Do you have any advice for writers? My advice for new writers is: Just get it down on paper, from start to finish, whether poem, story, novel, whatever. Don’t worry about how ugly it is. You can always fix it later. My advice for indie authors, in particular: Don’t publish your book until it’s been professionally edited. Good editing is critical to your success.
Do you have time to read? Stephen King once said: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time to write.” I didn’t really understand that quote until I started writing. I believe it’s vital to read often, first to keep up with the latest in your genre, second to be reminded what good writing vs. bad writing really is, and third because it’s relaxing!
Do you find it hard to share your work? I never share my first draft with anyone. I mean NEVER. My first drafts are total crap. Once I’ve done my rewrites and polished the MS a bit, I share it with my alpha readers, so I still have time for adjustments. Then my sister reads it again. I trust her the most. After it’s been edited and deemed ready for publication, I share with everyone. I’m always passing out books to anyone who even feigns an interest in my work.
How do you work through self-doubts and fear? I love this quote from Robert Hughes: “The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.” I wrote a whole blog post on how self-doubt is like a common cold—you can’t cure it, but there are ways to soothe it, and eventually it goes away by itself. When I’m ready to throw my whole manuscript on the trash heap and light it on fire, the first thing I do is call my fantastic sister. She always talks me down off the ledge. The second thing I do is take a break from work and read some really good writing for inspiration. If that doesn’t work, I do some editing on what I’ve already written so I feel better about it. The thing is, the doubt always passes, and when I go back and re-read my writing with fresh eyes, it’s never as bad as I thought it was.
Why do you write? It’s a bit of a long circuitous story. It boils down to this: I’ve had a number of fascinating careers in my life, but writing is what I love to do most. I’m happiest when I have lots of uninterrupted time to write. The only thing that makes me sad is the knowledge that I can’t possibly live long enough to write down all the stories that are inside me.
What other jobs have you had in your life? My first job was in a bank opening new accounts. It didn’t take long for me to realize I needed a college degree, or I would be underpaid and underappreciated for the rest of my life. So I joined the laborers union and worked as a flagwoman on a construction crew to put myself through college. As graduation drew near, it became clear that a B.A. in Sociology was not going to get me much farther than the bank situation, so I went straight from college to law school. I started out as a trial lawyer, moved into corporate law, and ended up as General Counsel for a healthcare company. It wasn’t until after my second child was in middle school that I began focusing on my writing.
Do you have a specific writing routine? Yes. My ideal schedule is: wake around 6:30 am, drink coffee and watch Good Morning America, workout for an hour, meditate for 30 minutes, spend two hours on social media and marketing, then write for the rest of the day. But I always try to keep my schedule loose. In the past, when little family emergencies would crop up, or when a friend just needed to talk, I was resentful for the time it took away from writing. Now I’m much more relaxed. I’m able to go with the flow because I’ve learned that it will all get done eventually.
What marketing works for you? As an indie author it’s important to find ways to market where I get the most bang for the buck. I’ve achieved the greatest results by combining two things: KDP Select free promotions, which I advertise on sites with large numbers of subscribers (like Bookbub or Ereader News Today); and blogger interviews, guest posts, or reviews in conjunction with a giveaway on blogs with large numbers of followers. I frankly don’t know if I’ve ever sold a book through Twitter or Facebook, but I participate in all kinds of social media to get my name out there and build my author platform. While book signings are fun, they typically don’t give me enough exposure to readers in my genre.
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Genre - Science Fiction/Fantasy/Paranormal/YA
Rating – PG13
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