Sunday Surprise


And it’s the day again. Words of wisdom, writers on writing, quotes for writerly life or whatever you want to call them. Have a great Sunday!

But the truth is, I always had confidence in myself as a writer – I had arrogance, even. Yet I had endless times of self-doubt. I think what carried me through was simply commitment to the job. I wanted to do it.

Talent is no good without commitment. I’ve had students who wrote very well, but weren’t willing to commit to write, to go on writing, and to go on writing better. But that’s what it takes.

“Feeling successful” – well, that’s something you have to work out for yourself, what it means to you, how important it is. You’re quite right that very good and highly celebrated writers may not feel “successful.” Maybe they have unhappy natures, and the Nobel Prize would just depress them. Or maybe they aren’t fully satisfied with what they’ve done so far, don’t feel they’ve yet written the best book they could write. But they have the commitment that keeps them trying to do it.

Hang in there. And don’t push it. No hurry! Writing is a lifetime job.

Ursula K. Le Guin

A few years ago, I met a famous novelist at a conference. He’d sold millions of books. It seemed like he published a new book every time the wind changed direction. As we talked about NaNoWriMo, though, he asked me, “How many novels does the world need, anyway? Why should so many people write?”

I sometimes twitch with churlishness when I hear questions like this. Somewhere within the question, I hear a gate crashing down on people’s creativity. I see a sign, “Don’t presume to call yourself a writer.” I feel a judgment: Why write a novel unless it’s going to get published and made into a product to be purchased and consumed? Why write a novel if you’re not going to make money from it?

The question disregards the spirit that has guided every writer since the beginning of time: the need to create just for the sake of creating. The need to shape the world, see through others’ eyes, tame reality, find oneself, lose oneself—to touch what is magical, astonishing, and wondrous; to exult the possible, to make the strange obvious and the obvious strange. And much more. This need is what we need to remember every day in order to show up at our writing gym and write the story that is demanding to be told.

Grant Faulkner

Why is Annoying Person on Amazon? Why is she all over Amazon?

Because writers don’t understand the “editor” field in KDP. That field is for anthology editors, like Fiction River. When we do a Fiction River, and I edit it, we list Kristine Kathryn Rusch as the editor. Because I compiled the damn book. I chose the stories. I put them in order. I line edited them. I worked on the theme with the writers. I wrote the introductions to the stories.

The volume has my fingerprints all over it, and not because I changed someone’s words or added a semi-colon here and there.

Stop, stop, stop acknowledging this new breed of “editor” in the sales material of your novels. You’re hurting your own sales and doing free advertising for those “editors.” (And yes, dammit, I’m using the quotes on purpose.)

If you need to acknowledge the “editor” as a term of your contract with her, then do so inside the book in the acknowledgements. Write: Thanks to Annoying Person, who copy edited my manuscript. She knows more about the Chicago Manual of Style than I do.

That’s it. And if Annoying Person doesn’t like it, if that doesn’t fulfill the terms of your agreement with her, then don’t work with her again.

Ever.

Kris Rusch

You will fail more than you succeed. You will remember the failures more often than the successes.

The people who believe in you now will believe in you always. Get rid of everyone else.

Readers will love your work. They will think this means they love you. They will be wrong, but do not correct them. You will no longer be yourself when you’re among readers, but an amalgamation of their perceptions of you based on your work and the pixels that make up your face. After a while, even your oldest friends will see you this way.

Pick one person you can be yourself with. It will be the person who doesn’t live-tweet your breakdown.

(…)

You will spend your entire career wondering if it’s already over but no one has told you yet.

You will not sell a lot of books. You will not earn out your advance. You will be passed over for awards. You won’t be a Campbell nominee. You will be convinced you’re not a real writer.

(…)

Fans of your work will clap and cheer at your arrival at events and then sob when they meet you and gush about how your work has touched and inspired them. It will be overwhelming. You will never know what to say. You will be celebrated, wined and dined. You won’t be able to meet with everyone who wants to see you.

Outside of those spaces, you will be treated with all the respect this society owes someone of your race, class, gender presentation, and/or orientation. If you’re a middle-aged white woman who doesn’t know how to dress herself, you will simply blend in. You will not be seen. This will be both a great relief and a big comedown.

(…)

You will travel. You will say YES! to opportunities. You will meet dynamic, amazing, talented, influential people. You will be so tired and jetlagged and anxious about money that you won’t remember any of their names. This will lead to many awkward conversations, later.

You will forget to introduce yourself to George R.R. Martin at the Hugo Loser’s Party.

You will regret being a writer. You will quit, often. Sometimes you will quit for long stretches of time.

(…)

You will be a bestseller, somewhere, even if it’s just on Amazon. You will hit a list. You will be an award winner. Hollywood will talk a lot about movies that probably won’t get made, but the free money will be nice.

You will be jealous of writers who don’t have day jobs. You will celebrate the full-time writing status of at least half a dozen colleagues who end up going back to their day jobs within five years of quitting.

You will never quit your day job.

You will dabble with scripts and comics and tie-ins. You will get invited to so many anthologies and special projects that you will have to say no to a lot of them. You will say no to Marvel, and yes to a book packager project whose team ultimately doesn’t want you.

Kameron Hurley

Sunday Surprise


Again a monthly feature, I give you words of wisdom, writers on writing or whatever you want to call it. Have a great Sunday and see you next month with more writerly quotes!

What Goes Up Must Come Down

Sales fluctuate, and after being in this biz for almost two decades I still don’t know why some things hit and some miss. It’s frustrating, but expected.

Here’s some things I’ve learned.

1. Ebooks are forever, and shelf space is infinite. Once you’re published, you’ll always be selling as long as you tend to your backlist.

2. Ebooks are not a trend. They are the new, preferred way to read, and mankind will always have the need and desire to read.

3. Ebooks are global. Doing poorly in the USA? That’s okay. There are plenty of other countries where you can make money.

4. This is a marathon, not a sprint. You’re a writer. You’re in this until the day you die. As long as you write good books, you’ll find readers. This may take time. And it may take some tweaking because the books you think are good need a rewrite, or that cover art you bought at a bargain price of $19 is scaring readers away because it sucks.

The universe doesn’t owe you readers. You have to earn them.

Joe Konrath

It feels like a calm period before the next big shift, a time to bed down your processes, grow your backlist by writing more, build relationships, make sure you have sustainable health and creative practices, make the most of your IP by expanding into other products like print, and look to position yourself for the next phase of growth.

Joanna Penn

“Audience” literally means “the people listening” – which tells you what an odd business writing stories down is. We are silent performers in an empty room. We lack the instant feedback that maintains and sharpens the story-teller’s consciousness of and relationship with the audience. So, does the writer consciously try to imagine a reader? An ideal reader? A whole lot of readers? Or are we each our own audience, writing a book we’d like to read, the way we’d like it written? Or do we seek a peer-group for the feedback? Such choices are entirely up to you the writer. And nobody can say what the right balance of conventionality and expectability, challenge and originality, is for you. Tailoring your writing to a specific audience/market is good for writers to whom salability is a prime value, for others it can be demoralizing, a sell-out.

The only advice I can offer is tentative: If you imagine your “audience,” your readers, imagine them as intelligent and sympathetic — ready to read you if you give them the chance.

Ursula K. Le Guin

Nothing sells your old books like having a new book. Listen, the more that you write, the quicker and faster you tend to write. So writing that new book doesn’t just give you extra sales, it helps you become a better writer. Too many authors don’t understand the value of practice. Only a fool would believe that he could sit down at a piano and become a concert pianist in one sitting, yet millions of writers imagine that they become a professional writer without practicing. Even authors who apparently take off effortlessly tend to have had a lot of preparation and secret struggles.

David Farland

Art is not a competition.

There is more than enough room in the world for all of the authors and books that are out there. Don’t worry about what other people are doing. Just focus on writing your stories and connecting with the readers that love them.

If you haven’t found those people yet, have patience. Instead of lamenting that other authors have devoted readers, use that energy to find new ways to promote your books. There are people out there who will become devoted readers of your books. You just have to find them.

Some people tend to get overwhelmed and discouraged by the high number of indie authors and the fact that it keeps increasing. However, as Joanna has reminded us on her podcast, when someone becomes more serious as a writer, it’s likely they will read more books as well.

I know that my reading has increased immensely since I started self-publishing my books. So we should be glad whenever someone writes and publishes a book!

More authors in the world means more avid readers in the world, which is good for everyone.

Sara Crawford

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Stories from the Twilight Zone. Foreword by Anne Serling. In my father's final interview he said that he felt his writing was "momentarily adequate." And, when asked what he wanted people to say about him, as a writer, a hundred years from then, he responded, "I don't care that they're not able to quote any single line that I've written. But just that they can say, 'Oh, he was a writer. Thatìs sufficiently an honored position for me.'"

and that’s enough for me as well!

So I wrote. Slowly but steadily working on the current WIP and planning the next book with Google maps and Wikipedia and all that stuff needed when writing in the real world, in places I’ve never been to (and never will, at least in the current case – Africa is too hot for my tastes). 12K last week, and I’m almost done with Book 7 too. Onward to book 8 this week, I guess.

I was thinking I wouldn’t extend the Smashwords sale, but after reading Kris Rusch’s post, I decided to do it at least for Future Earth Chronicles – with 9$ you get 5 ebooks and a complete arc about life after the apocalypse! And since it was either all or nothing, here’s the list of the discounted books again… only on Smashwords, extended to May 31!

And I also have a new title out – the last of the Lone Wolves, Fabio, who almost speaks like his great uncle Daniele, since even though Earth is now part of the Star Nations in this alternate future, he still grew up in Rome and sometimes uses the same words that probably drove text-to-speech and other software crazy in the Trilogy or wherever Daniele was present! 😉

And of course it was already live when I realized I used the wrong background image (the watermarked version, not the actual JPG) on the cover… so one hour on Sunday late afternoon, just before dinner, was spent changing the cover everywhere, including Facebook. You can tell I’m not really myself from the rookie mistakes on the latest two titles! 😉

Next month more Team’s missions… meanwhile, happy reading! I’m currently on those Stories from the Twilight Zone that I mention above, having finished at least one of the bundles I still have on KK.

Another Kickstarter worth backing if you’re a writer – Writing Bundles (and workshops)! I am not ready to launch anything, maybe next year or later, but I’m keeping an eye on projects and will post the links here if I think they might interest you.

A friend of mine has a new ebook out, And Then…: An Assortment of 12 Delectable Tea-time Cookies (link to Amazon.com), a collection of 12 quick-to-read and delightful-to-savor stories in various genres. Also, there’s this new anthology out – no, I’m not in it, but I thought you might enjoy it:

It’s time to turn the “man and his dog wandering through a dystopian world” trope on its head, and tell the stories about cats and their women – their badass women!

CAT LADIES OF THE APOCALYPSE
Available in print and ebook from your favorite online retailers

RE: Covid-19, if you have enough of all this misinformation gone viral, here you have a few fact-checking by an expert trying to stop this. The guys knows his stuff. Feel free to follow all the links he gives. Also, if you wonder why some people are still not staying at home, here’s a research explaining our psychological response to Covid-19.

And here’s some words of wisdom about it all from The Chuck Wendig himself. I guess we’re all broken right now, and even if I’m still writing, it doesn’t mean that I feel good. I’m seeing a lot of things going in the backburner and my expectations are null – I have lost them and don’t see them anywhere around me. I will need some searching to get back on track.

Ending on a ligher mode, if you want to chuckle, check the 13 wildest conspiracy theories of all times, starting from Covid-19 is caused by 5G (debunked above)… But onward we go! Have a great week! 🙂

 

Sunday Surprise


And since COVID-19 is screwing with my posts, so that I skipped two weeks, and I no longer have guests, I shall go back to a monthly Words of Wisdom or Writers on Writing for the rest of the year. Have a great Sunday! 🙂

It is easy to fall prey to the idea that writing success is intrinsically bound to youth. Publishing loves a literary ingénue, as if no one over the age of 40 or 50 or 60 has anything worthwhile to say. Such is not the case. The older I get, the more I have to say and the better I am able to express myself. There is no age limit to finding artistic success. Sometimes it happens at 22 and sometimes it happens at 72 and sometimes it doesn’t happen at all. No, you are not too old to have a writing career, no matter your age. Yes, it is perfectly reasonable to feel defeated when you’ve worked so hard at writing and have yet to make your mark so long as you don’t stay defeated. No, you are not promised artistic success simply because you want it.

(…)

The older we get, the more culturally invisible we become, as writers, as people. But you have your words. Writing and publishing are two very different things. Other writers are not your measure. Try not to worry about what other people your age or younger have already accomplished because it will only make you sick with envy or grief. The only thing you can control is how you write and how hard you work. The literary flavor of the week did not get your book deal. All the other writers in the world are not having more fun than you, no matter what it might seem like on social media, where everyone is showing you only what they want you to see.

Write as well as you can, with as much heart as you can, whenever you can. Make sure there are people in your life who will have faith in your promise when you can’t. Get your writing in the world, ideally for the money you deserve because writing is work that deserves compensation. But do not worry about being closer to 50 or 65 or 83. Artistic success, in all its forms, is not merely the purview of the young. You are not a late bloomer. You are already blooming.

Roxane Gay

Some of these changes that major sites do are to get rid of pirates and scammers, and in the big sweep of the change, regular honest folks get swept in. Other changes came about because of investment, change of ownership, or new managers—things that happen in every business.

For eight years, I have told indie writers to go wide and to make sure they’re protected, legally and otherwise. Be cautious and conservative when you join new sites or new ventures. Make sure you understand the terms of service, and realize that with many companies, the terms of service are take it or leave it. When you have terms of service like that, your decision to take it had better be informed, and when you get bit on the ass, you should have known that the bite was coming.

Kris Rusch

THE INDIE AUTHOR MANIFESTO
We indie authors believe all writers are created equal, that all writers are endowed with natural creative potential, and that writers have an unalienable right to exercise, explore, and realize their potential through the freedom of publication.

  1. I hold these truths to be self-evident.
  2. I am an indie author. I have experienced the pleasure and satisfaction that comes from self-publishing.
  3. I have a right to publish.
  4. My creative control is important to me. I decide when, where, and how my writing graduates to become a published book.
  5. Indie does not mean alone. I choose my partners.
  6. I shall not bow beholden or subservient to any publisher. In my business relationships, I will seek partnership, fairness, equity, and mutually aligned interests.
  7. We indie authors comprise diverse writers, unified by a common purpose to advance, empower, and celebrate writers everywhere.
  8. I am a professional. I take pride in my work and I strive to improve my craft to better serve my readers, myself, my fellow indie authors, and the culture of books.
  9. My writing is valuable and important. This value and importance cannot be measured by commercial sales alone.
  10. I celebrate the success of my fellow indie authors, for their success is mine and mine theirs. Together, we are pioneering a better future for books, marked by greater quality, creativity, diversity, choice, availability, affordability, and accessibility.”

Mark Coker

So, for me, and maybe for you, there’s power in writing with intentionality.

Decide how you want the reader to feel, and write that way.

Decide what you’re trying to say, and why, and then fucking say it.

Know the purpose, aim your voice, write with vigor and deliberation.

Take command. Be confident. Be willful.

And play, too, to find out how to make it work. Compose and recompose a scene. Go one way with it, then rewrite it another way. Learn to see how intentional changes make for a butterfly effect in the work. Learn the weave and the weft of it. Don’t just go down the river. Put objects in the water, see how fast they move. See if they block the flow or speed it up or break the river in twain.

Write with intentionality.

Try it out.

Let me know how it goes, how it feels, how it works.

Chuck Wendig

 

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! Another wonderful indie author! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Audrey Rich!

Where do you live and write from?

I live and write in Sunny South Florida in the USA but I’m originally from New York City.

Why do you write?

My soul calls me to write and my characters definitely beg for their stories to be written.

When did you start writing?

I’ve always loved to write and put together stories in my head but I earnestly began to write in 2011 after one late night I opened up Word and the words spilled from my fingers. There wasn’t even an inkling that I would choose to become a writer.

But it was an answer to a prayer for a career change that led me to embark on my writing adventure until the moment the characters came to life in my head and the words appeared on the screen and the writing bug burrowed itself into my heart.

What genre(s) do you write?

Currently I write YA, NA, and Dystopian Contemporary Romances as well as Fairytale retellings and I’m co-authoring a Sci-Fi story about aliens with a friend.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Definitely an improviser (pantser) but I can follow someone else’s outline. Depends on what is going on in my life. My debut novel was completed in three months so not too slow but there are times that it takes me forever to write a word.

Tell us about your latest book

My latest book, Queen of Mermaids, is the first of four books, which is Season 2 of the Kingdom of Fairytales series will be released on January 29th 2020.

It’s the after the happily-ever-after of The Little Mermaid. My character is Princess Blaise, daughter of The Little Mermaid and she’s a proud member of the Anti-Mermaid League. The irony of it all.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Indie publishing because despite having an acquiring editor who liked my writing and the plot of my first book, I decided that I wanted complete control of my publishing career. I wouldn’t mind working with a traditional publisher in the future when I would have more control but for now managing my own books and career works for me.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Definitely many projects that need to be polished and written but I believe I will focus on the stories from my YA series that will lead to my NA/adult Contemporary Romances because these characters’ stories need to be written.

I working on the final edits of Igniting Our Love and finish writing Denying Our Love, which are both part of my A Stonehaven High Series.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

My goal is to continue improving how I tell my stories by writing every single day.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

The best piece of advice is to write what your heart and soul call you to write instead of trying to ride the trends that are popular at the moment.

_______________

Find Audrey online

Goodreads

Facebook

Blog

Amazon 

Bookbub

Instagram

Twitter

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote my 10K and I hope to be able to do the same this week and the coming ones, but I have a lot of reading to do. I doubt l’ll be writing much, but l’ll catch up in March.

I got my first three rejections, but also one acceptance, so the year has started well! Soon I’ll tell you everything about this upcoming anthology – as soon as I know more myself!

Did you see the Backstage Pass last Sunday? That’s my hobby, sort of! 😉 I often say that I’m a professional writer and a hobbyist artist, don’t I? And even if you are a writer (or anything else, for that matter), consider a new hobby (if you don’t already have one): it might help your career.

12 free graphic design tools for authors by David Gaughran. I was very impressed by the background removers, I didn’t even know they existed! I’ll keep using my old Photoshop 7.0, but I bookmarked Book Brush and 3D Cover Creator for future use. Or I’ll just keep using the Covervault templates, although my old Photoshop won’t read those files but I have also Photoshop Elements 10, so I can work with that. We’ll see.

Joanna Penn and Orna Ross predictions for the next decade! Listen to the podcast or read the transcript (like I do, LOL!). Looking forward to when AI voices will allow us to have multiple narrators (like, in an anthology, each author has his or her voice)! Not for this year, though! 🙂

Or you can check Smashwords 2019 Year in Review and 2020 Preview as well as Mark Coker’s predictions for 2020… lot of stuff going on, isn’t it? 😉 The future is here, let’s embrace it! 🙂

And it’s the Infinite Bard time again! Go check the new story! And here goes the weekly quote… Have a great week!

Our job is to kick all those stinky ghosts from our training all out of the office, then let our two-year-old who hasn’t been trained yet by all the critical nature of our world out to play on that white screen. The two-year-old lives in all of us.

I call it the creative voice.

And over the years that creative voice has learned story, has learned more writing skills than you can ever imagine consciously that you know. Why? Because that creative voice has been absorbing story almost from day one.

But our critical voice has one job and that is to make up stuff that could go wrong and control the creative voice, not let it use stuff that the critical voice doesn’t yet know. Because that might be dangerous.

So there is a constant battle for most writers starting out. And for early writers, the critical voice always wins.

For long-time professionals, the creative voice always wins.

See the battle there? The path you need to travel?

The creative voice is where all our art lives. And it likes to play. It doesn’t like rules. Have you ever been around a two-year-old child? They challenge everything. Parents’ job to be the critical voice, to train that child in the ways of society.

So one of the best paths to becoming a long-term fiction writer is learn to control the critical voice, shut it out of all writing decisions, and let the creative voice out to play.

Dean Wesley Smith

 

Sunday Surprise


And it’s the first guest of the year! One more for the show! Ladies and gentlemen, please wlecome Wendy Rose Williams!

Where do you live and write from?

Seattle, Washington

Why do you write?

It makes me happy, brings new insights, and helps transmute energy for myself and others. Writing and publishing is an important part of my life purpose.

When did you start writing?

I began writing December 2012 to help process a rapid and profound spiritual awakening. Published my first non-fiction book December 2016.

What genre(s) do you write?

I write metaphysical fiction & non-fiction – books and short stories.

What does your writing routine consist of?

My writing routine varies depending when I have clients and speaking engagements scheduled. I like to do 4-hour afternoon sprints with my writing partner after having morning clients. I love to block off full days and even a week or two for full-time writing as I get deep into the energy. It’s most efficient for me to write in that manner vs. an hour a day. (I’m now self-employed – when I was working a traditional job, writing an hour a day on weekdays and more on weekends worked best.)

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

My strengths are taking complex spiritual topics and presenting them in a straight-forward manner that’s easy-to-understand and relatable for readers. I’ve developed this quality by working closely with test readers and incorporating their feedback. My writing has also improved by reading it aloud as I now record my books as audiobooks.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

My inspiration comes from my own spiritual experiences which I then fictionalize in a series called “The Flow.” The most interesting and universally applicable of my client’s past-life regression sessions form the basis of the “Regression Healing” non-fiction series. (I’m a hypnotherapist specializing in past-life regression, a Certified Spiritual Teacher and Reiki Master energy healer.)

Yes, I include myself in my stories in various roles.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Improviser – slow

Tell us about your latest book
My latest solo book is about a broken-hearted ghost from Colonial America who refuses to go Home for over 300 years, and what it took to get her to the Light.

https://www.amazon.com/Flow-Plimoth-Plantation-prequel-ebook/dp/B07TXXFPXQ

My latest short story, “The War Dog,” is about the unexpected events that occured when I fostered a dog 3 years ago.

https://www.amazon.com/Heaven-Sent-Stories-Touched-Miraculous-ebook/dp/B081ZG5LQC

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

I love being an Indie because I get to determine my product including the content, cover, pricing and timing from start to finish.

I’ve had two short stories published by Transcendent Publishing in multi-author collaborations. “Heaven Sent” was published 12/5/19. It was a great opportunity to have the publisher’s help getting to #1 in 7 categories internationally and to receive 76 reviews in less than a month’s time. I hadn’t known how to do a formal Advance Reader Copy process, how to do Facebook Live on launch day, etc.  All proceeds from the book benefit animal charities.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Yes! I’m excited to complete and share “Regression Healing II: Joe & Marilyn” in 2020.

“A Seattle hypnotherapist turns to past-life regression therapy to resolve puzzling memories that predate her birth. However, when she realizes she’s seeing the world from the point-of-view of Joe DiMaggio, she struggles to accept the famous ball player’s identity as well as the energy flow between them.

The hypnotherapist flounders trying to heal her experiences as the Yankee Clipper until a young woman struggling with overwhelming memories from the same timeline is referred to her for help. Her new client has significant recall from her past life as Marilyn Monroe, including as Joe DiMaggio’s second wife.

The present-day “Joe” recognizes she needs to step to the plate to help them both release the old energy. Can they forgive one another, compounded by the extra heat and scrutiny potential famous past lives are often subjected to?”

But first I’ll be publishing 3 short stories on Kindle:

“Jack’s Journey Home”

“The Car-Whisperer: Trust Your Intuition”

“Ramona Falls: A Path to Forgiveness”

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

To write the truth, to the best of my ability, even when it’s painful to face at times and to share publicly.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Let go of ‘what will other people think,’ and set yourself free. Have FUN with your writing!

_______________________________

Find Wendy online:

https://www.wendyrosewilliams.com/

Facebook

Instagram

 

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


And since it’s Christmas, I shall leave you to your celebrations and only share some words of wisdom, writers on writing or whatever you want to call them. More next year!

17. Never give up. Quitting guarantees failure. Never stop running in the direction of your dreams. Fight for your right to pursue the best career in the universe. Every successful author I know once toiled in obscurity and you will too.

18. Dream big dreams. Be ambitious. Aim high. You are smart. You are capable. You must believe this because if you don’t believe this, you can’t achieve. Salvador Dali once said, “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.”

19. Know that your writing is important. Books are important to the future of humanity and you are the creator of books. That makes you special. It also burdens you with a considerable responsibility. Your writing is unique. No one else can create what you have within you. Your writing is the manifestation of your life, your dreams, your soul and your talent. You are special. Others might think you’re suffering from delusions of grandeur but so what? What do they know? They can’t see inside you. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? Don’t be discouraged if others, including those who love you the most, don’t understand the vision in your head.

20.  Find success and satisfaction in the journey of publishing. Know that the measure of your importance and your contribution to book culture and your contribution to humanity cannot be measured by your sales alone. The moment you reach your first reader, you’ve done your part to change the world and that’s just the beginning, so thank you for everything you do and thank you for taking the time to join me here on the Smart Author Podcast. That concludes episode eight.

Mark Coker

If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
Toni Morrison

You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.
Madeleine L’Engle

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.
E.L. Doctorow

Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.
Louis L’Amour

And a special gift from the Infinite Bard – two free stories instead of one! Happy Holidays, everyone! 🙂

Sunday Surprise


And in spite of the new blog schedule, I won’t give up on sharing words of wisdom, writers on writing or whatever you want to call this. I’ll try not to post them when there’s the Backstage Pass on the other site, so while I fly to London to watch a Bollywood movie and meet friends, I leave you with the usual collection of quotes. Have a great Sunday!

The work, once you’ve released it into the world, no longer has anything to do with us. We create the work, and then send it on its journey, but we do not control the journey—or the reaction to the work.

Our stories cease to be ours the moment someone else reads them.

Our job is to write and release, to create the best stories we possibly can, and to continue to create the best stories we can.
Since we need to eat, we must manage our businesses and our copyrights, so that we get paid for our work. We can control where it goes and who sees it.

But we cannot control how people will react to it. And if they decide they love our work—whether we love that particular story or not—we need to honor that. And if they hate it, we need to make sure we do not let that hatred influence our future work.
The easiest way to do that is to realize that once the work is in the wild, it is no longer ours. It belongs to everyone who reads it, everyone who reacts to it.

Kris Rusch

In this industry, it is true that readers and critics will often look at your work and compare it (negatively) with the best there has ever been. They’ll say, “Yeah, that David Farland is good, but he’s no Tolkien.” If you’re really fortunate, they might even think that (according to their own tastes) you are the best.

But I think that comparing yourself to others can be unhealthy. The truth is, as a writer, I don’t want to be the next Tolkien or Rowling or Shakespeare. I want to be unique—me. Ultimately, that’s all that I ever can be, and so I try to gather as much wisdom as I can from other writers as I struggle to become the best version of me ever.

David Farland

I finally came to the realization that despite the wisdom and good intentions of these publishers, at the end of the day, they can only make an educated guess. The dirty little secret in publishing is that publishers are just throwing spaghetti against the wall. Publishers don’t know what readers want to read. Only readers know that and often, readers don’t even know what they want to read until it comes out of nowhere and smacks them upside the head. I imagine the hundreds of thousands of authors who came before us just like us who stared into this abyss of failure, whose dreams of publication were crushed by publishers. I imagine the millions of books that would die with those authors, unpublished and unread. I imagined the literary masterpieces hidden in those books that would forever be lost to humanity, undiscovered like buried treasure because these writers were never given a chance.

Mark Coker

So right from the start with fiction writing, we are in a battle with the world around us and ourselves. I could spend an entire chapter listing all the crap we all were trained about fiction writing. I did some of it in books called Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing. All of us took in most of that crap in in one form or another.

You know. From things like: “You can’t make a living writing fiction.”

And then there is the big one: “You must rewrite everything.”

(I bet that hit a few belief systems right there. Taught belief systems.)

We all learned chapters full of silly stuff that actually has nothing to do with the creative process in fiction writing.

Dean Wesley Smith

Wouldn’t it be nice? But alas, there are no recipes. We have no Julia Child. Successful professional writers are not withholding mysterious secrets from eager beginners. The only way anybody ever learns to write well is by trying to write well. This usually begins by reading good writing by other people, and writing very badly by yourself, for a long time.

There are “secrets” to making a story work — but they apply only to that particular writer and that particular story. You find out how to make the thing work by working at it — coming back to it, testing it, seeing where it sticks or wobbles or cheats, and figuring out how to make it go where it has to go.

Ursula K. Le Guin

Random Friday


Words of wisdom, writers on writing, just chill and enjoy these quotes!

And the best thing you can do for finding your process is to never be entirely sure that you’ve found your process.
Because once you’re sure, once you’re really for real sure that you’ve figured it out, you’ve closed yourself to change.
I’ve changed my process subtly over time. Sometimes by necessity. Sometimes because I hear how another writer does it and it’s a thing that sounds like it might work for me.
Sometimes the changes aren’t subtle.
(…)
Fiddle with the dials.
Jigger the levers
Stick the egg-beater up your — well, you know.
Change your process. A little here. A lot there.
Whatever makes the work better
Whatever makes you better.
(And happier.)

Chuck Wendig

Be tenacious and thick-skinned

“Anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”

-J.K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Great writers never quit. The writers who make it believe in their work. Believe in yours. Do not quit. You will face hardships and criticism, and it takes a lot of work to learn to accept the fact that not everyone is going to love your work. Take every piece of criticism from whence it comes and an added bucket of salt, and use it as a learning opportunity to make your next book even better. There is success at the end of the sweat and late night coffee number 10, and you’ll never know how much you can achieve if you stop short of giving publishing your very best shot.

Justin Osborn

Writing is hard when you start. You probably won’t have any fans cheering you on. If you’ve got a mother or a spouse who believes in you, count yourself extremely fortunate. Most new writers only get discouragement from their family members.
I once read an article that said that the average writer takes seven years from the time that they begin writing to the time that they begin publishing. Once you begin publishing, it normally takes five to seven more books before you can gain the status of a “lead author” for your publisher—the author who gets most of the hype and publicity during the month that his or her book is released. And after that, it may take years until you actually become an “overnight success” and have a novel top the charts.
There are ways to beat those odds–to publish much more quickly than seven years and to top the charts more quickly, but the truth is that if you are starting out as a writer, you’d better buckle down for the long haul.
So, I would rank persistence as one of the greatest virtues a writer can have.
On that theme, I would like to offer a couple of quotes from other authors. I once heard Dean Wesley Smith say, “When I was trying to break into writing, I felt like I was trying to break down a door by banging my head against it.” Ah, how I know that feeling! But he continued, “Now that I’ve gotten in, I kind of feel like I should make sure that the door is securely locked behind me.”
And the last quote comes from Kevin J. Anderson himself. “People often look at my big contracts with DUNE or STAR WARS or some other project and say, ‘Man, you sure are lucky! I’d love to do that!’ But I find that in my writing, the harder I work, the ‘luckier’ I get.”

David Farland

Critique groups really are invaluable. Except when they’re not. Readers, like reviewers, are going to give you mixed feedback, but there’s a chicken-and-egg conundrum going on here of, “I need critiques to learn to write well, but I need to know how to write well to be able to effectively judge my critiques.” Early on, everyone tells you to get a critique group, and it’s true you need feedback—but you need the right feedback, from the right readers, always balanced with your own artistic judgment, experience, and vision. It takes time to gain all of that.
(…)
So there you have it: an antidote to the relentless urgings to write with abandon, spew words onto the page, hit word count every day, just get that first draft done as fast as you can! You can take your time, build your skills, and write toward your singular vision slowly and in stages. If NaNoWriMo works for you, fabulous. If it doesn’t, fabulous. Like me, you can stink at it year after year and still end up with a bunch of books to your name. Don’t confuse speed for progress, but also don’t make excuses to let yourself off the hook from getting shit done. Often, we writers are like competitors on the Great British Bake Off comparing kitchen gadgets and recipes and proving technique when the only relevant question is, “Is the cake done and does it taste good?”

Fonda Lee

I’m considered a hybrid author. I’ve been with big publishers, smaller e-first presses, and now indie. In my experience, the only certainty with marketing is that the playing field is constantly changing. One year we’re all pushing Yahoo forum groups, then Myspace, now Facebook.
Yes, self-publishing has made it easier to put out a book, but keeping a consistent income in light of industry changes, marketing ups and downs, and what feels like a flooded marketplace can be difficult. There are many things we can’t control.So what’s an author to do when faced with this journey? Having allies to navigate the waters will make flowing with the changes easier.
After being in the ever-changing publishing world for close to 15 years, there is one tried-and-true marketing effort that has remained consistent—networking. I’m not just talking about going to conferences and meeting editors and agents to get those publishing deals. I’m talking about a vast resource of other professionally minded authors.

Michelle M. Pillow

 

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