Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I'm going on a trip.......beginning the Fourth of July

Inspired by A ROUND OF WORDS IN 80 DAYS, I have joined Round 3 and making it my journey to self-publish CANCELLED.

The rules of my trip are simple: I have destinations. These are outlined in my ITINERARY. I must get to each destination BY the date listed. What are those small pictures? Those are my stamps, and my passport will be blog posts on Sunday and Wednesday to update. When I make a destination. BAM! Stamp goes in the post!

Now, no trip starts willy-nilly, you have to pack important documents! To make this work, I need to finish my last 4 chapters of my manuscript this weekend. This means butt-in-seat #wordmongering. But I can do it! ::in case there is a snafu getting travel documents going, I don't start editing until July 17::

What kind of trip would this be without SOUVENIRS? My souvenirs will be freedom to work on my reader website during my journey. I have a number of souvenirs I must collect, such as behind-the-scenes information, recommended reading lists for readers of other indie writers both in genre and out of genre, etc. But my luggage is rather small (see ITINERARY page), so all SOUVENIRS must ship on SEPTEMBER 14 (one week prior to book release), making my reader website ALIVE!

I do need company. Traveling alone is boring. I will be commenting and encouraging others on the list of ROUND 3 participants. I also need a few pre-readers to get my edited copy on AUGUST 18. These pre-readers will have until SEPTEMBER 8 to get me any feedback to put into my final manuscript, eternal appreciation, a thank-you with link in my THANK YOU page, and an invitation to guest chat or blog on my reader site. Plus anything else nice and spiffy I can think of between now and then.

If you are interested in being a pre-reader, please email me at EAWWRITES on gmail. 

It's real, boys and girls. My book is coming. My little heart is pitter-pattering. It's going to be grueling, and I can't do it without a little help from my friends.

"CANCELLED" arriving SEPTEMBER 2011A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby.

Watch Out Wednesday! Writing Goals and Life

"All I'd say is though my choo-choo jumped the track, I'd give me life to bring him back..."
- Musical Chicago, We Both Reached for the Gun

I get derailed. We all do. we're chugging along and then BAM! one little switch isn't thrown the right way and our train is off the tracks.

I missed my manuscript deadline of May. It put me in a funk. I got over it. I picked up my train and shoved it back on that track. Other times, I don't derail; I just have to stop in my tracks. I have a 2-year-old. She needs Mommy at least twenty or more times a day, right now. Not in a second once I save my work (autosave is my friend), but as soon as she reaches on her tiptoes and pulls a knife off the counter, or climbs on the couch, or bumps her head. She's 3 feet tall without the maturity that comes with that height (she was 23 inches when she was born). She just turned 2 last week.

I've adapted. My train is like those rollercoasters that shoot you off at 60 m.p.h from the get go. I can go full speed, come to a complete stop, and pick right back up. Before you say "Wow, wish I could do that" there are tradeoffs. I can't do long, uninterrupted sessions. I go nuts. I get stuck. I need the chaos to jam it out. I also hesitate to get on the rollercoaster, because once I'm on, I'm on. Whoosh! That isn't always a good thing, depending on the timing.

This week was my first week really getting back into writing/keeping my house. It's Wednesday, and so far I am proud of my Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. But there is still much to do, as always.

  • I am 4 chapters away from completing my manuscript. That's 12 #wordmongering sessions.
  • My author photos are done!
  • My cover is nearing completion.
  • My reader website is coming together, slowly. But that's okay.
  • I need to punch up my first two chapters so I can post them as samples.
  • I joined A Round of Words in 80 Days starting July 4, that will help me get my second book done while I'm editing/promoting CANCELLED.
  • I need to make a goal for those 80 days, which is harder than you think. Something I can measure and check in on Sunday and Wednesday on status.
  • I need to make some stickers/badges. I've done well in #wordmongering and pictures are pretty.

"CANCELLED" arriving SEPTEMBER 2011A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Take That Tuesday! Writing, Cleaning, and Thankful

It is inherent in the human condition that we complain. No one can be Little Miss Sunshine all of the time. I don't know why it is easier to count up our miseries rather than count up our blessings (not necessarily religiously provided, just good things in general). 

I am a very big culprit of this myself. I am SO very lucky. My husband makes enough that I get to stay home with my daughter and stepson when he's here for school. I HATE housecleaning, I mean hate it. I have a completely irrational attitude that I am above it. Yep. I'm vain like that. I have a college degree, why should *I* clean toilets? Of course, I can't throw it on my husband with that argument. Man has a Master's. Damn. I never thought of it that way...

Nevermind. The point is I hate to clean, but I do it. I am trying to get better at cleaning, I have a list of items that must be done daily vs. weekly. And today's experiment involves #wordmongering. 

Today, I will #wordmonger for the 30 minutes, and then do a cleaning task(s) in the other 30 minutes of the hour. I know, great idea, huh?

9:00-9:30 #wordmongering           9:30-10 Start laundry, load dishwasher
10-10:30 #wordmongering            10:30-11 Swap laundry, sweep kitchen, bedroom
11:00-11:30 #wordmongering        11:30-12 Lunch, put daughter down for nap, fold 1 load
1:00-1:30 #wordmongering            1:30-2:00 Fold next load of laundry
2-2:30   #wordmongering               2:30-3:00 Tidy up living room (my table), start pasta salad

If the list is accomplished, I should have about 5,000 words to show for it, a cleaner house, and I get to play an hour of Rune Factory :)

"CANCELLED" arriving SEPTEMBER 2011A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Professional Author Photos!!

Today was one of those days where I love that I am a writer. A good friend of mine, and absolute genius behind the camera lens, Kristen Channel played in Downtown Summerville and at the Stony Landing House to get my author photos! If you live in the Charleston area, I HIGHLY recommend you hire her for your author photos.

Below is just an awesome sampling:

After a few wardrobe issues, I finally settled on a simple black top and gray slacks. Those shoes killed my feet! So no one can say I don't suffer for my art! :)

We started at 7:30 in the morning and were finished by 9. The temperature in balmy South Carolina raised from 80 degrees to the low 90s by the time we were done. Don't ask me how my hair held up, I haven't a clue!

I feel like a real writer now that I have professional photos to stick in my "media kit"/ promote my books with! Kristen was great, letting me make funny poses and ridiculous faces to help loosen up. It was tough to try to remember "suck in the Mommy pouch, neck long, chin down, SMIZE, keep eyes open, don't be just straight up and down, etc. But we did it, and it was not just a great morning with NO kids, but a great morning of feeling like a beautiful woman again.

"CANCELLED" arriving SEPTEMBER 2011A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Eureka! I Know How to Save the Big 6!

Someone has probably suggested this before, but here goes:

In my best Haley Mills voice, Let's get together, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Two are twice as fun as one!

Why don't the traditional publishers just offer to bring self-published authors under their brand for a small percentage? *sorry, Dean Wesley Smith, but I'm trying to keep it terms they are used to.

Think about it. Self-publishing authors are business savvy men and women. We pay for our own covers, or have the skills to make them. We put together blogs/websites. We keep up with social media. We even hire our own line editors. Think of it like consignment. 

The Big 6 Publisher doesn't need to do anything but allow a license for their brand. It helps a reader find the books they love, saves the Big 6 a ton of money (they only need a small staff of readers to offer a partnership to an author), and puts the onus on the author to produce a high-quality book. Instead of reading manuscripts in the raw production stage, judge them when they are ready to go to market! The 5-10% they make on the sales of the "self-published" is nearly pure profit! And let's face it, they need it.

What does the self-published author get? The ability to say "I'm with X Group," when trying to book appearances/market their book. A network of other authors to work with all under the same umbrella. The chance to be listed with fewer distinctions as an "indie book." The insane need to feel validated. :) More marketing mojo to sell the book.

Big publishers are going to have to open up their own self-publishing arm if they want to stay alive. These aren't authors whose hands you need to hold. They are willing and able to find success selling their books with or without big publishing's say-so. They are writers with strong, varied backgrounds that give them unique ideas and experience to make it in the book world. And it's what Amazon is already doing. 

"CANCELLED" arriving SEPTEMBER 2011A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Underestimating the Hard Work It Takes to Write a Book

Yep, I'm a member of that club. There are parts of my manuscript that are brilliant. I don't even recognize my own writing! But other parts are making me cringe. Today, it's my transitions. 

My beginning and ending are super strong. My middle sags. It's choppy. I don't know what I'm going to do. Where I'm struggling is figuring out how to traverse 9 months of time without having to go "April" "May" etc.

Today is one of those days I just don't feel like I have enough time to be a writer, Mom, and wife. 

So here's the deal. It's hard to write a book. It is. Plan on hours and hours of agony, frustration, neck pain, eye strain, insecurity, anxiety, jubilation, and mental/physical fatigue. I think what's frustrating me the most right now is some of the recent rumblings about don't publish your first book, have a bunch of books ready before you publish, etc. You know, it's hard enough to find the confidence to even try and publish one book. Maybe these authors with an amazing backlist FORGET their feelings and worries when they were hammering out that first manuscript. 

But I won't throw in the towel. There are some awesome elements of CANCELLED, and it deserves its day in the sun. I don't care if it's not the next Great American Novel. I mean really, what in the hell does that phrase even mean? I hated about 80% of anything on the canon list I had to read for school, so yes, I can safely say, I'm not aiming to be considered great literature. Great literature is boring. You have to write papers about (I know, I did). 

My book is just a fun story, created to give those of us who prefer to not fight our families over the remote control an escape and juicy romantic story. My reader should smile, laugh, get angry, and at the end, want another story of mine to kill a few more hours. 

There, now I feel better. Thanks for reading and listening. :) Time to refuel and get back in there.

"CANCELLED" arriving September 2011A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Self-Published Author: Paying the Tax Man

Taxes? Who thinks about the tax ramifications when they are self-publishing a novel? I most certainly did, and you should, too.

There are two types of organizations the IRS and State Treasurers see writers falling in: hobbyists and professionals. Serious problems arise when an author moves between the two groups and doesn't adjust accordingly!

Hobby Writers: while they might make some money off their writing, do not take steps to improve profitability, turn vast majority of money back into running their hobby. A good example would be a short story writer who runs a blog with advertising on it that covers her website operating expenses. 

Now, that same short story writer gets popular. Suddenly, her advertising costs aren't just covering her hosting expenses, but bringing in $100, $200, $500 of extra money in per month. Uh-oh. Someone just turned into a business! 

Generally, a business is any activity that makes a profit in 3 of the last 5 years. 

Here's the million dollar question (okay not really a million dollar question, but important):


Yes. Yes, you can.***

And here's the ***, you must be in this for the win. This means, yes you can claim a reasonable loss for writing your first novel. Examples of reasonable expenses might be cover art, web hosting space, office supplies, etc. Should you go out and splurge on a $4,000 gamer's delight desktop and make it a tax-write off? I wouldn't unless you are planning on making that computer a work computer first and foremost. If you go out and buy a reasonably priced "work" laptop? Sure, and you can depreciate it, but that's a whole blog post by itself. 

The bottom line is you must keep records. Actual receipts or bank statements showing the purchases. I use to keep my financials straight so I can tag expenses as they come it. I also have a separate bank account just for my writing income and expenses. All of these little things make it clearer to the IRS should I get audited that I am serious about my writing business. And don't make the mistake that just because the profits you make is considered "fun money" by you and your partner that the IRS will agree that means you don't "live off it." They won't.

Another must have if you are going to take a loss for your first year writing (and MOST businesses take a loss in their first year due to start-up costs), is a BUSINESS PLAN. Don't break out into a sweat. A business plan is just a document you write that shows your plan for becoming profitable. It gives an expected publication date (or in the case of a writer pursuing traditional publication, an expected date of a deal). It shows how much you expect to make, either in sales or in an advance, and where that money will be cashed out to you, the owner, or reinvested into the company. We don't write on typewriters anymore people, you should have a plan to get that novel written and making you money in the next 24 months. 


Here's the deal on Internet writing. Many websites find loopholes around reporting income greater than $600 to the IRS for their users. Either the website is based in Canada, or they label it as something else. n the end, it doesn't matter. The responsibility to report YOUR income is on YOU. 

If you have given your social security number (or FEIN) to a website that is paying you via Paypal or any other manner of transfer, the IRS can find out how much you made. If you HAVEN'T given your SSN to a website that is paying you via Paypal or any other manner of transfer, the IRS can find out how much you made. 

How? You still bank in the United States, right? Imagine you get audited for something else, and suddenly you find yourself trying to explain these lump sum transfers into your bank account. Remember, even gifts over a certain amount you have to claim as income.


Another problem self-published, or any writer can face, is success. That's right. As you start making money, the IRS wants some withholding. Now, when you work for an employer, this is automatic. You set it up with a W-4, and your employer withholds a certain percentage for federal and state taxes, and pays half of your Medicare and Social Security taxes. As a writer, you are self-employed, and on the hook for the full 15.4% (this doesn't include your federal and state tax obligations, just the self-employment tax). 

If you are going to OWE the federal government more than $1,000 when you go to file your taxes, you MUST make quarterly tax payments to avoid penalties.

There isn't a hard and fast threshold on when you need to start making quarterly payments. In my case for example, my husband and I file jointly, and his withholding more than makes up for my current tax obligation at the end of every year. We still get a tax refund. However, since we are military, I file state taxes on my own and have to be very careful there. States require quarterly payments too, but the rules vary. Some states only require quarterly tax payments if you are required to make federal tax payments (a loop hole I fall into), some have a monetary threshold based on the taxes you'd owe the state. It just depends, but all states have a website now and you can look yours up.

If you don't feel comfortable estimating a tax return to figure out when you'd owe more than $1,000, then make quarterly tax payments. You get the money back when you file if you don't owe enough tax to need it. The only downside is you lose any interest you could have earned had that money sat in your bank, IF it was going to sit in an interest bearing account. Some writers I know use their quarterly tax payments to make a "cash stash" for their projects next year. I don't agree with this philosophy; if you can save it for a tax bill, you can save it in a savings account. But that's just me.

Also, if you are getting into the area of enough profits that you wish to hire an accountant, ask about moving your reporting dates. As a business, you have the ability to file a form with the IRS that says your fiscal year runs from June 13th to June 12th of the next year, or any year-long span you choose. Some accountants will offer a discount for their services if you stay away from January-April (tax season) and September-October (end of the government fiscal year, time when many government contracting companies do their reporting also). This means you won't bring added stress to their busiest times, and depending on how you time it (late July/August) you'll probably get better service and a glimpse at the tax changes to come and can plan ahead more.

Finally, use your local Small Business Administration. It's what they are there for. Their help is free, and their goal is to help small business owners navigate the myriad of state and federal laws concerning business. Plus, they are a great resource for grants and loans.

"Cancelled" arriving Late Summer 2011A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Self-Published Author: How Not To Write A Novel

There a gazillion, bajillion, writing resources out there telling you how to write a novel. But what about one that tells you what NOT to write? I found this at, and love it. 

How Not to Write a Novel: 200 Classic Mistakes and How to Avoid Them--A Misstep-by-Misstep Guide
  • by
  • Howard Mittelmark

Not only is the book hilarious, but it gives perfect examples of what NOT to write. The sections are divided by the major sections of a novel: plot, characters, sub-plots, endings, beginnings, etc. This makes the book a perfect last-minute checklist for any manuscript. I was thrilled to find I happened to avoid some of the popular mistakes simply because I can't stand them in books I read either. For example, the classic "character looks in a mirror and gives a full description of themselves." I didn't use this device because I know when *I* look in a mirror it's to either: A) check for a specific issues, like a pimple that hurts or B) make sure a specific aspect of my appearance is correct, i.e. hair, makeup (if I'm wearing any). 

As long as a self-publishing author can take a mostly objective look at his or her work, this book is great for polishing and editing your own manuscript. Not all of us can afford a professional editor on our first novel, or even our second. There are many techniques a self-published author can use to overcome the look of an amateurish manuscript, such as taking significant time away before tackling line edits. Using How Not To Write a Novel should be another one!

"Cancelled" arriving Late Summer 2011A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Self-Published Novel: Marketing Ideas #1 Folded Business Cards

Like most great procrastinators, I'm good at ideas. They swirl and stew and drive me nuts, thoroughly interrupting my current work. Usually, I have to write them down to get some peace and quiet in the noggin. So, without further adieu, here are some of my out-of-the-box marketing ideas I plan to use for my first self-published novel, CANCELLED.

Above is the image of the folded business card from Vistaprint. It is pretty easy to design them online with just about any image you want. You can also design in a different program and upload, but that's WAY too much headache for me. Now, why folded business cards? Easy. One of the downsides of e-books is the lack of a tangible product AND no one gets to flip the book over to read the back unless they are near a computer. So what if you are somewhere and there are potential readers all around you? For me, that's the hair salon, library, coffee shop, book store, toddler Mom meetings, the YMCA, and on and on. I am a very social, talkative person. Now when I tell people I'm a writer and they go "Oooooh, like books?" And I nod, I can give them my card. 

On the front will be my title, name, and personal website for my readers. Inside? Ready? The blurb for the book. That's right! the 4-5 sentences with a hook that would have been on the BACK! And on the back? All of the websites where they can buy it, or a coupon code, or other promotion as I'm running them. 

Now, as with all marketing, it is important to consider cost for effort. This is also called evaluating a channel. By placing a unique website on the back (perhaps I will make one off my reader site like, this doesn't exist yet so don't try it) I can watch my traffic and click-thrus. So, on that page I would put the links to the various places you can buy my book, but by using the unique website name, I can tell if people came from a business card vs. a "Buy My Book" link that goes to an identical page but located at 

How much will this cost? Current quotes are $40 for 500 non glossy or $63 for glossy. I'm going to go with glossy, and with shipping that will be roughly $80. Alright. Pricing my book at $2.99, I will make roughly a $2 profit on each book. This means to recoup the cost of producing the business cards, I need to sell 40 books from the 500 cards I give out. Breaking out my sales experience, given that most of these cards will not be cold cards (meaning they are just sitting somewhere for someone to take one, or use one to wad up their chewing gum, etc) but given to qualified prospects (people I have spoken to personally, found out they like my genre of books/own an e-reader) that is not a high threshold at all. 

The uses of these types of business cards is infinite. For a little extra, you can buy the kind that are perforated, where you give a coupon or other information and on the other piece, the reader fills out an email address to join your mailing list. 

What if you are on a tighter budget? Check out the "free designs" where you could maybe do a teaser line and your website. You only pay for shipping, and the back advertises 

For cold business cards, ones you would leave out, I would suggest using single sided. On the front, maybe put something to grab someone's attention, and then on the back put the places to buy the book. 

Another promotional item I have thought about since my first novel collection is the Red Ink Collection (Cancelled, Past Due, and Served), buying limited edition pens with the "Red Ink Collection Book #1" etc. as a promotional item. These are pricier and will need to wait until after I start seeing significant sales. For example, I could wait and use these as promotional items when Book #2 comes out, perhaps a contest. I could mail these out with a personal thank-you note from me and the pen in a standard sized envelope. Since I would want the pen to write in red ink, they are a bit pricier, but I found a quote for $0.39 a piece at The Printed Pen Store. It would cost $200 plus shipping for 500 of them, but after the people who bought the book asked for them, I could pass them out to places as well. 

Enough Swag, Other Plans

Marketing is about reaching your intended audience. Most self-published novels do not have a very large marketing budget, until the author sees royalties. Every dollar counts. J.A. Konrath's recently blogged about appearances. His position is that going to conferences etc. doesn't really raise sales. I didn't comment because I planned to address this issue long ago. Traditional author appearances aren't going to work for self-published authors. First, we probably won't be invited, and secondly, we wouldn't want to go, anyway.  

For an appearance to matter, it needs to be where readers are going to be, and be receptive to hear about a new book in their favored genre. If I was writing a sci-fi, then FAN conventions and the like would be where I want to go. Not even as a "featured" person necessarily, but maybe just as another attendee and talk about my book as appropriate. For my genre, my readers are where I go everyday. The grocery store. The playground. I have a new project brewing to compromise on the $.99 issue, a serial story following three college freshman in their first year. Not idealized college, either. The real "I-am-mad-at-you-so-I'm-hogging-the-shower-for-an-hour-when-I-know-you-have-an-eight-o'clock-class-and-mine-is-at-eleven" college experience. Each "episode" will be $.99. I plan to talk to the Student Life Offices of various colleges and see if I can't offer the first episode(s) for free to the student body, perhaps as part of Freshman Orientation. If it's any group of people who can use the Internet efficiently, it's a college student! 

I wish I could talk more about that, but it's still growing as we speak. ;) 

We aren't tied to just bookstores anymore. Think about where you see people use e-readers. Train stations. Airports. Coffee shops (maybe talk to the coffee shop about in exchange for them handing out your business card with a cup of coffee, you will advertise their coffee shop on your other cards?).  Gyms. Another place people forget are doctor and dentist offices (if you can provide reading material for their waiting room, many will take it!). If you write Christian fiction, talk to local churches! Maybe offer to do an e-reader demonstration one week night for the congregation and help them download a sample of your book. The possibilities are endless.... and at that, it's back to actual writing for me :)

CANCELLED arriving September 2011A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby.

Self-Publishing: I'm Afraid.....

I am afraid my writing is actually immature, amateurish, and will get more negative reviews than positive ones.

I am afraid I won't be able to finish all of the writing I want to.

I am afraid other writers will hate me.

I am afraid of my book doing really well, to where there's too much pressure on my next one.

I am afraid that this is going to take more work than I can do to be successful.

I am afraid something negative about me will go viral.

But I won't let my fears stop me.

"Cancelled" arriving Late Summer 2011A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby.

Self-Published Authors: We're A Smaller Group Than You Think

As a relative newcomer to the fiction writing community, and self-publishing fiction writing community at that, I have made a startling observation: we're small potatoes. That's right. There aren't thousands and thousands of us seeking "professional" author status through self-publishing. By my count, there are probably a few hundred "self-published" blogs/"author platforms" out there and we're all linked together. Even me with my paltry 10 followers. 

Remember that game we played on car trips or to drink more alcohol? The Six-Degrees of Kevin Bacon? Self-publishing is like the two or three degrees of J.A. Konrath/Dean Wesley Smith/Amanda Hocking/ and the other big names. Our blogs are linked. We spend time commenting and linking to each other's blogs. Of course the big names don't really have as much time to comment on others' without running the risk of ticking off other followers for not commenting on their blogs. However, I was pleasantly shocked and honored when Lucy Kevin commented on mine ;)

And I am SO tired of reading that only crap is self-published. That's ridiculous. You want to know what I think is crap? William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. Most of the Hemingway crap I had to read. Cold Sassy Tree. And so on, and so on. Then there is crap I changed my mind on. 17-year-old me forced to read Pride and Prejudice? Didn't relate to any of the characters, couldn't really understand or respect the time period. Hated it. Labeled Jane Austen as crap for many, many years. Want to know what changed my mind? Maturity. Oh, and watching the 2005 movie. Yep, THAT one loathed by Colin Firth lovers everywhere. Once I saw the nuts and bolts of the storyline, I was able to read with pleasure every one of Austen's words. 

And you know what, speaking of Austen's times and much earlier, self-publishing is NOT new. First people to invest in a Gutenberg? Pretty sure they didn't have agents. I'm not excusing work that isn't given even a cursory edit. However, I'm not 100% convinced every book I've bought, especially lately, is given a thorough look-through. I'm not talking about typos, but clunky descriptions, characters I can't stand, and pages and pages full of bleh. Yes, bleh is a technical literary critique term ;) 

At the risk of naming names, I am a huge Sophie Kinsella/Madeleine Wickham fan. Even her cheating Lexi in Remember Me? However, one book I couldn't believe was published by her was Twenties Girl. I am even such a die-hard Kinsella fan, I pre-ordered it back when it came out. A few months ago, it was donated to Goodwill. I thought it was slow. So slow, I couldn't even finish it. I tried five different times to read it, but couldn't find anything remotely redeeming about the characters, ghost or no. 

But I'm not Sophie Kinsella's editor or publisher. I am also in the minority of the review opinions for that book. But what if I WAS her editor or publisher and said "Sophie, this isn't going to work. You're going to alienate your readers and jeopardize your illustrious career." My goodness, that would have been horrible for the hundreds and hundreds of people who loved that book! People who maybe had cranky, overbearing relatives that made Sadie endearing to them (I lack such relatives).  

Thank goodness Sophie Kinsella didn't stop writing. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Mini-Shopaholic. I mean, I laughed so many times my husband asked me to go read upstairs! Maybe it was because I HAVE a 2-year-old. Thank goodness she doesn't say "Mine" yet, but she knows how to grab candy and put it on the conveyor belt at the grocery store when I'm not looking. And she has grabbed my credit card out of my hand to be the one to swipe it through! They learn so fast...

Here's the point. We can't make blanket statements about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing and the quality of work both produce. It's at the individual work level that critiques should be made. I have read horrible self-published works, and horrible works that were published through other means, including commercial outlets. I've played fantastic independently published video games, and seen commercially sold games riddled with spelling mistakes, bugs, and graphical catastrophes. Are we such a corporate-ocracy that we only believe quality exists when it has a company selling it? If so, then I have a Sham-wow to sell you. It's great, because it's made in Germany.... 

G. P. Ching recently talked about the literary bullying that goes on all the time on her blog So Write. The sad part is everyone has had someone come before them. Even those with contracts to scrutinize and a "marketing department at their disposal," had other writers that acted as inspirations or role model. We should be encouraging each other, not tearing each other down. Together, indie published, self-published, or Big 6 published, all of us are fighting to increase readership of books, period. We're competing against TV, video games, and other forms of entertainment. Not each other. And the sooner we realize that the more books in a given genre there are for a fan of that genre, the longer the reader will stay reading and not doing other leisure activities, the better off we'll be.

"CANCELLED" arriving Late Summer 2011A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Self-Published Author: On Vacation

I am on vacation. It's been very difficult with my laptop in tow to not "work" while I'm on vacation. I don't count writing in this, I have written a small amount each day I've been here. No, the work I'm talking about is building a following, staying present in the online writing community, and all that jazz. THAT has been difficult to stay away from. 

This blog post is technically breaking the rules, but I figured it better to announce where and why I'm gone, than to just be gone for nearly 2 weeks. I will not return home until June 15th, and then I will be recovering from vacation. I don't expect to be back at work until June 20th. 

My first draft is taking a little longer than I anticipated, not a horrible thing. Better to have a goal to work towards and maybe not make it than to have no goal and just work on it willy-nilly. After speaking with a few people in my accountability group, they all agree it is better I push back my publication to September and put out the best book I can than to slap-dash something together just to make an arbitrary deadline. This doesn't mean my personal deadlines aren't important, they absolutely are! However, in reality, this novel is my first fiction project and I made the deadline on a best-educated guess. I wasn't too far off, only about 25% time-wise. In the corporate world, projects run over all the time. 

I will admit I was disappointed, and nervous to even set a new deadline. But, after a few days of letting those feelings work themselves out, I got over it. Some days I worry that I'm not up to snuff to write a novel. Then I have days where I'm ready to charge the literary world! I'm sure every writer goes through this, and I will have many more up and down days before any reader ever gets her hands on CANCELLED.

"CANCELLED" arriving Late Summer 2011A robotics engineer asks his business partner to marry him, but a previous one-night stand is having his baby.