Author Lessons Learned by Jules Dixon #MondayMessages with @JulesofTripleR #amwriting #LitChat

Author Lessons Learned

I haven’t been in this industry for decades like some, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned lessons. In just three years of being published, I’ve garnered some thoughts and here are three I’d like to share.

giphy (55)1. The choice between indie publishing and traditional publishing should be one you consider extremely carefully. With Indie publishing the author retains control, you are the decision maker, you don’t answer to anyone but you, but you also lay out the funds to make covers, buy ISBN’s, editing, formatting, and 100% of the marketing. Whereas with traditional publishing the costs of everything but marketing are assumed by the publisher and they should be. If a publisher makes you buy a cover or editing or almost anything…just say no and run!
So consider not only how much control you want, but your time, your available funds (noting that it takes upwards of $2000 to properly and effectively self-publish a book), and the amount of effort you want to put forth. And yes, $2K, so budget appropriately. But when you give up control to a publisher you are taking the chance that a cover won’t be your “exact” vision, the editing might not be exactly what you’d pay for, or the marketing might be far less than you ultimately want. Actually, the marketing probably will be less, and you’ll want to put forth some extra effort for your book. Your baby deserves it.

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2. Writing is only 50% of a successful book. The other parts are everything that comes after you write that “The End”. Including revision, getting critiques, beta reads for quality, then everything from cover and editing through marketing. And those things take time because they are important.

Don’t get me wrong, the story is extremely important and ultimately is a writer’s signature on paper. But the rest is the polish on the story and the way to get readers interested in reading. And that other 50% takes a lot of time. So much time that an author can find themselves…not writing! Which is…gasp…what we should be doing!

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3. Something is going to go bad or worse. I don’t care if you’re an NYT or USA Today best-selling author or sell two wonderful copies, at some point or another, the $hit is going to hit the fan in some way. And no matter what, you have to be an adult and suck it up. Maybe you’re not going to like something your publisher does or doesn’t do. Or you not going to get the reaction from readers on your book that you were hoping for. Or your series might crap out, leaving you with stories in your mind, but readers are moving on to other genres, books, series’. Things that are out of your control will happen. But it’s not what happens that matters, it’s how you react that matters. AND that’s what you can control. 

So you…let it go. I’m fully aware that it’s hard to, but for your sanity and your future, you let whatever it is slide off…and you keep writing. You reexamine whatever your plan was and adjust. And you move forward.

Forward.

Not backward.

And you definitely don’t stop.

If writing is in your soul, you just let it go. 

There are about 100 other…okay a 1000 other…thoughts/ideas/tips I could touch on, but those stood out to me this week. I’m sure next week another 3-1000 will stand out sometime soon and I’ll revisit.

Have a great week!

❤ Jules

MONDAY MESSAGES

All gifs from Giphy.

Dreamers Wanted #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

OPENINGS AVAILABLE:

For individuals who can let loose the tight coils of reality, to fly beyond the mundane into the wildly fantastical, and who are not afraid to stretch beyond what they know. Experience is not required as everyday is a knew learning experience. Bettering oneself is encouraged. Strength of self, and a sense of humor a must. Apply today!

Welcome to Friday one and all. Hope you’ve all had a fabulous week. Personally I cannot wait for the weekend to kick in. Like our fellow Quiller Raven I’ve had a rather painful week, it (quite literally) has been a pain in my ass. Sitting, laying down, walking, and several other movements that I normally do in my everyday subconsciously have had me gritting my teeth. Raven, oh dear sweet Raven, I feel your pain – PS: Feel better soon!

But enough of that yeah? Onto the post!

While the ad at the top of this post isn’t real, it should be. Especially in this day and age. We live in a world that is too serious, too focused on being offended by every breath some stranger never before met takes, and that seems to have a giant stick up it’s rump.

Authors are part of a unique breed. We were either born as, or encouraged as we grew to be dreamers. While many might accuse us that we live with our heads in the clouds, and in some cases this could possibly be true, it’s not that way for everyone. In the heat of the story – sure, absolutely, definitely we’re all wrapped up in what’s happening. But we’re also pretty damn fine multitaskers. After all we have to keep names, places, dates, etc. all straight in our heads while writing, but we can also script notes in our heads while we attend to everyday business. For example many authors have families which means schedules that are insane on a daily basis, they find time for everyone in their lives, and yet still get their writing done. Not that we can’t get days, items, names confused – cause we can.

But authors are a breed, or at least were once upon a time, who didn’t sweat the little things. Unfortunately there seems to be too many cutthroats, too many overly pompous windbags, too many shysters, and too many self-proclaimed best authors flooding the market. People these days seem to view publishing as a get-rich-quick scheme instead of what it is. An expression of the imagination put into words to be shared with family, friends, and strangers near and far.

While I have absolutely nothing against an author making money off their works, we all dream of the day we can do it full time after all, those who are pumping out works faster then I can sneeze three times in a row make me highly suspicious. We need to bring back the dreamers. Bring back the love of the art that is writing a well told, well woven tale that helps the reader escape the harsh realities of our current world. We need to reinvest ourselves, and help others to find the path that is fiction at it’s finest – whatever the genre. Not only is it a relaxing pastime (when things are going great), but it’s also a beneficial one to not just the readers.

An author is an individual who has found a way to zen out in a highly constructive manner. Slipping into another reality for minutes or hours at a go. Pouring out the stresses of the day onto the page, and coming away with something fantastic in the end. And often times a weird twinge, crick or ache from all the strange positions we contort into during the process.

No one said writing couldn’t be a dangerous gig, and if they did – THEY LIED! LOL!

So let’s bring back the dreamers, the visionaries, and all those who can take anything dumped their way with a grain of salt. We need more calming influences in the world, and definitely more wondrous escapes from reality. We only get one shot at this thing called life, why not live it in a fun, amazing, and imaginative manner?

Raven’s ramblings and Thursday thoughts on…No pain no gain?

Morning all. Raven’s ramblings on Thursday again.

This isn’t actually a ‘how to’ post, so feel free to ignore me and go and have a cup of coffee instead.

But if you wonder what the growing old disgracefully, bus pass toting, granny is going on about this time…read on.

This week; on the subject of pain and how it clouds everything.
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(pic, source pinterest)

Oh boy does it.

I guess some of you know that by now I’ve had a slipped disc, which pressed on a nerve this last couple of weeks and it knocked me for six. I’ve been a miserable, snivelling, gibbering wreck for much too long. So much for doing as I tell my heroines and pulling up my big girl panties and getting on with it.

Ha, I couldn’t even bend down to put those panties on some days. (TMI sorry…)

I found it hard to concentrate on anything at the beginning. To stand, sit, lie move…anything made me do a silent—and not so silent—scream.

Sheesh.

But after a couple of days, I decided I could wallow, or learn something from how bloody helpless and uncomfortable I felt.

As wallowing wasn’t actually that comfortable, I decided on the latter and made notes. Some, on scraps of paper made little sense. That was the incredibly med-fuelled me. But gradually, as I eased off on the meds, and looked at the world through less of a fuzz, I accepted that my pain had in some ways been my gain.

I’ve had fibro for years but its not that bad, so this was an eye opener of how lots of people feel all of the time. And boy it sucks. The last time I think I had such intense pain was giving birth.

So you might wonder, what’s this got to do with writing?

Rather a lot.

One of the things we are told is to use life experience when it is possible. After al if you’re describing how someone feels… be it in labour, yes, with a slipped disc or incredibly happy on their wedding day, if you’ve experienced it, you have that extra edge.

notebook and pens

Now before you start throwing things, I know we can’t always use life experiences. Hell I’ve not met a shifter (I don’t think) or danced with a vampire, (ditto). Sky-dived or made love in the bushes on Lamma Island. Or indeed lived in Regency times. Although I have lived in a regency house or two.

Those never experienced things? That’s where a good imagination and excellent research facilities come in.

But if I have a heroine in pain you’ll know where the descriptions came from!

 

Happy, (and hopefully pain-free) reading,

 

Love Raven x

When It’s Time to Make Changes #WickedWednesday (@KaceyHammell)

Wednesdays

Good morning everyone. Happy Wednesday. Happy Hump Day. Kacey here again this week. I hope the last week has been kind to you. And productive! I had a so-so week with productivity. Not a lot of words written but I recharged my batteries over the Easter holidays with yard work, some spring cleaning and family time.  I also spent a lot of time self-evaluating and examining my writing goals.

Like with all things in life, it’s a good idea to take stock in what’s going on, who we are and the worth we should feel inside. Writing (for most writers) is ingrained in our blood. Even in the worse times when publishers are going under, dishonest people are running off with our hard earned money, and sales aren’t at their highest, we still need to write. We live, breathe, bleed and hunger for every word we write on the screen/page. That is simply the way it is. But we need to take a step back at times, think about the market we’re writing in, the publishers we are writing for and the monies being brought in.

It’s a business. Don’t lie to yourself. While writers have to write to soothe their souls and create the worlds’ we do, we want to make money do so. And when the money is not flowing every quarter, everything needs to be examined. And don’t be ashamed to admit that money matters. There are key points to look at to make money–What the writer is doing to promote their work, what the publisher is doing on your behalf and the readership they have, and what other publishers are conquering better sales. For some, it takes numerous stories before making any real money, for others it can be an instant hit sometimes. For me, my way of sales has always been a slow build. With each new release, sales climb a bit, and I keep chugging along.  I’m re-evaluating my own operations, and realize that the only way to be truly happy (for me) is to try different avenues and live by the ‘no risk, no reward’. I don’t want to get into a “stalemate” with myself and never take chances.

I did it once, with a now closed publisher who I’d always wanted to work with, and they screwed a lot of authors over. But I had taken that risk, had some reward, then when things imploded I stopped taking chances. Getting burned will do that to a person. I have since realized that I can’t sequester myself into a little bubble and never expand my horizons so to speak. I haven’t been happy in a while with how things are progressing and only I can change what will improve things for me.

When things aren’t working, change/fix/explore new options. Sometimes those can be the best decisions in a writer’s career. I’m jumping in, slowly, and shaking up my world and will try some new things. It can’t get any sadder for me than where I am now, and the mantra of ‘no risk, no reward’ is something I’ve lost along the way.

And hell, if all else fails, maybe I’ll join the circus. LOL

 

Until next week,

Kacey xoxo

Oh, if you need a little Hump Day pick-me-up…

humpday

pic source: Pinterest

Measure Your Own Success #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, lovely peeps, Doris here, with my thoughts on Success.

 

In particular how you define success. And you know, this will be different for everyone, and if you start comparing yourself to other authors, well, then, you’ll be thoroughly disappointed.

There will always be someone who is more successful, or who you perceive to be more successful. And you know this whole successful thing is relative.

Yes, I think we can all agree that there are those authors, the ones that immediately spring to mind, because everyone has read them, or at least has heard of them.

You’ll find them in every bookstore, on posters in public transport etc.

Fame and success right there, I guess.

I’m not talking those authors, however. I’m talking you and me, the average run of the mill person, who also happens to be an author.

How do we define our success?

Well, the obvious one is to look at your sales. I just did an interesting exercise of working out my average sales per book with both of my publishers. It was a rather eye-opening experience, and it made it clear to me where I should be sending the majority of my books in future.

I’ve gone with my gut on these things in the past, but as hubby reminded me this is a business, and it deserves a calculated approach. In my case a calculator-wielding hubby, lol. Seriously, I’m useless with numbers.

So, that is certainly one way to measure your success. However, if you only look at your sales, you will probably end up disappointed. It goes back to there will always be someone who sells more than you do.

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I don’t believe money can ever be your sole motivation to write. If it is, you will a) end up disappointed, or far worse, b) sell your soul and integrity to the devil, and simply churn out things that you know will sell.

And that, my lovelies would be a such a shame. Of course, we all need to eat, and if you write full time with no other income, then yes, to a certain extent you will have to do that.

No judgment here. Every one of us authors defines their own career paths, and what is right for one will not be right for the other.

However, if you’re one of the multitudes of authors who write in addition to an evil day job, or to simply contribute to the family income like I am, then you can be more discerning in how you define your success.

To me, in its simplest form success means being a published author. Every time I type those magic two words – The End – I get such a buzz. It’s  hard to describe if you’re not an author, that sense of achievement.

Then there is that magic moment you get your publisher’s e-mail to say they would like to publish the book. The buzz of release day, and the oh so precious reader comments.

Never underestimate the power of that. A reader saying they enjoyed your story. That you lifted them up on a bad day. Even if that book tanks, to know that you reached that one reader… success in my book.

So, be who you need to be, and define your own success, peeps.

Make Your Dreams Happen

That’s all from me today, folks.

Do stay naughty and count your blessings. You’re more successful than you think!

D xxx

Two Great Words: The End by Jules Dixon @JulesofTripleR #MondayMessages #WriterTips

Two Great Words: The End

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So for the last two weeks I’ve been talking about the Three Act Structure. We’ve visited the beginning of a story (aka Act 1 or the excitement of meeting characters and finding out their goals, motivations, and conflicts) and the middle (aka Act 2 where we take those conflicts and we make them even worse).

So now, we’re at the end.

The End.

Those are two words authors dream of typing and when it comes down to it, nothing ever feels better.

So once a writer has taken their characters to rock bottom and had the worst of the worst happen, they’ve broken up, shit has hit the fan, everything looks like it can’t ever be fixed, and the readers are wondering: How in the world are they going to get back together? This is Act III. 

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The resolution to the story.

In the conclusion, readers must find closure. The main characters in romance will always end up together, either in a happily-ever-after or happily-for-now. And while we do this, an author must still maintain the same emotion that they have built throughout the story. Pulling those heart strings of the reader.  

For instance, in one of my stories, Rest, My Love, the black moment comes when Rahl, the leading man’s PTSD comes to a head and when he finds the leading lady, Sage, in the arms of another man comforting her. He punches the man and Sage has to make the hard decision to end their relationship for his sake as he needs to concentrate on getting better.

Rest, My Love Excerpt: 

“Sage…” Rahl stepped toward me and reached out.

I stepped back and the rain dribbled down my cheek, like tears but colder. “No. I just came out here to tell you that we need to take a break, Rahl. I need a break from us.”

“You don’t mean that. You’re my angel. We were brought together to save—”

“Each other? It seems like I’m trying to save someone who doesn’t want to be saved. I’m getting sucked into your vortex of guilt and anger and I can’t handle it. I just started to love life again.” I stared into those eyes that melted a part of my heart. “Because of you.” My bottom lip tingled with the want to kiss him, but I fought giving in. “But you’re taking that away from me.”

“I love you, Sage.”

My body shuddered, some from the cold rain and some from struggling not to give in, but I needed to be strong. “I know you love me. From the moment you said it, I never doubted that fact.”

“Then can we just forget what happened?”

I didn’t want to forget, I wanted him to remember, to remember that his actions hurt people, and I couldn’t stand by and watch him crumble and take me down with him.

“No. I can’t forget. Just like you can’t forget the things that have happened to you and the things you know about Easton, and the darkness that is eating you from the inside out and the memories and fears that cloud your judgment.” I hiccupped a sob. “I forgive you for everything, but there are other people you need to atone to, including yourself. I don’t want to be another person to get caught in one of your explosions of impulsive emotion.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hit you, but he had his hands on you.”

“No, you didn’t mean to hit me, but if you hadn’t gone straight to violence and let me talk to you, you would have found out that Ollie and I are…” I swallowed as I stared into the eyes that melted my willpower. I looked away.

Maybe it would be easier for him to think the worst? If there is a time to be a good liar, it is now.

I stood straight. “You would’ve found out that Ollie and I are starting a relationship and you and I … we are finished.”

Rahl’s face paled. “You’re lying. You told me he was nothing.”

I mumbled, “I pray you get better, Rahl,” and tried to skirt past him.

He moved in front of me. “No, I don’t accept it. I don’t know why you’re lying to me but I’ll find out.” His hand ran down my arm to my wrist and he brought it to his mouth for a gentle kiss. “You’re killing me, Sage.”

Water droplets showered me as I shook my head. “No, Rahl. You’re killing yourself.”

Now, I could’ve done many things to bring them back together, but in the end, I had to torture them a little while longer while they were apart and give the reader more reasons for wanting them to come back together. I’m not going to tell you what I did, but it showed how much they were meant to be together, so when they actually ended up in the same room and Rahl was all better, the lightning bolts flew between them like they were two thunderstorms colliding, and when the storm was over, everything was good again, and then I had one more chapter to finish up all the tiny loose ends.

And their love is true, beautiful, and the real deal.

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When an author really comes to the end, the last sentences can make or break the novel. That final moment needs to remind the reader of something important, a repeated theme or a special element between the two characters. A final piece of the puzzle to make the reader go–YES!  

In Rest, My Love, I bring back something that Sage said to Rahl in the first chapter. So Sage says: 

I hadn’t forgotten my past, but I lived for the future and Rahl had decided to do the same.

And together we would create the sweet music of love for the rest of our lives.

Only you, Rahl. Only … you.

So the end can make or break a novel. Make sure yours gives the reader what they want, but not always exactly as they want. A surprise is always a good thing. 

Okay, until next Monday.

Hugs and ❤ Jules

GIFs from http://www.giphy.com. 

Unrealistic portrayals #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday everyone, and a happy Easter weekend to everyone. It’s time to get our chocolate on, lol! I’m heading out of town, and with fingers crossed that the weather holds out. While not unusual in Canada, no one wants snow to ruin their Easter fun.

For today’s post I want to discuss the “too perfect” characters some authors expect us to buy into. Now, to be clear, I’m talking about human characters mainly but also paranormal. Aliens are outside my realm of writing, so they are exempt from today’s roasting. Everything else is fair game, so here we go.

We humans as a species are imperfect – fact. We all have flaws whether we admit to them or not – fact. We all have at least one thing, often more than one thing, that we absolutely hate about ourselves – fact. Absolutely no human being on earth is perfect – fact. I’m sorry if this has caused anyone some upset, but it happens to be the truth. Anyone that says otherwise is a bold faced liar.

So why the fuck do authors continue to make characters flawless in every way?

Let’s be clear, I don’t mean in appearance because this is not the point of today’s post. Appearance is only the books cover. Do we occasionally get snagged first by the hottie on the cover? Sure, and there’s nothing wrong with that or admitting to it. But if that’s ALL we’re looking at then it’s a pretty shallow interpretation. We have to get to know the heart of an individual to truly understand them. Looks may be our instinctive first impression, but it should never, ever be the last. We as human beings are run by chemical and electrical impulses, but it’s the story behind the cover that gives us the context we need. And now that I’ve mixed metaphors, and realities around, let me get back on track a bit here.

Every character needs at least one flaw. Not merely hair that’s unruly or a crooked tooth giving a smile some character, although it does help, but some quirk or trait or situation that makes them more human. Yes, not every character is human, fully or otherwise. But for the readers very human brain to better relate they have to see in each character something that makes them flawed or different or unique. Maybe your character was injured, and everyday is a struggle. Maybe s/he never learned to read until s/he was an adult and still struggles from time to time. You get the idea.

Too perfect characters are the ones with every hair in place, or that just styled look that we all (at least once) wish we had going for us at some point. They have the job, the car, own their house/condo before they’re fifty, dream job, amazing high powered friends, etc. They are the unicorn among the cattle. Look too long or hard and you’ll pretty much go blind. They can do no wrong. And, let’s be honest here, they are as boring as fuck! No one, I repeat, NO ONE is perfect.

Yes, romance is fiction. Yes, there is a fantasy element to romance works. Yes, we all have had dreams about “that” guy being ours. But the sad, harsh reality is that “that” guy is either the biggest dick on the planet, would have you bored to tears before your first drinks arrived, or even worse still, he bats for the other team. Talk about depressing, right?

People screw up, sometimes in little ways and sometimes to epic extremes. This is a fact. This is a reality. And when a character (male or female) screws up and has to dig themselves from the hole they just dug. They’re driving a beater that’s being held together by duct tape and a prayer. They’ve had some unexpected expense crop up that has them sweating making rent, the car payment, or the bill payments. They got a cold they just can’t seem to shake. They have hay fever, or allergies, or something else that seems super mundane but is necessary. We’ve been there, lived through it, or known someone that’s been there, we can all relate to them.

So, authors one and all, remember the seemingly little things. The details that turn your perfect smiling, classical beauty, sex goddess into someone a little less other worldly, and let’s your readers feel closer to them. It doesn’t have to be much, but even a little something makes a huge difference. Keep it real as it were.

Raven’s Thursday thoughts on prices

Raven rambles on prices…

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(source pinterest)

Not just coffee, (anything goes there I guess), or chocolate (ditto) but books.

Yeah I know. Stop rolling your eyes and muttering things like ‘oh lordy she’s on her soap box again’ and getting out the doll to stick pins in. I’ve got enough pain in my body at the moment. I couldn’t cope with any more.

I’m chatting—honestly just chatting, not pontificating, ranting or lecturing—about book prices today, because I’ve seen a lot of shall we say unhappy readers who can’t fathom why some books, especially paperbacks cost so much. There’s been a fair few grumbles about ‘greedy authors’ as well.

We—those of us who have had paperbacks out—know that boy we do not make very much there. Nor do publishers. So much has to be done to get that book to you so you can hold and stroke it. I’ll share something with you here. For one of my paperbacks that in the UK was £5.99 I got 2p a copy. That’s right two pence. About two and a half cents. Per book. And that is correct. The publisher gets a bit more, after they have paid the distributor, but the publisher also has to pay for al the other things that need doing. Like covers, formatting and printing. Not to forget paying those who do all those jobs, plus the editor(s), who we need. (Oh boy do we)

However, it’s hard for some people to grasp that. That is author grit your teeth time. All you can do it explain and if pushed, politely suggest that the person who is aggrieved contact the publisher (sorry EP).

With eBooks you also have in the UK, VAT (value added tax) in the price as well.

And the upshot of this med-fuelled post?

You can’t please all of the people all of the time. Me? If it’s a choice between a book and a coffee in (insert posh coffee establishment of your choice) I’ll go for the book, every time.

Others might not.

But whatever the outcome, in general, books of any description are priced as they have to be. Sometimes a deal is on…Great for the reader, not so much for anyone else.

See, we do aim to please when we can.

And on that statement, I’m off to hunt out some more meds, and no doubt fall asleep. Be gently with me please.

 

Raven x

The #99cent Decision #WickedWednesday (@KaceyHammell)

Wednesdays
Good morning everyone! Kacey here, and I wish you all a wonderful Wednesday. The temperatures have been so amazing here in my area of Ontario, Canada. The sunshine has felt wonderful on my face, and we’ve had some rainy days, but the rise in temps and seeing the sun more days than not, makes up for it.

This week I want to talk about something that can stir the pot with many people in this industry. Things can get pretty heated amongst authors about the 99 cent pricing on ebooks. There happened to be a kerfuffle on social media recently that I added my opinion to, by a fairly well-known author’s (depends on  the genre you read) who expressed a serious snarl about some authors having so many books in their catalogue for 99 cents, and how the industry was suffering because of this factor.

Now, adding myself to the mix since I have a book for 99 cents, which has always been in my catalogue for that amount, I took this seriously. The word count on my book is just shy of 10,000 words. Why would I want my readers paying more than that for a story at such a low word count? It’s a second to a series (the first always free), and I like to use the 2 short stories to readers who haven’t read my work before. I don’t want to give them all away for free, and having these 2 in my backlist has worked, I’ve had readers comment that they found me because of these stories and they searched for more, and found the longer, more pricier titles.

I’m all for having an opinion in this business, everyone has one and is entitled to it. However, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth when some authors scream “wrong” when another author chooses to take a path they don’t agree with. The author I mentioned above who was quite vocal about the subject, said things like “this is destroying our industry”, “it’s bribing readers and sadly devalues the books” with regards to the 99 price point. Hell, over a decade ago there wasn’t bitching and fighting about ebooks and smaller publishers destroying the industry.

Hmm, look at things now…

But back on topic — yes, sales are down across the board, a lot of authors are second-guessing this as a career and my heart goes out to them, but honestly, who are we to dictate to another author how they run their business? And this is a business. The path I choose may not work for another author, vice versa, yada yada yada. So why does anyone have to make statuses with all caps,  and make disparaging remarks without knowing the author’s reasons for putting his/her books at 99 cents? We don’t pay their bills, don’t walk in their shoes or know their struggles. Some authors put their books at that price when they are just starting out and want to have the exposure to run ads in newsletters, etc. Perhaps they simply want to offer their books at a low price all the time for his/her readership? God forbid an author writes for the love of the art and giving readers – who may have health issues or are unable to spend much on books – something affordable?  Don’t be so quick to pass judgment on others.

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My lower priced titles will remain at their price, and out of more than a dozen stories in my backlist catalogue, it’s not that big of a deal. I don’t find it devaluing my work because the reasons are mine to do so and I love every story that comes from my heart and soul. Perhaps people who shouldn’t, again, pass judgment on people they know nothing about. Just because a story is 99 cents does NOT mean it’s because the author devalues his/her work. That is, in my opinion, the issues of others who want to belittle others.

And while the industry is very saturated and it’s difficult to get noticed or to always be a best-selling author, every author has to follow their own path. Again, it is their decision to run their business as they see fit. Also, another point is if a book is 99 cents, an author only sets the price is they are self-publishing.  Publishers have control over pricing and often have sales running to spotlight a new release, which is part of a series or simply to try some new marketing strategies.

But authors should be standing united without anyone telling them what is wrong or right. Every author has their own opinion on what success is and how they should run their business. Perhaps we should all root for everyone and write more books instead of bashing others?

Sounds like a plan to me…

 

Until next week,

Happy Writing!

Kacey xo

 


 

Triggers in Writing #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, lovely folks, Doris here. As the title says, I’m talking triggers today. Specifically those reactions readers might have when they read your story.

There is some debate in the writing industry and amongst readers about this, so firstly, let’s look at how the dictionary defines triggers.

 

ˈtrɪɡə/
noun
plural noun: triggers
  1. 1.
    a small device that releases a spring or catch and so sets off a mechanism, especially in order to fire a gun.
    “he pulled the trigger of the shotgun”
    • an event that is the cause of a particular action, process, or situation.
      “the trigger for the strike was the closure of a mine”
verb
3rd person present: triggers
  1. 1.
    cause (a device) to function.
    “burglars fled empty-handed after triggering the alarm”
    synonyms: activate, set off, set going, trip

    “burglars triggered the alarm”
    • cause (an event or situation) to happen or exist.
      “an allergy can be triggered by stress or overwork”
      synonyms: precipitate, prompt, trigger off, set off, spark (off), touch off, stimulate, provoke, stir up, fan the flames of; More
    • (of an event or situation) cause (someone) to do something.
      “the death of Helen’s father triggered her to follow a childhood dream and become a falconer”
    • (especially of something read, seen, or heard) distress (someone), typically as a result of arousing feelings or memories associated with a particular traumatic experience.
      “she started crying and told me that my news had really triggered her”

     

 

What this doesn’t explain, is the gut wrenching reaction the person who triggers will have to this. I never really understood it either, until it happened to me. I was reading a blurb, and wham…. there it was a trigger I didn’t even know I had.

Or rather I knew it made me uncomfortable, due to this particular subject being a cause of considerable upset and trauma for someone very close to me and this person still struggles with her demons every day. It was a particularly painful time for us all as a family. I’m being vague on purpose, so forgive me.

This is is not the vehicle to discuss this matter, and I guess in part that is one of the reasons why I reacted so strongly to this story.

I’d come across it previously in a dark romance I read, and I had to stop reading it. It was just too close to home for me, but, at least, it was a dark romance and in this story, it was done to the heroine, not self-inflicted. I still couldn’t read about it mind you, but that’s my own personal cross to bear if you like.

I certainly didn’t blame the author for writing it – though some warnings about it would have been appreciated – but this is where the contention comes in.

As authors, we need to be able to write the stories we see fit to write. And if you listed every possible trigger or objection someone might find in your story (which in itself is an impossibility, because human beings are so unique in their likes and dislikes) the list of warnings would be longer than the actual story.

Only half kidding.

What we authors must do, however, is think long and hard if the subject matter we’re writing about is suitable material for the category we’re writing in. In this instance, an erotic romance. Personally, and again, this is my opinion, and I am fully aware that I simply cannot be objective in my assessment here, this particular subject has no place in an Erotic romance. Now a YA one, hell yeah. I still couldn’t bring myself to read it but done sensitively and in the right framework, it could be hugely beneficial to readers.

I recently watched the Netflix series 13 Reasons why which deals with the reasons why a teenager killed herself and is based on the best-selling book of that name.

Harrowing, yet compelling watching, and it highlights an important issue. Triggers galore in there as you can imagine, and I dare say lots of people couldn’t watch/read it.

Yet it was a story so worth telling in that framework,

That blurb that triggered my very intense reaction…..

Well, I don’t know, because I certainly will not be reading it. I hope/assume the author has done her research with this sensitive issue, and I shall let the readers decide on that one.

Like I stated above I would never tell an author what they can or cannot write. And as someone pointed out to me, that blurb did a good job, in so far that it told me that there was no way on this earth that I would read that particular story.

Strong words, I know, but I still feel sick when I think about it. Which is by no means that author’s fault, but it’s something to be aware of when/if you do choose to tackle a subject which can cause strong emotions.

I had to come off FB that day, read lots of laugh out loud romances to distract me before I lost that sick feeling of dread in my stomach, the clammy hands and the rage at what I had read.

It made me understand those readers better who leave incensed reviews because they came across something they didn’t expect when reading.

Triggers, when they happen to you whilst reading are painful, real and they evoke emotions that surprise the feck out of you.

Had I written this blog post then it would have been an expletive-filled rant, which would not have been fair or constructive.

After all, that author didn’t set out to ruin my day. She just wrote the story she needed/wanted to tell and that is all any of us can do.

However, keep those potential triggers in mind when you are writing as best you can.

That’s all from me today.

Do stay naughty, folks.

Dxxx