Archive | March, 2013

What It Looks Like From The Inside

27 Mar

There’s a weird thing about writing — or more, about being an author. Very few people know what your writing life really looks like.

Sure, your close friends know your process and cycle, but everyone else… probably not so much.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of writers talk daily on twitter or their blogs about where they are and how things are going, etc.

It doesn’t work for most writers. Outside of people who can do it with wit (think: Victoria Dahl) it’s too easy to come off whiny. Let’s be honest, writing can be hard. It can wear you down. If you’re smart (and not clever about how to share) you probably look like you’re doing stuff the for only two months before a book comes out.

I know, right? The rest of the time you’re just living in dreamland. Um, suuuuure.

But, writers know that’s not true. I thought I’d give you a tiny look into my last few week so you can see what else I’ve done besides “write words down.”

This week I’ve:

  • Did book edits from my CP’s notes
  • Reviewed FOUR of my full manuscripts for Super Secret Project (SSP)(tons of fun rereading & making notes)
  • Discussed new projects with potential genre specific editors
  • Tried to get the next 2 Theories in Love books packaged for my editor
  • Researched genre specific covers
  • Researched about 15 cover artists
  • Basically beg, pleaded, and bribed the cover artist I wanted for the SSP
  • Realized I need a tax/business structure
  • Researched LLCs and Sole Proprietorship (and am still confused)
  • Made note to call the SBA about LLCs and Sole Proprietorship
  • Did content read for someone else
  • Started researching ISBNs for paper and e-books
  • Made my To Do list for this week

Oh yeah, and went to the Day Job and pretended I have a life.

I’ve always been honest with you guys that I write under another name also and that it typically takes most of my writing time, but all this business stuff? That’s just one week ramping up to a release that isn’t coming till mid-JUNE!

I look at that, and the writer heart in me dies a little. I know that once I have a team in place for this new genre, the next books will go more smoothly to set p. But, really, we all know that saying, “A writer writes.” Well, if you go indie, it’s “A writer writes….and everything else, too.”

And, being committed to creating the best product for readers AND running the business side as well, means doing things right. And doing things right sometimes means saying, “Stop. Let’s build the foundation so going forward we have a structure to get things out, better, faster, stronger… wait. That’s Kanye. Not a fan, but okay. We’ll go with it.

So, for everyone who was curious what goes on behind the curtain – and why sometimes the curtain is closed for long periods of time – there’s a little glimpse.

Now, I’m off to the Day Job so I can go home and finish edits tonight… that’s the whole point, right?

~~Caitie~~

It’s Not Fair VERSUS Get Over it

25 Mar

One thing you see a lot of in the publishing world is the whole “It’s Not Fair” thing. Okay, you see it a lot in life, but since I have no life, only books, let’s talk about it in the writing world.

The list of things that aren’t fair is insanely long. It’s not fair that:

  • people give your book 1 star without reading it
  • some books get front page ads just because
  • editors invest more time and money on certain titles
  • you can’t be involved in certain book blogger sites without a certain number of reviews at a certain
  • some people know other authors so they can get blurbs more easily
  • etc

Pretend the list goes on for about four pages and you’re scratching the surface. And my response to that is:

Sooooooooo??????

Stuff isn’t fair. I’m not one of those connected or lucky people. Never have been. Probably never will be.

You know what? That’s fine. In some ways, it’s good even. There’s no surprises coming. Just a simple, plug away and write the next book. I can plan that… I can DO that.

The thing about most of that “It’s Not Fair” stuff — actually, maybe even all of it — is that you have no control over it.

To be fair, I’m not talking about discussions about things not working (like promo) or looking for solutions. I’m talking about just being upset about not being handed/allowed something you want.

What, can I ask you, is the point of not only worrying about things you can’t control, but complaining about them?

Yeah. I get it. We all worry over stuff we can’t change. But, we also all need to get over that. That stuff? It’s a thief. It robs you your time, energy, happiness, creativity, flow, etc. Don’t let it steal from you. Thumb your nose at it and say, “Yeah? So what? I’ll be successful without you.”

Even worse, there’s nothing like seeing someone complaining about it publicly. As if attacking the person/group/blog/establishment who is barring you from their party is going to make you look smart or clever.

Here’s a clue: It’s going to make you look like a whiner.

If you must complain, that’s what friends (real, close, trusted friends) are for… on email, phone or in person. Not your closest eleven-thousand friends on your favorite forum.

Because, if you can’t get into camp Get Over It, you’re going to be left behind in camp Can’t Get Past It.

And, guess which camp has more energy to write? 🙂

~~Caitie~~

It’s A Business, People

14 Mar

Two things happened in the last 12 hours to get this post twirling about in my head.

The first was last night talking to Roomie who didn’t understand the amount of money I was considering slapping down to begin the next project (It’s not Ben & Jenna LOL – but please feel free to keep asking!)

The new project is a Super Secret I’d hoped to announce next month, but because of my own incorrect expectations about how long it would take to find a cover designer and formatter, it might be the month after that. One word: I’m so freaking excited about the Super Secret project that it sometimes makes me panic a bit. I’m really hoping to create somethings readers will fall in love with.

But, back to the business at hand: BUSINESS.

So, you want to be a writer/editor/designer/artist/formatter/PR rep/etc? You want to go out on your own and have people either hire you to create/run something or create something people will buy?

Then you want to run a business. Period. End of sentence. Don’t even argue with me on this. If you want my money, it’s not a hobby.

If you want me to work with you, I have some minimum requirements as a business woman:

Give Your Business a ‘Storefront’

Facebook is not a storefront. Facebook moves. Give me something static. Something that’s easily negotiable.

I should be able to click on tabs (or even links) to see samples of your work, your business model/timeline set up, requirements for jobs, an “About” section, and preferably a pricing structure.

Your pricing structure could have a clause saying something like, “Extras may create additional charges that will be discussed before finalized.”

Separate Your Life

No one likes going into a store where you get a dose of TMI from the sales girl.

Remember this. Remember that for most people, their storefront needs to be strictly about work.

Of course there are cross-over situations. Tawna Fenske is a perfect example of a writer who ties her personal life into her blog about writing. It works for her. It’s a great blog, Tawna’s a great writer, and her fans love it.  If you’ve followed her though, you’ll see she has the magic touch of making you feel as if she’s 100% transparent while keeping what needs to be private private.

I don’t want to check out a cover artist only to have to weed through pictures of her kids and recipes and stories about her cat. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not judging people who post that stuff. I post enough personal stuff on my personal areas that that would be kettle/pot. But, I want to know what she’s going to do for me — how we’ll work together as business partners.

Make the line clear enough that people don’t have to HUNT to get what they want.

Hunting typically equals giving up and going to someone else.

Professionalism

You’d think this was a no-brainer. You’d think wrong.

I have seen a run of people giving poor reviews to books they worked on.

If you touch a book, you do not review it.

Usually people complain about positive reviews coming from people involved, but just is bad is the “I did this cover, but the book is horrible” or the “I edited this book and she ignored my marks. Please don’t judge me by this book” or the “I knew this book was bad when I started formatting it, but had already agreed to do it” reviews.

Yes, we’re all readers too – but there are enough other books out there to review that there’s no reason to review ones you’ve worked on.

My personal policy: If I have given you notes on your book OR if you are a good friend, I do not review your book. Period.

This extends beyond reviews. Everytime you’re about to post something, ask yourself, “How will my clients view this? Will it harm any of my working relationships or reflect on them in a negative way?”

Golden Rule this puppy.

Expect Clients To Talk About You

Any second now (if there isn’t already one up I don’t know about) there will be a Yelp version of product/services review for the Indie world.

If there isn’t, you should know that there are forums (opened and closed) and loops where the main purpose is to discuss working relationships with publishing partners.

I have a running list of names who have been recommended and a second list of people to never contact. I’m sorry to say the second list is growing too quickly (also, no, you can’t have the list. I won’t be responsible for making that call for others based on recommendations of others.)

Some things typically discussed:

    • Timeliness
    • Communication style/ability
    • Product
    • Willingness to listen and give us what we need/want
    • Your process
    • Easy of ability to work with
    • Cost

I can’t stress this enough –> If you are charging a cost for goods or services, you are a BUSINESS.

This goes for authors as well. This whole gig is divided into two parts: Being a writer and publishing your work.

You’ve seen over my last few posts what I think of that and where I think our standards should be, so I won’t bore you — but create a book/art doesn’t make you except from respecting the process and the purchasers.

So, before you slap up a shingle and call yourself a fill-in-the-blank, make sure you’re business ready.

~~Caitie~~