Fly little bird, fly! #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Well I totally forgot it was Friday. Had zero clue until I was heading out of work for the day and everyone was saying “have a good weekend”. To which I stared blankly at them with a big old question mark hovering over my head. Thankfully someone took mercy and reminded me it was Friday. Color me shocked! Short weeks are great because you don’t have to go to work as often, but good lawd do they mess up your internal calendar. That’s my story and I’m damn well sticking to it.

Today’s post, slightly delayed though it is, is about new authors trying new things. We all know the saying “write what you know” well by this point, but there is more to an authors life than that. We should also try new things from time to time.

The main reason folks tell you to “write what you know” is so that you become comfortable, and find a routine of writing that works for you. If you’re writing “what you know” then you are in a comfort zone for your topic of choice for your WIP. But eventually you will discover you’ve done it so often that you are now in a rut so damn deep you’re not sure if you’ll ever get out. Like the one scene in Twister where they were being chased by the tornado and couldn’t quite get the truck out of the ditch.

On one hand it’s great advice for the newbie’s out there, learn your rhythm, find your happy place, and once you have a pattern to work with, stretch out your wings. Not only will this help you grow as an author instead of writing the same old, same old to death, but it will also keep sparking your muse. Because without that psychotic schizophrenic bitch throwing curve balls and wild cards, writing can become dull. Repetitive. Boring.

I’m not saying to pull a 180 and go right off the deep end, that might be going too far unless you truly feel prepared for that. I’m suggesting maybe a different genre, or add on a sub-genre to your current pursuits to add something fresh to the mix. And then build on that. Eventually you could be doing that 180 from where you were to start, no one’s saying you have to or that you shouldn’t. But go at your own pace, in your own time, and with what feels most comfortable to you. After all, you’re the only one that knows what’s going on in your head, what your muse is thinking, and what sparks that creative juice to start flowing.

So write what you know until you’re ready to head into the unknown.

Terminal velocity #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday one and all, you’ve made it through another week. Today will be a short post (in theory), since I have much to accomplish before I depart for the long weekend for some family time.

Pretty much everyone on the planet knows what “terminal velocity” is. For those unfamiliar it is basically the maximum rate a falling body will reach. An easy example most folks can visualize is a sky diver leaping from a plane, and plummeting to earth. The diver will pick up speed until (and there’s math involved here) they can’t go any faster in their current chosen position. Basically the end result, if they don’t pull their chute, is – well – I think we all know.

There are days where I feel like I’m in free-fall as an author. It’s not exactly a reassuring sensation, but it can have a few advantages. I’m someone who works best under deadline. As a naturally born semi-procrastinator (not always though I should mention), I do well in the time crunch. Unfortunately I don’t always have control over my “time”, the main reason being my Evil Day Job. Yes, I probably could go find another job, somewhere. But it’s not a forgone conclusion that I could find one that would allow me more “me” time. These days it’s better to have a job that sucks time than to be unemployed, believe you me. But that’s beside the point.

Everyone has “time sucks”, it seems to be a naturally occurring phenomenon that crops up the instant you become an author. It’s not obvious at first, but eventually you start to spot the pattern. The biggest ones, social media and drama. Oh the drama. And it’s usually on social media! Vicious, seemingly never ending cycle.

Sadly, although we are (for the vast majority) adults in the author community, we still cannot avoid drama. It comes in all shapes, sizes, and from any and all fronts. Getting sucked into drama is a fantastic way to feel yourself free-falling, and eventually reaching your own personal terminal velocity. It’s pretty much the point where you say “fuck this shit!” and ___________ fill in the blank. Some authors call it quits, others change everything about their author lives around, some cut out bad influences (aka: the shit disturbers, otherwise known as the promoters of drama), and still others blow their gaskets. Usually in a rather, here’s that word again, dramatic fashion.

While sitting at your desk writing, or surfing the Net won’t have you reaching terminal velocity physically, that doesn’t mean you can’t reach it mentally. We all have our limits. Limits about how much bullshit we’re willing to put up with, how many lies we’re willing to see perpetrated online, how much bad mouthing we’re willing to have pop into our feeds, and how much favoritism we’re willing to put up with – especially when it happens constantly, and with the same individual(s). We all have a hard line in the proverbial sand that when it’s crossed, all we can see is red.

The only thing we can really control is ourselves, and our reactions to what pushes our buttons. No one needs drama in their lives, unless you happen to be an actor or drama major. How you deal with everything that will filter through your feeds, emails, and lives is up to you. The only advice I will give is these two pieces:  Always take a step back, and evaluate the pros and cons before making a potentially life altering decision. And don’t let anyone, no matter who they are, tell you that you’re not making the right choice for you. Only you know you – which means you are the only one who can decide what does, and doesn’t work for you.

Beyond the screen #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Well we made it folks, another Friday has rolled around. This week has been up, down, and sideways in more ways than one – and that’s all I’m saying about that. Today’s post will be short though, since the brain isn’t wholly focused on the task at hand – apologies.

In life everyone has priorities. Some are awesome, some are okay, and others are just plain whacked. As authors we always think that writing should be our top priority. And, to a degree, that would be correct. But we also need to remember to stop and smell the roses from time to time. Not only is it a way to recharge the batteries, but it can help keep the voices in our heads in check.

Big or little, anything can work, and it all depends on you. Everyone is unique, what works for one may not work for another. Find what recharges you the best, and keep to it. Yes, you may need to evolve the technique over time, after all we all change as the years pass by. The biggest, and best (or so the parents on NQ assure me) is family time. It doesn’t matter what they do together, the whole point is to be – you’ve got it – together.

So take a walk, enjoy a film, get out camping if you’re the sort who enjoys unknown creatures trying to invade your tent (ick!), or whatever floats your boat and gets you charged back to 100%. Your mission this weekend, and you don’t have the choice to not accept it, is to step back and smell those roses, petunias, lavender, lilacs, daisies, or whatever your choice might be. Relax, recharge, and refresh body and mind.

Fake News! #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday one and all, hope you had a great week, and also have a fabulous weekend. Let’s get down to business…

** WARNING **

The following is for Adult audiences only, as it may offend the weak willed and those with guilty consciences. It is my personal opinion, and only an opinion. It will contain profanity, several cliche’s, and likely sting those where it strikes too close to home. Enjoy.

First off, the title. I’m not talking about Fox News, Breitbart or whatever the hell it is that comes from the White House briefings. We’re authors after all, and all that crap is really nothing more than inspiration, and fodder for our next villain(s). It’s also a lot of shitty white noise that is unfortunately on nearly every station you tune into, even here in Canada. Personally I institute the mandatory eye roll, and go about my day.

No, what I mean by “Fake News” is the bullshit that certain authors like to sell, much like a bridge in the Sahara Desert. Sounds good, unless you really think about it or investigate even a little. These authors appear open, genuine, caring, and as having your back. In reality they are two-faced liars, scumbags, and would sell their own mother if it got them onto the New York Times.

The realists among authors, those of us who write for the sheer pleasure of creation, who enjoy talking to ourselves in public hashing out a story line, babble incoherently around folks who don’t understand about muses, and who will randomly tune out of conversations because they just thought of something that would make their story better, we know the odds of hitting the Times list are slimmer than fucking slim. But we all have dreams, and if it’s still sitting in the back of our mind in a dusty corner, so be it. We’re allowed to have our dreams too after all.

The fakers though will gladly stick a blade in your back, and climb over your still twitching corpse if it gets them even a millimeter closer to being “big time”. The worst part of it all is, while they are charming to you or in public, in private they are more vicious than a nest full of vipers. And you often have no clue until some unaware individual asks some random question, makes some strange remark, or gets in your face about something you are clueless about. Fakers will literally say anything, and they are usually the “victim” of the tale.

But they aren’t. What they are is cold, calculating, and willing to toss the innocent under the bus. They like to snuggle up to those in power, sell them their bullshit with sprinkles or even a cherry on top, and they always cover their asses. Sadly outing them is nearly impossible because they are slicker than a used car salesman. They are, I hate to say it but it’s really a great analogy, the current US government of the author world. They have followers who believe they spew rainbows and shit gold bricks. They can do no wrong, but you (the target of their malicious bull shit) are evil incarnate. And there’s shit all you can say otherwise. How the fuck do you proof you’re not the person they claim you to be? You can’t.

While the idea of keeping your head down, and staying out of the way seems the safe plan it will only hurt who you are as an author, and probably affect your bottom line. So instead I suggest you take care with your words online, find true friends who don’t care if you have a few screws loose – like the gals here on NQ do about one another – and do your own damn thing. Chin up, shoulders back, and tell the world at large to go fuck itself. You are your own superstar, and that’s all that damn well matters.

When one lying, conniving, bitch of an author goes down for the count another three will rise. Going head to head is not advised, and is honestly exhausting to even think about it. Instead be you, write your stories, and be gloriously giddy like a kid in a candy store each time you publish one. Live for yourself, not others. And remember this – no one can ever know you like you do. No matter what the shitheads may say, they don’t and will never truly know who YOU are. Wear that shit like a badge of honor.

Since there appears to still be some confusion #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday everyone. Before we get to the more serious note of the post to come I want to take a moment to wish all my fellow Canadians, here and living abroad, a wonderful Canada Day. It’s a big one for us, we’re 150 years old! While some might argue that not all of Canada is 150, the city I live in being one of the youngest, it’s more the idea of Canada our ancestors had in mind when they first arrived that is the ripe old age. We’ve come a long way, we have a long way yet to go, but day by day we’re getting there in what sometimes seems baby steps on a universal scale – but hey, we’re still growing and learning more every year. So everyone have a fabulous day, enjoy those celebrations whatever they might be, and remember to be safe in your travels.

Now that the fun stuff’s out of the way, let’s get down to business. There have been a couple posts (I believe) done on NQ before on this subject, but in light of recent developments from an author “friend” (ie: never actually spoken to her, but she’s among my “friends” on FB, and she’s an author so she’s in the sister/brotherhood of authors) it bears touching on yet again. And this will sting – suck it up buttercup.

COPYRIGHT

Merriam-Webster (online) definition:  the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (such as a literary, musical, or artistic work)

For an author this means that when you, or your publisher copyright your work NO ONE may use it in part or whole for their own purposes without giving you, the work, and in some countries the publisher/publishing company credit and without permission. Otherwise, and this is where people apparently are stuck, it is THEFT.

Merriam-Webster (online) definition:  the act of stealing; specifically :  the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it.

Another word for this that authors use, is PIRACY.

Merriam-Webster (online) definition:  the unauthorized copying, distribution, or use of another’s production (as a film) especially in infringement of a copyright.

There are way too many people in the world that think taking a book an author gave them free of charge, such as a prize or gift, and sharing it with others is okay. IT IS NOT OKAY! This is theft/piracy and also 1000% illegal. You are taking money out of an authors pocket each time you provide a free copy of their work (that you were GIFTED) to others without the authors, or their publishers, explicit written permission. And yes, to do something like give a copy to your sister, your mother, your fifth cousin three times removed on your fathers side, you do in fact require permission from the individual(s) that hold the copyright. They are the LEGAL owners of said property. You are only a visitor.

For example, since some folks seem to have so much damn trouble with the concept, think about it like this. If I were to come to your home, visit, and on my way out decide to take your TV with me. Would you be okay with that? Uh, likely not! “Well that’s hardly a comparison, it’s a TV (or other object), you’re talking about a book, they are not worth the same amount of money.” Oh really?

Authors spend hours, days, weeks, months and even YEARS working on their next story. That is time taken away from other pursuits, away from family, away from friends, and definitely far away from the peaceful path of sanity. That is time we deserve to be paid for. It’s not like (and I think I may be quoting Ravenna Tate here) you’d go to work for no money. Hell no! You expect to be paid for the hours, days, weeks, months, and yes YEARS you put into the job. No, I’m not talking about volunteer work – totally different. I’m talking about your primary means of making money to support your life. And while the majority of authors cannot live on what they make selling their books, it’s a nice little bonus every quarter that you can use for a car payment, that dental work you’d been putting off, an extra special treat for you, the kids, your significant other, or maybe to put away for a rainy day down the road. But for every book that someone STEALS (and yes, it is stealing – theft remember?) that is money that isn’t coming to us.

Did you know that there are actual sites out there that allow people who have zero relation to an artist, their producer/publisher, or even the work they have in their “hands”, to upload and SELL said work? There are. It is a constant, fucking battle that authors (and other artists) have to fight, in the middle of the worst winter blizzard ever, uphill both ways while wearing eighty pounds of protective gear. And honestly, the damn blizzard would be a sight easier to navigate then some of these fucking sites and their DMCA (take down) forms.

And, to top it all off, here’s another kick in the teeth for you of reality. Each book that sells at $2.99 a piece…we only get a small portion of that. Side note: Quit fucking bitching to authors about the price of their works already – trust me, you’re getting it damn cheap in my personal opinion and if you can’t afford it, you obviously don’t need it. Because the third party retailer takes their piece of the pie, our publishers (if you use one) takes a piece of the pie, and whatever is leftover (not much!) comes to you. So if you manage to sell a couple hundred books, you might, MIGHT, have enough to get a decent meal out on the town, and not your local fast food joint – but no alcohol included (totally dependent on where you live, sales and taxes, and the like). But for every book that is STOLEN by an unscrupulous asshole and freely given away, or worse SOLD illegally, the chances of being able to buy anything more than a burger from your local fast food chain gets slimmer and slimmer.

Now, before I totally lose my cool, here are some easy things to remember. And for those that seem to persistently insist that authors should give their books away free, WRITE THEM THE FUCK DOWN DUMBASS!

  • Stealing/piracy/using materials not of your own design/construct is ILLEGAL
  • Copyright infringement is a SERIOUS deal, and pisses authors off hugely (each country has their own copyright laws, and penalties – look up yours so you know what could very well happen if/when you are caught)
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (remember the TV analogy)
  • For some authors, full-time and even part-time, that book you’ve just stolen and are giving away/selling as if you own it, might very well be life or death (some people aren’t on health plans and have to pay for everything, so I do mean it literally)
  • If/when you are found out – there is no place on this Earth where you can hide from the wrath that will fall upon your head from a million authors world wide – not even kidding
  • How do you look in stripes/orange?
  • Remember not to drop the soap in the shower at the Federal detention center you’ll be in for a long, long, long time

The next time someone offers you a copy of their newest favorite authors book, say no. Get the authors name, get the title, and go purchase that shit for your own damn self, and then send the author that persons information. Just always keep in mind, the guards can’t be watching everything all the time in prison…

Say what now? #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday one and all, and for some the precursor to a long weekend. Here in Canada we get Victoria Day on Monday, A celebration for Queen Victoria’s birthday, who at the time of our (aka: Canada’s) Confederation and establishment of dominion in 1867, was the reigning Canadian monarch. Say that five times fast. Which was, if you’re doing the math, 150 years ago – that’s right, it’s Canada’s 150th birthday this year. Another name for the weekend, quite obviously, is the May Long Weekend. The official demarcation between winter and spring, or the point at which it is now *cough* “safe” *cough* to start dethatching the grass, planting the crops, etc., and for the truly die hard, dedicated lunatics out there – the first camping trip of the year. For those of us who are authors, and not lunatics of the camping variety, we’ll be writing. Which in an extremely roundabout way segues into my post for today.

WRITING IS NOT A REAL JOB

Yup, you read that right. And sadly there are people out there who actually believe this type of malarkey. What I’m hoping to do, if I should manage to avoid a full blown rant, is to dispel this rumor once and for all. But let’s start at the top and work our way down shall we?

JOB: 1. an assignment at which one regularly works for pay (Related Words: business, employ, employment, occupation, profession, career, livelihood, living, etc.); 2. a piece of work that needs to be done regularly (Related Words:  endeavor, enterprise, undertaking, responsibility, etc.); 3. a specific task with which a person or group are charged; 4. the action for which a person or thing is specially fitted or used or for which a thing exists (Related Words:  niche, calling, occupation, pursuit, vocation, duty, mission, etc.); etc… taken from Merriam-Webster online thesaurus and abbreviated as needed for this posting.

We as authors endeavor to undertake the profession of writing. Do we hope to make it a career? Abso-fucking-lutely. For the majority of us though this isn’t going to happen. But it’s a calling, a pursuit that we have to take part in, a vocation and a calling that speaks to our very souls. It is our duty, not only to ourselves but our very spirit, to take on the mission we were always destined to pursue. But I’m getting ahead of myself here, so let’s take it from the word go. Like anyone our day begins by getting out of bed.

From there it’s a variety of the following, but in the end we have as much (sometimes less, sometimes more) to do as the average non-writer type person to get done in a day. And then we still have to get in our time/word counts.

  1. Rise & Shine – or the variant of Groan & Grumble, Moan & Creak, Bitch & Bargain, etc.
  2. Freshen Up – otherwise known as beating down the bedhead, de-furring the tongue, and so forth
  3. Fuel For The Day – usually trying to slurp down a too hot coffee/tea too fast, burn the tongue/roof of mouth, and curse mornings; occasionally there might be a spare 2 seconds for something to eat
  4. Out The Door – this could involve kids, or just yourself and/or significant other, usually in a rush because despite all best laid plans you’re somehow behind schedule, not for the first time that year naturally
  5. Day Job – most authors have this beast of burden to contend with in one form or another unless they are lucky, or have sold extremely well to support themselves
  6. After Job/School Activities – folks with kids know there’s sometimes too many things to try to cram into one afternoon/evening, and yet somehow everything is always planned for the same night (sports games/finals, dance class/recitals, band practice/recitals, etc)
  7. Evening Relaxation – ensuring kids get watered and fed, usually a meal is crammed in there, homework (theirs or yours), etc
  8. Writing – now, unlike those who are lucky to have the daylight hours to write in while the house is partly or fully empty of small demanding beings, those of us with the Day Job get only a set number of minutes to hours to write in a night
  9. Inevitable Crash – bedtime, aka: when the muse really starts coming up with ideas but you’re too exhausted to care/write them down because you’ll remember in the morning, even though you won’t/don’t

Now, as mentioned there are variations on this, but the above is the gist of things of the “average” day for an author. Not only do we contend with everything non-writers do, we still have our actual career, our writing, to try and get time for in every single day. But it’s not JUST writing. For newbies and those who haven’t hit it “big”, we also have all the stuff some lucky authors have assistants for. Things like marketing, research, arranging for trips, conventions, etc. Which is 100% separate for the hundreds of daily tasks we still see to by ourselves, or at least oversee (grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, bill paying, household fixes, etc, etc, etc.)

So, to those out there that say that writing isn’t a job or a career, that it’s a “cute hobby”, I say unto you – PFFT! I challenge you to step into the shoes of the average author and take our lives for a spin. Like anything out there until you’ve walked a mile in the shoes of the one you are belittling, zip it. You have no more right than anyone else to judge, just like we have no right to judge you in whatever you do. Mutual consideration, understanding, and compassion people. Get over yourself and realize that the first step to a better world is to stop judging that which you have never done and therefore do not know.

By any other name… #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday everyone, and also an early happy Mothers Day to everyone. I have to say that this week has been a weird one. Nothing I can put my finger on though. It’s almost like I’ve managed to completely forget something for the entire week. But haven’t got a damn clue what, lol! Oh well, probably doesn’t matter. After all, if it was something truly important I’m pretty sure someone would have said something … right?

Today’s post is probably going to be nearly as odd as my weeks been, so bear with me here. If I tumble into the ditch I promise I’ll pull myself back up eventually – if not, send help! Shakespeare’s quote from Romeo and Juliet started to meander around in my brain while I was doing some casual meandering about social media *cough* watching videos *cough*. “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Most people know the saying, in part or in whole – depending if you were into Shakespeare’s funky English. Unlike some fellow classmates who groaned out loud, I quite enjoyed his word play. The man could turn quite a sentence.

The point here though is that people have all sorts of terms, phrases, or choice words for authors. But it doesn’t really matter – we are still authors. We are professional, or soon to be, wordsmiths. We slay dragons, save people, jump through flames, dash into danger, and a variety of other insanity every single day – with the words we write. While we may not be truly knights in dented armor, superheros, firefighters, cops/feds/etc., we do have ourselves a special skill set. We can take the letters of the English language, jumble them up, shake them viciously, and slap them silly until they turn into words. Words we then arrange, rearrange, and sometimes despair over, until we’ve created sentences. And where one sentence exists more are surely to follow.

Never let anyone take this away from you. Too many authors who have barely begun, or have been writing for years/decades, let the doubts get to them. And while I can’t speak for anyone but myself, this just isn’t right. It can be depressing, it can be lonely, you can and will feel isolated at times, and it will drive you right to the brink of insanity on the best of days, but it’s truly worth it. And that’s something anyone even thinking about stepping onto this cracked, chipped, and with the occasional stone missing path needs to consider. Authors need some level of self-assurance, inner strength, or ego even to take the first steps forward. You, the author, need to believe in who you are, your ability, and the vision you have for what’s to come.

Because without that, you too shall falter. But that doesn’t mean you have to let it stop you. We’ve all stumbled, scuffed a metaphorical knee, or taken a blow. It’s a fact of life. And unless you are living in a bubble, it’ll likely happen again. Something to be aware of especially in the era of instant everything.

Like that rose as long as you are putting words to paper you will be an author. No matter the name you, or those around you choose, it’s a truth that can never be taken away. So, now that my brain is starting to meander off I’ll finish up this post before we really go off the rails. Well, more than I already have that is.

Stay true to who you are, and to the path you have chosen. Stick with the vision you have in place and keep moving forward. Let the naysayers, and opinionated fools fall to the wayside. You’re going to be too damn busy writing to pay them any attention. Or you damn sure better be!

Recipe for success #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday everyone! It’s been a long week, but I’m happy to report that Mother Nature is apparently working on getting herself sorted out. We’ve been seeing blue skies with minimal clouds, and plenty of sun. I also saw a pair of robins out getting a snack, a sure fire sign that spring may have actually, and finally sprung. Fingers crossed! Now, onto the post – it’s a short one today. Too much sitting right after my chiropractor beats me up is exhausting.

Today’s post header is a lot misleading, but with a purpose. Too many people, ads, scammers, spammers, etc. all seem to have the “quick and easy, sure fire way, money making tips that THEY don’t want you to know about” formula that pulls in the unwary, or the lazy. Do. Not. Be. Lazy.

In this business of pouring out every emotion, thought, hope, dream, vindictive thought, guilty pleasure, and everything else onto paper – there is no quick way to shoot to the top. There are two types of authors who make it to the “big time”. Those who had plenty of luck on their side (right place, right time) and those who work hard. Those authors who fall into the first category still had to do a lot of the second. That’s right, hard work. But there is a trick to it, all you need to do is find out what works best for you, and put in the time and effort.

No, it’s not instantaneous, and no, it’s not easy. But to make it truly worthwhile you need to sweat it out, and have a couple sleepless nights. At the very least. In the end you’ll be all the more appreciative of the success, big or small, that you’ve gained. Because you earned it your way.

You need to think about writing, promo, and everything authoresque as that recipe you found online and are attempting for the first time. It may not work at all, or it may be just the ticket. But like any recipe you tackle sometimes it needs tweaking. Perhaps it had too much of this, and not enough of that. So you adjust and try again. Writing, like cooking or baking is always a work in progress. What may have worked a month ago may not be getting it done today. Don’t give up, just change how you’re looking at the problem.

Think outside the box you’re currently in. The air will do you good, and you never know what you might find out there. Can it be discouraging? Sure. But think of the euphoria you’ll feel when you find that right mix that gets you productive again. So get out there and find the recipe that works for you. Just don’t think it will always remain 100% the same.

Some pointers to help you on the long road:

  • Persistence is a virtue
  • Research is your friend
  • Watch and learn all you can
  • Ask questions when you hit a wall
  • Educate yourself, it’ll only help you get better
  • Set goals, from small to big to achieve each day for a sense of accomplishment
  • Learn when to step back and take a breath
  • and most of all, Don’t beat yourself up. This is a marathon not a sprint.

It’s a tough gig you’ve chosen, but knowing your limits and knowing when to push past them will get you far. Also, never be afraid to ask for help. The author community is vast and rather knowledgeable. Just make sure you know what you’re asking for to ensure no one feels their time is being wasted. We all get stumped from time to time, it’s okay if you do too. And, no matter what, keep on keeping on.

Rip the blinders off #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Welcome to another Friday post folks. Gotta say, this week was better than last. My back, and hip are doing much better which makes me a much happier camper. The fact I can sit for more than ten minutes at a go makes everything easier – including writing. Today’s post is going to be some realities that, while covered before in various posts, need to be covered again. After all, no one considering becoming a published author should go into things blind. And many authors need a reminder. That being said, everything below is my personal view point, and/or opinion and no one else has had say in what I’ve posted.

Writing a book is easy. It damn well shouldn’t be. Yes, some stories come easier than others, but this is something that will be representing you for decades to come. Do you really want something out there you whipped up in an hour?

Every good idea’s already been done to death. Not by you it hasn’t. Every author in the world could write every fairy tale (for example) and not one of them would be the same as the others. Because not one author is the same as any other author. We all have our own views, our own thoughts, our own perceptions that make our fairy tale unique.

Being a full time author is the only way to go. If you can feasibly manage it, absolutely but most new authors (and even some long time authors) can’t. You need to be realistic, and do the math because you will NOT be making any money to live off of in the first year. Buy a cup of coffee, or get a decent meal – sure, live off, not even if you hit the NYT best sellers list. That first year sees more money going out than staying in your pocket. Which leads into a huge myth….

It’s an easy way to make tons of money. Stop right there. If you are in this only to make money then you need to reevaluate immediately. An author is an artist. Their art, the words they use to tell their vision, is a development that takes time, thought, and refinement. Pumping out works just to make money is what has caused a flooded market, and takes money away from those of us who are putting our hearts, and souls into every book we create.

There’s always ways to make it to the #1 spot. There are. Moral, and immoral ways. Moral ways are doing the work, putting out the best product possible, and advertising until your fingers fall off – all to gain the purchases that push you to the top. Immoral ways include “gaming the system”. This involves things like key word titles, specific tags that pull your book into nearly every genre on a site, and several other scummy tricks that take thousands of dollars away from hard working, honest authors. Don’t take the easy way out, in the end it hurts us all, but it will give you a black mark you’ll never get rid of.

Using pieces of other authors works. This is called, say it with me, PLAGIARISM. Or if that’s too tough for you to say, try THEFT or PIRACY. Yup, you got it. While you may “love” how an author wrote a particular section, use it for inspiration to make your own work better, don’t go and steal it in part or whole. For one thing, readers always can tell when they’ve read something previously even if it’s in an entirely different context. Particular words, turns of phrases are an entirely different beast – every author picks up something from their favorite reads and incorporates it into their write. But decent, law abiding authors do not EVER steal copyrighted material from another author. Can you say LAWSUIT? You will if you ever do this, and it could well cost you more than you have. Trust me, there have been several cases where a reader outed an author for their devious theft of materials. And they will never, ever write or earn a living again because of it.

Pseudonyms are good/bad. Many authors write under their own names. Authors, like myself for example, write under a pseudonym. I personally do it because of my day job work environment, and the requirement to keep my writing very separate from my real life existence. Other authors use a pseudonym because of family issues, privacy issues, or just because that’s what they’ve decided to do. The choice is entirely yours, and not something anyone else can decide for you. If you are comfortable with everyone you’ve ever known from diapers to today knowing you write whatever genre you’re going to be writing, use your own name. But whichever way you go, always keep your real life social media 100% separate from your author social media if you have young children. I say this only as a safety measure, and the fact authors can attract some weird (Misery by Stephen King anyone?) followers.

Publisher vs. going Indie. Again, this is something that only you can decide on. Each has their pros and their cons. See Jules Dixon’s post from Monday this week for some info on that, but do your own research. Some people, like myself, don’t have the time in the day to be an Indie author – you are literally responsible for everything. Others have the multi tasking gene to the extreme and thrive in such an environment. To each their own.

Social media options. There are many, and again this will be your personal preference what you do and do not get involved with. Facebook is a good start, and gives you the options of Pages. Twitter has it’s pros and cons, just like everything else out there. Do some research, talk to other authors in your position (publisher or Indie), and figure out works best for you. You can always get rid of, or take on more as you go along and discover what’s benefiting your career.

And last, but not least, one last myth that needs to be dispelled.

Making it to the New York Times (NYT) best seller list. For 99.5% of authors this is a fantasy. Do we all wish we could see our names on their list? Abso-fucking-lutely! It’s a huge coup for an author. But the reality is that in an over saturated market it is harder now than it was twenty years ago to get there. The other harsh reality you need to swallow is that you likely need to have an agent, be with a traditional (aka: paperback/hard cover print first) publisher, and have your editor on call at all hours to even get close. E-publishers aren’t in the same hemisphere as the traditional publishers. It’s much easier to get your book published through an e-publisher, like Evernight, but becoming a best seller is a lot harder. And being an Indie is even tougher. But nothing is impossible, and it’s always good to hold onto at least one dream no matter what it might be. It’s what keeps us motivated, writing, and creating new and fantastic stories each and every day.

Best piece of advise I have ever been given – never stop writing. Pretty simple, and yet some day’s it’s the most challenging thing ever.

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 new 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?