The boys of Nascar were in Richmond, Virginia last night well, it didn’t turn out so hot for my driver. He was shuffled back, caught up in a wreck, had loads of damage. I was pissed. I admit it. I’m passionate about my racing as much as I am about my football.
The NFL Draft was held this weekend too and several of my Seminoles were taken. Actually, many of my Seminoles were taken in the draft. Two of my favorites. German born, defensive end Bjoern Werner was drafted into the Colts, and kicker Dustin Hopkins was drafted into Buffalo where he’ll play with Florida State teammate and quarterback, EJ Manuel.
I love the Draft. It’s like re-living college football from last season all over again. And let me tell you, I’m so ready for football season now! Yet, sadly, we have to go through May, June, July, and most of August before we get there…
So, racing was the pits for my driver this weekend, but the draft was good to my boys in garnet and gold.
The second part of this blog is about an email I found this morning in my inbox from a reader. The title of it was More Than This and I couldn’t help but groan as I opened it. I didn’t want to see another email that wasn’t very kind about this book. I loved these characters and it’s a hard thing for a writer, at least for me as a writer, for so many people to not only not love but not even like these or other characters I’ve written. I think because I put part of me, or part of people I know into what I write that if the reader/reviewer doesn’t like the character then there’s some part of me they don’t like. I know. It’s kinda convoluted, but there it is…
Needless to say, it was not one of those ‘I was really disappointed in this book and couldn’t connect to these characters at all’ emails. In fact, it was quite the opposite and for that I was grateful. As I read on, she mentioned my post from Author Friday and said I sounded down. I apologize for that, to her and to others who read it. It wasn’t meant that way. Oftentimes, I think the reality of a situation, whether it be my perception of reality or someone else’s, can seem like we’re down. There are also those who don’t like reality, don’t like the truth of what is being observed. If anything my post let out some frustration and allowed me to admit, to myself especially some discouragement.
We all want the accolades, the editors begging us for more, the reviewers loving and gushing over us the way they do other authors and books, the multiple contracts, the best sellers lists, the readers who are out telling everyone they know to go buy our books… But, the reality is, we don’t all get that. The vast majority of us don’t. And with the lovely world of social media, it’s in our faces daily, hourly, by the minute and by the second.
It’s the same with incredibly prolific writers. The desire and wish to tap into that ability, but… We’re not all built that way, we don’t all write that way…
Coming to terms with some of this reality isn’t fun or easy or pretty at all. But as long as it doesn’t keep me or anyone else from doing what we love, which is write, then it’s all good in the end.
I write characters I like. It’s hard to not feel responsible while at the same time hard to not say that if you don’t like them then that’s your problem. Same with the actual books. If you don’t like the way I write, then don’t read it. It’s really quite simple. And yet, as writers, we don’t want to alienate anyone. It’s a catch-22. But I’m not down about it. Discouraged sometimes, yes, as we all are, but not down. I still have stories to write, hundreds of them, and that makes me happy.
Emails like the one I received this morning, emails where the only message is one of encouragement and trying to make someone smile… We could all use a few more of those.
I know you’re shocked. Two blog posts in a row. There will be a third tomorrow for Snippet Saturday so… It’s crazy! Kind of like the NFL Draft last night. Three Alabama Crimson Tide players drafted back to back to back. But really, there’s no surprise there. Just look at them… They’re tough. There were also three of my FSU ‘Noles drafted last night, two were back to back. One was a complete shock and surprise and I’m thrilled… I also digress.
The title of this is “I’m not writing fast enough”. It’s true. I’m not. You’ve also heard me say I’m pretty much starting over with this writing gig. It’s harder the second time around to boost the career than it was the first time. Why? Especially if I have some readers already? Because there’s competition. Lots of it. And there always has been, but it’s different now. Every Tom, Dick, Harry, and their sister Sally can self-publish. There’s also the knowledge of what the numbers or lack there of on rankings means. When I first started out, I didn’t know. I just knew I was thrilled when someone talked about my book or mentioned my name. Now, if anyone mentions either one, it’s lost in the sea of other names fifty different people are talking about constantly. There are favorites…among publishers, readers, book bloggers. So, knowledge can work against a writer and ignorance being bliss is sometimes the way to go. Just not paying attention, just burying your head in the books you’re writing. But even that doesn’t work for everyone anymore. Being visible is a key for some and not for others.
I know now what the numbers mean. I know when a book is selling. And when it’s not. But, what’s left to do? What works and what doesn’t in getting the word out so enough people go after it, especially if you’re not writing in a genre that everyone is buying? It’s easy to want to jump on the BDSM, the M/M, the New Adult bandwagon just so you can maybe get a sales boost.
Then of course there is the not writing fast enough. Day jobs. Kids. Home schooling. House cleaning. Exercise. Family. Sleep. Down time. I can comfortably write four thousand words a day. But sometimes that means ignoring everything else, especially if the words are having to be etched in blood with a razor blade. And I don’t have a husband who picks up the slack. Kids help, yes, but it’s still primarily me. Super mom. Super homemaker. Not so Super writing. So no, I’m not writing fast enough. I’m trying to hock my books on the street corners of the internet. But, when I see authors who do write fast enough, who are churning out books left and right, saying they desperately need sales, begging for them, or authors starting fundraisers in order to continue writing a series… This bothers me. Why aren’t these authors selling? What is it readers are looking for that these authors of multiple genres aren’t giving them?
I haven’t jumped on the street team bandwagon either. I’m not much of a bandwagon jumper anyway, but… Are the street teams worth it? Do they help boost sales? A writer can only write as fast as she or he can write and still write a good book. When readers are reading 3-4 books a day… Maybe this world of Buy Now With 1-Click is killing us… ( I know it kills my bank account)
It’s always been a crap shoot. If a writer is trying to make a living at this, they write. A lot. They publish. And they talk about their book constantly, but when the sales never take off, when the book sits stagnant, what’s a writer to do? Write something else. So they do and still the book sits, stagnant. They advertise, blog, beg for reviews, have giveaways, get swag printed up, and still… Nothing helps, nothing changes.
Some publishers have much better sales than others. But their wait times are a year or more for publication. Is it worth it? I don’t know. I’ve been pondering that question for months as I write. What I turn in this year to one of my publishers, won’t see the light of day until Spring of 2014 and on into 2015. Hard to make a living that way.
Some can make a living self-publishing. Some can’t.
And writing to make money is always the biggest crap shoot of all. When there are words that need to be written, not because readers are (hopefully) waiting, not because you need money to pay the rent or insurance (these are important no doubt), but just because the words need to get outside your head and on to the paper (or screen)… Writing is not a get rich quick thing for most writers. Most of us never see rich or even making ends meet.
So, is it that we don’t write fast enough? Is it that we don’t write the right thing? I write. I put out books. I doubt every word. But I keep at it. I don’t get the multiple contracts or the offers to submit on proposal, but I still keep at it. There’s a lot of what I don’t get. There’s a lot of what I don’t understand. There’s a lot that frustrates me. There’s a lot of second guessing and trying something new. There’s a lot of envy, some jealousy, some plain ‘ol dislike at the unfairness of things and the favoritism and the preferential treatment. In the end though, there’s a lot of writing. A LOT OF WRITING. A lot of putting words down. It might be in a blurb, a synopsis, but it’s getting the words down in order to get the book out. It’s writing and though I want to make money at it, though I want to sell thousands of copies, though I want to make it to a best seller list, though I want, I want, I want… What I need, what I started out to do five years ago, is write. And it might not be fast enough for readers or publishers, but I write. I might get distracted by what I don’t have, but I write. I might get bad reviews and swear I’m never going to write another word, I still write.
This is my job. It pays for the plumber, the transmission, the races, the concerts, the brakes, the tires, the cats, the birthdays, the holidays, the vacations I don’t get to take, the conventions, the promo, the groceries in the house, the gas, the golf lessons for my son, the porch railing, the cell phones, the coffee, the desperately needed night at the movies, etc… But even without a dime, I still need to write. I’ve been doing it since I was a child. It’s a compulsion, it’s an addiction. Just like coffee. Just like reading.
Maybe I don’t write fast enough. Maybe I don’t write what someone else wants me to write. Maybe I don’t write what everyone else is writing. Maybe I’m not writing to suit the reader’s preferences. But, I’m still writing.
And speaking of which…