Perils of a Writer

In the past, before internet marketing, I wrote often.  My mind was full of ideas and I made time to read as well – enjoyable reading, not technical books all the time.  I ended up writing, editing and having professional editors/critiques as well for each of my four completed novels.  When I received a rejection I normally shelved that novel and wrote another.  In the end I completed four novels – three historical romances and one contemporary romance with full editing. I have also completed two other historical romances in the draft stages.

Two years ago I tried publishing through Authorhouse.  Being somewhat lazy I realized one thing – most publishing houses are in the USA for fiction and most USA publishing companies won’t take international postage. So I wasn’t sending out my works to be rejected.  I was just writing another story.  Authorhouse was a disaster – strictly giving them money to – format, design a cover (All those things – being an office worker, I knew how to do) and put me onto a company to do my website – a company who did little, ignored me and consequently my website was ignored too. I had copious amount of intricate information that made no sense.  So I ignored it and started another story – which is my true calling isn’t it? Authorhouse then expected me to buy my own book (at a price I would feel guilty charging a customer) –  to market them myself.  Again loads of instructions – none making sense.  I couldn’t afford their marketing but ended up putting thousands into their programs and again – nothing.

So again ignoring them – I started to write another story.  Maybe I would drive down to the States and get a post-office box and their postage and really concentrate on trying to get a traditional publisher.  But first I should write my next story. I at least know how to do that.

Last fall, a few things fell into place.  I discovered WordPress, Create Space and Amazon. I could – having the ability – format my own books.  Having taking Adobe Photoshop courses at Washington University I could also design my own covers.  Then I discovered Linked-In – with their discussions – real author discussions with help I could understand.  But when I tried to set-up my own website I was still having problems and I first realized something – try as I might – I can’t do it all.  A website is an important part of setting up your business – I have already discovered that a website alone won’t help you.  Then I recruited the services of Harriet a WordPress specialist, Simply Divine Web Design and she became my life-line.  Her advice and help at a reasonable cost helps me so much – and I took my first important step – my own website.  She links everything for me and gives me advice on nearly every aspect of marketing – setting up a business.

I am well on the way to understanding ‘internet marketing’ but I advise writer’s especially – not to waste your time trying to do your website on your own.  I am a writer – and want to write my new story.  There are some things just too complicated to learn and write as well. For those things you don’t have the time to learn – search for a reasonably priced specialist.

I am hoping I can soon go back to writing my new story ‘Angels Among Us’ – a romance suspense.  This will be a new endeavor – loads of research as I am dealing with spousal abuse and grief – and want to offer hope as well.  All this weaved into a romance makes a challenge I can’t resist.

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WRITING, EDITING, MARKETING AND BALANCE

I take writing very seriously.  I don’t just say I am going to write and flounder around, never completing a manuscript. I have created my ‘prized babies’ and I have also edited, made corrections and honed my stories.  And so my learning experiences began.

First I received various rejections – all form letters and all saying they do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.  After I rush to the dictionary to see what they mean (and discover there is no meaning there) I find out they merely mean they want agents to submit – but not authors.  I then write a number of agents, so sure my work will be the next ‘Great American Novel’ and am puzzled and confused.  Agent’s rejections are similar to publishing companies – the wording is different.  They are not accepting new authors.  Dejected and depressed, I wonder how on earth I am going to publish my novels.

Publishing companies rarely take unsolicited manuscripts.  Agents rarely take on a new author.  Should I wait for an opening – and especially should I continue writing?  Of course I will continue writing – it is my passion, my greatest enjoyment in life.  The question to ask myself – can you eliminate writing from your life?  To encourage my badly damaged ego – I cheered myself up.  I chose to think of my writing as a hobby – somewhat like doing crafts.  Perhaps I could write journals or maybe even get a job working for a local newspaper.  All that stayed in my mind as the confusion whirled around, not settling anywhere.  I finally accept one fact – I must write.  I have just been formulating another wonderful idea in my head and it is taking shape so nicely.

My next thoughts center on ‘learning my trade’ as I write this new story..  Perhaps I am doing it wrong.  So I loaded my arms with ‘how-do’ and other research books – I read and read until I discover there is no one definite way to write.  Also I am already proficient in spelling, grammar and have a vivid imagination that goes in a chronological manner – I learned that when I created my first baby.  But, nonetheless I check my plot, my flow and transitions, I check my point-of-view and everything else others advise. Still searching through the books for something I have skimmed over I see – read your genre. See what sells.  Back to the library I go – loading my arms with my ‘genre’ – romance.  But disappointments continue to nag inside.  Yes, there are some fantastic books in my genre.  Yes, there are many that are much better than mine.  But it is those multitudes that are worse also – that makes me wonder why I’m not published and they are published.   Meanwhile I have finished my second baby.

As the depression sets in more firmly this time – I repeat the process – and also finish my third novel – a romance that needs writing, because it consumed my mind.  Only to be followed by another as I wonder what I can do.

Then I receive advice from a ‘fellow author’.  Self publish – she did and it was a successful proposition.  Well, not considering personality differences, I spend thousands of dollars I don’t have, I am no further ahead. I can’t sell a toilet to a person who needs one – is what I discovered about myself.  I can’t brag or sell myself either.  I cannot even make myself try and convince another person of anything if they shake their head and say no. So another failure is under my belt, this one a very costly endeavor.  So I settle down to writing another book.

I am a ‘computer geek’ of sorts.  Because I can sit in front of a computer all day and type my stories with much more ease than a typewriter – I learned much pertaining to computers but there is much more to learn.  I have learned about Amazon, Kindle and Create Space –wonderful opportunities for writer’s who have written a novel or many novels at very little cost.  They will do both ‘Print on Demand’ for those people who want to hold a book in their hands – and for those people who will read books on their Kindle. They list your books on their sites to purchase. This does not cost an author much unless you sell books and even then they take a reasonable percentage for themselves.

Now, all that is left is to learn my ‘marketing’ strategy.  But after many past mistakes, I will not let it consume my time to such a point I won’t write.  Already I am writing another story.  I have learned much throughout this process.  I will learn how to market my books as well.

But, especially, I have learned a very valuable lesson –balance.  I have every intention of writing my stories as well as learning how to market.