Oh, right. I don’t have one. That was discussed back at the beginning of January in my list post.
I write a paranormal book, and thankfully, people come out of the woodwork to pimp that. Put out a contemporary and it’s like crickets. That’s not good for sales. Not in a culture where it takes hours to pimp a book. Days to pimp a book.
People have shared my posts and I am more than grateful to them for it.
I tried a Facebook ad, but Facebook rejected the ad because the cover was too objectifying. I’m thinking an ad with blueberry pancakes is next. That’ll probably be considered too objectifying as well.
And I sent out the Newsletter to 633 subscribers, which, did not result in even half that amount in sales.
There are other things to try. Other things that cost money. A lot of money.
Or hell, if you can get a handful of rabid readers to talk about the book from morning to night, that helps loads. But, I don’t have those readers. I’ve watched those readers and they’re fantastic for authors. But I don’t have those readers.
Because I don’t write the stereotypical books that have universal appeal.
I don’t have the stacked keywords in the title or the blurb. I have what the story is, and what the story isn’t.
I don’t have BBW in the title because it wouldn’t work for this book, even though the heroine is curvy and past body issues are briefly discussed within the pages.
I don’t have billionaire anywhere on this book, because well… Jared isn’t a billionaire. He’s blue collar, works in an automobile manufacturing plant.
I don’t have BDSM in the title. It’s mentioned in the blurb, but again…
I’m not writing young, college aged angst. You know why? Because those of us in our 30’s and 40’s and 50’s and beyond have angst and drama and pain and loss and happiness and fucktons of orgasms and our stories need to be told. Our stories are worthy of being told. And there ARE readers in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s who want to read the stories I write. I just have to find them. Find more of them. Build a brand around them that is sexy and seductive and erotic and romantic and wonderful in celebrating them and their strength and their beauty.
Then, there’s the other of the biggest detractors for me and that is that I don’t finish a book months in advance usually or even weeks in advance. For me, it’s usually mere DAYS in advance. I write down to the wire. Otherwise, I tweak the damn thing to death. I’ll re-write chapters in the time it’s sitting there, waiting on release day. I then have to upload a different file all over creation because I’ve changed half the book. Writing down to the wire, doesn’t give me that opportunity. I write raw. I write real. And it’s usually the best work. But… It doesn’t allow for advanced marketing. It doesn’t allow for ads in all the right places. Not that the bank account would allow for it, either. That’s totally on me and I get that. I’m working to change my writing habits, but I’m not sure how when I know how I work best for the book itself.
The book competition in the contemporary world is incredible. Some awesome books. Some awful books. It’s finding the niche you fit into. It’s having the money to promote (and at times having the Facebook gods on your side). It’s having the fan base that helps spread the word, that talks about the books, that pushes the author’s name out into the world. Buzz and word or mouth is crucial. So damned important.
So, I need a village. I’m not sure where to find the village. But, I need one…
This is what I’ve been doing all week. I’m up at Four In The Morning. I’m actually up before four, but by four I’m usually writing and well into a cup of coffee. The second cup comes in at about six, but four is when I’ve been pretty much hitting my stride.
I’ve had to make some time management decisions lately and let me tell you, it sucks. I like early mornings/late nights, or maybe it’s late nights/early mornings. Hell, I’m so tired I don’t know anymore. But, in order to get anything done and done the way I need it done, and that’s the key right there, ya know… the way I NEED it done, I had to make a few changes. One was that I go to bed a little earlier and get up no later than three in the morning.
When I writing more, I was doing so in the middle of the night. The house is asleep. No one can bother me and I can’t make a whole hell of a lot of noise cleaning or cooking or do the laundry. I could put in my earbuds, turn on the music, and write for several hours. There were a few people on Twitter and we would converse every so often, but set a timer, some tunes, and I was good to go until around five or six…
Then public school dreams for my son crept into his brain and shot all that to shit. With that, I was getting up at five-thirty, to bed at ten, homework until nine, and empty nest syndrome that left me with so many hours on my hands, I didn’t know what to do. I tried for weeks, months to write during the day, I mean, I had all these empty hours, right? It should be easy to get things done, but… Nope. I would stare at the screen, walk around, stare at the screen some more, walk around… I wasn’t getting words in and I wasn’t walking off the pounds. It was miserable.
I got the idea to try this getting up at two and three from another author. She does it when she’s on deadline and I can tell you I’m on two so… But then, deadlines are when I do my best work. These books should’ve been done long ago, but that’s a story for another day.
Suffice it to say, I’ve gotten more writing done in the last four days than I have in the last month. I know where the stories are going and know that they’ll be done in time for publication. Sometimes I have to be pushed to my limits in order to find a solution. Sometimes I have to have no other options before I’ll find something that might actually work. Either way, while I’m still exhausted, some changes have been made the household schedule that’s allowing me the chance to try out this insane way of working. I get up, write for a while, get my son up, the spouse gets up, I get food, throw in a load of laundry, get more coffee, make the bed, say bye to them, work a little more, and around eight am I crash for a couple of hours. I do housework, walk, shower, work, get dinner started, get my son from school, nap again cause I’m beat, homework, family, a few oh shit moments when I realize I forgot to do something, and then, bed to do it all over again. I don’t know how sustainable it is, but we’re about to find out… I’ll keep you posted…
Okay, so maybe I don’t… But that’s because there’s a second pen name so many authors are hiding behind when they choose to write something racy, highly erotic, taboo, filthy, etc… Why?
To be fair, I’ve been putting serious thought for about a year into adding a new pen name. Either for all my paranormal stuff or for some dirty romance I want to write. Because the last thing authors want to do is alienate readers.
At the same time, authors don’t want to generally be pigeonholed or typecast or stifled.
The case for pen names having a finite shelf life? I’ve heard it. The case for if you write so many different things, Amazon doesn’t really know what to do with you and your ‘Also boughts’. I’ve heard it. The case of a new pen name may add life to the new genre you’re trying to write in as opposed to using your usual pen name. I’ve heard it too.
No, I don’t want to alienate you guys. I don’t want to lose any of you, but given the content of some of the stuff I’m writing to release later this year, I likely will. Because I’m doing it under Lissa Matthews. It’s possible it won’t sell. It’s possible it will damage the Lissa Matthews name/brand, whatever that means. It’s possible. All things are possible. But I’m going to do it anyway. If it starts having adverse effects, I’ll play around with some new pen names.
I guess what started this is… I’ve read a number of books the last year or so where the authors were New York Times Best Selling authors who liked writing taboo and dirty stories. Maybe they didn’t want anyone to know it was them? Maybe they’re big publishing house published and the didn’t want the publisher to know. Maybe they’re afraid of alienating readers if they don’t use a new name. I don’t know. I would ask if I knew what name they normally write under.
A friend of mine wrote a series outside her normal style and the books didn’t do well until she changed the name on them to something completely different than her usual pen name and they sold like hot cakes. I’ve watched several authors do this. Then, I’ve watched others write everything under one name and it work, whether they walk the taboo edges or the paranormal romance lines. The readers will lap it up.
I started in this business writing bad boys with tattoos and lots of sex. I had grand ideas. I was quickly tossed off the roof and I’ve been roaming around in the bushes ever since. Before I sent anything to a publisher, I used to publish erotica on a free story/pic site. I wrote exhibitionist erotica, taboo erotica, bdsm erotica, painful emotional erotica, and erotic. I was exploring my own depths and I got incredible feedback. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make the transition to the rules of publishing. I did, to a point. But to be honest, something has been missing for a long time. Fire. Passion. Pushing boundaries.
So, maybe you’ll like what I’m working on. Maybe you won’t. But, I won’t hide behind a mask. It’ll have my name. Lissa Matthews on the cover. It’ll be my own interpretation, my own vision of what I want to write. After all, that’s what indie publishing is all about, that’s what being a writer is all about.
After my post on Sunday, I was nervous. Scared. And those two words probably don’t even begin to scratch the surface of what I truly mean when I say I was nervous and scared. But a reader commented that I was daring, brave, bold, and fearless for writing it. I don’t know if that’s true, but I like to think it is. The support has been overwhelming and I’m filled with gratitude and humility that I have such a loyal group of readers and friends.
But one word that has come out of it all that I will fully own up to is FREEDOM! I feel as though a burden has been lifted and I can write again. It doesn’t absolve me of my responsibilities or obligations to others that I’ve promised projects to, or that I’ve told readers I would be writing…at some point…in the future, but it has given me a feeling of freedom and that feeling has opened up a well inside me that was blocked until I opened up and got some truths out.
I have high expectations of myself. Those who still read my books have expectations of me, too. I know I haven’t always lived up to them and I know I’ll fall short in times to come. For me though, the expectation now is different, is full of breath and light and possibility. I let go of things that were holding me down and holding me back and finally, FINALLY, started to let the words have their way with me and when that happens, y’all… I was in awe last night when I had a few moments to write at the words that not only found their way onto the page, but with the beauty of them. They’re raw and they’re in need of tweaking, but they’re awesome words. They’re free words. They’re not bound to an ideal that I have do something that I am no longer capable of doing in the way that I once did. I was elated and inspired.
And that is the feeling that writing used to create in me. Not the dread. Not the stress. Not the feeling of ‘ugh, I don’t want to write’. But the freedom in creation and in discovery. That’s what’s been missing for me and that’s what I found by being honest and maybe, just maybe, being a little bold, a little daring, a little fearless, and a little brave.