Wordy Wonderland

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How to Become a Famous Author

And Other Misleading Blog Titles

Warning: No mysteries will be revealed. This is mostly contemplation.

My ponderings don’t even dwell on the big-name authors like Steven King, JRR Martin, JK Rowling, etc. But within niche and smaller genres, how do authors become popular/famous/well-known? Whether they deserve it or not is another story, but authors are out there being well-known and purchased. How do they do it?

I’ll be honest, I think a chunk of it is luck. I’m not saying the famous author are hacks, but I also don’t believe that there aren’t other, possibly more worthy, authors out there who never make it big. (No, I do not think I’m one of them 😉 But I think there are definite steps to take to “make it big”:

  1. Write. I know, duh. But the trick is to write. Maybe not every day (that doesn’t work for everyone) but find a schedule or a goal and write. If you aren’t producing stuff, it’s really hard to get stuff published. Along those lines, keep to a set number of projects, and don’t start any others until those are finished. This may be aimed at me, most of all, because I get distracted easily. But that means a lot of stories end up half-finished and nothing becomes of them.
  2. Get out there. Talk to people on social media. Do blog posts. Make friends. Network. It’s an ugly, boring, (hated) word, but it’s important. Obviously you want to be genuine, but just being present (responding to people’s posts, making your own) creates an identity. Something for people to say “Hey, I like so-and-so, I think I’ll check out their next book.” Plus if you get a following, you can get the word out about new books. (Note to self…do this.)
  3. Have a watchful eye. This is sort of related to #2, but watch who is growing in ranks and see what they’ve done. Watch patterns in which titles/stories are popular and write there if you can. Note new publishers (if you’re not aiming for the big ones) and see what they offer you and if it’d be worth spreading your wings and possibly getting a new audience. (Not that you should just dump an old publisher if they’ve been good to you. But it doesn’t hurt to look.)
  4. Keep at it. Don’t lose heart. Yes, only five people bought a copy of your book, and you happen to know one of them was your mother, but if this is your passion, keep at it. You should be writing because you love it, not for the money. Yes, money would be a great end goal, but unless you’re earning your keep this way, remember that you started down this path because it’s your passion. Let the stories out and don’t be disheartened.

That’s all I’ve got. I know, nothing groundbreaking. Maybe I should have called this, “A Letter From the Author to Herself.”


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A Week of Contemplation

I’ve been recuperating from my rush to get my reading edits done and preparing for edits from my editor (which haven’t come in yet), so this week I took it fairly easy. Watched some TV (my friend turned me on to this anime called Love Stage, which is like super cute and hilarious, especially if you’re familiar with boys’ love manga), but mostly did some reading. And thinking.

Since the beginning of the year has been so hectic, my writing and editing has felt less fun and more…like a chore. And that’s not what I want it to be at all. Don’t get me wrong, I love polishing my stories to be the best that they can be! I want to see them pretty and send them out into the world. But I also wonder if I’ll hit a point where the fun is outweighed by the work. I think that would make me write boring stories, and I don’t want to do that to my readers.

So I’m starting to thin about putting out my stories through posting forums (fictionpress.com is the only one I know off-hand, feel free to rec others!) or do some sort of free/self-pub through SmashWords. Publishing through SmashWords seems like it’d be more work intensive, so that’s not likely to happen, but if I can figure out a way to make it work for minimal effort, I may go for it.

I guess I’ve just hit that part of my life where I’m re-evaluating things.

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Surprise, it’s Sunday!

I was a bit thrown off when Sunday arrived this week. Things have been crazy around here–and I can’t even say with what. I just go to work, come home, and then the day is done! I’d blame winter, but with the days SLOWLY getting longer, I can’t really set it all on that.

I know part of it is that I’ve been watching a lot of TV. Last week was super bad for me, so I was using TV pretty much to decompress and not think about all the things I needed to do (or else the weather was keeping me from doing things).

Except once I was feeling better, I just…kept watching TV. It was so wonderfully mindless! But if I’m watching TV, I can’t write or edit, so…

I JUST finished edits on my 1880s Western werewolf story. Part of that was because it needed serious edits, and part of that was just being a slacker. So now the month is half over and I’ve not started as much as I planned.

I have cut out TV again–or at least limited it to AFTER I’ve gotten some things done. It’s a reward rather than a thing to do when bored.

And I got word that I should be expecting my edits soon, which also means I need to fill out all the fun stuff with covers and marketing and so forth! So “Growing Strong” is moving along (although I’m not wild about the title).

Okay, that’s all I’ve got for this update!


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Happy New Year!

I’m only a little late, right?

I hope everyone had a good holiday and new year. Mine was rather hectic, as the family got sick, and sick, and sick. And then I got sick, sick, sick! It was nice to have the time off from work in order to recuperate, but it sure would have been more fun to be able to leave the house!

My writing has hit a bit of a speed bump, both because life has been busy and because I have too many ideas. I know this is a thing authors go through, where there a thousand good ideas, but we have to decide which one is good enough to be built into a book. Which ones are strong enough to be stretched and developed. And then we have to go develop them.

I find that I’ll be working on developing one idea, and then another pokes at me until I start paying attention to it. And then I go off…

Well, you see where this is going.

One goal for this year is to stop doing that. To jump on a project, chew it until it’s done, then send it off (to beta readers or publishers or whatever) and move on. Otherwise I’m going to end up with a million started projects that I want to “get back to” and one finished project.

My one plan for following through with this is to keep a list of story ideas that come upon me. Hopefully then the story will sit quietly and wait for me to finish my current project, then I can go back to it, review to see if it’s worthwhile, and move from there.

Anyone have any other suggestions on how not to get “oh shiny” syndrome?

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Would you rather….

Saw this over at Words Read and Written and it sounded like a fun thing!

Would you rather read trilogies or stand-alones?

Stand-alones. HOWEVER, I do love stories that all take place in the same world, like Trowchester Blues, Bluewater Bay, Kim Dare’s Birds series, Tucker Springs, etc. They all stand alone, but they all tie in together too!

Would you rather read only male or female authors?

I don’t care. If all female authors or all male authors were to vanish from the Earth, I’d probably want the female authors to stick around, only because that’s who mainly writes in my preferred genre.

Would you rather shop at Barnes & Noble or Amazon?

If we’re just comparing ebooks…I guess Amazon, though I prefer to buy direct from the publisher for smaller houses 🙂 That way the author gets more money!

Would you rather books were made into TV shows or movies?

Movies for stand-alones, but TV shows for series. Stand-alones as a TV show would probably just be waaaay too much space for the creators to fill.

Would you rather read only 5 pages per day or 5 books per week?

I’d LOVE to read 5 books per week. But realistically it’s going to be 5 pages per day…

Would you rather be a professional author or reviewer?

Professional author. Reviewing is fun, but I feel like I’m saying the same thing again and again after a while.

Would you rather be a librarian or a book seller?

Librarian. I’m too quiet to be a good book seller!

Would you rather read only your favourite genre or every genre but your favourite?

Lately I’ve been reading nothing but my favorite genre, so I’d probably go with that, although there would be books I’d miss reading!

Would you rather read only e-books or physical books?

Ebooks. 1. space reasons 2. always have it on me 3. they’re actually easier to read while lying down, which is how I do most of my reading!

How about you? Feel free to answer some or all of the questions above in the comments!

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Venturing out

I know, I’ve been quiet.

I’ve mostly been busy with non-writing things, so I don’t want to bore you. But I did start attending a local writer’s group that my previous boss got into and when I left that company, he invited me to come (he’d invited me previously, but it felt odd to see him outside of work like that).

It’s a small group. And I’m in a small town. The group in general seems nice, but on my first night, one of the older gents, in response to hearing about queer literature, said, “What next, romance books for dogs?” Everyone else seemed a little horrified by it, so I take heart there. But I’m also pretty tentative on what I take now.

I mean, I wasn’t planning on taking hot sex scenes, but…

Also, After listening to some readings, romance feels so much else literature than what they write. I know romance can be great literature (with depths, blah blah blah), but I’m super nervous.

Thankfully, they only meet twice a month (one meeting is line/copy edits, one meeting is developmental), so I have a month to figure my shit out. And get over my nerves. Oi!

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Not Dead, Just Flat

I’m working on the second read of my story, which doesn’t sound as good as I remember, but hopefully editing will fix that up.

I’ve also been wasting time getting used to some major life changes and trying to adjust to working from home, having more (and different) free time, and those sorts of things. The weirdest thing is I get less done when I have more time. [Yeah, I’m one of those people.] So I’m working on that.

I have a vague kind of hope that I can submit my cowboy by the end of the month…to a beta reader at least, but maybe to a publisher. Of course, that means I need to start thinking about my next piece 🙂