New Interview and Review

I love a good interview.  When the questions are interesting and provocative, giving the answers is so much fun.

My latest interview is here, at Literary Sweet.  I think you’ll enjoy it!  Heather also reviewed Fearless.

Going Indie: Choice or Surrender?

I don’t like drama or controversy, but there are topics about which I am passionate.  Motherhood. Homeschooling.  Religion. History. Publishing. Strike up a conversation on any of those subjects, and we’ll be talking a long while.

But don’t worry, today I’m only tackling one aspect of publishing.

I make no secret of the fact that when I began my career as an author, I fully intended to go the route of traditional publishing.  I anguished over query letters, fretted through rejections and did abundant research on agents. For two years, I pursued this path.

Over the course of time, though, I began to realize what I didn’t like about traditional publishing. The condescending attitude of some agents and editors rubbed me the wrong way. Don’t misunderstand me; I know that these people are bombarded almost around the clock by writers submitting manuscripts, asking questions, wanting information and any kind of connection.  And some of the agents are actually quite gracious and kind. But others whom I met were jaded by the game.  I didn’t learn anything from them, except that I really wasn’t sure I would want this kind of person repping my books and working closely with me.

There were other things that turned me off to traditional publishing, and there’s no need to list them.  Suffice it to say that over time, it dawned on me that I had a unique opportunity to take my destiny–or at least that of my work–into my own hands.

Once I embraced that choice, I was pleasantly amazed by the kindness of the indie publishing community.  Other authors who were further along the path were willing to give me tips and advice.  Professionals helped me with PR, book covers and all the other aspects of publishing that I hadn’t considered.

In the indie community, we promote each other.  We review each other’s books; we retweet; we give shout outs.  We support each other, because we know that together, as a whole, we are stronger.

Are there some bad apples in the bunch?  I’m sure, but I haven’t run across them yet. Are there bad writers who use indie publishing because they wouldn’t make it in mainline publishing? Sure. But there are also some really poor books that make it to the shelves even in traditional world. Believe me, I’ve read some of them!

I don’t think traditional publishing is going to die any time soon, and I hope it doesn’t.  Some of my favorite authors live in that world, and I think it serves an important purpose. You won’t find me bad-mouthing it. But in return, I expect a little respect from those authors who went that route. Don’t assume that simply because I decided to go indie, I gave up. I didn’t.  I made a choice that works for me, for my work and for my life.

Choice is almost always a good thing, and I am tremendously grateful that in the publishing world, we have lots of that now.  Let’s support each other, whether we’re traditional, indie, e-book or trade.  Build up, don’t tear down.

Real People vs. Read People

I love my characters, and for the time that I am writing their stories, I am so immersed in their world that these people are more than real.  I have to remind myself not to mention them in non-book conversations, as that kind of talk garners me odd looks.

So after schooling myself to avoid piping up about Tasmyn learning to drive stick shift or Michael getting into his first choice college, it’s quite jarring that once the book is published, others speak to me as though my characters are living, breathing people. It has taken me a little time to adjust and enjoy it. But I absolutely love it when, in the middle of conversation, someone begins talking about Michael as though he’s a mutual acquaintance or asks me questions about Nell, as if I had just come from visiting her.

I’m not sure if all of this is merely gratifying to me as a writer or enabling my own insanity. Either way, it works for me.  Hearing how each character has impacted readers helps me to develop nuances in their personalities and their stories. And. . yes, it does give me a little writers’ high!

 

Balancing Promotion and Writing

I love the world of indie publishing.  The freedom and the community is wonderful.  I wouldn’t do it any other way.

But I think we all need to recognize that finding balance between the business and the art of writing can be a real challenge.

I wrote a book.  (Well, I’ve written a series, but for now, let’s tackle one book.) As a friend recently pointed out to a fellow author, I wrote that book so that other people would read it. To that end, I am responsible for publicizing that book, getting word out about it, encouraging people to pick it up and read it.

So if I said that I am a writer, not a promoter, I would be short-changing my work and possibly negating the reason for writing a book in the first place.

On the other hand, PR is a monster that can swallow huge chunks of time without notice.  When I go on Twitter or Facebook, I run the risk of getting sucked into an endless chain of tweets and posts before I realize that it’s two in the morning and I need to sleep. Factor in real life (like most writers, I have other responsibilities and commitments), and it is a dilemma.

I’m trying to segment my PR work to the evening, when I can sit with my family watching TV or movies and still have the computer on my lap. I’m using every tool I can find to make promotion easier. Other authors have been very kind and gracious in sharing their tricks of the trade, and I am very grateful.

Right now, my writing priority is editing the third book in the series, which is completed but hasn’t been touched since I wrote the last word. Once I have Breathless launched in both ebook and print form, I’m taking a break to edit the third book and finish the fourth.

I’m dying to get back to writing, to just putting words on paper, but right now, I’m focusing on not looking at PR as a necessary evil, but as an opportunity to make lots and lots of new friends!