Tag Archives: Writing

I Just Wanna Write

Okay, I am having one of those weeks. If you know me, you know that I am a bit of and overachiever. Have been my whole life. I tend to take on way more than I can handle and then stress out about not getting it done when it needs to be done. I know this, I admit this, and I apologize for this.

I am currently working on several projects that need to be done last week. I am editing three books, four short stories, and an anthology. Am I complaining? No, no, no. I love what I do and can only imagine doing one other thing.

I miss writing horribly. My husband says I need to spend half of my day working for others and half of the day writing and promoting my own books. I simply can’t do this. I have responsibilities and my personal pleasure cannot go before them.

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I was recently accused of focusing too much on my personal writing career and not enough on my authors. Really? REALLY??? A couple Facebook posts a day is too much? Seriously! I woke up this morning with an idea swimming around in my head that is begging to be written, but I plunked myself down in my chair and began working on edits for a client. I have added the idea to my idea file, though that file now takes up about 2 GB on my hard drive…sigh

Not sure why I needed to put this out here. I guess I just needed the people I am working for to know that I am working for them and once I am done with their projects, I might take some time to write. After all, I do think I am pretty good at it. 🙂

 

 

 

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Dear Lendink

 

I don’t claim to know all the ins and outs of how this book business works, but I do know that I am offended on your behalf. Recently, your site was shut down because a group of authors decided you were a pirate. I visited your site. I read your FAQ page. I did some research and as far as I could discover you were doing exactly what you said you were doing.

I did NOT see any signs of a wooden leg, a hook where your hand should be, or a skull and crossbones flag hanging anywhere on your site. Nor did I see an eye patch, though you might have looked quite dashing in an eye patch.

I would like to take a moment to say thank you. Perhaps this is too late, perhaps not. I sincerely appreciate what you were trying to do buy leading readers by the virtual hand to the actual buy pages of the books I write and publish. I am constantly looking for new ways to market our books that do not require more time than I have to give. You did that, willingly, and legally, and you were cast out for your efforts.

::hangs head in shame:: I am sorry that not everyone felt the need to give you the benefit of the doubt and to take the time to figure out that you were acting on behalves and in fact doing us a FAVOR.

I would like to let you know that should you get your site back up and running, you have my permission to LEGALLY promote my books on your site. This goes for anyone who wants to LEGALLY introduce readers to the books of Echelon Press. Don’t steal from me, don’t distribute or lend our books without ensuring that the authors and I are being full compensated within our legal rights. But by all means, if you want to post covers and links to where readers can BUY our books LEGALLY, you have my blessing and my supports.

I am certain I am not the only one angered at your mistreatment. You can find another supporter at the blog of April L. Hamilton. http://aprillhamilton.blogspot.com/2012/08/congratulations-you-killed-lendink-and.html

Respectfully,

Karen L. Syed

 

 

 

 

Help! I’m a Writer

So often people describe writing as a solitary endeavor. I have never agreed with this. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If a writer’s life is a solitary one, then it is by choice.

By design, writers are surrounded by others who are not only interested in their work, but eager for it. The world is filled with writers who crave support and encouragement. What they do [write] is for the masses. The stories and books are intended to be read and enjoyed by hundreds of thousands, if not millions of readers.

All that said, as writers, we also tend to let our insecurities get the better of us. We make our existence solitary by sequestering ourselves to avoid the shame of rejection. We are, also by design, a neurotic bunch.

In most cases, this does more harm than good. When we shut ourselves off from our peers, we miss out on many opportunities as well as crucial education that can possibly make us better writers and more successful authors.

We constantly hear about the value and importance of critique groups. Of course they have their place, but what about support. This is a whole different can of beans. Support, in my opinion, is far more important than the critique group, because if you don’t feel good about what you do, you probably can’t do it good…well.

Bottom line, before you tuck yourself away in your office, alcove, or other small hidey hole to become the next great American novel, find a few friendly writers you can spend a little time with and get things off your chest. Make sure that you can all talk shop, talk gardening, talk whatever you want, even bitching about the family.

I firmly believe whining is a necessity in life, as long as it has a specific purpose and is done in a specific environment.  😛

If you can’t take the heat…

Well, my morning started off pretty good, and just took a nosedive into the crapper. What I am about to tell you should not upset me, it should not even matter to me, but it does…for so many reasons.

Yesterday I was directed to a Blog post by a relatively new author who is documenting the marketing journey. I read through the Blog and was impressed with the information the author shared. I did, however, notice a few things that were a little short on info. I took a little while and posted a comment. I did praise the author, but I also suggested a few things that I thought might be helpful, like adding the email contact to the Blog so people could contact the author without having to go through a public comment. I made a few other suggestions, nothing bad, nothing too serious, nothing out of line.

I went back in today to check on the blog and see what was new and I discovered that my post has been deleted. There was no moderation (I’m pretty sure the post went up straight away), it is just gone. The only posts left up are the posts that specifically praise the author. This makes me sad and it leads me to my point.

If you can’t take the heat in the publishing industry stop publishing books. If you don’t want people to post their true thoughts and comments on your Blog, then don’t Blog. I am certain there are things that should be deleted, but a helpful and supportive comment isn’t one of them…especially from a publisher (not just me, ANY publisher.

I am a publisher. I do have things to share, and some of them actually have some value. But I can tell you, after this, I will think long and hard before I share any suggestions or advice with others–even if I think it will help them. My husband often tells me I am too giving with my knowledge and experience and that I should just let people learn things themselves, the hard way, like I did. I am beginning to think he might be right. He says I will help anyone with anything, but when I need help, I always get the cold shoulder. I just tell him it is the way the business works. But today has made me realize that this is not how it should work. You get what you give and quite honestly, I’m kinda tired of giving and not getting anything back.

Killer Cows by D.M. AndersonD.M. Anderson: I want to thank you for your comments this morning on my editing and to let you know how deeply they are appreciated. It makes this new bit of “life” a little easier to get past…in a minute…

You have earned a shameless plug for your book.

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This is one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time. You should read for yourself!

Who Wants to be a Brain Surgeon? (Guest Blog: Ella Grey)

When I was little I wanted to be a brain surgeon, or a gardener. Only when I turned fifteen did I start thinking about being a writer.

The author, Christopher Pike, inspired me. I remember reading his Last Vampire series and falling in love with the character he created. It was the first time I’d read a vampire story and it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Sati is content about being a vampire, she kills to survive and she doesn’t really let it bother her, and she’s funny. Not funny ha-ha, but witty.

I want my characters to be like that. Even if I write a supernatural character like Molly O’Brien, giving her a sense of humour makes her more human. Easier to identify with.

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My character Rachel is human (mostly) who’s caught up in a supernatural situation.

A Difficult Decision (Rachel’s story) is available in multiple eBook formats from Quake’s Electric Shorts line. The first five of six installments are currently online for sale.

She came to London to find her brother. She ended up finding trouble.

Rachel Valentine isn’t the world’s most conventional girl. She ran away from a boarding school run by nuns to find her missing brother. The daughter to a government spy, she’s learnt a few of the tricks of the trade, but even she isn’t prepared for the story she’s about to hear.

It seems Rachel has a secret she didn’t even know she had and her brother has been dragged into a turf war. The only person she can trust is someone she doesn’t even know

Thanks to Karen for hosting me.

You can read my first post on this tour at http://authorthomasamo.blogspot.com/

Success by Default?

Okay, I am going to take a moment and speak out against the masses. This is more for writers, but has bearing on readers as well.

I recently (and very quietly) read the success book by John Locke (How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!) Let me start by saying, I am not bashing this book. It was okay. It offered some good advice that may or may not work for the masses. I am guessing he has sold a buttload of copies of it, and good for him! I mean that.

What I’m worried about is all the authors out there who have made this their new bible of sorts. Nowhere in his book does he promise that if the author does everything he did and exactly like he did it, they will find the success he has. NOWHERE! I went into the book expecting a little more and was a little disappointed. Not because it didn’t offer good advice, in fact I agree with a good portion of it and have been using his principles for some time and preaching them to the authors and writers I have met along the way. No, I’m not looking for credit, I am trying to make a point.

    • I blog. Actually I think I blog pretty well. I’ve never had complaints. I get plenty of praise, and I’m confident that I have a pretty good following. But how many of you have actually bought any of my books or short stories? You like me, right? So why not invest in my career?
    • I interact with people. Probably more than I should. I am a social networking whore. I admit. My name is Karen, and I am addicted to social networking. I don’t talk at people, I talk to them, and you talk back.
    • I write well. One difference between Locke and I is that I do care what people think about my writing as well as my stories. Of course I want my words to move you, but I don’t want you to get a headache trying to sift through crappy punctuation, grammar, and spelling. I will read one of his books (probably one of the westerns) and I’m sure I’ll be entertained, but I’m already prepared for writing that may or may not be good.
    • I invest in people. When I was going through some horrible times, years back, I turned to books as my refuge. You’ve heard people say that, but it’s true. Authors like Caroline Bourne, Jill Barnett, Rebecca Paisley, and all manner of others took me through some pretty dark days. Days that I readily admit could have ended in my death, were it not for the hope and inspiration their stories and their writing offered me. When I came through all of that, I decided I wanted to give back. I knew I wanted to write as well as them, and I wanted to tell stories that touched and affected the lives of others. I’ve spent the last 15 years offering to others what I took back in those days. I offer it with my writing and I offer it with my publishing.

 

Now, here’s my point. After reading Locke’s book, I was disappointed. I have done the things he spoke of and I have done them for years. Yet, I have sold nowhere near a million of anything. Why is that? Am I not working hard enough? Smart enough? Am I more confident in myself than others are in me? Whatever the reason, I would like to offer a bit of my own wisdom with regard to this matter.

Read books by people like Locke, and learn from them, but don’t put them on pedestals because they accomplished something. They are people just like us, and no matter how much you pay for a book like his, it will never guarantee the success he found. There is no secret to successful bookselling. It is something you simply must strive to do every day. EVERY DAY you must go out and tell people who you have written something that is so important to you that you are confident that in some way it will affect them. You must give readers a reason to make the investment in you. Will it work every time? Obviously not, or people would be interviewing me and not John Locke or Amanda Hocking.

They deserve the praise, they have both worked very hard and obviously very smart. Am I jealous? Yes, but not for the reasons you may think. I don’t envy their success. I envy their ability to convey to others the value of buying their books and remaining loyal readers. I envy their ability to show others their personal value, because that is a huge part of their success. Readers believe in them. I want that.

Authors, there is no secret for selling millions of books. No book is ever going to give you that. People like Locke can offer you insight into how they did it, but facts are, you are not him. Your situation, life, and abilities are very different. It is the wonder of diversity. Read the books, pay attention, and then go out and find your own success. It’s out there for all of us, we just have to embrace it and nurture it to its full capacity.

Readers, embrace the authors you love. Continue to buy their books and help them find their success, but I urge you to keep your minds open and embrace what you don’t know with the expectation of great things. There are new authors exploding onto the scene with books and stories that will blow you away. Don’t be caught in the he said, she said trap of the industry. Things are always changing in the book world. Formats, styles, themes, everything. Don’t be afraid that if you set aside a paperback novel and try reading something on a Kindle that it will be the ruination of you and the paperback industry. It won’t. We live in a vast world that offers so much potential for growth and only if we explore and embrace all of our choices will we find what we are truly seeking.

Once Upon a Crime (Bookstore Spotlight by Carl Brookins)

Just down the street from Nicollet Avenue on Sixth Street, is an unremarkable three-story brick building of apartments. Its back door faces a poorly lit, unevenly paved alley, with a couple of narrow parking spaces. The basement houses two retail establishments with neon advertising in the half-windows. Over one flight of stone steps is a dark canopy covering steps that lead down half-a flight to a room filled with floor to ceiling shelves. The wooden shelves are crowded with books.

Nearly all of the 60,000+ books are works of crime fiction. This is the home of Once Upon A Crime, Minneapolis’s award winning premier mystery book store. It has been so for twenty-four years. Present owners are Gary Shulz and Pat Frovarp, two of the most knowledgeable people in the field. If you need a specific book, chances are they’ll have it. If they don’t have it they can usually get it for you.

If you’re looking for something in the field to read, Pat or Gary will ask you some leading questions and promptly point you to authors/books that are almost guaranteed to fill your needs.

I asked why they would invest in a bookstore of all things and Gary said he needed a change after 30 years and Pat suggested that the former owner, Steve Stilwell was ready to retire. The store filled an important need, therefore should be rescued. So, for nine blissful (their word, not mine) years P & G have done just that, admirably filling the mission and meanwhile, picking up a few important awards along the way.

The mission of Once Upon a Crime, along with breaking even financially, is to promote local mystery writers and to maintain as comprehensive a backlist as humanly possible. Along the way they love exposing great midlist authors that readers might miss.

Awards? Yes, they’ve managed to collect a few, in 2009 CrimeSpree Magazine’s favorite bookstore award and “Best Hole in the Wall,” from Metro Magazine. Then just this year, Mystery Writers of America awarded Once Upon a Crime a Raven.

Among the many crime fiction writers who have commented:

Author PETER MAY said: “Pat and Gary are two of the nicest and most knowledgeable folk on the subject of mysteries that you are ever likely to meet!

Along the way, Pat and Gary have experienced some interesting events. They got married at the store a few years ago, and more recently acquired Shamus, a three-year old Store Dog.

Author WILLIAM KENT KRUEGER said: “I think OUAC is a really good bookstore because they usually know what I want to read even before I walk into the store. And even if they aren’t exactly on target, by the time I walk out, I’m always happy with what they’ve convinced me I should have wanted when I came in.”

Next year the store will celebrate 25 years in business and the tenth anniversary of WRITE OF SPRING, a massive annual one-day gathering of local authors, readers and assorted hangers-on. WRITE OF SPRING is a terrific event and lots of fun besides. An anthology of short crime fiction will debut at about the time of the tenth. The stories are all written by past attendees with profits from sale of the anthology to be donated to local Memorial Blood Centers.

Author ELLEN HART said: “All indie bookstores have a specific character. OUAC is no different. It’s cozy, funky in a Minnesota kind of way, comfortable, and always welcoming. It’s not only a good bookstore, it’s a great one because the people who run it (Pat & Gary) love books and share that passion with their customers.”

Although, because Pat was already working there and Gary was a frequent customer, the store lost two good customers when they bought the place, their dedication, hard work, and expertise has made the store a warm and welcoming place for authors and readers alike.

Along with WOS, of course, Pat and Gary host many book events for visiting and local authors. The schedule can be found at their website, http://www.onceuponacrimebooks.com/.

Their phone number is 612-870-3785, and their email address is onceuponacrime@earthlink.net. Next time you are up our way, drop by and join the thousands who find warm and welcoming hosts behind that door under the canopy.

Carl Brookins:

Before he became a mystery writer and reviewer, Brookins was a faculty member at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He has reviewed mystery fiction for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press and for Mystery Scene Magazine. His reviews appear on his own blog and on several other Crime Fiction blogs and Internet sites. Brookins is an avid sailor and has sailed in many locations across the world. He is a member of Sisters in Crime, and Private Eye Writers of America. He can be found touring bookstores and libraries with his companions-in-crime, The Minnesota Crime Wave. He writes the sailing series featuring Michael Tanner and Mary Whitney,(Devils Island)  the Sean Sean private investigator detective series,(The Case of the Great Train Robbery), and the Jack Marston academic series. (Reunion) Several short stories published by Echelon Press are available for download.