Friday, October 26, 2012


Living the life of an author is not for sissies. 

First of all you decide to put pen to paper, or at least your fingers to the keyboard and write that story that’s been bugging you since forever, characters that are screaming at you to write their story.  Mention to your friends that you have characters in your head and you’ll get strange looks at best, and worst case scenario is they’ll be making a call for the men in white coats to come and get ya.  So first lesson as a writer – keep your mouth shut when talking about your writing – especially if it’s to non-writers.
Of course your writing is going swimmingly, the words gracing the page will be the next best thing since slice bread when it comes to the publishing world.
Then you get a critique.
Now actually letting that baby out of your hands so to speak is a scary thing.  I mean, it is your creation.  What if the big bad wolf comes to its door?  What if…?
Your critique partner loves it, but, says, maybe just tweak this, and that…oh, and this. 
Devastation hits.  She doesn’t like it. It’s not perfect as it its.
Well, wakey, wakey Ms. Writer.  What did you expect?  Perfection first time.  Wake up to the real world, Madam.  The life of a writer sure isn’t like that.  It’s a hard slog and if you don’t think you’re cut out for it, then now is the time to run for the hills.
What?  You’re going to try again?   Good on you, courage under fire, that’s the way to go. 
Then someone asks if you’ve got an agent, have you submitted yet, a partial, a full, and a request.  What about Twitter, and Facebook.  Do you have a web presence, thought about branding yet?  So many questions, so much to do.  And all you thought you had to do was write.  Hah Dumbo.  This is the life of a writer.  Can’t hack the pace?  You better re think that run to the hills.
Oh, you’re staying.  Okay.  So get your butt to the chair, baby and write.
But I’ve got to clean the kitchen, the windows, cook dinner.
Let them eat cake, I say! 
So you’ve got your butt on the seat and fingers flying over the keyboard.  The book’s finished.  Yay.  Okay, so, what’s next?
Partial submitted – check
Full submitted – check
Queries to a hundred publishers – check
Queries to a hundred agents – check.
The mail arrives, inbox, outbox, letterbox – rejections by the truckload.  Wallpapering your office has taken on a new theme and maybe the mailman can deliver a truckload of chocolate while he’s at it.
A bath to wallow your self-pity in, while downing a few bottles of bubbly and eating that chocolate of course sounds rather appealing right now.  You eye that damned computer.  It beckons.  Those blasted characters are talking to you again.  Go on Mary, write about ME, ME ME.  I want to see me all over the page. 
Right about this time you’re thinking that the idea of the insane asylum and men in white coats sounds rather appealing too. 
How did it come to this?
Well, maybe you should have played ninja turtles or veged out in front of the television all those years ago instead of reading books instead of fantasizing about different characters, different worlds.   Blame it on your parents.  They made you read.   Yes, it’s always the parents’ fault.
But…well, those characters really need you.  So you continue to write, continue to submit. And continue to get rejections.
Then the world changes.  Suddenly the publishers, those big boys and girls sitting in their gilded towers are shaking in their boots a tad.  Amazon is and kindle and all those wonderfully technical gadgets and people have made those in higher ground sit up, take notice – and listen.
Yes there is a revolution.  We will not kow tow any more to the exulted, we will have some control over our careers, our work.  We can strike out on our own.  WE CAN SELF-PUBLISH.
See, writing isn’t for sissies, we have revolted. Power to the writers.
And yes dear reader and writer, the world has changed in the 12 years I’ve been writing. If someone mentioned self-publishing way back then, well, you were frowned upon, thought desperate, must be a rotten writer.  But today it’s not like that at all.  It’s simply another option to our world.   

Shirley Wine on self-publishing - …The explosion of self publishing means the glass ceiling of trad publishing is now a cement bunker as publishers retrench.  After 20 years I’d not cracked the glass ceiling and I could well be pushing up daisies, so decided to self-publish. Rewarding? The satisfaction is huge. Have I made a fortune, suppressing maniacal laughter here, writing is an expensive hobby. The down side. Among millions of books, how do you get noticed? And for some, buying a book is a licence to ridicule, so that tough hide earned by rejections is useful.
On the credit side, money trickles in, and I’m not talking 50 Shades, you have fan letters from across the globe, and you find appreciative readers like this one a few days ago.... Well worth reading. The characters were real. The plot was real! The pace was fast...It was like watching a movie. KUDOS to the writer! Buy it! I stayed up all night reading until I was finished.
 I now have six books out there with 2 more pending.  All my book links are in my signature.... and the links are on my website

Abbey MacInnis on self-publishing  - I self-publish because I love the control it allows me. There’s certainly more work involved, but I enjoy being the one who makes all the final decisions. I’m not only author, but a businesswoman acting as a publisher and publicist as well. Everything will be as I want it or the book won't go out, period.  And any consequences of those decisions are mine to bear alone. Self-publishing has exceeded my expectations, not financially yet, but more so the fact that I've learned more about how publishing works since I've started self-publishing than I did before I took the leap.

Now back to my writing life.  Have I self-published yet?  No.
Would I self publish?  Possibly
Am I a sissy?  - the vote is out on that at the moment.

Happy reading and writing
In books Author Jane Beckenham discovered dreams and hope, stories that inspired in her a love of romance and happy ever after.  Years later, after a blind date, Jane found her own true love and married him eleven months later.
Life has been a series of  ‘dreams’ for Jane.  Dreaming of learning to walk again after spending years in hospital. Dreaming of raising a family and subsequently flying to Russia to bring home her two adopted daughters. And of course, dreaming of writing.
Writing has become Jane’s addiction - and it sure beats housework.
Visit Jane’s web site www.janebeckenham.com
Email neiljane@ihug.co.nz   
Twitter @JaneBeckenham


Tina Donahue said...

A very stirring post, Jane - hit home - hit hard.

I often wonder if I would have decided to write if I had known how ungodly difficult the non-writing part is (selling; promoting; living through rejections, shitty reviews, you-name-it).

I love to write, no doubt about it. But the rest - ugh.

As to self-publishing, it seems so freaking daunting given all the other crap writers have to do these days. Right now, I figure I write for two hours and spend ten hours promoting. Something is wrong with this picture.

Fiona McGier said...

I read some pundit's advice that the best possible promotion is to keep on writing. If/when you get "discovered" by a reader, he/she will want to read everything you've written, and if there's nothing else, you will be forgotten in favor of the more prolific writer. I've tried to keep those words in front of me, while I'm on the promotion merry-go-round that we have to do the two-step on just to get noticed!

Yes, writing is the fun part. Letting the voices in your head have a life outside of your head is satisfying, for them and for me. But still it is galling when unedited, sloppy writing is rewarded with being on the best-seller lists, and my honed-to-perfection creations languish.

I always knew life wasn't fair. I try to remind myself of that a lot!

JaneB said...

Tina,... you're so right, it's a hard world, but we do love it don't we
Very addictive this writing lark


JaneB said...

Fiona, i think it's a matter of keeping on trucking basically.
Thanks for popping in


JaneB said...

Fiona, i think it's a matter of keeping on trucking basically.
Thanks for popping in


Serena Tatti Story Editor said...

A very poignant look at the business of writing, Jane. There are so many ups and downs, and yet we procrastinate when we should be persevering. Hmmm must be lunch time...

Anonymous said...

A very timely post Jane

Yes writing is hard work.
Writing, like growing old, isn't for sissies.
And Fiona you are absolutely right, writing the next book is vital.
I have just put my 6th book up on Amazon and am branching out selling on AllRomanceEbooks, Smashwords, Kobo as well as Amazon.

Although hard work, promotion happens a little bit at a time, and gradually you realise you've built a following and a platform.

JaneB said...

Hi Serena, yes you're right writing is a business, and we have to have a business hat on many a time.


JaneB said...

WTG Shirley, hard work, but so rewarding. And your sixth book - that's fabulous.