5 Things I Learned About Resistance to Change

And how it’s nearly killed the Lissa Matthews brand.

See, I used to make money writing bad boys with tattoos, one night stands, hook-ups with promise, kink here and there, and women who were learning to embrace themselves and not apologize for it. That was my brand. No nonsense novellas with heat and tenderness that could melt the reader. My writing was filled with passion and emotion.

I no longer make money writing those stories. But others do.

I barely make money at all from writing anymore. And the give up line has edged my toes a lot. I’m still here, though. I would say I’m still fighting, but that wouldn’t be true. I wasn’t fighting before. I was blaming. All sorts of things. But I wasn’t fighting. At least not in the right way.

I’ve done a lot of soul searching and I’ve done a lot of thinking and researching and looking into what happened. It’s not pretty. It’s not pretty because it’s personal. It’s personal because it’s something I did. It’s personal because it’s my fault.

And I’m going to clue you in on how and then next week I’ll clue you in on what I’m doing about it. That’s the key. I did this. It’s my fault I’m in this hole…and what I’m doing about it.

First, though… This is vulnerable shit. This isn’t written and shared lightly. This isn’t oh woe is me and feel sorry for me, either. But it is full of vulnerability and that’s part of owning it.

One of my publishers didn’t embrace the changes in the publishing industry either and they found themselves fighting an uphill battle that eventually put them out of business. it’s taken some time for me to realize I’ve been doing the same exact fucking thing for years now.

Resistance to change often equals a fear of change. They leave us (ME) paralyzed. And I am so damn guilty.

Fear of the Unknown… When self publishing began to take over in earnest, I resisted it while wanting to embrace it. My fear was stronger than anything else. It led to skepticism. Side eye glances. And a whole ‘let’s wait and see’ attitude. While others were embracing it and running with it, writing new books quickly or re-releasing tons of older titles in rapid succession and making money and best seller lists… I was over here both envious and fearful. And a part of me wanted the old ways to come back. I paid it lip service, but I was scared out of my mind to take that same leap of faith everyone else was gleefully taking. At least, it looked gleeful from my side of the fence. By sitting on the sidelines, pretending I was scoping it out, I was really fucking scared…

Not only was I scared of the unknown, I was also scared of falling flat on my face…

Fear of Failure… This one is huge. For me, it goes hand in hand with Self-Doubt. I had received in my early publishing years some pretty scathing reviews on a couple of my most personal and favorite novellas. They rendered me motionless and fearful of writing anything else. They weren’t just about the content of the stories. There were personal jabs in them that cut deep, personal jabs from people who didn’t know my life, my experiences, and that I didn’t fit into the same box as others. I never wanted to fit, but at the same time, I desperately did. Being different in this business isn’t always the best thing. Being like everyone else, writing what everyone else was writing, marketing the same way everyone else was marketing… that’s how you get noticed. Your name linked to someone similar. I wanted to stand on my own but I didn’t believe in myself enough, I didn’t believe I could, I wasn’t strong enough and it made me doubt every word I wrote. I had a whole host of devils whispering in one ear that I sucked, and a handful of readers and editors telling me I didn’t. Guess which ones I listened to most? Yep. My writing wasn’t good enough to stand on it’s own without a publisher behind it. If a publisher signed me, then that meant I still had some credibility. But did it? Did it really? No. I was scared to fail. Because if I put myself out there and fell flat on my face, there was no one to take up for me anymore. There was only me. And I wasn’t about to risk it. I let self doubt eat away at me until I was nothing more than a shell of the writer I had been.

And being in the realm of scathing self-doubt and fear of failure, I was also in the land of self-sabotage…

Fear of Success… I never really understood what this meant. How could anyone be fearful of being successful? It’s a complex thing. Success means you’ve done a thing. Now there’s pressure to do the thing again, but better. The fear can lead to perfectionism and the perfectionism can lead to never doing the thing at all. Or getting so close to the finish line that… You just stop. You find everything wrong with the thing. You re-write. You start over. You walk away. You talk yourself out of it. It was a stupid idea anyway. It was a dumb book. Besides, who am I, the one they’ve said doesn’t know shit about what she’s talking about, to think I can be successful in this business? Who am I to think I deserve it? I mean, ME? Deserve success? A best seller status? A big royalty check? Someone to notice me? Other writers wanting to learn from me? Talk to me? Be my friend? Yeah, right. And if, by some miracle, any or all of that happened and I became successful…? What if I can’t do again? What if I drop the ball huge the next time? Nope. I’ll just stay here in this spot. I may not be getting anywhere, but at least I’m safe in my fear, dammit! No one expects anything of me anymore, therefore I can’t disappoint them.

All of that is a big steaming pile of BULLSHIT!

Fear of Discomfort… This is a big one. We like comfort zones. We like this space we inhabit. We don’t want to move away from it into the scary void. In this box or circle or whatever your shape of comfort is, it’s yours. It was mine. Beyond it was a lot of stuff I didn’t know and that I didn’t know how to do. Market myself, my books. I didn’t have a lot of financial resources at the time, but I had a little and I could have invested in learning, taking a few calculated risks, asking for some help. But I didn’t. I didn’t want to look stupid. Everyone else seemed to be figuring the machine of self-publishing out, but I didn’t know anything about it and fear of looking like the dumb kid in the smart class kept me from stepping out of my comfort zone. It kept me looking beyond it with more of that skepticism and resistance to laying money out for advertising that I didn’t understand, for covers I couldn’t fathom affording, for list building, for giveaways, for conferences, for workshops, for everything I saw everyone else doing. And now? I can’t afford any of it at all. And that is one gigantic, fucking uncomfortable place to admit to being. Staying in my comfort zone, being scared, being judgmental, being skeptical has led me exactly nowhere in my career. It’s led me to being broke and safe and damn near close to losing everything I’d worked so hard at the first couple years I was writing and signing contacts.

And because I have come so close to losing Lissa Matthews, we come to the last fear on my list…

Fear of Loss… You might wonder what on earth there was to lose, but there was and is a lot. Losing time and money by making or not making a decision, a choice. Losing the respect of friends and/or family. Losing our routine and I do love a routine no matter how much I may protest. Losing freedom to choose something else or nothing at all. Losing the comfort of staying in the same place. Losing the safety net. Losing who we’ve always been to become who we were born to be. Losing the old in favor of the new. Losing control over our lives, our content, our voice. Losing the known and steady for the unknown and unproven.We’re scared, or I was scared to try because if I grasped the thing I wanted… success as an author, I could lose it, too. And wouldn’t it be better if I never had it in the first place, than to have it and lose it? But, it happened anyway, whether I realized it at the time or not. I was so scared to embrace the changes happening in the publishing industry, learn the things I needed to learn, pushed others away because they were going to realize I was a fraud and sucked at writing, stayed in my comfort zone… I lost readers, credibility, sales, respect, friends… Everything I was afraid of losing, I lost by not doing anything.

These last few years have been awful for me as a writer. But they have allowed me to observe. To watch other writers. To watch readers. To see what is happening and what isn’t happening. It has allowed me to keep the edge of my toe in while standing outside a community I was once almost in the middle of. I’ve gained some insights that have helped others with starting their self publishing careers. I’ve helped others forge a path of their own and see where they could go with their writing. I’ve learned that not being successful in the writing arena and all this fear and resistance to change, has taught me better observation skills and allowed me to see things from a different perspective.

But I’ve also begun to look at how my resistance and fear have held me suspended in a sort of quicksand. Neither sinking nor grabbing a limb and pulling myself out. It’s left me in limbo. This has not been a good thing and like I promised, I’ll share with you next week what I’m doing about it.

Thanks for listening…

~lissa

Introducing Author Ella Claire

Ella Claire is my alter-ego. She’s cute, quirky, snarky and, well, girly (according to a friend’s teenager). She’s totally fun. And she wanted to say Hi!

So, HI!

Ella Claire books will be on the sweeter side of romance with these bright, colorful vector covers. Think Hallmark with a few curse words and a little more smartass. Women who are still figuring out who they are and who they’re meant to be with, if anyone at all.

The first Ella Claire story will drop soon with others sprinkled in throughout the year and into next year. To give you an idea of what the covers will look like…This. Isn’t just adorable? And sweet and cute and OMG, just bright! I love it! I love it so much.

The stories will be on the shorter side, more novella than full length, much as my Lissa Matthews’ books are. And there won’t be sex, either. Maybe. Probably not. Not quite sure. But Ella hasn’t figured that out yet.

If you want to follow Ella on social media or sign up for her newsletter, you can do so below:

Ella’s Instagram

Ella’s Twitter

Ella’s Facebook

Ella’s Website

Ella’s Email

Ella’s Newsletter

And this is why Ella Claire exists:

When I started writing years ago, my grandmother asked me when I was going to write a book she could read. See, she doesn’t read erotic romance. But she did and still does want to read something her granddaughter has written. She isn’t interested in sexed up books and there’s nothing wrong with that. There are a lot of readers who aren’t interested in them. That’s why romance on the sweeter side exists. That’s why Hallmark movies are so popular.

She’s 91 years old now. And she is my biggest reason for creating Ella Claire.

If you’re at all interested in the sweeter side of romance or know someone who is, please give Ella a like on social media and sign up for her newsletter.

~lissa (& Ella)

5 Things About The Simple Need Series…

Since this is an older series of stories, and the one I’m focusing on re-releasing and writing a new story in, I thought I’d give up a few facts about it …

One…The idea for these came from the song S. E. X. by Nickelback from their Dark Horse album. During the writing of all the stories, I listened to Nickelback over and over and over and… well, you get the idea. I loved writing these stories. They were sex excessive. Full of lust and tenderness and so much…sex. They weren’t meant to be more than what they were. They were meant to be fantasies. Unbelievable with a touch of real personality.

Two… It was not supposed to be a series at all. Readers and my editor at Ellora’s Cave asked if I would be interested in writing more. Okay, well, the readers didn’t exactly as so much as told me they wanted Dallon’s story. And, after Dallon, they wanted to know about Jaz. And … after Jaz, they really wanted Mac’s story. Unfortunately, Ellora’s Cave and its authors began having issues around this time and continuing a beloved set of books I may never (at the time) have in my possession again made no sense.

Three… Vinter was who put me on whatever map there was a the time (9-10 years ago). Vinter was my first four figure royalty check. Vinter inspired a couple other authors to take the plunge into writing. Vinter made people drool. Literally. I saw it first hand at conferences.

Four… Vinter was based on a real person whose name was…Vinter. He had a heart of gold and was filthy as could be. He had piercings exactly as I described in the story. As well as the tattoos described in the story. The same color hair. And the nails painted black. And his fiance at the time was a buttoned up, older, college professor. Dallon and Jaz are also based, very loosely, on real people. Carrie, the heroine in Dallon, is based on a real girl I knew in college, though she never strayed from the path of righteousness.

Five… The cars that I talk about in Jaz are based on cars my mother and my grandfather had when I was growing up. I remember riding in the white Dodge Charger with its leather seats and white interior. I didn’t know a thing about cars at that age, but I loved that one. Thinking back on it, while I was writing the story, looking at pictures of it… It was a sexy car.

Of all the books I’ve written, a lot of my early ones, like Simple Need, were among my favorites. They were raw, erotic escapism. They didn’t have to be based in reality. They could simply be fantasies. I love that about reading and I love that about writing.

If you’ve never read them, I hope you’ll give them a try. If you have read them, then I’m sure you’re anticipating the release of Mac in March.

Jaz will go up for pre-order on February 12th and release on February 22nd.

Mac will go up for pre-order on March 5th and release on March 15th.

And don’t forget, Dallon is Now Available in the Kindle store and through Kindle Unlimited!

Buy Dallon Now!

What started out as a pretty typical day, quickly spiraled when Dallon saw her. Buttoned up, full of curves, with a voice smooth as honey and eyes so innocent the flames of Hell warned him to keep on moving.

But then she walked into his bar, out of place and full of determination, and asked him to teach her all the things a downy, pure girl like her didn’t need to know.

What’s a guy like him supposed to do when temptation herself exits the Heavenly Highway straight onto Sin Street? He does the only thing he can do …

Warning: What’s done with a beer bottle in this little story may be illegal in forty-eight out of fifty states…and at least two territories. But they won’t tell, if you don’t.

Author’s Note: This novella was previously published by Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc. It has been lightly revised and edited from it’s original version.

~lissa

5 Things About Lissa Matthews’ Books …

… that you may or may not have already known.

I am re-releasing a lot of older titles this year (following 7 re-releases last year through Entangled Publishing) that I have the publishing rights back to. So, in light of this, I thought I would share a bit of information with you so you’ll know what to expect, especially if you’re a more recent reader or not a reader yet.

1. I started publishing in 2008. I had a lot of books come out with 4 different publishers in a relatively short time frame. mostly 2009 and 2010. The books I’m re-releasing this year and some that I have already re-released were published around that same time. (Stick Shift, Arresting Holli, Melting Jane)

2. I wrote about small towns and a few big towns. Blue collar, hard working, tattooed, pierced men. Full figured, small business/boutique business owners, independent, submissive, sometimes shy, sometimes kinky women. I wrote the every day character. They cooked, they slept, they had sex with whomever they wanted to have sex with. They weren’t polished or posh characters. They were real.

3. I wrote fun books, sexy books. There wasn’t a lot of drama. There was snark. There was a lot of sassiness. Most of my characters were Southern. They were overcoming an issue, not trying to save anyone else or save the world. They wanted happiness and fulfillment and someone who cared enough to try.

4. I wrote back then, as I do now, primarily novellas. That means between 18,000 words and 40,000 words. Many of these hovering around the 20,000 to 32,000 word range. They’re not long books. They’re short. They’re to the point. They can be read in a weekend, in one night. They’re happy for now and happily ever after.

5. I’m re-releasing the books because I loved them and I was and am still proud of them. They were what got me into this business and they are how I’m going to find my way back. For the time they were originally published, they were hot and erotic. I don’t know, given some of what is on the erotic contemporary lists now, if mine would still qualify as such, but they are still sexy and graphic.

****Bonus**** Some of the characters are based on real people I know or have known personally. There’s light bdsm, but in general, it’s kink and hot sex. I touch on issues in the books, but I don’t delve deep. There was a reason for that. I wanted to write so that, for a night, a weekend, a couple of lunch breaks, someone could pick up one of my books and escape. They could just enjoy a light, sexy romance. I wasn’t trying to write the great American novel. I was trying to provide escape and happiness to people who liked to read.

All of the titles being re-released are revised and some are heavily re-edited. Price points have changed on them, as well. They are lower in price than what they were through their respective publishers to be more affordable.

In addition to the re-releases, there are a lot of new titles coming as well, starting March15th.

~lissa

 

When Good Girls Go Bad …

Dallon: A Simple Need Story


Pre-Order Now!

Amazon Kindle

What started out as a pretty typical day, quickly spiraled when Dallon saw her. Buttoned up, full of curves, with a voice smooth as honey and eyes so innocent the flames of Hell warned him to keep on moving.

But then she walked into his bar, out of place and full of determination, and asked him to teach her all the things a downy, pure girl like her didn’t need to know.

What’s a guy like him supposed to do when temptation herself exits the Heavenly Highway straight onto Sin Street? He does the only thing he can do …

Warning: What’s done with a beer bottle in this little story may be illegal in forty-eight out of fifty states…and at least two territories. But they won’t tell, if you don’t.

Author’s Note: This novella was previously published by Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc. It has been lightly revised and edited from it’s original version.

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