Monday, September 26, 2016

The Fight for Independents!

We Americans love our independence.

We love independent realtors.

Independent business owners.

Independent political parties.

Independent thoughts.

Independent bookstores.

Independent farmers.

Independent filmmakers.

But not independent authors.

We are treated like the weird relative at Thanksgiving. Publishing people smile nervously when approached by them- and sit with the 'regular people' at the other end of the table.

As a hybrid author (books published by both traditional publishers and Indie), I'm understanding the struggle of Indie authors so much more clearly.

The disdain.
The rolling of the eyes.
The dismissing of the validity of my work.
The "we don't want your kind here" at stores, events, and festivals.

Never mind that my book (Evolution Revolution: Simple Machines) was honed over ten years and edited by peer and professional. Ignore that I spent money hiring a professional illustrator (Cathy Thole-Daniels). Skip over the four previous books published by traditional publishers (St. Martins/Thomas Dunne, Flux, Leap).

Some Indie published books are awful- I've read them. One book was so bad, I put a Post-It on every mistake (grammar, spelling, POV, etc.) and it looked like a George R.R. Martin Game of Thrones book where people flag when a character gets killed (yes, that many). I used it in a writing what-not-to-do presentation.

But I've read some great ones (I'm going by content, not sales, so Fifty Shades of Grey doesn't meet my qualifications). Sometimes, the author then goes on to a traditional contract, but the publishers didn't see the potential at first- until the public did and the bucks started coming in.

I understand that there are sooo many books out there and the traditional publishers can't print them all. (Hence, Indie pubbing helps with that...) But traditional publishers have also chosen so many I-can't-believe-you-published-this-crap books; like If I Did It by OJ Simpson. What the hell were they thinking- oh yes, celebrities bring in money, even when the book is awful.

So it all comes down to money (except for those coffee table books people publish/buy just to look chic and sophisticated). If an Indie author is trying to sell their book, they want to make money, same as Indie bookstores. (Gotta pay for the illustrator, travel to book events, PR.) It seems to me both sides could work out an arrangement which gives them each profits and happiness.

It's a hard road, but I'm not giving up. I believe in this project too much.

And yes, there are successes, but many more that aren't. It's okay, I'm not discouraged.

And I'm not going away...


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Meet a Real Character...

I'm editing a horror short story that's due by the 26th, waiting to review Evolution Revolution for the last time before it goes to print, trying to book events, working on the next book in the Evolution series, hoping to hear about two books with my agent, and trying to sneak in time for other writing projects all while getting my son into the school routine, ease back into playing bells at church, attending meetings of committees I'm on, and thinking about all the stuff to do to close the pool up.

So I haven't prepared a pithy post. I simply need to ease back this week (I know I didn't do a post for Labor Day weekend either). I'm taking a deep breath before I dive in, head first, into more craziness. In the meantime, here's something that won't be controversial, doesn't challenge any politics or religion or your favorite football team, and is simply meant to give you a sneak peek at the marvelous work of my illustrator Cathy Thole-Daniels and one of the funny characters in Evolution...

Let me introduce you to Beaver (no cutesy names). He's a marvel at engineering and the humans are in for a surprise when he joins the team to Save the Wood. Hopefully you can meet him real soon...

Spread the word- war is coming to the wood... and the animals aren't giving up without a fight. Never underestimate anyone defending their home.


Monday, September 12, 2016

No Emergency if You Prepare

It's that time. I'm not talking about hurricanes, blizzards, flooding, severe cold or wind. I'm talking about NaNoWriMo. (National Novel Writing Month). If you're serious, don't be a twit and wait until the last minute to prepare. Like those who wait until the storm is bashing down their door to do something, it's too late then. Do. The. Prep. Now.


What will your novel be- science fiction? Historical? Contemporary? Paranormal? A combination? Get a good sense. You don't have to have the whole story in your head, but know how it will start, a few things that will happen in the middle, and how it will end. It may change, that's okay. When you have ideas to choose from, you'll be more confident and less likely to be stuck come writing day.


Know where you will work. Choose one or two places that you can retreat to to write. Honestly, you can't write at the kitchen table when people pass through often, or are clamoring for breakfast or lunch or dinner. Or you have to clear up your stuff when they want to eat. Maybe your laptop in your car at a quiet park during the day, on your lunchbreak from work. Maybe the family room when everyone else is at school/work. If you can, prep the space. Have your thesaurus, research papers, notes, large coffee cup, and anything else you may need ready to go. You waste valuable time and effort trying to pull things together.

Research ahead of time. If you're writing a crime thriller, know police procedure. Sci f? Know what happens when you're ejected into space with a hole in your space suit (you can live for about 45 seconds. Really.) Historical? Better have the facts and timeline correct. Keep notes on your laptop or handy in a folder.

Have a NaNoWriMo calendar. November is a bitch of a month with Thanksgiving and for some of us, the start of the Christmas season. Maybe you have events or conferences you're going to and won't be home to work. Note this on the calendar and plan how you will work around this to stay on track. Since I have a family dinner on Thanksgiving, on one day I write double the amount (1,666 words is the general amount) so I have to do at least 3,340 to stay on track. You can also use your calendar to plot out the novel- maybe each day is one chapter, so on day 6 you have to kill someone off. It helps to remind you where to start up again and by looking at it ahead of time, the wheels of imagination can spin while you're cooking dinner or doing other things.

Jot down a rough outline. This will help with the continuity. I sometimes find it hard to stop and go- I just want to keep writing until the book is written. Unfortunately I have to eat, sleep, take care of the family, go to the dentist, etc. A rough outline helps me know where I'm heading. It's just rough, so don't stick to it if you have a better idea.

Commit to a group- whether it's the official group (go here) or a bunch of like minded friends and stick with it! Nothing makes a task easier than having support. If you're stuck, they can help you bounce ideas around, encourage you if you fall behind (not the end of the world, keep going, don't quit) and by encouraging them, you'll benefit from the energy.


It's not about having the perfect novel. Or even a good one. That will come later through editing and revising. It's about getting the novel written and into a routine of making time for your passion. Even if you don't finish the novel, if you're several hundred words away from the end, you're close! So you take a few extra days to finish- that's okay! You aren't breaking any rules. So chill. You can do this.

I'm doing NaNoWriMo and have already done one chapter (was stuck on a long car ride). I jotted down some notes. I need to stretch it to an outline. Gotta finish up some research. I have an office and with kids back in school, I have my routine set.

Let's do this together.