Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Confessions of a Lonely Writer


I come from a huge family. My family is so huge you'd expect a member like me (with what I would call a decent amount of talent in the literary, visual and performing arts) to get a little recognition from them every now and then. Admittedly, good news doesn't travel much around the huge family circle. Unfortunate, I know. I'd liken the experience to a bad reality TV show where there's constant drama and unbelievably high ratings.

Friends? Only back in elementary and high school. At sixteen my social life drastically changed when I had my first daughter. Suddenly, my friends and I didn't have much in common anymore.

Soon after was the death of my social life.

And now, as a writer ( a lonely job) I long for that pat on the back once in a while. That "Good job" or "Congrats!" (Hell, I even crave a decent adult conversation with someone other than my husband from time to time.) "I'm proud of you" and "Keep up the good work" are rarely passed around in my huge family. Growing up I barely heard those words unless it was from my Language Arts teacher. Eventually, I learned to accept it.

I read about the sister and wife of my favorite Sci-Fi author, Hugh Howey, and how they are his support system. They help him with book readings and events, critiquing his works in progress and who knows what else. I long for such a system. If only I had that kind of support with my first published book.

Indeed, my writing journey has been a lonely one. I had to teach myself about publishing the hard way, through trial and error. Oh, I have my share of regrets.

My earliest dream? To see my name on the cover of a book. I started writing short horror stories in elementary school, but my first novel was completed in 2005. Three's a Crowd: The Beginning, an MMF erotic romance. The results? An embarrassment. The whole experience was a nightmare that I only realize NOW.

I'd been HAD by a vanity press. They charged me hundreds of dollars that I borrowed from one of my sisters and enthusiastically paid them to publish what I now dub "an utter piece of crap." I was completely oblivious  to my own writing errors and desperate to have my book in print that I never questioned why a "publisher" would publish something so severely unedited. (Literally my first draft!) Until later when I figured out it wasn't my best work.

I put out a revised and extended version in 2008, (and continued the story after the book as an online serial for free here: www.threesacrowd3.com) after writing two other novels and publishing them all through the same vanity press. Thousands of dollars lost! Finally, in 2011, I was humiliated enough to have Three's a Crowd: The Beginning discontinued. I mean, I'm trying to make a name for myself and build a decent platform. And although my dream was to have my name on a book cover, I no longer wanted my name on THAT book cover.

Where was my support system and why weren't they looking out for me? I realized I was alone in that endeavor. Still am.

Now, I highly despise vanity presses learned so much. It took years of making mistakes and learning from them, but now I understand the publishing business and how it works.

Some of what I've had to learn the hard way:

·         Research publishers before submitting

·         Research everything before making a commitment including topics and the facts for my stories

·         Respect feedback from editors and readers

·         Take criticism like an adult

·         Keep improving  my writing skills with every book I write

·         Continue to read, write and learn about story writing and book publishing

·         Do not expect perfection but work towards it anyway

·         Keep reading, writing and learning

·         Do not expect to have a team of family and friends behind me, pushing me and urging me on. To only depend on myself, and the people who choose to stand behind me, to get ahead and succeed.

Overtime, my up-and-down experience with writing and publishing has showed me that even without a support system I can make my dreams come true. I currently have 14 books for sale with my name on them. I may be a lonely writer but I appreciate the rewards even more knowing I've made it so far by myself.


4 comments:

  1. I think that life puts obstacles in front of us just to see if we really want what we think we do. You've overcome so much and can be proud now!

    The vanity presses have had thousands and thousands of authors; I hope you don't still feel bad/embarrassed about it. It happens to so many.

    Thanks for the inspirational post and congrats on your 14 books!

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    1. I think the same about life. If you really want it, no matter the hardships, you're gonna strive to get it.You're gonna make it happen.

      I do wish I started my writing career more prepared and, I don't know, smarter about publishing.But it's all a learning experience.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  2. Thank you for sharing your struggles and thoughts. Especially since I'm fumbling through my first book! This information is great but I'm so sorry you had to go through all of this alone.
    Keep your chin up!

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting! I think that's one reason I truly appreciate my readers as much as I do. Because they take a moment of time, a chunk of their life, to read what I put into writing. That's all a girl ever wanted. Good luck with your first book! :-)

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