I am not really a writer…but I play one on the Internet.
I stumbled into writing – as in downsized, unemployed. It was not a career plan.
I am a runner and when I run, I live in a fantasy world. My brain takes me on fantastic daytrips to avoid the reality of my body shrieking… “You are really doing this to me…again?!?!?!!!!!” It has been like this since I began running at the age of eight. Back then I immersed myself in the world of super heroes, today it is witches and vamps. As a result of the cessation of my paycheck, I had ample time to put the stories in my head down on paper (I was blessed to find another job @ 6 months later, but I LOVE the writing so much more).
I published my first book eight months ago and am currently working on my third. I have years of professional growth ahead of me if I am to continue churning out books; however, as a newbie, here are five personal realizations that I can share about my own adventure:
1) Write what you love, forget about sales. If you cater to readers solely to sell books, you have already made it into a job. Where is the fun in that? If you are blessed enough to spend time every day doing something you are passionate about…Hello Awesomeness!!!
2) There are some really mean people out there. The Internet has given everyone so much anonymity that the filter between brain and mouth (or pecking fingers) has dissipated. Seriously. Be prepared – you are probably going to get hurt and maybe even cry. Behind the veil of the Internet, it has become acceptable to attack you personally in addition to your work. It isn’t right, but it is probably going to happen. Learn the difference between an opinion that matters and one that you can wave away into the recesses of nonexistence.
3) The follow-up to that is this – A bad review isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I have had some bad reviews (and even some harsh, ugly reviews) where, after I process my anger or my hurt, I can actually see the point. If there is something in that review that I can use to make my writing better – I am going to do that. So I read, I process, I reflect – I learn what I can and move on. You’ll also quickly realize the difference between thoughtful critiques (yes, the bad ones) and the snark that you can give the single-fingered salute to – Don’t internalize those, don’t even waste your time giving them a second read.
4) Use your Mulligans. With eBooks and self-publishing, we have the luxury of revision. Don’t think you need to fix everything that is critiqued in your manuscript. You cannot please everyone. Wait, read, process, reflect and then wait a bit longer. Collect lots of feedback, let it settle in, and then wait some more. Don’t necessarily cater to the masses, but consider if there is room for improvement. If there is something in your work that can be improved, DO IT!!! As Indies, we have that power. Now, if you release your 180th edition in 5 months, you might be overanalyzing things just a bit, but seriously, don’t be afraid to fix and edit and tweak when YOU decide that it is the right move for your work.
5 ) Finally, don’t fret over #2, because there are some really awesome people out there…really (I am a particular fondness for Cedar Rapids, IA). You are going to love them, and some will even make you cry. I have cried more over good reviews than I have bad ones – and THAT makes it worth it. I adore the people that reach out to me because my books have touched them. I write for those people because those people are not fans, they are friends. I welcome them with hugs into my world.
This is not intended to instruct you on the best way to handle your life as an author. These are things I have realized in my own writing career the past 8 months. Give me another year at this and I may come back with a different perspective. I am learning as I go, and I recognize I am going to not get everything right the first time, or even the second time, and sometimes not the third. I am having great fun though, and in the end, life is too short to live any other way.
Thanks to my awesome host for letting me hijack some blog space today and thank you for giving me a bit of your time to ramble on and on.
Thank you so much for stopping by the blog today! Make sure you check out the Forsaken Series!
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