I have to be honest. I wasn’t always a book lover, in fact when I was young I had a reading disability and books and anything that had to do with them frightened me.
But my mother persisted and did everything in her power to get me to read and enjoy books. It wasn’t an overnight type of thing either, it wasn’t even something that happened in a couple of years. My reading and problems with books and everything that came with them lasted into my teenage years. But that was when I found Fantasy and Sci-Fi books. And everything changed. I couldn’t read fast enough, nor could I get my hands on enough books to feel the emptiness that I had built inside of me from lack of reading for the majority of my life.
Finding those first books that sparked my imagination changed the course of my life, books like Bridge to Terabithia, Where the Wild Things Are, books
Are you an avid reader? What books changed your life, share in the comments the books.
I have to admit, being a writer is pretty darn cool. I get to make things up for a living. If you upset me I put you in one of my books and kill you off. If I think that your cool you may very well end up in one of my books. Any dream I have is fodder for my muse, I people watch like its my job. And did I mention I get to make stuff up for a living?
Now don’t get me wrong, I never said being a writer was easy because it can be extremely difficult. But through all the difficulties: working with an editor, getting bad reviews 🙁 , trying to finish a book on time, writers block. I still love actually being a writer, I get a thrill everytime I sell a book, even if I’ve sold my fair share of books, however, I am grateful and feel blessed each and every time some buys one of my books because with out the readers out there I would be nowhere. So just know when you buy one of my books I an so vey thankful.
But through all of that being a writer is so cool. Here are my top 3 reasons for being a writer.
- I get to work in my pajamas. Some people might wonder why this is my number one reason but seriously, I get to work in my pajamas.
- Did I mention I get to make stuff up for a living? lol Cause that is just AWESOME.
- I can drink. Don’t get me wrong I’m not taking shots between each well crafted sentence, but I nice glass of wine while I compose the well crafted sentence doesn’t hurt.
Seriously, if you aren’t a writer, have I made you want to become one?
What are your favorite parts of your job? I would love to know.
So I signed up for NanoWrimo….
What was I thinking?
If you don’t know what NanoWrimo is its National Novel Writing Month. So for the month of Nov. you write 50,000 words. That’s roughly 1600 words a day.
I have signed up for NanoWrimo several times and have never ever finished.
I’m starting a new series and honestly believed that signing up would push me to write book 1.
It’s Nov. 8th, and I’ve written 750 words. 🙁
I don’t know what it is about Nano that first makes me think I can write 1600 words in a single month, but that I can continue that type of writing for 30 full days.
The strangest thing is if I hadn’t signed up for Nano I may have written more words. But the deadline aspect of Nano, makes me worry more about writing and not actually getting any writing done.
Tell me I’m not alone…
So this last summer I had the amazing opportunity to attend RWA (Romance Writers of America) Annual Conference. And I learned so much, and met a host of other authors who were in the same boat as I was. Trying to make our writing stand out from the pack and make a living with our writing.
One session I attended said the following: ‘If you don’t treat your writing like a serious business, how do you expect anyone else to take is seriously.’
This struck a deep cord within me, and I realized I had been treating my writing like a hobby. Even with 4 books published I still haven’t been treating my writing as the business it should be.
So after I heard that I took a couple of months (I’m not kidding but I wish I were), to understand what that meant to me and my writing. I really believe this means something different to everyone. But for me I know without a shadow of a doubt that I have been treating my writing as a hobby because when I didn’t feel like doing any writing I just wouldn’t. If I felt boxed in with anything that had to do with writing I just walked away. Maybe that’s why I haven’t written anything in over a year….
But now what? Just recognizing that I am treating my writing like a hobby wasn’t enough, I needed to make some important changes in order to move from hobby to living.
CHANGE 1: creating a business mindset. I don’t know about you but when I am writing the last thing on my mind is business.
CHANGE 2: Carve out time during the week to deal with the business of my writing. Marketing, list building, social media, blogging. I have failed mightily in these areas in the last several years.
CHANGE 3: My writing has been mish mash for the last year, and if I want to make it a business I have to write. So I am carving time out of every day to write. Some day’s that means I am only writing for 15 min but at least I am getting words on a page.
CHANGE 4: Setting appropriate goals. ie: when I want my next book finished, how I will grow my email list, building a tribe a like minded writers. I know this one is tough because writing is such a solitary process but having like minded authors and readers will increase my reading base and accountability
CHANGE 5: Taking classes, and learning how to make my writing better. It’s always good to increase your knowledge base.
Wow reading through these kinda makes my head swim, but if I want to make my writing my business I have to treat it like it is.
Hope this helped out, if you are struggling with making your writing a business you are not alone. Let me know in the comments.
So this past weekend I was privileged to participate in RWA of Utah’s annual readers luncheon. I have been lucky enough to attend all 3 events. And this event gets better and better every year.
The point of this luncheon is to focus on the reader! Show the reader some love and gratitude. Because without readers where exactly would we be after all. Readers get a ton of swag from the authors participating, and they do a ton of baskets and giveaways. You get to sit at a table and have lunch with the author of your choosing (you have to sign up early to reserve your seat with the author you want to have lunch with).
Being an author is a very solitary type of work, so getting the chance to get out and meet and mingle with my readers just means the world to me. Plus writers, I think, are some of the biggest fans out there. And getting to rub elbows with other authors is just too much fun.
This year we were lucky enough to have ReaAnne Thayne, and Jill Shalvis speak and they both gave amazing and wonderfully inspiring presentations about being a writer, and more importantly the love of reading. They are both New York Times best selling authors.
So overall if you ever get the chance to attend a readers luncheon grab that opportunity with both hands. I know if you come to the Utah luncheon that we hold every Oct. you won’t be disappointed.
When I was in my teens, and I wanted to be an author I imagined my life would be blessed and I would be able to buy a cabin in the woods to write my master pieces. I would spend my days drinking coffee, and hunched over a typewriter (yes I’m that old). I believed the words would flow from me like a gushing river in the spring. I would pop out several books a year, and my adoring fans would be breathlessly awaiting my next amazing piece of work.
The reality??? I spent years writing what was selling at the time, and I slogged through stories that were awful and poorly written. During this time I never finished a story. Never connected with my characters and fantasy I had about being a best selling author with droves a fans died a painful and gruesome death. So in reality I stopped writing for a long time, I thought if I couldn’t write what was out in the market then I would never be a success. If I couldn’t strike it big then I should just give up. (BTW, I was trying to write historical romance, and sci-fi/fantasy novels)
But there was always this niggling feeling deep in my soul that said write…write…write. You have a story to tell. But I didn’t know what that story was. Then like when I was a teen and was first bitten by the author bug. I read a book that was the exact genre I was trying to write, a fantasy love story. Halfway to the Grave by: Jeaniene Frost I devoured this book serious like my life depended on it. When I was done reading all the current books at the time I had this idea pop in my head. I sat down at my laptop and I started to write. And within six weeks I had finished my first book. Now this first book I finished was a vampire story. And if you have read anything from me you know I don’t write vampire novels. So not sure if this book will ever see the light of day. But being able to sit down and write a book, and ENTIRE book I learned where my passion was I realized I could write a novel.
I wish I could say that was the end, after that first book was finished I sat down and wrote Shadow Play, my first published book. And once I finished that book I started to shop it out to publishers. And I got a couple that were interested, but what I go the most of was a hole lot of rejection. I was devastated, I had finally found my voice but nobody wanted to publish my book.
So I self published, I would like to say it was the best decision of my life. But self publishing is hard, not saying it is harder than traditional, but I have no way to judge that. Anyway, I self published my book and just about put in my two notice at my day job. Because I had published a book, all the accolades and fans were going to fall at my feet. I was going to be the next J.K. Rowling and Stephanie Meyers, I was going to be the next Jeaniene Frost. I knew people were unknowing lining up just to read my book. The reality is so much worse, not only did people not line up in droves but I didn’t ever sell enough books to justify the amount I spent to publish it.
But I loved my story, and I continued to write. I continued to slog through the pages and pages in order to put out something someone would enjoy. That’s what writers do, they write, and write, and write in the hopes of touching someone with there story.
So have the accolades poured in? No. Am I making millions? No. Have I hit the best seller lists? No. And I am currently writing my 5th book, so why do I continue to write? Because I can’t stop, because the there are still stories in my head and imagination that I need to complete. And in the process I have figured out a few things: writing isn’t easy but it’s totally worth it, success is measured in different ways (I don’t have to be a best seller), marketing sucks but its a necessary evil, staying true to myself and my stories mean more than anything, reviews of my books can be harsh but letting those reviews stop only makes me a failure, the torture is worth the delight in seeing my books published.
I don’t know what the future holds for me in my writing career, but I do know writing is in my blood and if no one every reads another of my books I will know I am following my dream.
So my advice to authors/writers wanna be published authors… never give up. If writing is what you love then never let the world and the torture of it all stop you from being an author. You can do it!
I have lived an unexpected and full life. I am by no means old sitting here writing this in my forties, some days I feel ever day of every year I have lived and other days I don’t quite know where the years have gone.
With all that having been said I have learned one thing… you really need to learn to love the chaos of life. And if you can’t love the chaos you really should learn to tolerate it. Because life is a series of moments of chaos and its how you react to those moments that scripts your present and inks your history.
And I have to admit something, the last year has been a test in loving chaos. So I have learned to love the chaos or be swept away by it. My writing life has been put on hold by actions and influences outside of my of control. And being a creative individual these setbacks and moments of chaos laid me low, they took me down for the count and made me question everything I was doing as an author and a creative individual. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to publish my next book or any other books for that matter.
That’s what true chaos can do, make you look around and rethink it all. Make you hide under your bed while the tornado of you world tears apart everything around you.
However, at some point you need to climb out from beneath your bed. You can learn from the chaos that threatens to destroy you or wallow in the circumstances of the chaos. That’s the hardest part isn’t it? Learning from the chaos. Now don’t get me wrong sometimes I search for meaning and learning and honestly can’t see it. But eventually the storm will pass and then you need to sit down and take inventory and learn from the chaos.
I desperately hope that all my fans and subscribers can find peace and love in the chaos of life.
Promoting sucks, ask anyone it’s the bain of an authors existence. I don’t care if you’re a traditional or indie published author, marketing and promoting books just sucks the big one. And there are several reasons why, so let me break it down fo.
(1) Authors are by nature introverts, you may see us at promotional events where we are being out going and all smiles but inside we are introverts and wondering what we need to do to be put in
a time out.
(2) The promtional and marketing world is ever changing. And frankly it’s just hard to keep up with it. What works Tuesday doesn’t work on Thursday. Why? Why doesn’t it work on Thursday, and who can explain it to me? Which brings me to #3.
(3) There is a guru for everything. A guru for Facebook promotion, a guru for Twitter promotion, a guru for Instagram promotion, a guru for YouTube promotion, a guru for Amazon, a guru for blogging, a guru for selling your paperbacks, or ebooks or selling them to aliens for goodness sake, a guru for being a guru, and of course they say they are free until you click on their webinar and listen to their “free” 45 min. speach then you have to pay to actually get the information that will help you promote anything. Guru? No more Guru’s for me, is what I say.
(4) The dreaded online book tour, now for some these tours work. But I’ve done my fair share and to be honest for the amount of time and work they take my ROI (return on investment) doesn’t break even. They just aren’t worth it. They cost anywhere from $60 to $200 dollars and that’s just to do the tour, I’m not counting the time you have to put in or the giveaways you have to do. It’s just way to much work for the actual amount of sales I get. Now again please remember this is just me, I’ve known indie author who swear by virtual book tours so please if they work for you go with it.
(5) Keeping up on social media… everytime I turn around there seems to be a different social media platform that is the new and shiny thing I should be doing my promotion and marketing on. And frankly I just can’t keep up. And don’t forget the guru’s are telling me which platform I should be consentrating on. And each book tour has a special button I should set up and interview with and give a special book giveaway to for the new platform that I didn’t know about last week. And now I’m running in fifteen different directions trying to sell my book and giveaway the bank and trying to find my readers and because I’m chasing them they don’t know where to look for me and I don’t know where I am from day to day they can’t find me. And it’s just a vicious circle. Who knows where who is, and where who is going where, and when does any of the writing acutally get done?
Do you see where I am going with all of this?
I hope so because the point of all of it is this. Marketing and promotion is a pain in the arse. and makes even the most seasoned author have a panic attack. So yes I am the queen of non-promotion. I have a total of three books out, my fourth is due out next month. I do a couple of different promotions, nothing that breaks the bank. And only things that I can afford. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads, and Instagram and on Instragram very little. I blog but only a couple times a week (if that) and its not all about writing and my books. It’s mindless rambelings sometimes (like this rambaling post). As to my book promotions, I really want my books and my writing to stand for it’s self. Hopefully my books are excepted by the masses for what they are: well written and fun to read. And because of that I have built a great fan base. And that is my marketing and promotion. The majority of books are advertised via work of mouth regardless of whatever you do for marketing and promotion anway. and that just sucks. So stop chasing yourself and work on the promotion you can dedicate time to, not everything out there.
Good luck and if I’ve forgotten anything please leave a comment and let me know. Christie
Okay I’m an author, I have written six books, and published three. The fourth book is due out next month. (May, 2016) That being said, the search history on my computer is varied and odd, take into a count that I right paranormal/urban fantasy… and well it gets a little hinky up in the google search bar once in a while. I’ve been known to search for the odd and strange?
Put that together with the fact that I like to think I was a witch doctor in another life and I think I might be coming down with…(go ahead and put in whatever illness is the current illness), me and WebMD. Two peas in a pod I tell’a. Anyway I’m pretty sure I’m on a couple of the FBI watch lists.
I might have once asked my husband in the security line at the airport to check my six, and been pulled out of said line for a pat down.
But here is where I cock my head to the side and think to myself….wha….
I saw this on Facebook, I mean seriously why would you click on that link. Do you want to have nightmares? Are you thinking—boy you know what I don’t have enough of… NIGHTMARES. I better click on this link because what I need is to be sleeping soundly and to be woken up with a horrible nightmare, only to be shaking in my warm bed in the dark afraid to get out because the lord above only knows what is waiting for me beyond the safe haven of my bed to turn on a light and chase away the darkness.
Yup, that’s what I need. I better click on this link.
Seriously people, is this what we have come down to? Links telling us that if we click on this, there is a good chance we will be scared to the point we will most likely have nightmares. NIGHTMARES people.
Why? Why would we do that?
Now, the reasonable side of my brain is saying: Christie the actual chances that this link will cause you to have nightmares are pretty low. However, that being said, the unreasonable side of me? The side that enjoys a hearty undisturbed nights sleeps is saying: Why chance it.
I’m just disturbed that this is where we have fallen, links to nightmares.
Hey that sounds like a good name for a band.
So what is the magic bullet… the magic thing… that magic key, the recipe that brings the masses forth from the unknown depths to buy your books? I’ve been pondering that questions as I get ready to publish my next book, my fourth that is. You would think I would have some idea about the secret sauce by now. But the questions and the recipe for the secret sauce is more convoluted now then it was years ago when I first jumped into this mired pool.
I’ve contemplated PR teams, Facebook ads, Facebook apps, twitter ads, twitter apps, Instagram, blogging, emailing, spamming, Pintrest, Goodreads, YouTube, book signings, virtual book signings, Google, Google Play, LinkedIn, Vine, Tumbler, Instagram, Flickr,.. I’ve Social Media myself to death and what have I got out of it??? Mediocre sales and a headache…
Now I’m definitely not saying the readers are not out there, but I wonder as I beat my head against my desk on yet another morning, as I read another article about how to reach those readers if what I have been doing and what I plan on doing is just a waste of time, or a waste of my energy.?!
Is my marketing money wasted in email marketing/blogging/Facebook/twitter…
Here is the conundrum… several years ago or not so many years ago. Something amazing happened. Indie publishing hit it big. And with it these little people who knew nothing of the publishing world became publishers. (Introduce me! I’m taking a bow here, thank you very much.) At the same time, Social Media went bat shit crazy, and we were a match made in heaven.
All us knew authors who knew nothing about marketing, nothing about advertising, had to do was create a Facebook page and we were golden. Readers were meeting authors and vis versa.
It was a symbiotic relationship that was cataclysmic. It all blew up, now I’m not just talking about brick and mortar vs ebooks that blew up, I’m talking about the entire enchilada it splattered all over the wall. Editors, book cover artists, web developers, even developers of writing software. Writing became big business. And we all started co-existing like happy little ameba in a petri dish, when before it was a behind the closed door type of relationship that wasn’t talked about unless you had a signed contract. And even then you didn’t talk about it with other authors, god forbid.
Now days, you share your wonderful editor with your other author friends, you tell your authors about the great graphic artist you used for the cover of your books. You don’t hide these amazing people behind a closed door only used by one publisher. These people are valued and to be passed around because they need to feed their families too. But that’s another blog post.
Back to what I was going on about… when it all took off years back I remember sitting back and thinking how exciting it all was, how wonderful it was to be able to reach out and touch my fans. Or how fantastic it would be to publish a book without needing the backing of the big publishers from NYC backing me. How wonderful it would be to publish as many books as I wanted to a year, instead of just one book a year. (I will be publishing 3 this year!)
But the dust has settled… and I think the readers and even authors are standing back and looking around a little shell shocked wondering exactly the same thing I am… what did we learn from it all? And where have all the fans gone?
The worst part…. There’s a social media expert out there for everything give us all conflicting information when we desperately ask for help.
- Twitter… the fans are out there you just need to post to twitter everyday between 2 and 4 – my book sales are dependent on twitter followers out there who only have an attention span of 140 characters for 2 hours a day? Is that EST time? MST? CST? Wait, maybe its Greenwich Time? SHIT… but I still Twitter…
- Facebook… now I like Facebook, but the ads confuse me and you have to boost everything or good luck getting it out to your fans. Facebook is nickel and diming me out of all my sales. And don’t forget to LIKE, SHARE, and SMILE, and HAHA, and POST everything or a baby elephant is lose his citizenship to the US and have to grant rides to overgrown millionaires children.
- Email List – Demand everyone you know give you their email along with everyone they know and all their relatives so that you can email spam then even though you have promised that you won’t email spam them. But you just can’t help it. But what you email spam them is not really spam because—well its YOU!!! And you would never spam anyone.
- Blog – You must blog everyday for as long as you can, forget everything else that is on your to do list and blog, blog, blog, blog. Your readers want to hear from you ALL THE TIME. BLOG. BLOG BLOG. Did I mention you should blog? Because you should. Blog that is. Then when you post your blog, you should email that shit out. And twitter about it, and Facebook it and make sure you boost that Facebook post because well the elephant don’t forget about the ELEPHANT!
And in the end, do I have any more fans than I did at the beginning? Maybe, a couple? Probably… and the receipt to the secret sauce… it’s still a secret.
But hey if you figure that shit out would you mind passing it along to me I would love to twitter about it or maybe Post it on Facebook? Or email out? I might even Blog about it.