Publishing Books Is Like Investing, NOT like winning the lottery.

Publishing books is like investing, NOT like winning the lottery.

Of course, we all wish it was. It would be nice to write your debut novel, see it published, and suddenly it becomes an overnight success, but chances are that’s not going to happen.

Hopefully, what really happens is that you write a book, gain some fans, make some sales, and write another book.

Each book you write is an investment in your future, and your career. When you save for retirement, do you put $100 on a stock and hope it grows to a million? Noooo. You save over time, build on what you have, and diversify your portfolio.

Publishing books is very similar. You have to keep writing books, keeping depositing into your writing portfolio, and keep growing your audience.

I realized this when I released the first two novellas in my Highborn Chronicles a few months ago. My first novel, The Darkness of Light, was starting to slip in sales and I was still months away from releasing the sequel. Then I released The Highborn Chronicles and suddenly sales jumped across the board. I was bringing in new readers that also bought my first book, and my current readers were excited for something to tide them over until The Embers of Light comes out. So the more I write, the more readers find me, and the more my other books sell. The formula is so simple.

Now, like investing, there’s a chance not all of your books will make gains all the time. That’s just the nature of the business. I’ve noticed months where I make a lot of sales, and months (like December) when book sales tend to decline. That doesn’t mean you are a failure, and that doesn’t mean you should quit writing books.

WRITE MORE!

The more you write, the higher the chances that you’ll eventually create that gem that makes the rest of your work soar. If your first book didn’t do so well, write another, change your approach, expand your knowledge of the craft. Giving up means NOT investing. And I think we all know by now that investing in your future is something we all HAVE to do. 😉

Happy writing.

 

 

You Don’t Belong Here

Deadly Ever After

Today’s Brew: Water. I’m setting my alarm for 4 AM and calling it a night

by Kristen

Yes, I am using Running Home’s catch phrase.

You may have noticed I’ve been pretty quiet for the last few months.  Or maybe not.  That’s cool, too.  I could tell you I’ve been busy, and that’s definitely true. I’ve been on two movies back to back, which is something I’ve never done before.  Movie days start well before the sun comes up, and last 12 to 14 hours.  When I get home, if I still remember the English language, I’ll work on book stuff.

But the real reason is, I haven’t felt like I’ve belonged here.

Kristen, you might be thinking, it’s your blog! How can you not belong?  When Julie and I started Deadly Ever After, it was to be about our writing adventures.  For a long time, we travelled the same…

View original post 558 more words

Reinventing Christmas

Christmas is a strange time for me. On one hand it’s my favorite holiday. I frigging LOVE Christmas. But on the other hand it stirs up a lot of emotions that don’t always feel so merry. You see, my husband, Pat, and I are living in Christmas limbo.

We’re too old to be in that whimsical Christmas phase of childhood, but we’re not yet in that generational shift where we become the parents. This will be the fourth Christmas without my mom. Christmas was always her favorite holiday. She loved decorating the house, pulling out all the ancient Christmas decorations, and cooking the biggest Christmas dinner. She was an excellent present giver, and always seemed to know exactly what people wanted. Christmas has never quite been the same without her, and while I’m trying to carry on her traditions, I always feel like something’s missing.

Then there’s the distance. For Pat and I, this will be our second Christmas away from home and away from our families. For the first two years of living in S.C. we braved the trip back to Canada, but after a very dangerous drive in 2012, we decided that risking that trip, or spending a fortune to fly home, doesn’t really put us in the Christmas spirit. Missing family at Christmas is hard, and knowing that those old traditions back home are going on without us isn’t easy.

Last year we started recollecting Christmas decorations, since we left most of ours back home when we moved. Yesterday I pulled them out, and it was nice to see all the things we acquired that will become our new tradition year after year. It’s like we’re rebuilding a holiday routine, and while we’re not quite sure what will stick, we’re having fun trying to figure it out.

Luckily my aunt and uncle live here, so we’re not completely without family during the holidays, and we have an amazing group of friends that invite us into their homes on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. We’ll be doing the same thing we did last year which, I guess, makes this our new tradition.

This weekend I’ll probably break out the Christmas movies. One of my all time favorites is One Magic Christmas.

OneMagicChristmasIt’s a Canadian film that my sister and I used to watch every single Christmas until I moved away. I miss having my sister with me, but I’ll probably call her and she roll her eyes, cause I think she secretly hates that movie and I made her watch it all those years.

Sometimes I get sad watching Christmas movies or listening to Christmas music because of the nostalgic feelings they evoke. I miss the loved ones I’ve lost, I miss the loved ones that live far away, and I miss the periods of time that I didn’t know were precious until they were gone. I think we all have those melancholy moments at Christmas, but it’s all part of growing up, right?

At this point in our lives, Pat and I are our own family, and S.C. is our home. We can either sulk about the things we miss or the things we don’t have, or we can blast Mariah Carey’s ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS, decorate the heck out of our Christmas tree, and make the most of our new Christmas adventures. We’ll have fun with our friends, eat too much food, drink too much of whatever is being served, and eventually we’ll have our own traditions to carry on.

Reinventing Christmas is challenging, but it doesn’t have to be hard. And when I get a moment of sadness, this will always cheer me up! 🙂

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

The only thing I ever learned from critics is that I’m not made of steel.

You never learn anything from critics.

Sometimes inspiration and insight come from the strangest places. Yesterday, none other than Shia LaBeouf turned on a light bulb in my head. I know, right—how strange.

I was reading Dazed and Confused Magazine’s piece on him. It’s a fascinating article about (who I feel) is a young man struggling to find inner balance in the face of personal turmoil, professional mistakes, and fame. I was fascinated as I read the article, but when I came to one simple line: you never learn anything from critics—I was inspired.

In my first year as a published author I’ve experienced criticism first hand. I think every author fears being judged, we’re terrified of bad reviews, and we’re terrified of failure. But we’re brave because we risk facing these things. When someone criticizes us, we take in every word like poison and let it weave its way into our minds so that we doubt ourselves.

We must STOP doing this.

We live in a society full of critics.

Every day we see tabloids cutting up celebrities, FB posts against this or against that, parents criticizing each other, politicians criticizing each other, people criticizing people.

Professional critics aside, the definition of criticism is: The expression of disapproval of something or someone based on perceived faults or mistakes.

Just the word “criticism” guarantees a negative outcome, and even when the criticism is well intentioned, if it’s unwelcome, it offers nothing constructive, what does it do for us? It cuts us down.

In one breath we hear people say: Don’t judge others. And then in the next they have a “criticism” for us. Hmmm…Something isn’t right here.

The only thing I ever learned from critics is that I’m not made of steel.

It’s taken me some time to figure this out, and here’s what I’ve decided: unless I ask for advice, unless I’ve solicited an opinion from a friend, peer, or professional, the criticism I receive does NOT require my intention.

Imagine if we all spent our days listening to what we were doing wrong. Even the toughest person would crack, eventually. Doubt is a sneaky monster, and it feeds off of criticism—in fact—that’s its favorite food. So by paying attention to criticism, you are feeding your doubt, and only hurting yourself.

In the last year I can honestly say that I’ve never learned anything constructive from true criticism. Actually, I think we should scrap the phrase “constructive criticism” from our vernacular altogether. It’s a complete oxymoron. “Constructive” means to build, criticize means to point out faults. Unless it’s advice, it’s main purpose is to tear down.

Sure, I’ve taken advice from those I asked for advice, I’ve grown based on the opinions of those I admire, and respect. But when it comes to true criticism—the kind that tells you nothing but your faults, DON’T LISTEN! DO. NOT. LISTEN.

The Lesson.

Be wary of constantly searching for reviews of your work. Be wary of Googling yourself. Be wary of those who force their opinions (of you) on you without your consent. Be open to advice. Be open to change. Be open to growth. But when that uninvited friend called criticism knocks on your door—slam that damn door shut and don’t even THINK about peeking out the window.

Even as I write this blog, the doubtful voices in my head are screaming at me: But criticism is a valuable tool. We can learn from our critics. We NEED criticism to grow.

Maybe those statements would if be true if we didn’t live in a society where we feel the right to judge each other so harshly and, often, without understanding.

The Solution.

Spend a day listening to your critics and you’ll find yourself deflated. Spend a day listening to your advisers, those whose opinions you value, and you’ll continue to grow.

quote-don-t-mind-criticism-if-it-is-untrue-disregard-it-if-unfair-keep-from-irritation-if-it-is-anonymous-353175

Hi. My name is Kat, and I’m an #Indie author…

Kat Daemon

About two years ago I had a talk with a coworker, as my eyes glazed over with tears. I had just gotten a rejection on a full and it crushed me. My coworker’s advice was, “Just self publish. Isn’t it more important that readers have your work, and you continue to write than you spend another two years querying?”

I rolled my eyes. He didn’t get it.

I dismissed his advice, and got back on the horse. I revised my work. I went to workshops. I made connections. I signed with a small press, who eventually led me astray. I self published that book, to “save it”. I flew down to New Orleans and pitched my work to agents and publishers that included the big five— and got full requests!

I was learning. I was motivated. I was hungry for that contract.

But– I wasn’t writing.

When I’m not writing…

View original post 922 more words

Re: Build Bridges, Not Barricades

Yesterday I came across this post Build Bridges, Not Barricades  It’s an opinion piece about positive collaboration between traditional and indie authors. Unlike my blog post on the same topic, this post took a more positive approach.

“Isn’t it my duty as a self-published author to fly the flag? If I don’t challenge these arguments, aren’t I just letting people go on believing in their old prejudices and misconceptions about self-published books? Yes, I am – because I don’t think that rising to this sort of bait is always the best way to present our case. I prefer a less confrontational approach, one that focuses on the positive. If whether or not you are self or trade published makes no difference amongst authors themselves, what’s left to argue about?”

I feel like this blog was written for me. Who knows, with the amount of people angry with the tone of my last blog, it might have been. Whatever the case, this made me take a step back and reevaluate the message I was trying to convey.

My blog post came across as defensive and judgmental. There was truth to it. But that truth didn’t shine through as positive for everyone, and now I understand why. I was reacting to feeling judged, and in turn, I judged others.

It’s natural for people to become defensive when they feel judged. In my personal life, I try really, really hard not to react to things without considering them first. I try to avoid controversial topics, I try to look at an argument from both sides before I weigh in, and I (usually) wait for my emotions to settle before I react. I’m not always successful in doing these things, but that’s always my intent.

I was approaching a topic I felt strongly about with a defensive attitude when I should have used positive examples of traditional and indie authors working together. I’ve had many such experiences, and I could have used those to bolster my point that we can all get along. Instead, my message drew a line between the two, and that’s where I was wrong.

In her blog post Lucienne Boyce said, “The fact is that to many authors, the divide either doesn’t exist or, if they are aware of it, they don’t view it as negative.”

From now on I’ll adopt this attitude, putting the negativity and bad feelings behind me, and move forward with the people I love to work with and who support me. I should have remembered there’s room for us all and we should celebrate each other, not criticize.

Julie Screeches For Goddamn Antiheroines

YES! Preach, girl. 😉

Deadly Ever After

TODAY’S BREW: The Blood of Thine Enemy

By Julie

I ranted the other day about antiheroes and the total lack of love for the antiheroine in literature. Here you go: http://t.co/gyBhBbte1Z

WELL, I’M NOT DONE YET.

The constant issue of creating the “strong” female character is mindblowing. Never do you hear the phrase “strong male character.” Yet we have to get out the goddamn test tubes and mustache potions to make a female character that doesn’t radiate LOSER. Then we’re left with these tough broads that can kick anyone’s ass with their pinky finger, have this poorly placed sarcastic mouth, and have been hurt by some man but still considers themselves “one of the guys.”

I find this fucking tiresome. Women trying too hard not to be girly girls. This is weakness in my eyes. Any character that feels forced into a role is weak. I’d take an actually weak…

View original post 717 more words

The Indie/Traditional Debate. Can’t We All Just Get Along?

You’re not the cool kid.

If you’re an indie author, I think you’ve figured out by now that we’re the underdogs, the gnats in traditional publishing’s ear, and the ones the traditionally published kids don’t want to sit with in the cafeteria.

I came in to the publishing game with rose colored glasses, a positive attitude, and a love for the supportive writing community I’d found. More than one year later the rose colored glasses are off, and I’m well aware that members of the “community” I loved so very much are often sneering at us behind our backs.

I don’t mean to say all traditional authors minimize the accomplishments of indie authors. There are many who genuinely cheer us on, showcase our books, congratulate us when we have success, and happily share the road with us.

But the judgment of indie authors is everywhere, and it’s getting harder to ignore.

I remember once seeing a tweet from an agent that said something like: Just sent a request and found out the author recently self-published. If only they’d been more patient.

People favorited this tweet and responded with euphemisms about patience, and persistence, when what they really meant was, “You idiot, you self-published when you should have waited for the right agent!”

My first thought when I saw that tweet was, “What if the author is happy with their decision?”

After I self-published The Darkness of Light I got requests from two agents. I had some discussions with these agents, exploring my options, but at no point during those interactions was I kicking myself for not waiting. When I made the decision to be an indie author, I did it wholeheartedly and without looking back. By then I’d already discovered the power I had over my career, the advantage I had over traditional publishing (mainly time and control), and the freedom to do exactly what I wanted.

There are bullies and if you speak up, they’ll target you.

If any of you follow me on twitter, you might recall the event I refer to as “Twittergate”, the day twitter FREAKED out on me. This was the day I realized our writing community was full of piranhas, and trust me—I got chewed up! During a twitter contest I’d observed some things that, I felt, came across as arrogant. I was reacting to the way some authors were criticizing entries with such detail the entrants were sure to know it was their entry being discussed. My reaction came from a place of empathy, not weakness. I wasn’t suggesting they sugarcoat things for authors in their (private) feedback. I wasn’t under the impression that this business is easy. What bothered me was the attitude with which these authors judged their peers.

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” –Abraham Lincoln.

I tweeted my opinion and within one minute my timeline blew up! I couldn’t keep up with the tweets coming at me. Some agreed with me (I got a lot of supportive DMs because people were afraid of the backlash), some respectfully disagreed with me, and many others were downright nasty. I even got a DM from a very well known tweeter who had some particularly offensive things to say to me. She’s lucky I have enough restraint not to out her. Maybe I should have, but I’d rather let her dig her own grave.

Anyway, during the flurry of tweets aimed at me that day, it became clear that the general assumption was that I was a bitter author who’d been rejected by the traditional world and was now taking shots at traditional authors whenever I could.

I have a pretty thick skin. I can take rejection, bad reviews, and harsh critiques. What really got to me that day, and what really made me sad, was the realization that I was an outsider. It didn’t matter that I had a book published and was part of the same community. With The Darkness of Light I worked hard to make sure my book went through the same filters and received the same care as a traditionally published book. But that day, when twitter lost its mind on me, none of that mattered. Because I was an indie author, I wasn’t an author, and my opinion—my voice—was insignificant.

If books are fishes, and Amazon is the ocean, we’re all swimming in it together.

It sometimes seems the traditionally published world is unhappy they have to share space with lowly self-publishers. It must be frustrating to see your book—your edited, beautifully covered, extensively marketed baby— sitting next to something your neighbor’s cousin wrote on a Thursday and uploaded to Amazon on a Friday.

It must drive you insane that all the self-published dino porn books, or books that got rejected so many times the author had no other choice but to self-publish, are sitting in the same waters as your perfect novel. After all, self-published authors are destroying literature, right?

NOT.

There were crappy books long before indie authors stepped onto the scene, and if we all disappeared tomorrow, there would still be crappy books published every single day.

But here’s the thing— indie doesn’t mean crappy. Many of us take a lot of pride in our work. We nurture our books the same way a publishing house would. Sure, we often price our books lower, but that doesn’t mean our work is less valuable. It simply means there are no publishers or agents taking a cut of our work, giving us the ability to price our books competitively.

Let’s face it, while we all want to see our books in bookstores, Amazon is the largest online bookseller in the world. If bookstores are the streams, Amazon is the ocean, and guess what—we’re all swimming in it.

I recently saw an agented (but yet to be published) author call a fellow author’s decision to self-publish “puzzling.” I’ll bet that when the agented author’s book comes out in 2018, there will be even more successful indie authors, and even more hybrid authors swimming in the same ocean with him.

Don’t let them make you feel inferior.

“It matters not what you are thought to be, but what you are.” – Publilius Syrus

As I said earlier, there are many traditional authors who support indie authors and believe in their achievements. As indie authors we are marketing experts, have a network of editors, cover artists, formatters, and bloggers willing to help us create a product we can be proud of. It’s a lot of work to be an indie author, and our traditionally published friends know and respect our efforts.

There will always be the naysayers; the ones who tell you you’re not good enough because you didn’t take the same path that they did. It’s frustrating, and oftentimes, it hurts. But when you come across one of these cynics, don’t take their judgments to heart. Just because they say you’ve settled by becoming indie, doesn’t make it true. If you have readers, your book sells, and you feel good about the career path you’ve chosen, take the high road, because there are plenty of people willing to take the low road.

image12

Being an author IS a job. And it’s the BEST job.

I’m tired of being told (usually in thinly veiled statements) that being an author isn’t a job. Any writer that writes on a full-time or regular part-time basis will shout from the rooftops–IT IS!

One time, not too long ago, I was feeling overwhelmed with the projects I had on the go. I had more than one manuscript in the works, I had lots of editing to do (both for myself and someone else), and I was still trying to navigate the world of author marketing for my published novel. I must have been complaining. I usually don’t mean to. I know I’m incredibly lucky to have the ability to commit my time to fulfilling my dreams. But sometimes, I just need to vent.

So there I was, bitching about all the things I had to do and the little time I had to do them in, and someone reminds me that I don’t have a 9-5, so. . .

Queue ominous music…

cut

I’m well aware that I don’t have a 9-5. Trust me. I know it.

help me i'm poor

So, since I don’t have a 9-5, what do I do? Let’s take today for example. I’ve been up since six am. I threw my hair in a bun, grabbed a coffee, and sat down at my computer. I didn’t have to put on make-up. I didn’t have to drive to work. And I didn’t have to punch a clock. I don’t have a boss standing over my shoulder (since I’m the boss), and I can take a break whenever I want. It’s a pretty sweet deal, really. I’m in the comfort of my own home, working away. But I’m still working! I’m what you’d call–self-employed. 😉

My first order of business for the day was to tackle some editing. I opened one of my manuscripts (one of four that need my immediate attention), and started going through my editor’s notes. It went smoothly for a while. I got through a few chapters until the other “things” started knocking on my brain–have you checked your email? Have you made a post on your FB page so your readers don’t forget about you? Have you tweeted recently?…they say all authors should tweet, you know? Have you tracked your sales over the weekend? Have you blogged? You haven’t blogged enough, that’s part of your job as an author…

So I made another cup of coffee, set aside the editing for a bit and started on the other “things”.

I don’t know about you, but to me, that sounds a heck of a lot of work. But I like it. I don’t for one second think, I wish I was anywhere but here. And I rarely ever get a case of the Mondays.

2014officespace3

But here’s the thing–If I don’t do all the things I’m supposed to do, my career suffers. If I don’t write, I’m not producing a product. If I don’t spend time marketing, no one is going to buy my product. If I don’t network, I won’t have a readership or any connection with my peers.

The definition of a job is:

1- A paid position of regular employment.

2- A task or piece of work, especially one that is paid.

And guess what? Every month I get a paycheck. That’s right. On the same day, every single month, I get a direct deposit into my bank from the royalties of my book sales.
I think that sounds like a job.
But there’s one more, very important, part of this job I haven’t mentioned, and that is TIME. I don’t have a 9-5. When I’m done working for the day, my work is still staring me in the face and pinging on my phone. Again, I’m not complaining. I love what I do. But there is no 9-5 here. Last week, while trying to catch up on “things”, I worked on my laptop from 7 in the morning until 10 at night. Sure, I took breaks here and there, but by the time I was done, I was nearly blind and my back was killing me. 15 hours I worked that day. If I’d been working at an office, or anywhere else, people would say, “You work so hard.” But because I’m a writer, and I get to do exactly what I’ve always wanted to do, I’m not working.
Buffy
Now, I’m relieved to say that most people I know don’t consider my job a mere hobby or a self-indulgent diversion from the conventional standards of earning money. Most people I know say, “I don’t know how you do it. It’s amazing,” which, to me, is a compliment, and validation that I’ve done the right thing by choosing to be a writer.
I feel empathy for those who have to go to a job they hate day in and day out. Not everyone has the means to do exactly what they want. But right now, at this point in my life, I do, and I don’t think what I do for a living should be underestimated in any way. I HAVE a job. What I do is WORK. And for that work, I get PAID.
So when someone suggests that you don’t work because you’re a writer, ignore them, you’ve got too much work to do–even if it doesn’t always look like work. 😉

 

writer-moments1