Monday, February 24, 2014

Let's have an Un-Pity-Party.

I'm going to get on my soap box for a minute.

The amount of social media posts litering the internet concerning the hardships in the literary industry in relation to success, saturation and unprofessionalism are clogging up my feed.  Everyone is upset about something.  The traditional pubs are upset with Amazon and indie authors for the saturation of sub par, McDonald's brand drivel that a bunch of sad and lonely housewives are currently attempting to sell off as literature.  By the same token, indie authors are angry at the big five because they like to sit up in their ivory towers, twirling scepters, talking to snakes and other villainous things like that.  Well let me just say, in the words of Jennifer L Armentrout, stop the drama, Llama!  Or is it-llama drama?  Whatever, you get my point.

Here's something everyone needs to get through their heads.  Seriously, write this on your bathroom mirror in Harlot #3, cuz it's important.  I'm going to blow your mind.  Are you ready?

Okay...Here it is...

Being an author is hard, yo. 

That's it.  There's no rhyme or reason to it.  It's not black and white.  There is no yellow brick road to get you to emerald city.  Complaining that Sara Jane is more successful than you and you are obviously a far superior writer, so therefore her success must be some big giant mistake or conspiracy to keep you down...well it's madness I tell you!  There are so many variables, so many different factors that play into being successful that trying to compete with everyone is like trying to step inbetween blades of grass.  You can't do it!

To digress on that subject a bit, I want to say that even if you feel Sara Jane is a bad writer and doesn't deserve the lime light, you should probably just shut your trap keep it to yourself.  Go bitch to the bestie and then leave it be.  Trust me when I say that the readers will tell her exactly how they feel.  If someone who reads her books doesn't like them, well, they will have their say just as much as her biggest fan will.  Author to author bashing is just lame, and blaming each other for your lack of success won't do anything good for either one of your careers.  In fact, it's probably going to do the opposite.  If you start feeding the beast with negativity, all you will fuel is contempt for readership.  You're totally negating all of those wonderful feels that people get from books.  Reading is an escape from the rigors of life.  People are constantly on the grind in their everyday life.  They don't want to have to battle it out in fantasy land too.  Let your characters do the drama dance.  That's what they are there for.

Saturation?  Um...I'm not wet yet.  (pun intended)

Let me ask you a question.  What happens when a famous (or non famous for that matter) chocolatier makes the most exquisite chocolate anyone has ever tasted?  People go and buy their chocolate right?  They rave about it.  It get's put in the newspapers.  Pretty soon, everyone wants chocolate.  It becomes an addiction.  Yes, people have always loved chocolate, but before now, they only ate it every once in a while.  Now, thanks to this new chocolatier, everyone is buying chocolate all the time.  Then, someone else who also loves to make candy decides to try out a new chocolate recipe and sell it in their town.  I think you know where I'm going with this, right?

Everyone has diabetes. 

Just kidding.

What I'm trying to say is that just because one person is selling a million books a day, doesn't mean they are taking over the industry.  People are going to read their book, love it, and then guess what...They are going to want more.  And more.  And MORE.  Their success is a GOOD thing.  People writing more and more books every day is a GOOD thing. 

I have to go off on a teeny tiny tangent with this.  Author Jamie McGuire-*everyone screams*-yes, you all know her.  Well, she's posted several times about how newbies are using her page to spam her readers and plug in their own books.  Let's get one thing straight.  Chocolatier #2 will NEVER, under any circumstances, march on over to Chocolatier #1's store and start handing out flyers.  No...just...No.  Don't do it.  Not cool.  Success that is built on the back of another's will never last anyway.  Make it to the top on your own merits.  That's how you stay in the game.

I also read a blog post about how JK Rowling should just stop writing if she cares at all for the publishing world and a bunch of other crap.  I won't even share the link or who wrote it because that's exactly what it is.  Crap.  JK Rowling is not, nor could she ever be to blame for the lack of success of all the no name authors in the world.  You are totally shooting yourself in the face, dude.  Maybe, if you focused more on your career instead of analysing and critisizing other's, you would be doing better.

*I do realize that since I have yet to make it to the top of the writing industry, this might all sound like the contrived rantings of a writer with too much time on their hands.  So be it.  I've been extremely successful in my other career and other aspects of my life by following these principals, and I'm friends with enough more successful authors to believe in what I'm preaching.*

If you feel that the market has too much of one thing and not enough of another-go write something different.  This is a big pet peeve of mine.  I hear authors and readers complain about how there is only one type of book out there right now.  And lesbihonest...I'm talking about the Smutty-Mcsmuttertins.  What drives me bonkers is that these people are writing or reading these books too!  They are supporting the fad they are currently bitching about. 

Now... I'm all for a good smutty book.  I have a kindle overflowing with them.  Do I personally think that our market is saturated with them?  No.  What I do think, is at this point in time, that is what is selling the best.  People are snapping those suckers up the second they hit the shelves or online stores.  There are plenty other books out there with more to them then sex and they are fantastic.  I want to see those books rise to the top of the charts.  What am I doing about it?  I'm buying those books.  I'm currently writing one of those books. 

Just a small ripple in the pond, but     insert motivational quote here    .

Don't become disillusioned with the industry.

This goes back to the whole, "being an author is hard" bit.  Most people have to get doused with muddy street water before they ride off into the sunset.  Every romance novel ever written can attest to that.  Most people blame the industry in all the ways mentioned above, when really there is a completely different reason for their lack of success.

Just to prove it, I'll self depricate myself a bit. 

I've been pretty open about the fact that I jacked up monumentally with my debut.  Bombed is a pretty good word for it.  I thought I had my shit together, when really...I just had a bunch of shit.  LOL

I could have blamed readers for not buying my book.  After all, Fifty Shades of Grey made everyone sex crazy and that's all anyone is reading right now.  Right?  I could also blame the big five for not giving me a shot.  I could have blamed Harry Potter and his precocious band of buddies for foiling my plot to stardome.

But I didn't.  I took a step back and dug deeper into my actions, my writing, my approach and discovered that I was soley responsible for my lack of sales and readers. 


For real though, I got a LOT wrong.  I thought I could edit my own work...WRONG.  I thought I could design my own cover...WRONG.  I thought I could wait to market and promote until after I released...WRONG. 

That doesn't even cover it.

I've learned from my mistakes.

Right now, I'm working on a book that I have high hopes for.  It's going to be a game changer for me and I'm busting my ass off on this baby.  I'm having it professionally edited, I'm hiring a cover artist and I have a solid marketing plan and time frame.  Even with all of this going for me, I'm dealing with two divorces in the family-simultaneously, construction on two of our houses, chronic illness in myself,  possible cancer in my sister, issues with child care, deployments and military training.  I have a full time job as well on top of my writing.  The skies litterally opened up and took a big dump on the Herrera clan.  It's delaying and blocking my writing process, is a burden financially and just downright sucks sometimes, but I refuse to let it stop me.  I'll get this book finished and continue on with my plan.  Hopefully, with a bit of luck and word of mouth Hard of Heart will sell better than my other two books.

Notice, I didn't say it would rise to the top of the charts and make me a millionaire. I said it would do better. Progression, people. Not overnight success.

Guess what... None of what I just shared with you is the industry's fault.  It's all me, baby!  It's also LIFE.  If more people would recognize that the hardest part about being an author-is the fact that we're human beings with trials and hardships who make mistakes, well there would probably be a lot more successful authors out there. 


Time to blow this popsicle stand.


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