So this month marks the one year anniversary of me being a published author. I've learned so much of both what to do and what not to do over the past year that I thought I'd share a few of the highlights.
1. Trust your editor! He or she will never steer you wrong. When my first manuscript came back more red than black I almost had a heart attack. I'd slaved and toiled, wrote and re-wrote for months only to find out. I don't know the first thing about using commas and I apparently I had a very redundant mind when it came to verb usage during sex. Don't worry, I've improved! I think :) With every story you learn a little more. My goal is that with every book I improve my writing to bring you deeper characters, tighter plots and for a couple hours take you away to a very special place.
2. Squeee at the top of your lungs, the moment you get a stunning new cover. When my first book went to print and I held that cover in my hands, I gazed for hours at the amazing colors. It was surreal to see my name in bold letters and hold a book in my hands with words I'd written filling the pages.. Every cover since keeps getting better and right now I'm giving everyone in the art department a HUGE THANK YOU!!!
3. Reviews love em' and hate em. You open you email and find a little message. "You have a new Review." Your breath catches, your fingers tremble and if you're like me you open every other email in your inbox before working up the nerve to click that fateful link. I've had some reviews that take me to the top of the world and others that make me go "really? that's it?" I thank the god of creative writing that I've yet to tossed over the side of the mountain with my britches burnin' . I've learned in the past year that it is truly impossible for EVERYONE to like EVERYTHING you write. I now look at reviews as a way to improve my skills for the next book versus focusing on what in that person's opinion I did wrong in the current one.
4. Yahoo Groups are your friend. The simplest, most cost effective way to promote your work is to get in with a great group of supporting friends who let you paste blurbs and excerpts of your upcoming releases and interact with readers to get ideas on how they would view a particular aspect of a work in progress. Here's a shout to all you out there!
5. Your Internet service is tax deductible :). Hey it's unavoidable. The tax man cometh and we all need every little trick to get us by.
6. Save, save and re-save! Sometimes technology is your best friend and other times its your arch enemy. I've heard so many horror stories about writers who lost everything from a couple paragraphs to whole chapters because of a computer crash. Back up to either an external hard drive or invest in one of the new online backup services. A day will come when you'll be thankful you did.
7. Toys aren't just for kids. Not those kind of toys! Get your minds out of the gutter. When writing sex scenes using bendy dolls or even little pipe cleaner men to get all the arms and legs in the right position can be helpful. You'd be amazed how many times I've thought something was totally hot only to realize later it was slightly anatomically impossible :)
8. Google is your friend. Accurate research is so important when writing a story. When I'm developing my characters or locations I look up everything from fashion tips to weather reports. I hunt housing markets and local shopping districts. Every book I've written has a folder under my bookmarks tab filled with websites and links for all my research. Ah've learned 'oy ter spake loike a true so 'tis Oirishman. Watched videos on how to put a man in an impossible to break submission hold. Can now say that I understand the concepts of securities law and economic espionage. Have spent hours combing blogs for real life stories of living with PTSD. and who know what else I'll learn in the future. I practically live on Google Maps, because I love writing about various cities and yet if a reader from that location picks up my book, I want them to say "Hey I know where she's talking about.". One of the biggest compliments I ever received was from a multi-published, award winning author who emailed me and said that I really captured the feel for her city AND I'D NEVER EVEN BEEN THERE!
9. Have Fun! Like many authors I do not write full time. I have a day job and family obligations like most of us do. Sometimes I've heard authors complain that they've gotten so caught up in getting the next best seller out they've lost the joy for writing in the first place. I love to write. I love to tell stories. I sacrifice sleep and quite often sanity because my characters live and breathe within me. It's my passion to give them a voice and I promise the moment this turns into another job, I'll stop.
10. Always remember the readers. You make it possible for us to continue doing what we love to do and from the bottom of my heart, I THANK YOU!!!!