I’m a real writer now…and it feels like it, too!

As many of you know, because you’re following me on various places around the internet, I’ve been writing in one form or another for most of my 40 years. It started waaaay back in elementary school and eventually turned into a full-fledged part-time career.

My first “published” novel was crap. I had a fun time writing it, but I had no idea what I was doing. When I got slammed with horrible reviews, I knew I needed help, so I found help within writer’s groups and with writer friends. I didn’t consider myself a real writer. Not even close.

The Lucky Series sold to Wild Child Publishing and I can honestly say working with Marci and my awesome editor has helped me become a better writer. The group of writers there are supportive and wonderful to work and network with as well. The first two books have sold well, but Romantic Suspense is a hard genre to break into for unknown authors. But at the very least, selling these books helped me to feel more like a writer than before.

The next sale I made was Wild and Wicked to Tease Publishing featuring Mason Storm and Veronica Chance. It was my first try at writing a novella, which eventually turned into three of them, but the company closed. Now I’m working on an anthology of all three coming out soon from Freya’s Bower, sister company of Wild Child. 🙂 Okay, maybe I am a writer after all.

My next sale will be glossed over for various reasons.

The sale after that one is under a pen name. 🙂 If you want to know more, you’ll have to send me an email or message. lol

Now, we move on to the Tiva Boon dyad. If you don’t know the story behind Tiva getting publishing here’s a good starting point – CLICK ME! It was the second story I finished writing back in the early 2000s (seriously), but only recently found its proper home at Crushing Hearts. Yet another awesome small pub with rock star authors and a kick ass marketing and creative team.

Well, I had this book finished before Hunger Games, Twilight, and all the other YA Books of late. I made the mistake of thinking the violence in Tiva’s world was too much for the young adult crowd. Spoiler alert (highlight to read- she slashes a guy from stomach to throat at the age of 16.- (end spoiler) Apparently, it’s not so violent anymore. So, when I got the rights back for the second time, I decided to try Upper YA/New Adult as a sub category within the SciFi-Fantasy. It worked, I found the right placement for Tiva and with the response and sale I’m seeing now, I really do feel like a writer now.

No, it’s not about the money, though it has helped, it’s the fact that complete strangers, in different countries, are reading my books. With the recent explosion of the YA/NA genre, and the added bonus of older adult women devouring the genre, I’ve found myself in a very interesting spot. The “SaleWhichWillNotBeNamedButYouCanProbablyFigureOut” has been selling, on it’s own, simply because it’s also a Science Fiction novel. Lucky’s Charm and Lucky’s Break are also selling with little advertising from me right now (I’m gearing up for another sale, stay tuned). I’m getting real reviews from people who love it and hate all my books! Okay, no one has said they hated anything yet, but I have a couple 1 Stars on Goodeads and 2 Stars on Amazon. To me, that’s just another indication that I’m a “real writer” now.

I’m not on the USA or NY Times Bestseller’s list. I haven’t hit #1 in any Amazon category lists, yet, and I’m a long way away from making the kind of money I’d need to make to quit working my day job, but I’m a writer. I’ll always write. I guess I’ve always been a writer, but now it feels like it, too.

#Publishing Keeps Getting Tougher

When I first started querying publishers and agents in 2001 about 5% of them accepted email or online submissions.

  • Nowadays about 5% of them only accept snail-mail submissions . 

When I sold my first book to a small publisher, you could find a couple dozen of them.

  • Now, there are a several hundred.

When I found a publisher for my next book, the thought of even considering self-publishing was the biggest no-no an author could do to their career.

  • These days, if you don’t have a self-published book or backlist novel, you’re in the minority.

When I first began networking with other authors and writers…you know, way back during the mySpace and LiveJournal days I was lucky if I could make a new writer friend once a week.

  • Today, every other person is an “author”. 

Despite it all seeming easier, because the internet makes most things possible, those of us who have been in the trenches from the earlier days of online publishing and didn’t break through to the mass market type audiences, are still struggling. Now we’re being hidden on places like Amazon and Facebook because 1. we can’t afford to pay for constant promotion and/or 2. are lost in the sea of free and .99c ebooks, a big chunk of which are self-published and…sorry to say this, crap.

I’m not the type to be mean on purpose and crush someone’s dream, but when you’re writing Sasquatch or DinoPorn romances, those of us who take writing seriously never get seen because 18 of your crap books are hogging up the category ranks and getting all the fancy algorithm recommendations. 
Still, I’m invested enough in myself and my writing to keep plugging away no matter how hard it gets. One of my books will catch one. Someone, somewhere will read Lucky or Tiva or whatever comes next and give me a big huge shout out and help me sell some books. Then, maybe then, I can get rid of the day job and focus on writing full time.
Ah, to dream. 
What are we if we don’t? 

Reading with a writer’s eye…not always fun.

There was a time when I would read book after book after book. On one of my “vacations” in the early 90’s when I still lived at home, I spent three days in the back yard reading books. I remember two of the them still to this day, Stephen King’s It and John Grisham’s The Client.

I once had a crap ton of authors on my “Must Buy” list. These days, not so much, because sadly, some of my all time favorite writers have gotten sloppy, lazy, and predictable.

I’ve been learning the “rules” of writing for about 12 years now. They have made me a better writer. They have also made me a fickle reader.

Take for instance this whole 50 Shades nonsense. I’ve yet to talk to one author who got through the whole book, let alone all three. I read the first two paragraphs on the free Kindle read and that’s it.

I get extremely annoyed when I see authors breaking the rules I’ve been told repeatedly not to break or…if you do break them, good luck getting published! I won’t get into it because authors know what I’m talking about, everyone else probably doesn’t care…but how do you turn off that writer brain when you are reading?

I have a very, very hard time doing that and I’ve noticed my enjoyment of reading has dwindled the last five years or so. Perhaps it’s that disgruntled/jealous part of my brain that can’t stand reading something that’s so popular but poorly written knowing I’ve slaved over the same manuscript for years trying to make it perfect…which it can rarely ever be to begin with.

So, writers, how do you get beyond this issues and go back to reading for enjoyment again? Readers, do you ever get annoyed with a writer’s lazy or bad  writing and give up on them completely?