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It’s a question we all have to ask ourselves at some point. And I know I’ve brought it up here more than once. But you really need to think hard about what it is you want as an author.

Do you want to write because not writing isn’t an option? Are you willing to spend the countless hours promoting and marketing and staying upbeat even when your book hasn’t sold a single copy in three months? Are you open to constructive feedback that will help improve your story and writing overall? Are you willing to do the actual work necessary to gather a loyal readership?

Or….

Are you dreaming of instant fame and fortune? Do you think your book should sell millions of copies within days of release? Do you look at editors with hate in your heart as they ‘destroy your work’ because they suggest a single change? Do you think the job of promotion/marketing is ‘beneath you’ and ‘someone else’s job’? Do you see the life of a published author nothing more than cocktail parties, tweed jackets with patches on the elbows, and pipes?

Are you in love with writing, or the image of an author?

There’s a huge difference. The image, quite frankly, can make a great Halloween costume. Might even try that one next year. The reality…most authors are not prepared for it.

The reality of being an author is a life where you write when the house is quiet, even if that’s at 3 am. It’s doing 1-3 day jobs to pay the bills. It’s learning there’s a difference between promoting and being a jerk who screams ‘BUY MY BOOK’ all day long. It’s being gracious when someone tells you they don’t read your genre. It’s not monopolizing the conversation about your book at the office holiday party. It’s being the type of person that makes people want to read your book over the one they avoid because the author’s a jackass.

It’s cultivating a readership, not demanding one. And that takes time.

Yes, your house will get dirty. Dishes might not get done as often, or the floors might not be swept. But, if you invest the time in a positive image, the payout will be amazing. It won’t happen in a day, week, or even a year. It’s a constant grind for what will seem like a lifetime. Eventually, though, you might get to where you can go down to just 1 day job. Some might even be able to stop working outside of writing entirely. Most won’t, but it does happen. In the meantime, you keep growing. As an author, as a person.

And that’s something we should all want.

BB

Good morning!

Trying to gather my thoughts this morning, but it’s not been easy. Between my day job (which I LOVE) and a retail one for the holidays, I’m doing 50 hour weeks right now. Thank the Goddess I have a freezer full of coffee! LOL

No, I haven’t written much original stuff beyond this blog. Time is of a premium right now. The retail gig, however, ends in just a few more weeks. Braces are expensive, but books aren’t selling and the second job made it so the braces will be paid for by the end of February.

Because of the day job (did I mention I love it?), I run into all types of authors. Online, via submissions, etc. And I’ve created a Top Ten List of people who really should consider self publishing over traditional. This list is by no means a slam against every single author who chose that route! More, me venting a little frustration at personality types I’ve encountered that really would be doing themselves (and publishers/agents) a favor by doing so.

Think of Jeff Foxworthy’s ‘You May Be A Redneck’ jokes and follow each with ‘You may want to self publish’. LOL

1. If you think every publisher/agent is out to cheat authors
2. If you refuse to relinquish any control over editing, proofreading, formatting, cover art
3. If you think it’s a publisher’s ‘job’ to promote your title and only your title.
4. If you’re an unmitigated, arrogant jerk
5. If your first instinct when seeing a statement you don’t like is to threaten to sue
6. If you’re going to blame anyone and everyone BUT yourself for your poor sales
7. If you think a highly recognized and respected author has ‘nothing on you’
8. If you believe every single person who tells you they bought your book did so
9. If you can’t follow directions
10. If you see every other sale of a book as one that should’ve been yours

There you go! Did you laugh at all? The problem is that there are individuals like that in the world. Yes, there’s some agents/publishers who have screwed over authors. But most Houses are decent people trying to celebrate the written word and get your story out to readers. They all want the same thing you do – a successful title – so don’t waste their time if you can’t be a decent person and do your part.

Publishing’s changed a lot over the years. It’s no longer deals made over lunch at Tavern on the Green in NYC. It’s not about big tours and movie deals. It’s about writing a good story, rolling up your sleeves, and working WITH your publisher to sell it to the world. With social media, readers want to connect with the authors they like and get to know them. It’s more than a photo on the dust jacket. It’s knowing they’ll take the time to say hello to you.

So,if you’ve taken the time to read this blog: hello! If you’ve also read any of my books , it’s much appreciated. Becoming a name people associate with books is not easy to do. It takes time, dedication, and a day job. It’s months where nothing sells, followed by one where you sell 2 copies. It’s about being positive, seeing new opportunities and jumping on them, and staying hopeful when it feels like the readers of the world hate your work.

It’s about being a decent person who works well with others.

BB

Happy December!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! We stayed home, kept things relaxed. Watched some football. Never put on a pair of socks to go anywhere. LOL

A lot of you went shopping. I know this, because I spent time behind a cash register all weekend at the seasonal job! For the most part, customers were good. Patient, not upset if we didn’t have something in a specific color or size. This is a good thing.

Today, it’s Cyber Monday. This is the day we’re supposed to go shopping online. Get all those great deals everywhere without leaving the comforts of home.

So, here’s my present to all of YOU!

If you’d like to give a copy of one of my print books to a friend, head over to CreateSpace (not Amazon, this only works if you order direct from CreateSpace) and start loading up your cart on my titles.

Daughter of Hauk 

Son of Corse

Mark of the Successor

Challenges Met

Then, at check out, input  YRUXKJ7X in the discount code area.

You’ve just saved 10% off of my books!

Happy Holidays everyone!

BB

Today, we get to catch up with authors Jessica Walsh & Briana Lawrence!

1.       What’s the title of your latest release? Link?
Seeking the Storyteller is the first in our current series
 
2.       Why do you like writing in this genre?
Jessica: I love taking our world which everyone knows, and adding things into the shadows and hopefully writing it well enough that the reader will take an extra look at the shadows next time they pass them.
 
Briana:  I agree.  I like the idea that there is more in this world than just us.  The world is a big place, so I like playing with the idea of there being many layers to it.  I like supernatural abilities and putting them in a normal context, you know?  This creature is extraordinary to us, and on the flip side we’re extraordinary to this creature.  Things we may take for granted are so fascinating, that was the most fun parts to write.  Demons in our world looking at things like, “What’s a T.V.?”  And us looking at demons like, “You shoot fire out of your hands.”  They’re both things that each party takes for granted, but it so fascinating to someone else.
 
3.       What do you like to read?
Jessica: I love reading horror and urban fantasy.  I also have a soft side for all sorts of fanfiction.
 
Briana:  Manga, comic books, and like Jessica said: fanfiction. We both used to write it like crazy, it’s such a great medium in writing that I think gets weird looks, but who hasn’t thought about how certain characters act after the credits roll?
 
4.       Favorite movie?
Jessica: Hands down it’s Labyrinth.  I could watch that movie endlessly.
 
Briana:  I think it changes depending on what I watch.  Currently, this year, it’s Captain America: Winter Soldier.  However, if you’re looking for a movie that I can throw on at any time and be entertained?  Mortal Kombat.  I have the whole thing memorized.
 
5.       What are your writing habits? Music or silence? Daily regimen or spurts of creativity?
Jessica: I usually write during the lunch breaks of my normal desk job, so small spurts of writing before I’m forced to go back to work.  It helps me get a lot done in a little amount of time.
 
Briana:  I try a daily regimen but honestly I think it’s whenever my muses are like, “Hey, write that down!”  So that’s what I end up doing.  I can’t write in complete silence though, because I start looking around and my mind starts wandering.  So usually it’s music, with headphones, or sometimes at Baker’s Square with Jessica.
 
6.       What was the most surreal moment you’ve had as a author?
Jessica: The first convention we sold out book at we sold out in just over a day.  I wasn’t expecting that and it was a big shock.
 
Briana:  I agree, it sold very well!  We didn’t have enough copies and that was the best feeling.  I think the most surreal moment I had, personally, was my mom calling me and saying that she put my name in Amazon and so many books popped up.  I actually have three published, plus two that are in anthologies.  Just… that phone call was so amazing, I typed my name in Amazon and just stared at the screen.

7.       How can readers find you?
Jessica:  I’m on facebook, goodreads, deviantart, linkedin, pinterest… all that stuff.  Easiest way is to go to our main website and all the links are there in the sidebar.  http://www.sewntogetherreflections.com
 
Briana:  The website is best.  I have like 3 professional Facebook pages alone, the website will take you to all of them.
 
8.       What do you know now about being published that you wish you’d known before submitting?
Jessica: How much work it is to promote the book.  Most people thinks it’s just write the book and sell it and sit back and collect your money, but it’s a lot more work than that.  It’s fun, but yeah, a lot more work than expected.
 
Briana:  I agree, wholeheartedly.  I mean of course your publisher is going to help, but you also need to get your work out there, too.  For instance, my first book is through Damnation Books/Eternal Press.  They do a lot on their end: they go to conventions and have free things to give out with books, stuff like that.  And that’s great, but we don’t live in the same state (or same area of the U.S. for that matter), so I’m going to conventions that they’re not going to.  Not to mention that they have ALL of their books there, not just mine.  With us going to conventions ourselves we can focus on our work, which I’m sure Damnation does, but there’s a huge difference between having 50 books on tables from various authors versus having 3 that you wrote yourself that you can talk about extensively.
 
9.       Favorite snack/drink while writing?
Jessica: Mt Dew.  It’s my one major weakness.
 
Briana:  Hot chocolate or coffee, something warm and yummy, probably with a small snack like cake.

10.   Look at your writing area…what’s the item you keep to inspire you (piece of artwork, figurine)?
Jessica: I have a print of the front cover – which our cover artist sells – and two copies of the book.  I also have fanart that other people have done of our characters.
Briana:  My writing area is in progress, actually.  We’re getting my office together and I’m super excited!  It used to be our living room which has so much fun stuff in it like figurines from anime, comics, and video games.  It’s also where the T.V. is and all the video games.  The stuff isn’t as distracting as you’d think, but I’d just love to have a designated space and not take up the living room, which is supposed to be for entertainment.

Going for a hard truth about writing today. You’ve been warned.

Your friends and family members are going to lie to you. It’s a fact. They’ll tell you they bought the book when they haven’t. They’ll tell you they read it and liked it, even if they haven’t cracked the spine or gone past downloading the file.

Why, you ask? Why would they lie about that? There’s a couple possibilities.

1. They have every intention of buying/reading your book, just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

2. They hated the book and don’t know how to tell you without hurting your feelings. This includes those who would never read your genre to begin with.

3. You’re being a total pain in the backside in asking them about it and lied to shut you up.

While #1 and #2 are understandable, you’re directly responsible for #3. In other words, don’t be a total jackass. With all the holidays coming up, there’s bound to be a few family gatherings. Don’t dominate the party with talk about your book. Don’t bring a signed copy as a host/ess gift. Don’t hand out glossies of your latest book cover as party favors.

If you’re asked what you’re doing these days, talk about your book. But make sure that’s not all you talk about. Friends and relatives are just that – friends and relatives. If they care about you and truly wish to be supportive, they’ve bought your book. The sale has been made. They’re recommending it to friends outside of your mutual circle.

Uncle Bob who only reads westerns isn’t going to want to hear twenty minutes from you about your new romance novel.

If you don’t want them lying to you, then don’t force them into a corner. Be a pleasant person and not the boor who sees the gathering as another sales opportunity.

BB

Okay, shameless plug happening first! ‘Daughter of Hauk’ is currently on sale via an Amazon countdown deal! Which means there’s a little ticker next to the price, warning you how long before the price rises again! Go grab a copy before it goes up! http://www.amazon.com/Daughter-Hauk-Raven-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00HG15SBM/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1415640686&sr=8-1&keywords=Daughter+of+Hauk

Now that that’s out of the way (seriously, go buy a copy), I want to talk about something else. And that’s how we, as authors, should error on the side of intelligence. We need to write with the assumption that the person reading our book is smart. Because NO ONE wants to be talked down to.

I’m working a second (third? fourth?) job right now through the end of the year. It’s a retail gig, whose sole purpose is to help us save up as the youngest will need braces next summer. And I have a co-worker who believes everyone is stupid. Not the customers, no. Everyone who has the same job as her, same training, is vastly short in common sense and the ‘gift’ she can give them is to interject her opinion into each and every conversation. Does not matter if I’ve been owned by cats most of my life…she needs to tell me the best way to give them medicine because she assumes you’re ignorant unless she herself has enlightened you.

I cringe every time I see her at the next register. I really do.

The problem isn’t just her, though. Authors do this. A lot. And it makes me want to throw my Kindle out the window or the book into the fireplace. We absolutely must write like our readers can follow the story without reminders every three pages. It’s one thing to tell them your main character is a cop. It’s another to say it six times in three pages! It’s annoying, it’s repetitive, your reviewers will call you out for it, and your sales will tank. Why?

Because NO ONE likes to feel stupid.

So, write a book like you want to read one. Intelligently, with a plot that can be followed without repetition of facts. A mystery worthy of Sherlock Holmes without constant references to the color of his smoking jacket. A suspense novel where you aren’t constantly reminding the reader that the antagonist has a moustache. A fantasy where you aren’t describing the wings on a fairy each time one appears.

Readers are smart. Give them credit for that. Don’t talk down to them.

BB

I made it! Whew!

Before you start wondering why it took me this long to post my weekly blog, there’s a whole story behind this. The short version is that I just got my desktop back home and plugged in less than an hour ago.

Now for the long version!

On Friday, I did my normal stuff. Got kids moving towards school, made my coffee, started the laundry. You know, normal stuff. Then I sauntered into my office and went to read some emails before I started my hours for Solstice.

Only my computer didn’t wake up right away.

And, when it did, it would only work in safe mode. The dreaded Blue Screen of Death, complete with an error message about a page file in a nonpage area, had laid waste to my thoughts of being productive.

Spent 3 to 4 hours trying to fix it on my own to no avail. Finally, I called our local computer guru and begged their assistance.

And then I waited. Not very patiently. All weekend. Praying that nothing was lost forever. No work related things, no works in progress, no photos of cats or kids.

Ladies and gentlemen, I was a complete and utter nervous wreck all weekend long.

To put a happy ending on this horror story (trust me, I was almost in tears out of fright!), everything was saved. The techs were able to do wonderful work and my computer is back home and operational. No Blue Screen of Death!

Now to get it back to where it looks ‘normal’ so I can find those books I was trying to finish writing.

BB

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