Thursday, April 21, 2011

Understanding The Writing Business

When I first started writing, I began going to writers' group meetings, and discovered I liked happy endings. I was told I was a romance writer.

At one of my first RWA meetings, I met a new friend, Karin Tabke/Harlow, who gave me the definition of romance: "The woman always wins. There's always a Happily Ever After." No wonder I liked writing love stories. I could create a world where everything turns out the way it's supposed to.

It's a simple concept, but not so simple to execute. People have told me, "Some day I'm just going to sit down and write a romance," like it's learning a second language or something. I tell them I hope they do.

I've been learning the rules by making mistakes. A lot of them. Then I pick up a book that violates those rules. The fact is, when you're successful, you can do almost what you want. When you are trying to get published, you have to write something fresh, without breaking the rules.

Now with the self-pubbed revolution going on, there are several new ways an author can become successful. But it's trial and error as well. I've downloaded my WIP several times, had to delete it, reload it, and still not be able to get rid of certain formatting issues. I could hire those things away, I could hire artwork for the cover, hire an editor, and pretty soon I am doing a sort of quasi vanity published book I'm paying out of pocket for.

But I like one basic thing about it: the results are more in my control. True, I don't have a big marketing arm and thousands of printed copies shipped to bookstores, but that is becoming less of a factor as the ebooks become more and more popular. I can adjust my price up or down, change my cover multiple times, if I want. I can write under a pen name to try out a genre, find readers on my own, and be responsible for promoting the books, like most publishers expect authors to do anyway.

In an age when people are watching their pennies, it makes sense to come out with fiction that is cheaper, where sequels are delivered faster, and that have unique twists and turns perhaps not found in traditional-published works. I buy hard copies of books I really like in eformat. Good books are what readers buy. The readers get to decide.

No one knows where it all will shake out. But what I really like is the choice.

What about you? Do you read ebooks? What genre do you read and why?


  1. I've only read one e-book, and it was a horrible experience. Not because of the device, but because of the crappy book I chose to read. I'm sure to read more in the future, but I prefer the feel of a real book.

    And as for genre, I believe I read the literary sci-fi fantasy speculative historical paranormal YA non-fiction memoir genre. No romance yet, but that will change come this summer.

  2. I do read e-books, of course. How could I not, having one of them myself?!?
    I had one terrible experience where the formatting was blown to hell, but for the most part it has been enjoyable.
    One would think that I would read lots of horror and thrillers, but the truth is, wanting to support many of my blogosphere buddies (like you, Sharon), I have read across many genres. I've read about pirates (Michelle Stinson Ross), romance and reality t.v. (Talli Roland) and about "women of a certain age" by Anne Kleinberg. I'm reviewing that one next because I thought it was fantastic.

    Thanks for asking.


  3. I love all the eye candy on your blog :D

    I do read some ebooks -- mostly published by friends. I don't have a reader, so read on my computer or netbook [when travelling].

    So, since I usually read ebooks by people I know, they cross many genres.

  4. Nate,
    Your avatar "screams" exactly what you read (I mean it as a compliment). UF is quite fun, and with the indie explosion, there are more books out there in e-format. Yes, the formatting is wonky. And sometimes you think it's fine, and it takes a fan to mention the issues, so if it comes up again, do write the author if you can. It is a bit complicated at first to get the hang of it. Like I said, I've made all the mistakes known to man on that score.

    Unlike print books, I think most authors want to know about the errors you and Jimmy talk about. In print books, what's the point?

    Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Jimmy,
    Exactly my point. I think some of the e-pubbed books wouldn't see the light of day, not because they aren't good books, but publishers can't see their way to taking a chance on them. And I understand they have to be careful with their profits. But self-pubbing give us an alternative.

    Like my comment above, when I read a badly formatted book, I assume the author didn't know and tell them. Unlike a print book.

    But I admit to buying more books than I'm able to read. In print form, I don't do that as much.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  6. M,
    Yes, the wonderful Jimmy Thomas. You can see my interview with him on this blog March 24th. Was one of my first postings!

    I have the T shirt, the calendar (signed) and a few dozen emails I cherish. He's actually a younger version of my character in my 2nd and 3rd Angel book, coming out later this summer.

    Thank you for stopping by!

  7. Hey you got your signed calendar! Congrats. Though I am epublished, I don't read too many ebooks because I have to do my reading while exercising. (Except for Sharon's fun shorts, but they were, well, short.) I think ebooks can be lousy, but I've read some lousy traditionally published books, too. So, as with anything, you take some chances. I think the whole indie publishing boom is a great opportunity for authors and I expect to see some fantastic authors emerge from that outlet.

  8. You are so right, Carly. And I wrote those shorts just for you so you wouldn't trip! LOL.

    Yes, with any change, some good things will go away, some junk will get lots of sales. But I like more control, and that, at least for now, is huge. The cream will always rise to the top and, survive, no matter what the market...

    But what a fun time we're having now! I would have never done those shorts without the self-pubbed rage.

  9. Sharon, you are right. Life is depressing enough. Give me a book with a happy ending! I'm so glad I found your blog. I'm stopping by from the A to Z challenge and I look forward to visiting again.

  10. Sylvia,
    So glad to meet you too! Please do stop by, although I won't be posting as often (this A-Z was great, but can't keep it up). I've gotten to meet some absolutely fabulous people!

    Who's to say reality is listening to the depressing stuff on TV? Why not a good book, and great music to put us in a place of our own imagination, or a creative writer's talented hands.

    Thanks for stopping by today. Happy Easter!