Is it really Monday again? Did I really not put up a single blog post in a week? I guess that's two yeses.
I'm such a slacker! (That's me in the picture!)
Lately I've had that overwhelmed and underachieving feeling. I get it every now and then and I can't quite shake it off. Sadly it doesn't spur me on to do more it just kind of immobilises me.
Little things and good intentions slip by unattended to, unfulfilled. Opportunities are squandered.
It is very annoying.
Maybe it is because the sun is finally out, after an insanely wet winter, but I feel like I started shaking that off again over the weekend. I made a few plans for myself. Plans that don't require me to work in with others and that I can quietly look forward to.
I'm a planner by nature, but I'm married to the man least likely to make a plan. His grave stone could read "Here he lies, he didn't plan to die."
Don't get me wrong I like to be spontaneous but I also like some structure. A girlfriend and I say we like "organised spontaneity". I'm happy to go off on a whim but damned if I don't want to take the bus schedule, some snacks, bandaid, some ibuprofen and a jacket just in case.
Putting a few plans in place both for my work life, my writing and my home life help.
Meanwhile I'm plugging away at Book 2 in the Upper Crust Series and deciding which book to write for NaNoWriMo in November. It will either be Book 3 in the series or the sequel to Mr Right and Other Mongrels (if you have an opnion, do let me know).
This song is very much the soundtrack in my mind at least for Book 2 in the series. So it's today's Musical Monday offering. And it really is a beautiful song.
I wish that being an author was as easy as writing a book. That is not to say that writing a book is easy at all, because truthfully it isn’t. How many people have you heard say “I have a great idea for a book” or “I’m going to write a book one day”? How many of those people actually write the book? Not many.
That’s not the point. If you want to write a book then you sit down and you write it. It might take you years, or even a lifetime, but in the 21st Century that is the easy part.
These days you need to be a marketing expert to be an author, and it doesn’t matter if you are traditionally published or indie, you still need some marketing chops.
You need to understand branding, author platforms, SEO, blogging, Tumbler, Twitter and Facebook to name but a few things. You need to be able to set up a website and a mailing list and perhaps even a Street Team. And algorithms – they’re going to come up a lot in conversations. (If you’re anything like me you didn’t become an author because you’re into algebra so yeah, what is an algorithm again?) It’s a lot to take in.
You may not use all this information but you need to absorb it at the outset so that you can then decide which bits are for you and which bits you are going to run away from screaming. You don’t have to do it all but you do probably need to choose what you do wisely.
And here’s the really super annoying thing. Just when you think you have it sorted, the rules will change.
Here’s an example. When I published my first novel Mr Right and Other Mongrels back in May 2012 it was quite a thing to get people to tag your book on Amazon and to like those tags. I’d tag it as chicklit or fantasy or horror and then others liked/agree that the book was indeed in that category. That helped people find your book (visibility) in the Amazon shop. Yeah, that system doesn’t exist anymore. Hours wasted.
Want another one? I have around 850 people who have liked my Facebook Author Page. That did not happen overnight and it did not happen by accident. That took a whole strategy. That took hours of time. I’m going to presume that at least half those people might have wanted to see what I posted from time to time. In 2014 Facebook has moved the goalposts. Now a mere handful of those people who signed up and said they were interested in my books and ramblings about coffee see my posts. You probably don’t see them most of the time. Now Facebook wants me to pay to send this information to people. And even then it doesn’t reach most of them.
How did I know I needed to tag books? How did I know I needed a Facebook Author page? The internet. And how did I learn I needed to relearn this stuff, the same way.
When I published my first book as an indie author I knew exactly NO ONE in real life, who had gone the indie route. I was alone in a big, book-filled universe flailing about for answers. I did pretty well considering.
I found Facebook Groups to join who have given me advice and helped promote my books. I got myself on Twitter and learned the dos and don’ts of negotiating that space. I have a blog and I know about Price Pulsing as well. (It sounds quite sexy but it’s not.) I have finally got my butt in gear and I have a newsletter mailing list – man I wish I’d gotten onto that before Facebook changed things up.
It’s tiring for authors these days. Lots of us are sweet, introverted people who like to read and drink beverages of the hot and cold varieties while chatting about said books. We can’t so mostly, they’re just like me and they keep pushing forward and adapting to the changes.
I’m glad the internet is there to help me. Being a writer isn’t the lonely and isolated pursuit of sitting in a garret it used to be. Though, I will say, despite the success stories you read about (again more than likely on the internet) most authors, both indie and traditional, still struggle to make money.
Some days I would prefer a return to the old days and but most days I take off my luddite hat and embrace the new opportunities out there.
Usually when I talk about my books I alwyas say, the main caharcetr is nothing like me but we have something in common.
That's not true for Piper from Any Way You Slice It and I. well, we are both Australian and we do both have redhair but I'm not sure that's enough to claim a kinship.
The idea for this novella came about when I read a popular romance novel with a marriage of convenience in it and it made me really annoyed. In the book the main character went from a successful business woman to a simpering idiot in the space of about a chapter. And I wanted to throw my book across the room.
Even if you agreed to marry someone for money, which this character had (though no hanky panky of course), simply because you had financial problems that needed fixing and people relying on you financially, that doesn't mean all over a sudden you would turn in to a quivering spineless puddle of custard, I didn't think.
It annoyed the feminist in me. I believe in happy ever after, I just don't think you should change who you are to get it and so the fact that character did annoyed the snot out of me. How could she be happy if she was compromised? If she wasn't true to herself it wasn't going to be a happy life was it?
I read that book on a Sunday and got up Monday morning and pumped out 5,000 words of Any Way You Slice It. I wanted to write a character who decided to marry for convenience but very much on her terms. I wrote the whole first draft in two weeks and then I sent it to a few readers and they all liked it.
That's how this story came to be. My marriage was definitely not one of convenience, in fact my life has been a largely inconvenient one since the day I met my lovely husband, but I suppose what Piper and I have in common is we're both true to ourselves, we both believe in love and we both can't quite believe it when things turn out better than we might have imagined.
A very late Musical Monday post. It's still Monday somewhere on the planet I do believe.
So I describe my latest novella, Any Way You Slice It as a bit like Grease meets The Proposal so with that in mind this Musical Monday I'm sharing random thoughts and memories about Grease (the movie).
1. The first time I saw Grease was on holiday in Fiji. I was wearing a floral wreath on my head I'd made out of frangipanis. I was so young that when they said Rizzo had missed her period I thought "why is so one so freaked out that she missed a class at school?"
2. I saw Grease 2 at the drive-in movies in Dubbo, in Central Western NSW. All I really remember about that movie is Michelle Pfieffer and the song Reproduction. Luckily I had learnt a couple of things between the first movie and the sequel.
3. When I went on my US High School Exchange, I very probably thought my story would end up a bit like Sandy and Danny's in Grease (probably not the flying car part). It's safe to say as I didn't go to 1960's movie America that didn't happen.
5. Even though (or maybe because) I went to an all girl's high school we often sang Summer Loving on the bus to and from school excursions (field trips for my American readers). One side was Danny and one side was Sandy. I preferred the male part because I have a very deep and dreadful singing voice and I like to sing the "wella, wella huh" part.