Wish I Had Known

So we have an idea for a great fantasy novel—a time-traveling message in a bottle. Maybe it has been done; maybe it hasn’t. Nonetheless, we know a great idea when we think of one. Anyway… we asked authors if there is something they know now they wish they had known when they first started writing.

Photo by Andrew Measham

Arthur Daigle – I wish I’d known how much work went into marketing books that I’ve written. For me writing is fun and easy, and something I studied extensively in school. Marketing is new, difficult and surprisingly expensive. It staggers the mind how much money some advertising sites charge, while other sites are outright scams.

Jessica L. Elliott – I wish I’d known about beta readers. And really any of the steps to self-publishing. I jumped in without a clue. I’m glad I made the choice, but I really wish I’d learned more about the process before diving in.

Laurean Brooks – I wish I had known I had to market my own books. I was so green, I thought this was the publisher’s duty. That my part was holding book signings, selling my books to readers in my locale. And I was shocked to discover the author’s price for my own book could be as much as 2/3 the selling price after taking shipping into account. Also, it was a bummer to learn the author’s royalties are such a small percentage. When I was told my part would be 7 1/2 %, I became depressed. I remember telling my husband, “It’s a 92-1/2% / 7-1/2% contract.” He said, (thinking I meant MY part was the 92-1/2%) “That sounds fair enough.” Then I broke it to him and he yelled, “That’s a rip-off! I wouldn’t do it.” I explained this was typical royalties for a new author. “Besides, I have to write.”. Writing fills a need within my soul. When a reader or reviewer tells me they loved my book, I soar up, up, and away.

Scott R. Rezer – I wish I had known how much time I would need to spend on everything outside the actual writing of a novel. The writing is easy because I have always done a little here, a little there, an entire evening sometimes—but everything else is time-consuming. Designing my own book covers, editing, proofing, interior designing… MARKETING! All of them are BIG time consumers… and expensive. And frankly, after so many years, often not worth it. —Until I get a random response from a reader that makes all the difference and suddenly I remember that it’s about crafting a story people will enjoy long after they finish reading. Frankly, I spent so much time and energy on everything else that involves the actual publishing of a book, I spent little or no time anymore to write. I got into writing because I couldn’t imagine myself not writing—so that is where I am at in the process. If I sell a book great—and there are a lot of GREAT undiscovered authors out there so it’s hard to get noticed and followed in a world of readers increasingly shrinking—but if I don’t sell any books, that is good too. I once had an publisher interested in me, but only of I wrote on assignment. That’s just not for me or deadlines and headaches. So… I wish I had known how much time I would have to spend so I could have just skipped ahead to where I am now and just enjoyed writing once more, and let the chips fall where they may!!

“So, what do you do for a living?”

By Irene Onorato

Photo: Author Irene Onoroto before retiring from her position as radiation protection technician at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station

“So, what do you do for a living?”

The question seems to be a kick-starter for dialogue when meeting someone for the first time. The awkwardness of the moment melts when you have something, anything, to talk about.

Recently, at a social gathering, I was intrigued by a man who said he was a retired US Air Force fighter pilot. His Viet Nam era Top Gun stories (yes, really) had me and a small gathering of others riveted to his every word. By far, he’d had the most interesting career of anyone in the room. None of us had ever flown at supersonic speeds, and not a single person in the room had ever had a missile fired at them.

“So, what do you do for a living?” someone asked me later that evening.

I told them I was retired, left out the details of my career, and said, “And now I’m pursuing a career as a writer of romance novels.”

Amazingly enough, the person didn’t squeeze a social yawn out of her eyeballs and walk away. Instead, her eyes widened and she said, “Really? I’ve always wanted to write a book.”

I’m meeting more and more people with the same dream. We want to leave an indelible mark on the fabric of time. Something to say, I was here. Here are my thoughts. My hopes, my dreams, the things I think about.

If you’re one of those people who would tell me you’ve always wanted to write a book, here’s my advice: Write. That. Book. Get your thoughts down on paper or into the computer and save every jot and tittle. Worry about what you’re going to do with your masterpiece later.

Never give up on your dreams. Ever.

Connect with the author: Irene Onorato

Website/Blog: https://ireneonorato.com/blog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorIreneOnorato
Twitter: https://twitter.com/IreneOnorato
Amazon: https://amazon.com/author/ireneonorato

CleanWIP Magazine has obtained from the author non-exclusive right to publish or republish this content. The author retains copyright.

A Book’s Success is Like Surfing

By Laura Hile

Years of practice (and failure) built this surfer’s graceful skill.
Photo by Miguel Navaza (CC / Flickr)

I’ve released a new book, and the process kind of reminds me of surfing. Okay, body surfing. I was never brave enough–or coordinated enough!–to try it with a board. Tanning on the beach? Forget that. Why lie in the sun when you can spend the afternoon catching waves? Many summer days at Santa Monica and Malibu taught me a thing or two.

Surfing is about position, skill, and timing. This means hours in the water, being ready, watching wave after wave. Learning how to know a promising wave from a dud. Being willing to swim like crazy to catch the awesome one. You can’t be lazy as a surfer.

Position would be the intriguing story premise and the cover. These are what put me in the water, and each one represents a risk. I wasn’t sure how the ‘magical reality’ element of the body swap would fly. And that sweet cover was spendy–but worth every cent.

Skill? I’ve been writing for 17 years. If Darcy By Any Other Name is an instant success, know that I’ve been rolled under by plenty of waves. (Yeah, the wipeout thing.) I’ve learned to escape the worst by diving under, but multiple thousands of clunky words lie at my back. Then too, I teach fiction writing to high school students. What I’ve learned in helping them improve is a lot.

And timing is about being in the right place at the right moment. There are more Austen readers now than ever before. No readers, no wave!

Photo by Swell Surf Camp (CC / Flickr)

Surfing, like writing, only appears solitary. The photo at the top of this page shows a lone surfer, but I’m betting he wasn’t the only one in the water that day. Bobbing heads beyond the line of surf are not attractive, so they’re cropped out. Deal is, no one surfs alone. No one writes a book alone–or should.

The fellowship of like minds is crucial. As with surfing, skills are developed alone but there is safety in companionship. In the water and out, surfers hang together and talk. If writing greats C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien needed a support group, so do I.

Sales numbers continue to roll in, and not because of me. News about Darcy is being spread by people like you, my social media friends. A hectic school schedule has allowed me little time to compose ads or tweet or anything. I’ve put up a few posts on Facebook, and you have been sharing them. I am beyond grateful.

Connect with the author: Laura Hile

Website/Blog: https://laurahile.wordpress.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LauraHile
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LauraHileAuthor
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Laura-Hile/e/B003UT6VDS

CleanWIP Magazine has obtained from the author non-exclusive right to publish or republish this content. The author retains copyright.