Yes. I know. Y’all are tired of hearing about my love and obsession with the Wonder Boys movie, but tough… I love it. It helps me. I can’t explain it. It just does.
I’ve been listening to the soundtrack and there’s a lot of Bob Dylan on it. Some Leonard Cohen and John Lennon too. But there’s quite a bit of Bob Dylan. I’ve never listened to him a whole lot, but lately it seems I am. I like the sound and all.
Anyway, this is one of the tracks. And in many things, from the publishing business to politics… Things have definitely changed.
This is something I’ve been struggling with lately. And damn y’all, I wish I didn’t struggle so much with so many things, especially when it comes to this writing business.
At the same time, with each struggle, whether internal or external, mental or emotional, I learn something new about myself. This is a really good thing. And… by the time I’m 100, I should have my path pretty much figured out.
In all seriousness, though, I have been struggling with relevance in regards to book length. Can I still call it a book if it’s a novella? Do I call it a story? Is it worth publishing? Charging for? Is it worth even bothering at all?
I have written short short stories before… 3000-5000 words.
I have written longer short stories, too… 10000-15000 words.
I have written many novellas… 18000-40000 words.
I have also written 45000, 50000, almost 60000 words.
That novella line though… more than 25 of those in the years I’ve been publishing.
There are some authors who make a really good living writing novellas. They publishing 10 or so a year. They charge $0.99 for them most of the time. And they’re usually part of a series, released in quick or at least methodical succession. This is something to learn from. Something to watch closely for someone like me who writes novellas.
My writing productivity has fallen off the last few years as all of you know. Self publishing has made me incredibly uncomfortable and doubtful in my ability to write. While it’s giving many authors a sense of power, it’s given me a great deal of anxiety and stress and way too many ‘what the fuck am I even doing anymore?’ moments. This has to change. There is no choice, no other option but for it to change.
And as the two big small press publishers have closed their doors in the last 60 days and the books that had been published with them revert back to me… It’s the majority of my catalog. 15 titles between Ellora’s Cave and Samhain Publishing. I have several titles that have reverted to me from Loose Id as well. All of them… there’s 18 in total… They’re novellas.
It’s my preferred length. That’s obvious.
I can write longer. I can write shorter.
But there’s a lot that can be done with novellas. It’s something I’d forgotten. It’s something I’d pushed to the back of my mind in the face of conversations that talk only of the success and desire for novels of 70000-120000 words. I don’t write that. I don’t even read that most of the time anymore.
Then, I began looking again at those who do write novellas and who do find success with them. And I remembered a conversation I had with someone in Amazon’s Kindle Worlds division about the success that writers are having writing novellas in different worlds.
I suddenly felt foolish at having doubted myself and what I wrote. For years I made money and wrote a lot of words in a lot of different stories that touched a lot of different people who still talk about those characters and want them.
So, yes… I… am a writer.
And that’s pretty damn awesome. It took me a long ass time to come back around to that realization. And it’s a strength, not a weakness as I was trying to convince myself it was, as others tried to convince me it was. Maybe for those writers, it is their weakness. But it’s not mine.
If you follow me on, well, anywhere online, you know how much I love the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. I have watched them all countless times over the years and it’s not likely to stop anytime soon. I sit up late and write and they play in the background. Whenever they’re replayed on TNT there is some unwritten law that states they must be watched right then and there.
I was wondering what to post today and the final song for the very final movie came to mind… It encompasses all 6 films. It is sung by Billy Boyd who played the part of Peregrin “Pippin’ Took in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. His voice is lovely. It is haunting. And it is fitting… For an ending…
Birthdays come once a year and mine’s today. I turned 46.
Over the past few years, I’ve both looked forward to my birthday and dreaded it. Usually by the middle of the day, I’m depressed and disenchanted.There are no friends to celebrate with. There are no surprise parties or presents. I always expect it to change or get more festive, because when I looked on social media, it seemed everyone else had great celebrations and boy what a loser I am that I don’t/didn’t/haven’t.
This year, today, has been different. I can’t really explain why, except that I am looking at life a little differently and maybe that’s been the switch I needed to spark something.
I have spent less time on social media and more time with myself, my thoughts, the things I can control. My participation has picked up some, but it’s still not and won’t be what it used to be. For my business as Lissa Matthews, though, I do recognize it’s limited benefits and I adjust accordingly.
But blocking out all the stressful, angry, hateful noise has allowed me to think like me again. I am writing more and and loving the process. I am reading blog posts and writing articles and creativity articles and listening to podcasts. I’m looking for the positive, the happy, the creative, the productive, the engaged.
So, as my birthday approached, I thought of things I might want and the list is long. I can always find more things to want. And it’s not always material, but most things do require some level of income. My birthday wish list will take more than this year to achieve and to be honest, I hope I’m always working toward something new, always learning, always wishing and wondering and trying.
Here’s my current list:
There isn’t just one thing that creates all of this. It’s multiple things, actions, motivations. And I’m already taking some and seeing change and results that are different. When I was looking outside and at others, I was stagnant and deteriorating. No longer.
So, yes, Happy Birthday to Me. I went out with my family and we had incredible burgers and fries, some free banana pudding. I strolled through Barnes and Noble and left with a whole list of books I want to read and write, but exited the store with a Writer’s Digest Magazine that I am planning to read from start to finish.
And I received a birthday gift from a friend that I will let all of you know about as soon as I have more details.
For now, I have a movie to watch and chocolate covered strawberries to devour before my special day comes to a close.
Tell me, though… What’s on your birthday wish list?
I have a new release today. it’s the 4th and final book in my Black & White Series in Eliza Gayle’s Southern Shifters Kindle World.
Writing in someone else’s world, one that they lovingly and painstakingly created was a challenge, one I didn’t think I’d create anything but one story around. But here we are and there are 4.
The characters I created… Bex and Gus, Michael and Maxine, Marcel and Mari, Leah and Blake, even Gus’s parents, Beck, the Mayor, and the newest character, Roan… these are my characters and I will be taking them outside the Southern Shifters Kindle World and into my own world that will at some point intersect with my dormant Denali Heat series that will get new life breathed into it.
Luke Blackwood is not a character I created. He is one of Eliza’s characters and I cannot take him out of the Kindle World. He must stay there. Others will write about him in their own way and it’s possible I’ll return to write a tale about him myself. But it won’t be anytime soon.
This series was a labor of love and learning and frustration and headaches and fear.
I also know that there will be some who will hate the way it ended. Others will understand and look forward to the next series. But I had to stay true to what Bex and Gus were telling me over these last months. And when all was said and done, I did what they, the characters dictated to me.
I have always been a character driven author and am proud to remain so. I have nothing but love for this book and this series.
I appreciate each and every reader who read it from start to finish and who loved it more with each book and always, always asked for more. Thank you. So very much.
Tracking Luke Blackwood, wolf shifter and all around pain in the ass, hadn’t been the toughest part of Gus’s current situation. No… Lying to his mate had been.
While Bex was home overseeing the renovations on her house, Gus and Luke were working to gather information on their enemies. But in their absence, danger has closed in on Bex and the ragtag band of werewolves and werebears left behind to watch out for her.
When the threat causes her to lose everything she owns, lines in the sand blur and choices have to be made. The safety of not only their immediate friends and family, but that of all the shifters in and around the Dragon and Deal’s Gap depends on it.
Author’s Note: This fast paced story is the final installment of my Black & White series within Eliza Gayle’s Southern Shifters Kindle World.
Author’s Additional Note: This cannot be read as a standalone. If you try, you will be very confused. Please start with book one, Ink To Bear.