Saturday, February 22, 2014

Buttons Aren't Toys

It's something, I think, every writer goes through.

From the beginning of my writerly journey, until now, I still go through it.

I'm so excited about my novel, Imperfect Chemistry, that I plan on publishing later this year, but it's not quite ready yet. There's still a bit of editing I need to do, and I still have more beta readers waiting in the wings to read and comment after I input the changes and additions from the beta's who've read it so far.

What's difficult is WAITING TO PUSH THAT BUTTON.

You know what I mean? I pushed the button way to early when I first started writing. I queried my first novel before it was ready, but really I queried that novel before I was ready. I just didn't know it at the time.

But please, learn from my mistakes. And never, ever, EVER query after drinking. I don't quite remember exactly (because I think I repressed the memory, it was so embarrassing), in one of my early query letters, I waxed on and on about how I pull at my eyebrows when I'm nervous. Right. Don't do it! Bad decision!

But it's so hard to wait sometimes! I just get...anxious! I want to do it now! I want to feel the excitement and trepidation of seeing it OUT THERE for public consumption! But it's not ready yet, and I know that.

Even the most recent draft of Imperfect Chemistry wasn't quite ready for my first line beta readers. I went through it last week and there were TYPOS still! What!? But I wanted feedback before I continued to edit, just in case my betas would find any glaring problems or inconsistencies that I was too close to see, and I didn't want to keep editing something I would cut or change later.

It's hard though. Waiting.

Listen to Zooey. Think before you click. Buttons aren't toys!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Why Self Publishing makes me want to wet my pants and run around screaming like a little girl

Hey everyone!

So, last week I posted about why I am self publishing.

This isn't something I've considered lightly. There are reasons that waiting and stalking agents, and going on submission forever, and all that junk might be worth the wait.

Here's the other side of the story: a list of the reasons I've considered AGAINST self publishing.

1) Marketing and Self Promotion AKA I really love myself so much and that's not skeezy at all!

I hate talking about myself. Especially if I'm trying to convince people that I'm cool or something, because I'm really not. I'm much better at self-deprecation.  Also, I don't really get marketing (although I have started some research on marketing e-books and I'm wading through it. This is a good one: 10 Tips On Self Publishing By Indie Authors and Books) I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to reach my target audience, unless it's by stupid luck or complete accident. And I don't want to be running around making people follow a Facebook author page or tweeting about my books a million times a day, that's just annoying :(

But then again, this is probably just me being lazy. I'm SURE there's ways to promote your book without coming off like a car salesman, I just have to figure it out. Also, I understand that even publishing companies rely on the writers to promote their own work. It just feels so...blerg.

2) Published Authors have professionals on their side...for FREE!

I'm really excited to work with the aforementioned (in prior blog post) Regina Wamba, because she is totally amazing, but I have to pay for it with a not-insignificant chunk of change. I also have to rely on the editing skills of people I know, or people I meet that are writers/readers, etc. I could hire a professional editor, but that's another big chunk of change, and since I don't personally know any professional editors, if I were to hire someone, I would have to hope that they get me and my work and what I'm trying to accomplish.

Published writers don't have these same concerns. They've already won over their agent, editor, etc. and found a home where professionals are committed to their book's success. As a self-published writer, you have to give that up. The only person working for you, is you and you have to get used to the idea of flying solo.

And remember how I'm terrified of marketing myself? While publishing companies do put a chunk of that in the writer's hands, at least you have professionals available to guide and assist you.

3) For the self-publisher, there will be no exciting phone calls or responses from agents, no hype, no Publisher's Marketplace blurb, no "I am represented by..." in your bio

Ah, the sweet, sweet, smell of public recognition. I can imagine it's a heady feeling, finally finding that one person that gets your book and your writing and who wants to go to bat for you. Then finally selling your book(s) and seeing your name in print next to "sold in a good deal to..." Having industry people tell you nice things about your book (aka your baby), and having people get excited about when it's being released.

For the self published writer, that's not going to happen. Especially if it's your first book. Maybe, with subsequent novels - if you're lucky - you'll have developed a fan base and you'll get to experience at least a little hype. Otherwise, say goodbye to that dream.

(SIDEBAR: Okay, okay, I know that there are writers out there who self-published and went on to get big deals with traditional publishers and all that, but let's get real, guys. That's the exception, not the rule, and I am not that impressed with myself to think that will ever happen for me.)

4) There will be no walking into Barnes and Noble and seeing your book on the shelf

This is sort of an extension of the last one. As a self-published writer, the majority of your sales will be e-books. Sure, you will be able to hold a printed copy, and you may even sell some, but...from the limited research I've done, getting your self-published PRINT books into major retailers is like opening a pickle jar after you've just put on lotion.

Which doesn't mean I'm not going to try. Maybe I'll just purchase a few of my own copies and put them on a shelf in B&N and take a few pictures. No one will notice, right?


So despite all the points mentioned above, I'm still going to pursue my dream of self-publishing. I think the pros outweigh the cons, at least for this writer.

As I learn about marketing and how to, you know, do all of this self pubbing business, I will be posting some tips, the things I find out, and the the things I eff up. It will happen. I just hope that it's humorous enough to share.

The point of this blog has always been, and will always be, to help fellow writers along their writerly journey, and that will not change. I look forward to sharing all of the ups and downs and tears and laughs. ;)

Now, I'm going to go tweet this and wallow in my own self-loathing for marketing myself :(

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Road Less Traveled (or is it more traveled, but also more arduous?)

Once upon a time, on a blog far, far away, (or not so far away since, you know, you're looking at it) I wrote this:

Why Is It All Fun And Games

I also named this blog, "It's all fun and games until someone gets an agent," and while my feelings on that are basically the same, my journey as a writer has taken a much different course.

Instead of finding an agent, then finding an editor or publishing home, I've decided to self publish, and here's why.

1) I'm really, really controlling.

I'm not controlling in a, lock-my-husband-in-the-basement-for-looking-at-another-woman way, but I am very controlling of myself and the things I know I have control over (I'm not egotistical enough to think that includes other people).

For example, I like to drink, but I never get drunk, because I hate feeling out of control of myself.

I have friends who are traditionally published, and I've heard the stories. Editors making them change their prose, dumb down their language because they think the general public is too stupid to get it, having the writer conform to fit whatever mold they think will sell. It's about the bottom line, because it's a business, and while I get that, it's not my dream.

As a traditionally published writer, you have little to no control over your cover design, your title, etc. I want to have complete control over those things. I want to work directly with a designer that I hire and make them work for me and make my cover as perfect as I want it. (SIDEBAR: I hired the wonderful Regina Wamba at Mae I Design Photography. She's amazing and I can't wait to see what she comes up with!)

I want to write how I write, and not pander to any markets or ideas of what's "hot right now". Basically, I want to stay true to myself and my voice, even if that means my niche is smaller and my profits are less. I don't write for money, I write for readers, and I write because it makes me happy.

2) No time constraints or deadlines

This is a big one for me. I have a full time job that I've been fairly successful with that takes up a significant portion of my time and energy. I also have two children, a husband, more family, a dog, lots of friends that I absolutely adore spending time with, and other interests and hobbies. If I were to  (fantasy!) land some kind of publishing contract I would have to conform to a timeline and meet the expectations of the publisher. 

I've read series where the writer has to pop out a new book every year, and many times (but not always!) the work suffers as a result. I think it's because the writer isn't writing from their heart, they're writing what's expected of them. On top of that, they're pushed to a deadline. I never want that to happen to me. I want to put my best effort out there, and take my time if needed to make the work as good as possible for the readers.

3) I'll only profit from books that sell, not before

Okay, this one might make me kind of a weirdo. I know a lot of people get excited about big advances, and the piles of money that are sometimes given to writers when they get their fancy pants publishing contracts, but honestly, the idea creeps me out. 

What if (again, fantasy land) you get a giant advance and there's all this pressure to perform successfully and then IT DOESN'T HAPPEN? (it's okay, it happens to all guys sometimes, maybe you're just nervous). 

But seriously, what if your book doesn't sell? With self publishing, I will be paid only if someone buys the book, and BONUS then I get to keep most of the profits instead of sharing with an agent and publishing house. Much less chance of guilt and nerves and ulcers and tearing and rending of the hair. 

4) Did I mention I'm controlling? 

Traditional publishing takes forever. I mean really. It can take years to find an agent (and hopefully they don't end up sucking. I know more than a few writers who had to fire their agents and start all over again). It can take more years for your agent to sell your book, and THEN it will take even more years to get the book edited and finished and ready for printing. That's, like, a LONG time. 

I've already spent years honing my craft to a somewhat acceptable level, and while I totally believe in playing the long game - and I will not publish my work until it is a perfect and clean as it can possibly be - I really don't want to wait that long. I want to decide when my work is ready for public consumption. 

So there it is. This is why I've chosen this path. Next week, I'll be blogging about the other side of the story: why self publishing makes me want to wet my pants and run in circles screaming like a sissy girl.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Let's blog about sex BABY let's blog about you and ME

Yep that's right. Today, I'm blogging about sex. Specifically, sex in literature.

Okay, confession time. I like sex. I think most humans enjoy sex, as long as it's good (bad sex is baaaad and speaking from personal experience, although it sounds great in theory, having intercourse for hours on end is no fun. There's chafing involved. AND the TMI ends HERE).

So, not surprisingly, I also like reading fiction that includes sex. Of course, fictional sex can also be baaaad. Especially when it's riddled with "throbbing members," and "heaving bosoms," and positions that are not only impossible in the real world (unless you're a professional contortionist) but sound incredibly uncomfortable as well.

The problem that I'm currently experiencing involves my current WiP. It's a romance. When I ran through the rough draft during National Novel Writing Month, I incorporated a couple of sexy sex scenes. Now, while editing, I'm trying to decide: to sex or not to sex?

Well, maybe not in that extreme. I mean, there will be sex because it's part of the character development and plot, but my current conundrum revolves around whether to flesh out the sexy scenes (hehe, FLESH out! I punned!) or tone them down.

I think this hemming and hawing originates with the fact that my mother (who is an English professor) has been helping me with editing, and I'm entirely freaked out to have my MOTHER reading something sexy I wrote. Like, UGH and YEESH and CRINGE!

Luckily, I have a few incredible and wonderful beta readers who will hopefully shed some light on this situation and help me figure out what is best for my characters and this WiP in particular.

What do you think, oh lovely blog readers? Do you like it hot and heavy or mild and sweet? Does it matter? Does it change depending on the story and characters?