I am a real sucker for posts that offer writing tips, publishing tips, and the experiences of other authors and bloggers. I’ve shared a number of them on this blog, because some people have genuinely good advice and share their experiences in a very positive and constructive way.
This response to those kind of posts is quite refreshing in its honesty and in its explanations of why those posts can actually be demotivating for some people. I can totally relate to the feeling of disappointment in myself that I haven’t adopted and implemented more of the great advice given by other Indie authors since beginning my own author journey, and to the sense of “exhaustion” at the number of “You Can Do This If You Follow My Formula” posts out there.
It’s true that those hints and tips for success aren’t “one size fits all”, and nor is success. There are many ways to measure success, and we all have individual goals that determine what our own standards or images of success might be.
It is also fair to say that there is so much advice, so many tips, so many things people tell us to do, that it’s simply not possible to try it all out, and we really do need to remain realistic about what advice we are going to take on at any given time.
I do like Daegan’s points about daily and weekly reviews of what has been done or achieved. I actually do this, and it helps me stay on track because I find achieving small goals and milestones along the way incredibly motivating.
I don’t meditate as such, but I do set time aside for quietness and reflection in my daily routine. I wear a lot of hats in my day-to-day life, so taking even just a few minutes when my brain has nothing to do is a vital means of refreshing and resetting my mind at various stages of the day. As an introvert who is often surrounded by people all day long and again at home, that quietness is also how I recharge my energy, so it’s a crucial thing for me to do.
My “takeaway” from this article is that it’s important for each of us to set our own goals, define what sort of “success” we are hoping to achieve, and find what works for us as individuals.
The one thing we should all do is keep striving to make it happen.
I have read so many articles that have a headline similar to:
“If you want to be successful, adopt these 5 habits right away!”
The problem is, the author is always telling me what I should do to be successful as if my success and their success looks exactly the same.
I get so many of these articles telling me about the habits that I should have or my life is clearly falling apart. I’ll admit, many are good and I have certainly tried them.
But what about the author? Are they using all of those tips? Do they really have all of those habits locked down when they had a post a month ago telling me 12 other success tips? I want to know the person behind the word and if it’s actually worth my time.
Maybe I’m small minded and not wired for success, but…
I’m always interested to see how different people react when I tell them I’m a published author. You can never really tell which way it’s going to go.
I’m accustomed to people saying, “Oh, that’s nice” or “Oh, interesting! I’ve never met an author before!”. Some people look at me with pity, others adopt an expression that suggests I have three heads.
I am, I confess, always puzzled by people who say, “I don’t read”. I have absolutely no idea what that kind of existence must be like, so I just smile and nod.
The response I find most confronting, though, is “Oh, you must be rich!”
I have two favourite responses for those people: I either say “Nobody gets rich writing poetry!” or “You don’t become a writer if you’re looking for an easy way to make a buck.” To write really well is hard work. It takes time, commitment, energy and attention to detail – and those things generally don’t see a vast return in cash.
My motivation as a writer doesn’t come from money – if it did, I’d have quit after the first book. Sure, I’d like to sell more books, and be able to quit my job and write full time. That would be great… but it’s not likely to happen anytime soon.
For me, writing is a passion, a drive that I find it almost impossible to resist. When I write something good, I feel fulfilled. When I refine it, edit it, craft it, polish it and finally publish it, it’s both exciting and immensely satisfying.
The real thrill comes when a reader responds positively to my work, especially my poetry. To know someone has enjoyed one of my stories or been touched by one of my poems is the best feeling because that doesn’t happen accidentally.
This post by Sara Wolf, which I found on Ryan Lanz’s blog, addresses the issue of the vast differences between what the majority and the minority of authors earn. It’s a well-written article with a message that comes as no surprise to me or any other Indie author.
Most authors aren’t rich. Some manage to make a living. Only a very small percentage make it into the big league and get rich and super famous.
It is a frequent occurrence in the news to hear about authors cutting multi-million (or even billion) dollar book or movie deals. Famous examples of ridiculously successful authors, such as J.K. Rowling, E. L. James, and Stephen King, often lead people to think that becoming an author will undoubtedly lead to an equally as lucrative outcome. However, it turns out that the average author makes much, much less.
They say having an email list is crucial for an author. It’s the one sure-fire way to reach your readers.
I am clearly the exception to that rule.
Either I really suck at creating newsletters, or my subscribers signed up for the wrong list. It’s why I am very reluctant to send out newsletters now.
When I send emails with other people’s books in them, my subscribers click through to those books.
Do they click through to mine? Nope.
And sadly, I get as many clicks to unsubscribe as I do on the links in my newsletter.
It really is quite depressing.
Yet I don’t do anything different than any of the dozens of authors whose newsletters I receive. Well, that part isn’t strictly true:
I don’t spam my books repeatedly. I don’t email every week, let alone every day or two, like some do. I don’t use high pressure sales pitches. I don’t beg, and I don’t whine. I don’t even include only my own content. I always share other books and bookish events that readers might be interested in.
I have observed all those things happening in various different authors’ newsletters at different times, and have always tried to avoid doing anything I have found off-putting.
Honestly? I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but I appear to be doing it consistently.
I do suspect that maybe newsletter writing is not for me. I’ve given it a fair crack and it hasn’t been at all well received.
The reference to Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in the title of ‘A Rose By Any Other Name’ is blatantly obvious.
The irony is that ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is probably my least favourite play from among Shakespeare’s works. As I often explain to my students who think it’s romantic and all about love, it’s really not. It’s a tragedy that demonstrates what happens when people do stupid things on impulse and don’t stop to think about the consequences of their actions.
They’re teenagers. They met on Sunday, and by Thursday, they’re dead.
And, as Shakespeare points out in the epilogue, they end up that way because their families both prioritise their stupid feud over the happiness and the future of their children. How much more like a badly plotted teenage soap opera could it be?
It’s more of an anti-Romance, if you ask me. They’re not in love, they’re infatuated. Romeo really is quite an idiot, and as for fickle… how quickly did he forget his passion for Rosaline the moment he met Juliet? If you ask me, Rosaline dodged a bullet – or a dagger, or a vial of poison, there.
To be fair, the fault isn’t Shakespeare’s. He based his play on an old story that was very popular back in the day, which was a brilliant marketing move. The other factor that made his play such a hit was the beauty of the language with which it is written. There’s nothing at all wrong with the writing: it’s magnificent. Nothing can convince me otherwise. If anyone could give a story about two silly teenagers from equally silly families another 600 years plus in terms of longevity, he was the man for the job.
So, is it odd that I’ve used ‘Romeo and Juliet’ as one of the starting points of my story? Not really, because I wanted my story to be something of an anti-Romance, too.
‘A Rose By Any Other Name’ draws on ‘Romeo and Juliet’, and on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale of ‘Rapunzel’ as starting points, then twists and tangles them together to create a mashup of the two stories with a very different ending. Romeo is still an idiot, it still ends in tragedy… but it’s a completely new story. It’s medieval fantasy, laced with faint traces of my subversive sense of humour.
I like to think of it as the story that Shakespeare and the Brothers Grimm never told. But I bet if they’d thought of it, they would have.
It is easy for an Indie author to become discouraged by the challenges that come from various sources. It’s a tough gig sometimes, especially for someone who is new to the world of self-publishing.
So how do we develop and maintain a thriving and motivated Indie author community that we all want to be part of?
These are the key behaviours we need to adopt and make regular habits:
Encourage each otherRead each other’s work
Give honest, constructive feedbackHelp each other achieve excellence
Share each other’s work and social media posts
Be professional about every phase of the writing, editing, publishing and marketing process.
Be free and liberal with sharing insights, experience and knowledge that will help those who are new to our community.
How do I know these things work?
The more time you spend in the community, the clearer the divide between those who do them and those who don’t.
Those Indies who already do these things consistently demonstrate that they are are the most engaged, motivated and productive authors. They are positive and proactive.
Most significantly, they express joy in doing these things. You can’t fake or manufacture that.
Those who don’t support others are more likely to express jealousy and resentment in response to the success of others. They are more likely to be critical and competitive.
And those who adopt the “success at any cost” will be far more likely to turn to less ethical avenues of advancement. It is from this small, murky pool that those willing to cheat the system will emerge.
All in all, that doesn’t seem like much of a choice to me. I want my books to sell because they are good, not because I am pretending to be something I am not.
Another dark February day dawns and we continue our daily dose of hellish horror with author of dark fiction, Kris Weeks.
Kris Weeks has been writing since she was young with many of her stories published in Hustler Magazine. As well as writing together with her husband, horror writer TJ Weeks, she has published quite a few standalone horrors. She loves writing about crazy women who have the urge to kill yet live normal lives.
Which horror genre do you write in ?
Why do you write horror? Tell us about your horror journey?
I started writing erotica as a teenager and had numerous stories published in Hustler magazine. I quit writing for a long time until I met my husband. Once he realized I liked to write as he does, we began to write together and I began writing my own style of…
Joanne is an Australian writer of horror, poetry, and occasionally fantasy stories. Her tag line is ‘Poetry with soul. Horror with none.”
She lives near Warrnambool in regional Victoria, Australia, with her husband and two furbabies. She spends four days a week teaching senior high school English, History and Drama/Production. She is an active member and performer in Camperdown Theatre Company. Her hobbies include reading, music, travel and photography.
Joanne loves travelling, and has visited many places in Australia as well as holidaying in New Zealand, Fiji, the USA and Canada at different times. Other than Australia, eastern Canada is her favourite place in the world, and she’s proud to have been adopted as an ‘honorary Canadian’.
Joanne is the author of thought-provoking and profound poetry, horror and short stories. She has won a number of awards for her books ‘New Horizons’, ‘Nova’ and ‘The Silver Feather’.
Joanne writes horror with a strong element of poetic justice, especially those stories that focus on Friday, a magical black cat with a devilishly strong sense of right and wrong. Other stories explore various types of horror – fright, the unexplained, fear of the unknown, and the macabre.
The Silver Feather
A graveyard. A talisman. A confrontation with evil personified.
When Phil loses the girl he loves, life as he knows it comes to a screeching halt. Little does he realise that there is so much more yet to be lost.
A haunting, macabre tale that will please all lovers of horror and dark fiction.
Reader Review: ” A delightful tale that begins in the prosaic world of unrequited high school romance, only to suddenly veer into a shadowed realm of loss, violence and evil. Van Leerdam’s writing is crisp and insightful, her protagonist achingly real, and I guarantee you will devour this dark confection in a single sitting. Highly recommended.” on Amazon
Lac du Mort and Other Stories
From the macabre to the deeply disturbing, Lac Du Mort and Other Stories delivers eight chilling tales that will please lovers of horror and dark fiction.
These macabre tales that will make you look over your shoulder at moments you never expected to.
Reader Review: “Well written, fresh horror grabbing at the reader from a the first story. A few tales stab at the mind, some tear away at blood and bone. We get one visit to hell. I am a fan.” on Amazon
Stories about a magical black cat, superstition and strange events. Friday is a black cat with a lucky habit of being present when curious things take place.He’s highly intelligent, fiercely loyal and devilishly handsome.
Curious Things delivers thirteen stories of people encountering justice for their wrongdoings, all as Friday watches on. Is he responsible? Or is it just lucky coincidence that he is present when these strange events take place?
If you’ve ever wished for karma to move a little faster, indulged in uncharitable thoughts about certain annoying people, or suspected that having a black cat cross your path was not quite as unlucky as people seem to think, this book is for you.
Reader Review: “Vengeance may be sweet—but, meting out justice vigilante-style just isn’t practical. Then along comes Friday, a black cat whose intelligence and curiosity gets the better of those who deserve their just desserts. Obvious or implied, Friday shows up where the wrath of Biblical justice is called for. And, it’s so gratifying to watch the gruesome details unfold!” on Amazon
I always feel a little naked when asked to talk about myself. So let me put something on first. Ahhhh, that’s better. So they call me The Queen of Scream. If you’ve read any of my work, you know it is a well-earned moniker.
I live near Annapolis, Maryland in a town called Bowie with my boyfriend, Tim. That places me halfway between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD.
My Supernatural Horror Crime Thriller books in The Devil’s Due Collection take place in these metro areas so anyone who lives here will recognize some of the locations. I also have a Paranormal Romance/Ghost series – An OBX Haunting – that takes place in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
I’ve had many interesting things happen to me along my life’s path. The first President Bush gave me a shoulder/back rub when I was visiting the compound in Maine one hot August. I went to church with Princess Diana and Prince Charles. I’ve been to Las Vegas to play competitive pool in the APA World Championship.
I won’t share all of my adventures. Where would the mystery be if I expose all?
I would consider myself to be a fair and giving person who loves hard. I am nice, but if you do me wrong, I will never forget. I may forgive, just to get past it, but you will never get close to me again. I am loyal to a fault. I’m into shoes and purses, they have their own room here.And now I am naked again.
Suzi writes Supernatural Horror Crime Thrillers. Her novels are psychologically scary. She utilizes everyday characters who find themselves tangled up in horrible situations that seem inescapable. She likes her characters to have intense personal relationships that complicate their situations.
Death Most Wicked
Mikael was six years old when he learned his father was a murderer.His mother, Sofia, knew there was more to it. Her husband wasn’t just a murderer, no, he was fiendish. She tried to shield Mikael from his father’s savage deeds. But when she discovered her husband, Dimitry Ivanovitch, had demonic plans for their son, she made a decision that would prove deadly if she were caught. In the dead of night, she snatched her son from his bed and fled to the safety of America. There, no longer living in fear, Mikael grew up and became a decorated homicide detective. Sofia, however, kept constant watch for signs that her husband had located them.
One hot August day, Mikael is assigned a string of kidnapping/murders of young girls. Soon another body turns up, and then another. With no suspects and no clues, the pressure proves too great for Mikael’s partner who commits suicide. Just when Mikael thinks things cannot get any worse, his father tracks him down. And now Ivanovitch is deeply involved with the Devil. He attempts to lure Mikael into his cult by dangling the name of the murderer in front of him. But the name comes with a steep price tag. Can Mikael escape his father’s clutches again? Or will he choose a fate worse than death to save the next little girl?
If you like sagas such as The Godfather and Goodfellas because of their heart-pounding action, and any of Stephen King’s books for thrilling terror, this book will have you turning pages all night long. Don’t miss out on Death Most Wicked.
The Devil’s Lieutenant
A night at the local bar proves deadly for three friends when they fail to notice the rotting stink of evil coming from the far corner of the room.
Brothers Jake and Bobby Holyfield along with Max Wilson catch the eye of Dimitry Ivanovitch, the Devil’s right-hand man who is seeking victims for his Satanic cult. With one phone call, he discovers that Max is chronically unemployed and desperate for money. And that Bobby has an insatiable fiancé who is cheating on him, however Jake has no weaknesses or secrets. Ivanovitch sets out to take the souls of all three but realizes Jake’s will be harder to steal.
Meanwhile, Jake is promoted to homicide detective. His first case is a perplexing one that appears unsolvable. Around the same time, Jake hears that Max is suddenly flush with unexplained money. Jake fears that Max has taken a dark turn. And then Jake gets unexpected help from an angel and another detective who contacts him with intel that is crucial to not only his case but to the survival of humanity. However, now Jake’s worse fears are confirmed. Will Ivanovitch succeed in stealing Max and Bobby’s souls? Will he turn a good cop bad? Or will Jake rise up and save everyone?
The Devil’s Lieutenant reads like a mish-mash of the best scenes from the Godfather saga and the Exorcist. It is not your mama’s lullaby. Pick it up, and you will be reading far into the night. The Devil’s Lieutenant is Book 2 in the Devil’s Due Collection.
Today, I woke up in another man’s coffin, under some poor soul’s limp body. It is so dark in here, but God help me, I think I know whose body it is.
This can’t be happening. Not now. I mean come on, I may be a short, balding guy with a thick waistline, but I’ve also got pockets full of money. Sure, most of it is family money, my wife’s family but it’s in my pockets. This is the time of my life, for crap’s sake. Can this really be happening? I swear when I was dragged up to the coffin, I saw my dead father-in-law in the corner of the room, his fingers crusted with dirt and dried roses from digging himself out of his grave. And he was clutching that damned contract he made me sign in my own blood.
Maybe fear is causing me to hallucinate but I think that monster, Royce, cut off my thumb before slamming the lid shut. I must be bleeding but I can’t lift my arm to check. Oh my God, the furnace just fired up. It’s rocking my coffin. My head was spinning from the drugs, but I know my formerly loving wife helped shove my body into this cramped chariot to hell. Surely, she’s just punishing me for my indiscretion with the lovely Karina. She’s going to come back and let me out with a reprimand, right? Wait a minute… is that crackling I hear? My toes are burning.
If you enjoy Twilight Zone-like books, you will enjoy Scorn Kills. And if snarky characters, ironic circumstances, and horror are your thing, this book will keep you enthralled, page after page. One reviewer has even asked, “how can a book so funny be so frightening?” This is a “can’t resist reading it” book.
Lucretia Stanhope is the award-winning author of The Elemental Witch Trials series, featuring witches and vampires in an eternal struggle for power. She also writes horror, and paranormal romance.
Lucretia writes the full range of horror from comedy (Rather Be Fishing) to extreme (God’s Teeth) and have even dipped into erotic horror (Beating Hearts). Her fantasy series, The Elemental Witch Trials and more so the Paranormal Peacekeepers have horror elements. She finds that she just can’t seem to leave that aspect out of her writing entirely. Especially hearts, ripping them out, chewing on them… you know, romantic stuff.
Rather Be Fishing
No matter what the options are, Mike, a rough-tongued, reclusive southerner, with little patience for people, would rather be fishing. Every time he puts his hand on his rod, the phone rings with a new job to exterminate a monster.
‘Rather Be Fishing’ follows Mike on nine such delays as he battles a range of challenging creatures. His clients find themselves plagued by everything from well-known foes like vampires and werewolves, to more rare nuisances, like moss men and chupacabra. Adding to his headaches are the not-so-supernatural clients he needs to deal with in order to get a free day on the lake.
Why are werewolves going missing? When a frustrated alpha requests the aid of the Paranormal Peacekeepers, a new partnership is formed. Alice and Amarok are assigned to get in and get answers before the pack problems bleed into the lives of the townspeople.
Prisoner or ambassador? As a hybrid, Alice is still struggling with what her place is at the Paranormal Peacekeepers when she is assigned her first mission and given her permanent partner. Before she can find out who is responsible for the missing werewolves, she has to commit to the job and ignore the voice in her head telling her use the mission as a chance to escape.
Loyal ambassador and former member of the para-military. Amarok is still broken from the death of his partner when he is assigned to work with new recruit, Alice. While he will vet her, and make sure she is safely returned to the Paranormal Peacekeepers, the bond of partnership means something to him that blurs the lines of following orders.
The mission takes them to emotional places they never imagined and tests the limits of their supernatural abilities. To solve the mystery of where the werewolves have gone they will need to redefine themselves and come together as a team.
What if Dorothy was a necromancer and the land of Oz wasn’t so wonderful? This is dark comedy re-imagining of a beloved classic. It is a horror short, with violence and foul language.
WordyNerdBird’s note: I have read NecrOzmancy, both books in the Paranormal Detectives series, and am currently up to book 9 in the Elemental Witch Trials series. I really enjoy Stanhope’s original and compelling stories and the great writing with which they are delivered.
Today’s featured author is Lily Lamb, who also writes as A. Drew.
Lily is a Turkish-Australian multi-genre Indie author. She works as a nurse by day where she feeds her soul by caring for others. At night she tends to her imaginative alter-ego by writing tales involving love, passion, mystery, and horror.
Lily’s stories like “The Awakening” oozes hope and empathy for the future of humanity. Carefully crafted with raw realism surrounding family trauma and dynamics whilst incorporating the draw of supernatural events, giving rise to a unique horror. The story is sensitively sprinkled with elements of horror, tempered with the tenderness and longing of a youth’s search for his own identity. Like all great stories, there is a twist in it, concealed from the reader until the very end. An engaging read, touching upon social issues in a modern world.
The Dowling House (Dark Terror Series 1)
Since 1954, the Dowling House remained unoccupied until George and Melissa purchased it, hoping to renovate it for a profit. Their dream for a new lucrative business encounters a few challenges, but they can be easily overcome….or can they? Join George and Melissa on their amazing journey into the supernatural, but be warned, it is very engaging and you might not get out alive.
The Awakening: Prequel to Dowling House (Dark Terror Book 2)
A near-fatal incident stirs an awakening of an adolescent’s ability to connect with entities from the deep and dark hidden world, that which is beyond our natural awareness. A world of lost souls, both good and bad, all trying to reach out to the boy now that they are aware of his surreal capability. Coming to terms with his psychic ability that he neither asked for nor knew how to wield, he is unwittingly drawn into solving a grisly mystery from beyond the grave. This will become the greatest test of his faith in himself. Will he survive? #Supernatural #Thiriller #Horror
Born Into Chaos
Many centuries ago, he was born into a chaotic world and was shunned by Gods and Mortals. Shunned by the gods and the humans because of his lineage. He lived in isolation and filled with shame. As his resentment grew he no longer cared for anyone but lived by his own rules.
One night, a feeling of wonderment reached every cell of his being. He didn’t understand his elation, until he sensed the gentle beat which beckoned him…giving him the will to wake up from a deep sleep. He sensed it was his last chance at redemption. It would lead to a deceptive fight for his sanity and future. Living has never been more deadly and costly… or fulfilling.
Born Into Chaos is a dark fantasy story, sprinkled with horror.
WordyNerdBird’s note: I’ve read all of Lily’s books, and thoroughly enjoyed them. Her story lines are original, her characters are relatable and realistic, and each of the books provides a great horror/dark read. They come highly recommended!