#WriteTipWednesdays Are Back!

I know…it’s been a long time since I posted one of these. I’ve been slacking. Live outside of writing…life as April instead of Jackie Chanel got more crazy and weird than I ever imagined.
To make things more challenging, I had to do some serious soul searching for a cool month or two because, as an author-publisher-editor, I kind of lost my way. I even took a steady job and was about to give up on writing period. I honestly felt like I didn’t want to be a part of this industry anymore. I talked it out with myself, my mother, and God, and determined that writing is my calling. As John Mayer pointed out in 2010 (the speech that made me want to publish UNTITLED in the first place) …

“I know that I traded certain things as a human being, I know that I did. There are certain parts of my brain that will never be the same, certain parts of my brain that are now converted to being able to do things on this level, that are at the expense of being able to do things on a somewhat of a more docile human level.
But I know…but I know…that is the very making of a calling! Callings are not perfect. When you have a calling, you have to give a lot up to follow the calling. That’s why it’s called a calling…BECAUSE THE SOUND COMES FROM FAR AWAY!
And you have to follow the sound of your calling. And it’s one of the hardest things in the world to do. It’s the reason the world is full of really talented people who didn’t go try it, and that’s okay. But to the people who hear the ringing of the bell of the calling…that sound that they have to follow, you will have to give up certain parts of your life.”

So, that’s where I am at this point. I’m following the sound of my calling, which brought me back to my blog and helping other authors.
#WriteTipWednesday this week is about following the sound of your calling. This is important for authors, especially authors like me who go through rough patches of doubt.

The writing and publishing industry is a beast like no other. E-book publishing made it so easy to get taken by what I call pop-up publishers. The big New York publishers are still last in line when it comes to signing indie authors to big publishing deals. If you’re an indie author, you have to work five times as hard as a traditional author. It’s a non-stop gig. You have to wear many hats. You have to be an author, an editor, a proofreader, a marketing expert, and a social media guru. It becomes overwhelming very fast and discouraging even faster.

However, it’s crucial that you remember why you do this. Everyone who makes the decision to become an author has a reason why they do this. If you’re passionate about this thing then you’re going to do what you should do in order to make it work the way you need it to work.

Step one is to always remember that you are not alone. You don’t have to do this by yourself. It’s you who has to write the book, but you have an entire community of indie authors who are experiencing the EXACT SAME THINGS that you are. You must build a system of support. That’s where I messed up. Don’t ever let anyone, including yourself, that you don’t need peer readers, critique groups, or just other author friends to vent to. Your support system doesn’t have to be huge, but be sure that it’s enough that you can share resources and trust these authors.

Step two…build a network of people who can do the things that you are not great at. You’re going to need cover designers, editors, proofreaders, beta readers, and a team of readers that you can trust to give honest feedback and gas you up when you need it.

I can’t reiterate enough how important it is that you do not even attempt to do this alone. Write your book. Follow the sound of your calling wherever it takes you because that’s what your calling is…to be an author. If you just do those two things, I guarantee, this industry will not get the best of you.
Just know that while doing this, there may situations that are uncomfortable. There may be long days and longer nights. There will be sacrifices and times you want to quit. It’s part of the job, part of the title, and a very real factor when you’re doing exactly what you know in your heart you’re supposed to be doing.

And if you need an author friend, hit me up. I’m in the same place as you.

Editor’s Note: The Devil’s in the Details

details quoteWe’ve all heard the saying, “the devil is in the details” or some variation of it. I’d like to think that this doesn’t apply to novels because a novel isn’t a house. It’s not an eloquently designed red carpet dress where yes, the devil is in the details. A novel is fluid and needs to flow smoothly. However, what I’ve come to notice is that when it comes to novel writing, sadly, the devil is in the details. These details can and will wreck havoc on your story.

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Writing Resources: Television

Let’s face it…writing something new, a story that hasn’t been told before just isn’t going to happen. Not in this day and age.

Authors, our job is not to reinvent the wheel. Our job is to entertain, educate, enlighten, and entertain. I know I said it twice but I had to. Entertainment is just that important. It’s the reason most readers (and all of my readers) buy a book.

So, instead of pulling out your hair as you search Goodreads or Amazon in frustration, seeing title after title of that ploy you just KNEW was your original idea, BREATHE! Grab a cup of coffee or tea and let’s hash this out.

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A Message of Support

isupportbykm-002Normally, these write tip posts are designed to help authors improve their writing based on my own experiences and knowledge. Someone gave me those tips and I’m just spreading the love.

Not today.

In regards to my own writing, this has been a hard month for me. From the minute you tell someone that you want to write a book, “Grow thicker skin” is repeated so much that it quickly becomes the indie author’s mantra. Let’s face it, indie authors open ourselves up for all types of criticism because we’re more accessible to our readers. Therefore, it is important to have thick skin.

But to some, writing a negative review isn’t enough. They take it as their personal mission to kick an author they don’t like in every way possible. It’s been happening to me all month and I’m seeing it happen to more and more of my author pals on a more frequent basis.

That’s why today’s tip has nothing to do with your book.

Whether it’s fiction, self-help, a memoir, or a comic book, writing is hard. It’s an emotional journey that anyone who sees it through deserves respect. It doesn’t matter if the book is an NYT Bestseller or a Dollar Store Bestseller.

CONGRATULATIONS AUTHOR! You wrote a book! That’s awesome! WELL DONE KIDDO!

Congrats-on-your-achievmentCongrats on completing each step to becoming a published author!

When you’re down…when your publisher (or former publisher) crosses you out, when your readers feel it’s their responsibility to tell you that you suck, take a deep breath and go to your happy place. Look for other authors for comfort and to vent to. We’ve all been there, and while it doesn’t get easier to deal with, you have a support system.

No matter what that review said, no matter what that email or private message on FB said, you’re awesome because you’re doing something that few get to do. Live your dream.

Write the story that is in your heart and head. Don’t ever let anyone discourage you from doing the thing you set out to accomplish. Be excellent, be awesome, be great. What other people think doesn’t matter.

Author bullying is a real thing…sad but true. And sometimes ignoring the bullshit is easier said than done. It is during those times when you focus on the story in your heart and why you picked up a pen and pad in the first place.

If it was for a royalty check, you might have an easier time stepping away from the industry for awhile. But if you’re an author like me, you write because it’s one of the few things you’re passionate about. You’re writing because, like air, you can’t live without it.

You don’t have to write on demand. You’re not a microwave writer. Take the time you need to tell the story the way you want to tell it and the hell with everyone else.

They’re your words on paper. It’s your heart on that page. Your friends, readers, and those who care about you will support you and put a protective shield around your heart if you allow us to.

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Editing and Editors

I previously wrote a piece on why editing is so important, especially for Indie Authors. I believe the general consensus among the writing community is that authors really need to stop publishing unedited or barely edited books.

However, I think there is a bigger problem. Before there was Jackie Chanel, the contemporary romance author, I was (insert real name here) behind the scenes doing editing work. It’s been a positive and negative experience.

I believe the problem lies with authors not understanding an editor’s job or exactly what editing is. Most people that I’ve come in contact with believe that an editor’s job is to correct spelling and grammar. True, but that is not all an editor does. In fact, if that’s all you’re getting for $.02 per word, hit me up because you’re wasting good money.

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