Monthly Archives: June 2012

Rejection: It’s a reality

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You may have noticed in the last month or so I have clammed up about Tears of a Clown. It had been up as a giveaway on Goodreads and I had to pull it. At the time I didn’t give a reason but asked that you guys please understand and I’d let you know what went on.

Welp, here goes.

About a month or so ago, I took a chance and participated in a Twitter Pitch contest. 140 characters to pitch your book to several different agents at once. If yours caught their eye, they could request a partial. Much to my surprise, my pitch interested someone. I was shocked and elated and rather nervous. I had decided with Near Death that I was going to go the self-published route without even trying to go traditional so I never wrote a query. I had done some research prior and got some tips from one of those sites that allows you to send your query in and they rip it apart for you but I had never seriously sent one to an agent. So that was a first and I was pretty happy with what I came up with and I sent it in along with my first 50 pages.

Then I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

While it was really only a couple of weeks (and no I didn’t expect a super quick response, especially since I had seen this agent was super busy traveling the country for all sorts of events) it seemed like a lifetime to hear back from them. Sadly, they passed on it but wished me luck, which is always nice.

Tears of a Clown is a bit of a different kind of story. One that started as a joke amongst friends and surprisingly came into its own. I never entertained the thought of trying to send it out to agents for traditional publishing. Hell, I never expected to have someone be interested in the Twitter pitch, so all of it came as a surprise and gave me a little experience with the process.

Am I sad? I’d be lying if I said the rejection didn’t hurt at all because let’s be honest, no one likes to be rejected. But it’s often a reality in this business and if it happens a couple of times, it just helps you grow a thicker skin or maybe fix some problems to make a better product.

Instead of wallowing in my rejection or throwing myself a pity party, I decided to look on the bright side of things.  I can self-publish it very soon (final proofs are being done and digital formatting needs to be finished) and I get to use the cover that was already designed, which makes me a bit giddy. Heh.

All in all, a good learning experience and now I can say I officially have my first rejection under my belt.  I kind of feel like it’s a rite of passage and now I can join the club of rejected authors. Someday I hope to be able to join the club of accepted authors too, but for the moment, I’m quite content with being in the club of self-published authors. We’ve got cookies.

Do you believe in your work?

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I am going on a little couple day mini-vacation at the beginning of the week and realized I had to prep this post in advance (eep!). I had no idea what I was going to blog about so my writing buddy, the talented Patricia Lynne, suggested I answer a question that was  posted to her by a commenter  on one of her recently blogs about being anti-social.

Do you believe in your book?

It’s a good question, don’t you think?  I’ve posted before that much like my writing partner Ms. Lynne, I am very shy and have a hard time promoting myself. It’s easier to do online but in person when people find out I write, they tend to bombard me with questions and I get a little freaked out. I guess I’m concerned that with the stigma of being self-published still around, that they will hear that and brush me off as “Ooh.  You’re one of those…Anyone can do that.”  Technically, they’re right. Anyone *CAN* self-publish these days, but I know what a feat it is to be able to actually finish writing a novel and get it out there, even through the self-publishing route. Am I proud of that accomplishment? Most definitely. I’m the kind of person who tends to start things and not follow through. Writing had been an exception to that and I plan to keep it that way.

Back to the question at hand, do I believe in my book? I do. While I know my writing has improved since I wrote it many years ago, I still love the story. I love the characters and their interactions with each other. I love the backstory with history worked into it. I love how it all comes together at the end.  If I didn’t love it so much, I wouldn’t be working on finishing the sequel.  Those characters really came to life during a difficult period I was going through and I came to love them. So much so that I needed to write more about them so others, who also came to love them, could see what becomes of the group of friends a few years down the road.

So maybe I really need to work on other aspects of myself so I can promote Near Death the way it ought to be promoted. The last thing I would want is for someone to think I was ashamed of it or didn’t believe it deserved to be out there for the public to read. Perhaps easier said than done, but I will try.  Feel free to remind me or kick me in the ass if you don’t think I’m working at it hard enough. I’ll gladly return the favor if you need me to!

Please Make Romance Realistic

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As someone who reads (and writes) Young Adult novels, I see a whole heck of a lot instantaneous romances. While I get that teen hormones are raging and the devastation of a breakup of a two week old “romance” is a common occurrence in the real world, I feel like in many YA books it’s taken to the extreme and it kind of drives me bat shit crazy.

I am all for romance and relationships in books aimed at teens but I find it hard to swallow when they are experiencing love at first sight and that they know, without a doubt, that the person is their soulmate and they’d give their lives to keep that person safe from harm. Do I think it’s possible it could happen? I’m not a huge believer in love at first sight, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt and say it might happen on a rare occasion.  Definitely not to the extent that it seems to happen in these stories.

Reading through some of my older writing, I see I have been guilty of this as well. It will get corrected in edits! Hah. It happens in Tears of a Clown, but that’s meant to be a joke about, well…about how often it happens in so many YA books out right now.

When you’re writing teen romance, please stop and try to remember how awkward and scared and insecure of it all you were at that age. Even those guys who seemed slick, like they had all the moves and the girls who well, let’s just say they got around, they were probably more into it for the sex aspect (whether to score points or use it to handle their low self esteem issues) than the romance and love of it all.

Keep it realistic. Make the characters unsure and worried. They are more than likely inexperienced and going on what they’ve heard from friends and seen in movies. Fumbling will happen. Messy slobbery kisses. Being done in two seconds flat. Uncomfortable situations in cars and getting caught, etc. Also remember, it’s not just the girls who will worry about how they look and how to commence with things. The guys have issues as well.

Please make your characters understand the seriousness of falling into a physical relationship. Sex is a big deal and when I see books where the female MCs seem to jump into bed with these guys with barely more than a second thought, it drives me crazy. “OH I just met him but we’re going to have sex right away and I’m going to give up my virginity to practically a stranger because I  JUST know it’s right!” *Sigh* Sadly, I do suspect this happens in real life sometimes, but I hope it’s a rarity and if it does happen in books I’d like to see the character look back and think maybe she/he should have waited until they got to know the person a little better.

Don’t be scared to make it more real than fantasy. People will better relate to the characters and the story as a whole.  Can your characters fall in love? Most definitely. Can they decide that they are soulmates and they shouldn’t ever be apart? OOooh I suppose. But please work up to things like that. Don’t make it happen within the first three chapters of the story.

The Difference Between Liking to Write & Being a Writer

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Several months ago I started attending meetings of the local writing group at a nearby Barnes and Nobles store.  Two of the members were guys I knew previously from organizing Nanowrimo write ins  this past November.  I was nervous, but excited, to be reading for others and commenting on their work as well. As I kept returning, month after month, I started to realize something about some of my fellow group members.  There were definitely some who were serious about being writers and becoming authors and there were others who just liked to write and perhaps tried to tell others that they are “writers”.

Are you wondering what’s the difference? I will tell you.

A person who likes writing is someone who will start writing a book and never finish it. It’s someone who complains that their edits are never ending but only because they don’t really work on them. It’s someone who starts multiple books and brags about it, but has never finished one to the point where it could be sent out to agents or self published. They are the ones who tell everyone they are writers, but when asked when others can read/buy it, they constantly make excuses. They are the ones who will continue to make edits and polish the piece , rewriting scene after scene, trying to achieve perfection.  Now there’s nothing wrong with editing and polish, but at some point you need to say this is as good as it gets and send it out there to sink or swim.

A writer is the person who moves ahead with their work. Someone who writes on a regular basis and strives to improve. They are the ones who take chances and put their work out there for rejection or acceptance. They take criticism and suggestion but know that ultimately, it’s their work and they don’t need to follow that advice if they don’t think it will benefit their novel.  They are avid readers and are following trends in their genres, getting to know other authors who write what they do and are looking for ways to promote themselves.  They work towards deadlines (whether it be self given or by an agent/publisher) and they encourage others by sending out ARCs and samples of their upcoming work (hard to back out of publishing when people already have copies and are writing reviews). They’re not afraid to step outside of the box either in their stories or in the promotion of their writing. They look forward to finally finishing a product so they can start on something new.

So can a person who likes to write actually become a writer? Sure they can. I don’t think it’s a difficult transition to make, but they have to really want to. They have to be willing to take the risks and put themselves out there to possibly get hurt.  Taking criticism is no easy task and I’m sure even the seasoned professionals get hurt when someone says something bad about their books, but it’s part of being a writer and if you can;t handle that, then best you stick to just liking to write as a hobby.

Hate for Your Favorites

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We already had a discussion about trolls and their hate for what you read, but what happens when it’s a friend or an acquaintance that ridicules your choice of literature? Does it offend or can you let it roll off your back?

You tend to be friends with people because you have things in common, but that doesn’t mean you will have the same ideas and opinions on everything and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Don’t let yourself be swayed by their opinion. Have a debate about it. Perhaps they are looking for something more out of the books they read while you’re simply looking to be entertained or to lose yourself for a couple of hours.

If these people disagree with you, do you feel bad or think less of yourself because of your choices and opinions? You shouldn’t. We have discussed many times the difference reasons why people read and why it’s okay to want an escape over an intellectual hurdle to read.

At the same time, you shouldn’t totally diss their opinions and reasons either. Keep an open mind. There’s no shame in changing your stance on something so long as you believe in the reason you’re changing it for.

As a writer I know not everyone is going to love my books. All you have to do is read reviews and see that there is almost always at least a couple on any given book where people totally disliked the book, even if it’s gotten an immense amount of 5 star ratings. People enjoy different things. It’s just a fact of life. That being said, if you want to turn the pages and read something, don’t let reviews or friends or trolls stop you from doing so. Read and form your own opinions and then you can sing the book’s praises or agree with the haters. Just be sure you’re able to back up your reasons. Don’t just jump on the hate/love bandwagon because there are many on that train already. It’s always better to make your own decisions and don’t worry if they differ from everyone else. It’s okay to be different. What really matters is what you thought of the book. Not what everyone else thinks.