existent.  After rejoining the social media monster again, sales rapidly picked up.  It was bittersweet.  But what is the point of putting all of myself into writing a novel if nobody knows it exists?

Fifth, I’ve learned what it means to truly find your passion.  Books have made such a difference in my life.  The temporary escape and emotional distraction they offer literally saved my life once.  It is a blessing to be able to provide this beneficial opportunity to others through the creation of my novels.  I enjoy helping people relax and unwind.  I love knowing that for a moment in time, I was able to entertain someone by taking them into their imagination. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do!

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It’s the Most Difficult Part of Being a Writer

No, not coming up with the idea.  That part is fun and easy.  I can come up with a million story ideas, and every now and then, one of them is actually pretty good!

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The next part is turning that good idea into at least sixty-thousand words.  If you know me, you know that I can talk for days…months, even!  It’s entirely possible that one day I’ll get started, and never actually stop.  So this part is not the most difficult part of being a writer for me.  Sure there are times when scene A doesn’t connect so easily to scene B, but eventually, a bridge is built and everything flows together.

snoopy plot

Then there’s the re-write.  It’s a little boring, in my opinion, because the novelty of getting your story written has passed, and now you’re left cleaning up your mess.  And I can leave one, big, hot mess.  It’s a lot of work, but not the hardest part, for me.

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Editing is a nightmare, I’ve made no attempt at hiding the fact that I detest editing.  Even saying the word “edit” makes me throw up in my mouth.  But I can push through and do my best.

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Then there’s the part where I have to come up with a title for my novel.  This part is only slightly worse than a root canal, but still not the most difficult part of being a writer.

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After all that and a little more, it turns out the hardest part of being a writer, at least for me, is the marketing!  Nobody warned me how hard it would be.

First of all, I’m just a drop in the ocean over here!  I’m barely noticeable in a room of ten, much less a sea of millions.  It’s hard to stand out against a backdrop of so many fantastic writers.

Second, I’ve been conditioned to be humble and not brag.  A popular saying when I was growing up was “nobody likes a show-off” and that lesson really stuck.  So I’m supposed to be over here saying things like “Check out my awesome new book, I guarantee you’ll love it!” or “I really outdid myself this time, you have to read this!” or “Get your copy of the best book ever written!”  But inside my head it’s more like “Check this out if you want!” or “This one might be pretty good and if you think you might like to give it a chance that would be super!” or “I feel really bad asking you to buy this, I wish I could give it to you for free just in case you think it sucks.”  But according to my husband, that’s just bad marketing, and he’s a Virgo so he thinks he knows everything and, frustratingly enough, he’s usually right.

And lastly, I grew up in the Catholic school system, where (back then) from a very young age we were conditioned to believe that everything we did was a sin, and all of our choices are wrong and shameful.  I hear it’s a lot different these days, however, I did not escape without my fair share of guilt issues.  So anytime I ask someone to “like” and “share” anything promoting my book, I get heart palpitations over the fact that I’m asking them for something.  Like, no one owes me anything, what right do I have to bother them with my personal business?  And Lord forbid they don’t “like” or “share” because then I just know I’ve crossed a line and must hang my selfish head in shame.

Who knew promoting yourself was such a hard thing to do?  It feels uncomfortable and unnatural, and I wish it wasn’t a part of being a writer.  Maybe after my fifty-seventh novel, it’ll be less painful.

Thank you for letting me be honest!

Vital Spark: A FREE Peek Just For You!

Vital Spark Banner

Happy book release day!!!  Vital Spark is now available for purchase on Amazon!

In honor of book release day, I’m sharing the first two chapters of the novel for free.  So, check out your free sample of Vital Spark and if you like what you read, you can buy my latest novel, Vital Spark right here!  It’s available in both the Kindle and paperback editions.

Thank you for your consideration!  Happy reading!

 

Blurbing it Up

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Elaura Maitland is searching for her missing sister in the deepest, darkest shadows of New Orleans when she unwittingly gets pulled into an underground war between the vampires of the French Quarter.

Max has been the most powerful vampire in New Orleans for decades, ensuring a peaceful coexistence with humans.  Now people are disappearing, which can only mean one thing: a vampire uprising.  If Max can help Elaura find out what happened to her sister, maybe he can discover who’s trying to wage a war against him.

As if he didn’t have enough on his plate, Max’s longtime enemy, a vampire hunter named Trevor, is back in town.  The mysterious hunter and the beautiful Elaura have developed a close relationship, which complicates things even further, as Max tries to fight his own growing affection for her.

Lost in a world she never could have dreamed existed, Elaura must find out what happened to her sister, before the entire city goes down in the flames of a war waged to destroy humanity.

 

Vital Spark.  Coming to you October 1st!

Thoughts?  Questions?  Comments?  Let me know!

Cover Reveal

We finished the cover…so there’s that!

My husband has the patience of a saint, but if you never hear from me again, it’s safe to assume he smothered me in my sleep.

I think this is the millionth try. He had to keep tweaking and moving things to make the cover exactly how I wanted it. That would have been easier if I hadn’t kept changing my mind about exactly how I wanted it.

So from the bottom of my heart, thank you to my husband, Phil! I LOVE it!

Vital Spark, coming October 1st!

Things I Would Rather Do Than Title a Novel

My favorite part of writing a novel is creating the first draft.  With reckless abandon, I can type out anything I want, no matter how stupid it might be, because I know the first draft will never be seen by anyone but me.  I can unleash the creative monster in me and then reign in the insanity little by little with each rewrite.

I’m not a fan of editing.  Like, at all.  While I’m very particular about “your” and “you’re,” “there” and “their,” or “to and too,” everything else pretty much goes to hell in a handbasket.  I’m fairly decent at making crap up, but grammar and punctuation are not my strengths, and as an indie author, I don’t have thousands of dollars to pay a real actual editor.  (Which reminds me, how much are kidneys going for on the black market?  Asking for a friend…)

But figuring out a title for my novel is, by far, my least favorite part of being a writer.  Now, I’ve done some difficult things in my life.  I’ve squeezed some rather large-headed babies out of my teeny tiny girl-parts.  I’ve been through a divorce and I was a single mom for a bit.  I had to leave my newborn in intensive care for just over a month.  I’m a Marine Mom, I’ve had teeth pulled, and I survived Catholic school. I’ve even watched about thirty minutes of The Royal Tenenbaums, and believe me, that was extraordinarily difficult.  But every time I need to come up with a title that sums up a novel I’ve written, it’s just too hard.

So here is a list of five things I would rather do than title my novels.

  1. Vaginally deliver a giant, breech porcupine.
  2. Solve an algebra problem.  Sober.
  3. Lick a U.S. dollar bill.
  4. Get an enema.
  5. Get kicked in the face by a donkey wearing baseball cleats.

What do you hate most about your job?

The Search History of a Writer

I’ve always searched any topic without a second thought while writing my novels. Because who wouldn’t search “how long would it take to bleed out if your wrists were slit and you’re hanging upside down?” (A little odd for a romance author, sure, but I needed to know.)

It wasn’t until I searched “what kind of explosives would most effectively blow up a church” that I realized I might be red flagged by almost every U.S. federal agency. For the record, the church in my novel was abandoned, save for a vampire meeting that was taking place.

So I took a moment to review my search history. Here are a few things that might look bad if someone didn’t know I write fiction.

– Best blade to effectively decapitate a head

– Amount of explosives needed to blow up a brick building

– Where can you buy detonation cord (Quick shout out to the ATF- in case you’re watching!)

– Are feral pigs dangerous

– Can you ride an alligator (This one was just for my own curiosity.)

– How much blood can a person lose before they die

– Does a severed human arm float in water

– Can a vampire have babies with a human

It’s amazing, the things you learn while writing a story. I know a lot about airboats and how to drive them. I’m not sure what to do with that. I know what to do in the event of an alligator attack. I’m not sure why an alligator would be hanging around the Midwest, but you never know.

When I die, I’ll need someone to clear my search history for me. On second thought, leave it there. It’ll be more fun that way.

What’s the oddest thing in your search history that you’re willing to admit? Share in the comments!