Today I’m mostly just pondering what to do with my own writing. I mentioned a while back that I’d written a novella. And I really like it. I think it turned out well. But now I’m left wondering what to do about it. I’ve started working on the novel it ties into, but do I just leave it sitting until that’s complete?
Most publishers and agents won’t know what to do with a novella by itself. And it can’t be included in the novel I’m writing, because they’re from different character’s perspectives. But they are tied closely together and I think the novel works a whole lot better with the novella introducing it.
Do I re-write the novella so that it can be included in the novel? Do I hope that someone out there will want both the novella and the full length novel? Do I just scrap it all and call it a trunk novel?
Who knows. I guess that’s what you get when you don’t start writing with publication in mind. I mean, I started the novella not to sell it and make big bucks, but because it was an idea that kept niggling at me and I had the free time and the inclination to keep my mind off the healing holes in my stomach.
I’m not trying to say you should only write for the market. If you do that, you’re always going to be chasing trends. I think you have to set out on your own and have your own ideas, not just recycle the current big thing. But you have to have an idea of what market works for your book. In the same way that you don’t submit horror novels to romance agents and publishers (please tell me you aren’t doing that!), you have to understand who will want what you write.
If no one wants it, except you, that’s fine to. But know how to market your book. My job, in addition to finishing up the novel, is to figure out where a superhero novella can fit. Can it work by itself? Are there publishers or agents who are interested in novellas?
Research, my friends. The internet is your friend. You should ALWAYS do your research before you submit to anyone. Find out what they read, who they represent, what they publish. And most importantly, if your book or novella doesn’t fit in, don’t try and force it. The universe is infinite. Somewhere, there’s probably someplace for what you’ve written.
So that’s my message for the day: Know your niche. Research that niche.
Repeat a million times to yourself (but quietly please - I don’t want your neighbors murdering you).
I turned thirty-nine last week. Honestly, in my life, this stuff passes without a lot of fanfare. (In fact, the night before my birthday, I told my husband he could go out for drinks with a colleague the next day. It wasn’t until after he sent the text saying yes that it hit him that he’d just planned to go drinking on my birthday. He was still a little dumb-founded that I was okay with it.) Anyway, I’m now less than a year away from forty, so I’m going to pretend that qualifies me as an adult with the authority to speak to other adults.
So, to all those writers spread around the internet who are bitching about this, that and the other thing about their careers… Suck it up, Cupcake, you chose this life.Read more
Once you're published, all sorts of wonderful things happen. You start getting reviews, you start hearing good things about your work, and you start gaining fans. There is nothing better than that first fan mail. Knowing you've impacted someone or connected with them through your characters. I always look forward to emails like those. However, there is a flip side to the coin, one that most authors aren't aware of or prepared for.
I'm talking about hate mail.
I started getting these shortly after one of my books with a cliffhanger was published. You'd have thought I killed a kitten. People swore they'd never buy another book of mine. That I was trying to manipulate readers. That I was this evil author who tried to trick them.
None of this is true, but it doesn't mean someone out there won't feel entitled to tell you what they think.
At first I used to respond with a cordial, "I'm sorry my book didn't work for you, thank you for giving it a chance. All My Best," or something like that. Unfortunately the hate mail has gotten worse in recent months, to the point that I've decided it's best not to respond.
In a new digital world where authors rub elbows with those who read their work there is a fine line that can easily be crossed. I think this is only going to become worse as time goes on. Once readers had to visit signings to meet or chat with an author. Now they can do so on social networks or by sending an anonymous email. It's a slippery slope. An author doesn't want people to think they can't take criticism, but at the same time what do you say when someone bashes you on a personal level?
Recently I've read blog posts regarding this issue, and it's baffling. One author even shared that someone threatened her physically over the death of a character in a book. Not good, folks. Not good. With this kind of thing going on, it's only a matter of time before authors take refuge in the only way they can -- by staying off social networks and going into hiding. I hope for both readers and authors this doesn't happen. However, when threats start rolling in, a person has to defend themselves. Even if that means legitimate fans who enjoy talking with their favorite authors on a daily basis suffer as a consequence.
Sometimes I detest social networks, if only for this reason. There is so much animosity floating around right now, and I don't understand it. Authors and readers should have a strong connection, not a fear of each other. Hopefully we'll all find a way to create a balance. After all, without authors, there would be no readers. And without readers, authors wouldn't have anyone to entertain.
That's all for today's blog. I'll see you in a couple of weeks! Happy 2012!
For anyone unaware (or living under a rock and lucky enough to miss my twitter bombs and goodreads spammage), my first YA will be released in 13 days through Mundania. The book was actually bumped up the publication schedule by six weeks, which means I had a helluva lot of editing to do in not a lot of time. At the end of last week, when I got my final in-line notes back from my editor, a red flashing light started pulsing in the back of my brain.
Holy shit, this book’s coming out in two weeks!
Thus began a 48-hour edit-palooza—I worked through the night and even called out of work the following day in order to get the edits done and back my editor ASAP. Was this crazy and insane? Sure. But worth it? Totally. Because I refuse to be THAT author who holds up everybody else that’s counting on me to get my part done.
Around hour 37, my sleep-deprived mind started noticing trends in the types of edits I was making, which went well beyond finding missed periods and quotation marks. So please pardon the parts where it’s likely I fell asleep on my keyboard as I share midnight musings from an edit-fried brain.
I apologize if this post is a repeat - I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while and now I can’t remember whether or not I actually have before. Guess that’s what I get for turning 30 - failing mind and body.
At any rate, I’m here to tell you to write your own damn book.Read more
(I wrote this prior to the recent authors-behaving-badly incidents, and it doesn’t directly deal with that but I think it’s still related. Authors, reviews of your books aren’t for you, they are for readers. Fans, negative reviews of your favorite author’s work shouldn’t matter to you as they don’t negate your ability to still enjoy the work. In conclusion, can’t we all just get along? At least in regard to books and reviews? Please?)
In the past week, I’ve been introduced to a couple self-published books. One is the sort that gives self-pubbed books a bad name. When one can create a variety of drinking games based simply on how often the author utilizes the word “cock” and you haven’t read past the first page, there might be some issues with word repetition.
As often as I discuss the writing process with friends, colleagues, my spouse and so on, I always manage to forget my own advice. So when I recently hit a wall with my work in progress, I banged my head against it for longer than usual, leaving many figurative lumps on my forehead.Read more