Words that have plagued writers since the first one decided to put pen to paper. I struggle with enormous self-doubt. I’ve yet to get paid for a piece I’ve written. I’ve been published which is a huge accomplishment but not if you want to make a living at it. I’m currently writing a romance/suspense novel and I know that first drafts are mostly crap but I still wonder will anyone want to read this? Will the finished product be good enough? I’ve had enough people tell me I’m a talented writer and I’ve also gotten rejection e-mails and letters. So yes, I know what that feels like to be on the end of you’re not good enough spectrum.
I read something today that said, “it’s not the fear of writing that writers are afraid of. It’s the fear of writing bad.” I find these words to be very true. No one wants to be categorized as a “bad” writer. But what makes someone a “bad” writer? Critics? If no one buys your book? I can think of writers who have written poorly and sold millions of copies and writers whose books were brilliant and whose sales were not so great. I guess what it depends on is if your happy with your work. If you go out there and write your absolute very best then it doesn’t matter how many books you sell. Hopefully you do sell a lot.
I read something else today that said, “Self-doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” These words too, I think, are very true. You can’t let yourself get in the way of your writing. You must set aside those thoughts of self-doubt and self-criticism.
I guess the very best advice I can give you is to ignore the voices in your head that say Am I good enough? Is my writing good enough? Will this sell. And just write.
I am still at a complete and utter loss for words. I’ve attached the email sent by Mrs. Kim Burrows below because I am still firmly unable to process this. I was so worried when I released What’s Done in the Dark, because it was my first formal erotica effort. And it won a freaking award! I didn’t get first place, but that never matters to me. I am so completely honored and humbled that my work was even considered. I want to extend a big thank you to Literary Erotica Mag and a formal congratulations on opening their new website and having the courage to do so. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for remembering me!
In light of recent world events I thought it pertinent to reach out to you, my family of readers, whose opinions I find absolutely invaluable.
I’ve written in the past that a community of writers can, has been, and in certain aspects always will be, a place of joy, happiness and support. Every writer needs their team. Their support system. The people who are meant to catch them when they inevitably stumble and need help finding their light again. That being said, there are unfortunately a lot of people I simply can’t associate within my community.
In the circles that I follow, and once fervently participated in, all I see are issues that cause me to grow increasingly disheartened. Every day I see posts that are blatantly racist. Posts that are blatantly sexist. Entire books built on played out stereotypes and tired tropes about people of color; the timid, shy Asian woman or the loud, ghetto black woman, or the spicy sex-crazed Latina…And it needs to stop. Things need to change. I am completely for writing what you want, but when you fail to realize how these microagressions give people the wrong idea, which negatively impacts the demographics you so carelessly write about, I can’t willingly be a part of it. That is to say, that for my own mental well-being, I can’t allow myself to be around it nor play a part in ignoring or supporting it.
As a person of color who writes fantasy, I’m a rare sight. And in a world where the characters, subject matter, and authors themselves are dominated by a primarily white demographic who are uncomfortable speaking about race, privilege, sex, class, and having conversations that would change their unknowingly insensitive, oppressive behavior, I’m obviously not welcome. And that’s fine by me. Because I don’t do what I do for other writers. I do it for my readers.
My wonderful, tough as nails, readers. You guys are my stars. You light up all the darkness in my world and chase the shadows away. That’s why I continue to produce content. That’s why I limit my interaction with others who intentionally, and unintentionally, write, do, and say things that affect my people and, by extention, me. Because of you, I don’t care about anything else except for delivering the content you’ve come to know and love. And so, I thank you. Continually. For your support. I can never hope to repay you enough.
You know, working is something we usually have to do, whether you’re a published author or just starting out. We start somewhere and sometimes it can be hard to maintain the passion for writing and working full-time; especially when at times you can only think about writing the days you’re working. Which is every day. And sometimes, you can be at a full-time job that tires you mentally; I was in that position a couple months ago. I used to work in a warehouse full-time and it was not the experience I wanted to go through.
Each day when I returned from the job I would be drained mentally from what I would have to go through. It wasn’t fun at all, I felt that my creativeness had completely been sucked out of me. It was hard for me to even write a sentence when I came home from a hard days work and that was every day. There are some things that we may be able to handle but this was not it; I started to become sick after awhile and that’s when I knew I had to officially leave.
And once I did, my mind started to become clearer, unfortunately, I could not take back those moments where I could have written. It was heart wrenching for me to go through something like that and lose my passion at the same time. No one, and I mean no one, should go through something like this. For me, it felt like I lost something within myself; I identify a lot with writing and it had calmed me in times of need when I needed it most. And for that to be taken away, I did feel like I lost my identity. However, once I had left that environment, I started to work in an office again, I could feel my mind dusting away the doors to Morus Academy (my mind palace), and pushing them open.
After a while, I started to reacquaint myself with my characters, but more importantly, I started to write again. I felt myself become happier with what I started to write and it wasn’t just writing Descendant of Aphrodite, but it was writing my short stories and The Journey to Writing blogs. This newer job gave me a sense of hope and now when I get home or I’m on my lunch break I can sit and finally write with a clear mind. When I take my hour bus ride to get to work or back home, I’m sitting there writing, I’m actually writing this whole post on the bus. Yes, working full-time is hard and at times difficult, especially when you’re working in a place that drains you completely.
I do like working full-time and I do love writing, sometimes working full-time and being an Author goes hand in hand. You can’t change that at times, we all go through it when we’re all starting out. We want to shoot for the stars that are litter with Authors but it is a long way to land among them. And sometimes we have to start somewhere, whether we are making a career of writing or if we’re going into our jobs and just writing along the way. We all have ink in our blood and we all know that our lunches and getting off of work is exciting when we can finally break out our phones, tablets or laptops just to write. We set aside our jobs when our hour lunch comes around and we travel into the worlds we create and explore it until its time to set our world aside for work. We always have to remember that we must balance our job and our love for writing.
My only advice to everyone out there working full-time and writing is to never give up, to never lose yourself like I did. It’s not a good feeling and once that comes over you, it is a struggle to understand why it happens. But, we will continue to move forward and that’s what we must do, don’t give up on your dreams and don’t give up on writing. When you start a job it can be hard to get into a rhythm of balancing them out, but you will later down the road. That it will become this lovely routine of working, lunch, write, working, go home and write. We know that at the end of our work day that our characters are waiting, so giving up is not an option for us, especially not for them.
We work both ways whether it is through our passion for writing or through our jobs that we have for ourselves. It may seem impossible to maintain both, but it won’t be in the long run, just remember to breathe and to give yourself time to understand and adapt to your schedule. In the end, you will find a way and your characters will be there waiting for you with open arms and ready for the battles to come. So just breath, you’ll get through this, I did and I know you can.
July 1st 2016 marks #IndiePrideDay, a day when the Indie Authors of the world unite to to offer a real alternative for readers and lovers of books by offering special discounts on their books. There is a huge Indie Author community out there and they’re determined to take indie books mainstream. What does this mean for you? Well author, Sharon Lipman is offering her paranormal romance novel, Bound to Blackwood for free this weekend! Yes, that’s right, a great book, totally free. A proud indie author herself, she’ll be supporting the movement on July 1st, and you can too. Download your copy of Bound to Blackwood now and follow the #IndiePrideDay trend on twitter for some more amazing indie books and discover some new-to-you authors. You won’t regret it!
Bound to Blackwood Blurb:
Would you surrender your
soul for the love of the King?
Lena, a vampire and a Guardian of the Order, has been honour-bound to protect
human souls all her life. Acting first and thinking second is what’s saved her
skin time and again in the war against the Fallen, but her disregard for orders
soon catches up with her when her boss is seriously injured. Forced to take
responsibility for her actions, Lena is thrust into the path of her very own
kryptonite; Thorn. The raw power of his soul calls to her and his mere presence
lights a fire within her that she cannot contain.
With Vampire magic waning and the race in crisis, can either of them afford to
ignore Nature’s call? If they do, the future of the race is in jeopardy. If
they don’t, they will both lose the most precious part of themselves. Their
Small, delicate hands butterflied across his chest as she leant forward to nuzzle his
neck. His hips arched towards her and one of her hands dipped lower. His cock
jumped as she ran her nails over his crotch, his jeans doing little to dull the
sensation. It was all he could do not to come there and then. And they still
had most of their clothes on. That needed to change. Right now.
As if reading his mind, Lena reached for his belt, then his fly. She lifted herself
off him to pull his jeans down his long legs. She damn near broke his ankles
when she wrenched his boots off and threw them halfway across the room. But the
look of pure hunger on her face as she raked her eyes up his body was its own
reward. If it meant he got to see that look again, he’d let her break every
fucking bone in his body.
She stood, staring at him, wearing just her tight combat trousers. And those boots.
Gods, he loved those boots.
She bent down to start tackling the umpteen buckles stretching from her ankles to
“Uh uh. Those stay on.”
Lena’s head snapped up. “What did you say?”
Thorn’s eyes sparkled as he stared at her. “I said, the boots stay on.”
More of an order than a statement, it sent a tantalizing shudder through her, making
her clench her thighs at the promise of what was to come.
“The boots stay on?” she asked, in case she’d misheard. She didn’t know Thorn
could be so playful. It excited her.
There was one small problem. “Haven’t you forgotten about these?” she
asked, tugging at her combats. She’d like to know how she was supposed to get
them off and keep the boots on.
Thorn came up off the bed. Towering above her, he grabbed the front of her trousers
and gave one hard yank. Lena wobbled forward but gasped as the fabric split at
the seams. One more pull and what was left of her uniform and her underwear
fell to the floor in tatters.
She stood there watching Thorn as he drank her in with hungry, golden eyes. His
gaze went up her body from her boots to her lithe legs and lingered at the top
of her thighs. I can be playful too,
she thought as she widened her stance, a coy grin pulling her mouth.
Thorn’s white-hot gaze shot to her face, his eyes boring into her. Such heat, such
Lena couldn’t stand it any longer. She reached into his dark hair and pulled him in
for a kiss. The kiss was hard, both their fangs fully extended, both needing,
each starving for the other.
A huge fan of the
paranormal romance genre, Sharon Lipman started writing in her teens. It wasn’t
until she was in her thirties that she found a story she was desperate to
share. House Blackwood was born and Bound to Blackwood is her debut novel.
She was born in west London and grew up in leafy Surrey in south-east England.
A lover of all things British, except the weather, she now lives in Almeria,
southern Spain with her husband and an ever growing collection of dogs.
Those of you who’ve followed this blog or A.C. Greenlee for long know that I’ve been published since 2012. I self-published my first novel, Guardian of the Hellmouth, and was almost immediately picked up by a brand new indie publisher that was just getting its start in the industry. They took care of me–we took care of each other, growing together and learning the ins and outs of this business side by side. And I haven’t looked back since. Words can’t express how truly grateful I am to Lillium Publishing House nor can I express how proud I am to be amongst the ranks of some of the most beautiful, talented people on the planet.
Which is why I want you to submit.
I want every author to experience the love and satisfaction I’ve received from this brilliant company at least once in their lives. I’ve been completely taken care of for nearly five years now and I haven’t had a single regret. That isn’t to say that life didn’t have it’s difficult points in regards to my writing career, but Lillium, it’s editors, my fellow authors and even the owner herself were always right there to smooth things over whenever I needed them.
That’s just one of the many things I adore about these people; we’re a family first and foremost. There was never a time where I felt like a fool for inboxing or emailing someone to ask a question I thought was completely stupid. Because they made me feel like no question was too out there and that my career as an author, as a professional writer, was just as important as anything else.
I could go on and on, completely raving about my publisher, but for the sake of time and space, I’ve narrowed down the top three reasons I believe you should consider submitting to this company, or at the very least one like it.
1: The Publishing Industry is Ruthless
Whether you’ve been in and out of the publishing industry for twenty-years or you’re just getting started, you’ve no doubt heard how cutthroat this world can be. From authors sabotaging each other to reviewers and buyers blackmailing us; it’s extremely pertinent to find yourself a group of people who you can depend on if things ever turn down that dark path. Lillium Publishing is a small, indie publisher with no more than four employees, not including the authors themselves, that I’ve watched time and time again go to absolute war for us.
While they may be small, their presence is large and dominating. Our resident editor and creative director Anna Richards is a paralegal with over fifteen years in the legal business. When I found my novel Bad Grades on pirate sites this past month, she stepped right in and issued a perfectly worded letter on my behalf that had it pulled from the pirates sites within the hour.
With their social reach and reputation, Lillium has assisted many authors, myself included, in building social media profiles and keeping them active in order to further brand recognition and really get our names out there. Now I boast a thriving Facebook author page with over 3500 members, something I never would have been able to accomplish on my own.
2: Getting Your Voice Heard is Difficult
The world of writing is rife with competition, especially now that we’re firmly rooted in the era of self-publishing and DIY. Anyone can become a “published, best-selling author” practically at the push of a button. But building actual fanbases, communities and networking with other authors and people of influence is extremely difficult. It’s one thing to publish a book on Amazon or Kobo, but marketing and getting that book into the hands of readers is another beast entirely.
When I started writing, I had the mentality of “If I write it, they will come”. And boy, was I wrong. Some did come, mostly family friends, classmates and the occasional reader who stumbled upon my work. When I joined Lillium they showed me everything I was doing wrong and how to turn my non-existent marketing plan into one of action. They taught me about SEO, meta tags, book descriptions that sell, email marketing, pay per click advertising and a million other little things that made me the marketing fanatic I am today.
Lillium not only teaches you how, when and where to market your work, they assist you in setting up social media accounts, working out posting schedules and even automatic the entire process. You’re truly never alone when it comes to this company and you’ll NEVER feel like you’re stranded in open waters. They’re your safety net.
3: Lillium Publishing is Run by Real People
From the CEO, Marion Bradley, to the Creative Director/Lead Editor superwoman Anna Richards, Lillium Publishing isn’t a book mill. They don’t suck up your time and money just to leave you unsatisfied with your results. They’re real people with jobs, families and lives just like you and me. They just happen to share our love for the written word and have a special place in their hearts for independant authors.
When you join Lillium you’re joining a group of talented individuals who actually care about you, not just your writing endeavors. You’ll get friendly emails and direct messages. They remember and celebrate birthdays and book birthdays. When my beloved cat of twenty years, GiGi, passed away, they mourned my loss alongside me. You don’t meet very many people in life who are that caring. I have flesh and blood family members who didn’t care at all and told me to get over it, but both the company and my fellow authors held my hand through the entire ordeal. Lillium Publishing is a family that I am so extremely lucky and happy to be a part of.
So, if you’re on the market for an indie publishing company with any of the traits that I mentioned in this post, I challenge you to give Lillium Publishing House a chance. Even if you don’t go through with joining us, hit them up on Facebook or Twitter sometime just for a chat. I guarantee your understanding of how publishers are supposed to work will be changed.
If you’re a writer who’s been a part of any online writing community for ANY length of time, you’ve probably stumbled across posts that you found just a tad bit disheartening. For example, posts with titles like: 450 REASONS WHY YOU’RE NOT BEING PUBLISHED or 900 WRITING RULES YOU SHOULDN’T BREAK. We have a hard enough time just finding time to write, now we have to worry about pleasing cynics, critics, and elitists alike? Searching online for quick answers to nagging questions bred by writing anxiety can be majorly stressful, for even the most seasoned writer. So, while bloggers and writers from all over the world are telling you the “do’s and don’ts” of being a sucessful writer, here are SEVEN tips on how to be a HAPPIER writer. Let the other guys worry about the technical aspects and leave your mental health and well-being to me!
1: Daydreaming is Pre-Writing!
If you’re anything like me, you love to fantasize about your characters. In fact, it probably comes quite natural to you. When you were a kid way before you caught the writing bug, chances are you used to dream up all kinds of fantastical characters and play out scenes between them in your head. Or, maybe you were a fan of role-playing games like The Sims or Dungeons and Dragons. Regardless of how you got your fix of characters and storylines, you probably spent more than one night laying in bed losing sleep while your creations run amuck and your parents wondered why you were giggling to yourself. Just because your childhood is over and you have bills to pay doesn’t mean you can’t take a little “cat nap” and hash out that scene that’s been bothering you before actually sitting down to write.
Relax in a comfortable position, preferably not in bed unless you really do need to catch up on sleep, and close your eyes. Visualize the scene. Where are your characters? Are they in an urban setting? The middle of the wilderness? What do they look like? What do they feel like? Smell like? Sound like? Become so use to seeing your own characters walking and talking that every time you close your eyes for more than a few seconds it becomes the silver screen. After you have a pretty good foundation of where the scene is going, get up and write it!
2: Write While You’re Laying Down!
This one may be a little tricky if you’re as sleep deprived as the rest of the world. Pick up your laptop, iPad or generally anything with a keyboard, and get some typing done while you’re cozy in bed. If you can adjust the angle so you’re laying on your back or if you’re more comfortable laying on your stomach, prop your writing instrument up on a pillow and get to work. Laying prone will trick your brain into thinking you’re resting, easing the anxiety of sitting upright at a desk and forcing it to remember what words are and which preposition goes where. Just like accountants need chairs with lumbar support and athletes need special shoes, comfort is crucial to a writer’s success and their general happiness. Besides, your back will thank you for it later. Just don’t fall asleep!
3: Writing Challenges Don’t Have to be Challenging!
Not every trick in your writers toolbox has to be used for keeping your mind and skills sharp. Gather up a few friends and your favorite writing challenge and prompt and challenge each other to a friendly game or two! See who can spin a prompt into the weirdest flash fiction story in the shortest amount of time. Have a friend that writes erotica but you specialize in Sci-Fi? Swap genres! Have fun with your writing period and soon you’ll start to see that it’s less of a chore and more of something you can’t wait to do when you wake up in the morning.
4: Find Friends Who Love to Write!
I’ve been extremely lucky to stumble upon a plethora of online writing workshops and Facebook groups where I’ve met a ton of amazing authors, readers, designers and everyday people who’ve pulled me out of a writing funk on more than one occasion. Search your Twitter mentions, Facebook, online forums, Google+ and even Instagram tags for other writers to join and form a community with. Books are our children, and like raising them it often takes a village of support. Support being the keyword here. For starters, here are a few groups I’ve found to be particularly supportive and friendly.
And don’t forget to hit up your #amwriting tags on major social media networks. Those hardworking writers can be lifesavers!
5: The Ultimate Taboo – Put The Caffeine DOWN!
I know, I know, every writer has to have their cup of coffee and their chocolate if they’re going to make it through their 1AM mad dash to finish their manuscript. But coffee and especially caffeine isn’t always the best option when it comes to your writing or your mental well-being.
More than 4 cups of coffee linked to early death. A Mayo Clinic partnered study found that men who drank more than four 8 fl.oz. cups of coffee had a 21% increase in all-cause mortality. However, those that reported that they consumed excessive amounts of caffeine were also likely to smoke and have poor fitness.
Caffeine may cause insomnia. Caffeine in a person’s system at bedtime can mimic the symptoms of insomnia.
Increased risk of heart attacks among young adults. A study conducted by Dr. Lucio Mos found that young adults who were diagnosed with mild hypertension had 4 times the risk of having a heart attack if they consumed the amount of caffeine equivalent to 4 cups of coffee [Caffeine Informer]
Let’s face it, writing is an extremely sedentary job. Writers, in general, don’t tend to get out much. Ask yourself, do you absolutely need that last cup of coffee? Or do you really need to just go to sleep, count your losses, and start fresh in the morning? Physical health and mental health are closely tied. I’m not saying you need to go get a gym membership, but small lifestyle changes could go a long way.
6: Whose Face is it Anyway? Why You Need Fan Casting in Your Life!
As a writer, finding “face claims” for my characters has become my favorite pastime. When I’m not writing I’m often crawling through Google Images and Pinterest looking for pictures of my favorite actors, musicians and models who best resemble certain characters. And when I’m not doing that, I’m ogling said models and daydreaming about my characters actually doing what I tell them for once and actually getting their book finished. Even better, if you have had the opportunity to build a community of fans or followers, why not leave the task up to them? Ask them to find the perfect actors to fill your imaginary cast and reward them when they do. Maybe give them a shoutout on your Facebook page? If they created an image with their fan-cast, share it around the web! There’s nothing more fun than seeing your brain babies through the eyes of others!
7: Put the Pencil DOWN!
That’s right. Put the pencil down. Don’t write anything at all, not even a grocery list. And I don’t mean that in a permanent sense. Everyone needs a break now and again, heck, billionaire CEO’s take vacations every other week and no one bats an eyelash. Writing is a job, whether it pays well or not, and just like with any other job your lack of progress may just mean you need a little time away. Don’t feel bad about stepping away from your writing for a few weeks. Just remember to always come back! Your characters miss you!
If all else fails in your search for the writer-happies, why not just sit back and read? You can find my latest Novelette Blood Fantasy as well as others at most major retailers and on Amazon.