© NaNoWriMo 2013
Hello, dear readers, and welcome!So, it's December already, nearing Christmas, and I cannot quite believe it! I am always excited for Christmas, as it's my favorite holiday, and this year is no exception. I fully plan to write, write, write this December, along with celebrating with family, but before I do, I would like to take a moment to look back at November...Every year, I participate in NaNoWriMo, and every year I learn new things about writing from my experience. This year was one of the strangest NaNos I have ever taken part in, but I learned so many things along the way, things that are currently pushing me to write another book about writing (you can find the other, Writing With Inspiration, here). But, for now I'd like to share some of the things that I discovered when it was just me, my laptop, and my writing friends (old and new!). ~ Lesson #1: Being The Leader (ML) Is Not Easy Work, But It Is Very Important ~This may be something that sounds obvious, but when you sit down and think about it, it is put into a new perspective for you...or, at least it was for me. This year, I signed up to be my region's Municipal Liaison, or ML, for NaNo, scheduling the write-ins, the parties, and answering questions. We had not had an official ML for two years, so it was very exciting. Thankfully for me, I suppose, we have a smallish region, and not as many writers as, say, New York City has (one of the largest cities; I guess I could have said Boston), but still, it was a lot of work! But you know what, it was worth it, because I was able to see writing, and the act of talking about writing, from a different perspective. I have said many times over the years that I have been inspired by other writers, and it is true. Some of this has been in person, such as when I have gone to get books signed, and some of this has been through interviews, or even through reading the words that someone took the time to pen. But I suppose, in a way, we all take inspiration for granted, and that is something I realized during NaNo. I took it upon myself to write pep talks for our struggling writers (this year of which there were many, me included), and I tried to offer advice and encouragement whenever I could. I'm not saying it was perfect, but I like to think that if even a small bit of that encouragement helped, then it was worth the time. But, just as with the writers who have inspired me, if I hadn't taken that time, then the budding authors might not have been encouraged -- I might not have been encouraged. Looking back over how I've been encouraged by others, I feel that I've taken their words for granted, or expected them to be there to encourage me -- because that's what they're supposed to do, right? -- but being on the other end, I now feel more appreciative than ever because of the time they took out to say a few words, whether they thought those words might help someone or not. That could have been life or death for me -- as far as writing -- if they had said they were too busy. I nearly wasn't able to finish my goal this NaNo, because I had so many other things to do (ML and work-related), but I don't regret taking the time out to help and to encourage, even so. The reward from that is too great to put into a measure of words, because if it means another author's life or death as far as writing, well, I choose life. ~ Lesson #2: Writing Isn't Fun ~This may sound cruel, but hear me out. I used to think writing was fun, relatively easy, something that I could do fairly well (and get a lot of words out) when I sat down, though of course I had my difficulties, as everyone else. But then, something happened this year, and writing became hard -- more serious, more emotional, more like, well, work. During NaNo, I wrote the most difficult 50,000 words I have ever penned, and half the time I felt as if the act of writing those words was akin to ripping my heart out and slicing it into shreds.
But there's something beautiful in that, I've come to realize, and now I feel like more of a writer than ever, because I've discovered that writing is not fun, and I've accepted that -- and, consequently, I've written what may just be my best piece yet, heart shards and all. Does that mean that I was never a "real writer" before this revelation? No, but I do feel quite different now, empowered almost, because writing isn't expected to be fun anymore -- so when it isn't fun, which is most of the time, I don't feel as though I'm doing it wrong. It is quite freeing. Can writing be fun? Of course. I'm having fun with the story I'm currently working on, so far, but "can be" and "is" are two entirely different things. Writing is not fun all of the time, and neither should it be--Writing is heartbreaking. It is emotional. It is physically unhealthy most of the time. It is painful. It causes stress, lack of sleep, headaches, carpal tunnel, depression, and all other sorts of lovely things...But, it's also fun. See what I'm getting at here? Writing is a lot like life -- sometimes up, sometimes down -- and the thing about it is, if you can carry on, then you can get somewhere. Not every day is going to be great, not every day is going to be filled with inspiration, not every day will you produce good words, but, hey -- if you keep writing, eventually you will get somewhere, and write something fantastic, and it will be worth all of those tears, and sweat, and blood, and smiles, and that is why we keep doing it. ~ Lesson #3: There Is No "Time" To Write ~As I said above, like it or not, writing is work. It can be a hobby, and that is great, but even as a hobby it is work -- and it is work even more so for those of us who like to publish. That having been said, you are not always going to feel like working. I currently have a second job that I really enjoy, but when I get up in the morning, early, to go in, I definitely don't feel like working -- I'm tired, I'm not a morning person, and I don't want to deal with people -- but, after a little while, I get into my routine, and everything is good; some days are still better than others, but that is normal. Writing is a lot like this. There is no magic spell you can cast, no serum you can take, no word you can find to make you want to write all of the time. It just isn't going to happen. More than likely, you won't want to write more than you will; the keyboard and/or notebook can appear extremely terrifying at times.
I have noticed this NaNo that I far too often rely on "inspiration" to get me writing, to get me "in the mood for writing", and I've learned this NaNo that I cannot rely upon such things; if I do, in fact, I will never get where I want to go, and neither will the characters who get left behind. Inspiration rarely pops up out of the blue, and even when it does, there is a lot of hard work that must be put behind it. But while you're off waiting for this elusive inspiration to appear, you could be writing -- not in the state of "inspired" perhaps, but writing, and that means getting something done, and that means forward progression.
I actually felt like writing, actually felt "inspired", perhaps 1/27th of NaNo this year, if that. Most days, it felt like drudge work, which I truly hate to say, but as with my second job, once I begun typing, and settled in, some of that gloom lifted, and I was able to write -- maybe not perfect words, but what ever is perfect? The fact was, I wasn't able to wait around for inspiration to find me--I had to make my own inspiration, and that's called perseverance. Writing is all about perseverance, about not giving up, about devoting yourself to sitting there, every day, and typing something, no matter what you feel like. The act of writing, for an author, is a labour of love -- a conscious decision that, even when you don't feel like it, even when you're not "inspired", you're going to do it anyway, because it's something you care about.
I hope these reflections were helpful to you! Keep writing!
Alexandra finished her NaNo novel, Cataclysmic, a two-part Science-Fiction piece, on November 30th, at 11:18PM, less than an hour before NaNoWriMo finished.
Hello, dear readers!
I hope your weekend was fantastic, and that you had a wonderful holiday! I certainly did, and am very thankful for friends, family, and the wonderful people who support my writing.
As promised, I have posted the special Cyber Monday book deals for you. Please check out the list, and grab some fantastic reads in Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Poetry, and more - including my internationally bestselling novella Lyrics of the Heart (only $0.99!), the latest book in the Snowflake Triplet, Clara Snow, and last but not least the first book in my Foxfire Chronicles, Shadows of Past Memories, which will be at the lowest price of the season!
All Cyber Monday deals can be viewed here: http://www.alexandralanc.com
But now, I would like to talk about something very close to my heart, that has been a long time coming.
Shadows of Past Memories was one of the first books I published (after Clara Claus, my first 'official'), and the Foxfire Chronicles is the series I've been working on the longest, and one of my biggest creations. I finally published it in 2011 (with a Special Edition in 2012), after beginning writing it in 2007, the year my brother had his nearly fatal accident. The story is very dear to me, because not only do the characters feel like old friends, who I have watched grow, but also because that story helped to shape me into the writer I am today, and was an outlet for me in some of my darkest times; it helped to pull me out of that darkness. The changes in my life since then have been many, but there was a time, sometime last year, that I decided I would not be able to write any more to this series (after penning book 1.5, companion to SOPM). Still recovering from the hardship of years ago, the story transformed instead into a painful reminder of those dark, dark years, and I had to say goodbye to it for a while, with only intentions to release what I had written (1.5) for fans who were eagerly awaiting it. I had to set aside all of my hard work, all of my time, and all of my passion for the story that had become too much to bear, and it was like setting a part of myself aside, or leaving a part of myself behind. I tried so hard to edit and finish book 1.5, Shadows at Midnight, for the fans. I tried, and I tried, and I kept pushing the release date back, until I simply put it off indefinitely, purely because nothing felt right whenever I begun working on it. It felt as if that story would never see the light of day - and not only did I feel awful for disappointing my readers, but I felt as though I had disappointed myself, too. But then, this year something amazing happened - the gloom lifted, the darkness vanished, and the story gained new life in the form of a short I released around Halloween, entitled Bat Wings and Broomsticks, a short that brought me back to writing after a long, hard absence. This year in my life was a dark one, as well, perhaps darker in some ways than years ago, when it felt like the world had ended with one wrong turn from a driver, but somewhere in that darkness I was given light, and the story became mine once more. I was blessed with the ability to finally, finally reconnect with it, and it couldn't have come at a better time. I cannot describe the feeling of reconnecting with one of your dearest loves, because I certainly love this story and these characters, but I can say that it is a fantastic, amazing thing. I am so happy to finally be back into this story, and, consequently, to begin working on editing Shadows at Midnight for release next year. The dark veil has lifted, and it is only forward trekking from here on out. These characters still have a lot to do, a lot to learn and many ways to grow, and I cannot wait to begin the journey with them once again. So, in celebration of next year's release, and simply because I love a good story, Shadows of Past Memories is $2.99 for Cyber Monday, on both Amazon and Smashwords (with coupon). If you haven't read it yet, please take a look, because it's both a fun story and a special one, and if you have read it, thank you so much for cheering me on, even when it seemed as if no story was left; your support has helped to get me through this rough time. Thank you, everyone, for supporting my writing endeavors, and for offering helping hands, happy comments, and laughs. You always make my day!Alexandra~
Hello, everyone, and a happy Thanksgiving to you! I hope you have a fun day of family time planned! I personally am looking forward to some great food and a film at the cinema. :)But - tomorrow it is Black Friday once again! And just for you, my wonderful readers, I will be holding a Black Friday sale for not one day, but 4, leading into Cyber Monday. There will be great deals on ebooks, paperbacks, and a special sale on Monday, announced Sunday. If you love reading (and I hope you do), or are looking for the perfect gift for a friend or family member, please check out the sale!And don't forget to look for free ebooks at each of the sale sites, including the fan-favorite Clara Claus, to kick off your Christmas season. Have a lovely day, and thank you for your support! Sale information can be found on my homepage: http://www.alexandralanc.com
Hello, dear readers!
Halloween is tomorrow, and I'm very excited. This is one of my favorite holidays, and I love how fun it is. And, instead of sweets, I have another surprise--
A new story!
Bat Wings and Broomsticks is a Foxfire Chronicles short, and takes place before the novel Shadows of Past Memories. It stars one of my favorite characters from the series, a bat Biryo (alien) named Ikuro, and was very exciting to write.
If you're curious how Halloween might be explained to an alien, then please check it out!
And of course, have a wonderful and safe Halloween! :)
Bat Wings and Broomsticks can be found at:
After much waiting on my part, and yours, dear readers, Clara Snow is finally available! It's been a challenge to write this second book, so I'd like to thank everyone for their kind comments and encouragement. You can find links to Clara Snow here.I really hope you enjoy the story!Alexandra~
Well, it's that time of year again. and this year I'm going to celebrate - mostly with my family, and with a side project just for me (for now...maybe), but a bit here on my blog, too.
Publishing is not an easy business. It's full of headaches, heartbreaks, and many, many trials. There are plenty of days I'm not sure I know what exactly I'm doing...and others where I'm pretty sure that I have a handle on things. Writing has its ups and downs, sometimes readers (and sadly other authors) can be cruel, and sometimes I overwork myself, but if there's anything I've learned, it's this:
Publishing is worth it.
I'm worth it. My stories are worth it. The readers are worth it. The experience is like no other.
So, today to celebrate, I'm going to list some of the things I've learned from publishing, and say a bit about them. Hopefully, this post will inspire others of you who are wanting to break into the publishing business, or who are in it already. I can't give every advice right this moment, because that would never fit in a single post alone, but I can hopefully spread some publishing cheer and let you know that, hey, when the going gets tough, keep on going. You won't regret it in the end!
What I've Learned From Publishing (Thus Far) ~
Don't be discouraged if discovery takes time.
Nothing happens overnight, even if it seems like it does. I've been published for three years now (yay!), and I'm really only just starting to take off. I can blame some of it on my lack of know-how in the beginning and my age, but really it's all just a matter of timing. Even though things may not happen as fast as you want them to, remember that there is a reason, and that you learn things along the way - and nothing, no amount of discovery or praise, can take those lessons away; you'll need them later on, and in the end you'll rather have learned them than have spent extra time in the spotlight.
Don't let the crowd sway you.
There are so many ways of publishing now, and so much information to take in. I think a lot of authors become entrenched in this information - in the "what you should do", and in the "what worked for me". While trying new things is great, don't overload yourself, and keep in mind that different things work for different people. I know I tried all of the "fool proof" bits when I started publishing, and quite a few of them didn't work out...and quite a few more gave me a headache. Find a place where you can feel free to be yourself, where you can connect with other readers and writers, and commit to it; build friends, not just business contacts.
More is not always better.
This year in publishing, I tried something new: releasing quite a few stories in a short amount of time. I had heard, as stated above, that this was the "thing to do" to get big, to get readers, etc., and so I gave it a try - and it didn't work, not for me; in fact, I think I lost a lot of my writing spirit that I've been working to gain back.
It's easy to get caught up in how many books you have published, in how many reviews you have, in numbers, but numbers are not everything; there's a reason authors love language (not always more than math; that might only be me). Find a pace that you can work at, and stick to it. It's great to challenge yourself, but if you and your work get lost in that challenge, especially the quality of your work, then it isn't worth it in the end.
Publishing makes it hard to continue to view writing as an art, as a hobby, as fun, sometimes. When you have even more expectations placed on you - from yourself, from readers, from media telling you "how to" - I think you can lose a part of yourself, and a part of your writing. Writing is far from easy, but it shouldn't be grueling work, and if it becomes that, then you need to step back and re-evaluate. We all have our own way of doing things, our own timing, and that is okay. Sometimes, you might have to fight to keep your writing spirit, but don't give up on yourself or your work.
Don't be afraid to find your niche.
Literature is a beautiful thing in its simplicity, and in its complexity. There are so many genres, with more new genres popping up seemingly every day! Some people will tell you to write many genres, and some will tell you to only write one, but I think it's good to do both, or only one. They key is to write what you love, and to keep writing it. No matter the genre, if a story captures your attention, go for it!
Also, don't be afraid of being overly "repetitive" in your work. If you like a plot point, or an area of study, then write it; find new ways to incorporate it each time. Me, I love memory loss, and the struggle that comes with discovering who you were, and reconciling it with who you are now. I have multiple stories set around this concept, and I plan to write more. It doesn't mean the idea tires, simply that I have to find a new way of looking at it, and going on that journey to discover new things about something seemingly "old" is always exciting.
Don't get caught up in the details.
I suffered from this this year. There are so many things to keep track of when publishing - due dates, marketing, social media, giveaways, etc. It's really very easy to get lost in doing all of this work, and stop doing the work that brought you to publishing in the first place: writing.
All of those things are needed, are important, but if you lose your writing spirit, it's all for naught. Of course, we can't all go out and hire a big marketing team, and not all of us can be traditionally published (they do a lot of their own marketing, too, anyway), or published by a small press. But, publishing and writing aren't about what you can't do, they're about what you can do. Find out what you can do, and do it. Don't overwork yourself on the details, and don't forget writing, but do what you can. It may only be writing posts on Tumblr, tweeting on Twitter, and posting news on Goodreads, but it's something, and it will lead somewhere.
Word of mouth is always the best advertisement, and eventually people will start talking about your book; it just takes time. Don't lose sight of what matters most for what matters, but isn't the whole picture.
Don't be afraid to share.
So many people are afraid to share their work, let alone publish it, and this saddens me. I'll say that it isn't easy to publish, and I'll say that not everyone will love your work (rather, some will hate it immensely, but there's always a flip-side, too), but I can say, again, that it's worth it.
Writing, I think, is one of the best ways to peer into another person's soul - and you know what, you're never the only soul out there who thinks the way you do, and there are always others who will be inspired by your new perspective. Writing is a way to share the world, and your view of it, and that view is worth sharing.
So - share it! Find a writing group, an online critique, or publish, but share it. Be conscious of where you share it, be wise, but don't be afraid.
- - - - - - - - - -
I hope you've enjoyed these tips! Here's to another great year of writing and publishing.
Thank you so much, readers, for your support! You've been fantastic. :)
Hello, dear readers, and welcome! A week from now, Clara Snow will be unveiled to the world! I am exceedingly happy about this release, and very proud of the work that I've done on this story. It's been a long journey, but worthwhile, and I can't wait to share this special piece of the Snowflake Triplet world with you all. Today, I'm releasing the final teaser for Clara Snow (another one of my personal favorite bits), but also I'm officially unveiling the updated cover, and something else special -- the first two of my tee-shirt designs! It's all below for you!Clara Snow Teaser #3:Gertrude cast Clara a bewildered look as the figure, who Clara assumed was South, disappeared inside of the house, closing the door to the porch behind him. “Is it just me, or does North’s brother seem—”
“Mad!” South interrupted, cutting off Gertrude as he appeared in another doorway – the one that belonged to the front door of the home, Clara assumed, which flew open just then, causing both girls to jump. Clara noticed that in his hand he held a teacup, though there didn’t appear to be anything in it; his other hand lingered on the door handle as he leaned over the threshold, shouting, nearly dropping the teacup, and nearly falling into the snow. “It’s mad, right? It is mad, isn’t it? Oh, I can’t remember...” South trailed off as a frown alighted on his mouth, before his grin abruptly returned. “It’s been quite a long time since I’ve used normal terms – well, since I’ve lived in a normal society. Half the time, I can’t remember which words are what, and what words are which, and which what words are acceptable in what which order. But, I do remember – it is mad…or crazy, if you’d like. I didn’t think you would arrive so soon,” South leaned further out the door, before he finally fell, the teacup landing in the snow, though he didn’t, catching himself before he could. He stood quickly, and came lumbering through the snow to meet Clara and Gertrude.
Gertrude leaned towards Clara, saying softly enough so that only she could hear: “I don’t care if the word is ‘mad’ or ‘crazy’, this guy’s nuts,” and Clara covered a giggle with her hand.Clara Snow, available October 18th!Updated Cover Design: As I said, the cover for Clara Snow has been updated from the original! This cover I absolutely love, because I added blue sparkles, much like I added red and green to Clara Claus last year with the new edition.
Tee-shirt designs: Lastly, but not least, you can now purchase tee-shirts or stickers with Jack and Clara on them! These are my first character designs done, in 'chibi' (mini) form, and it's amazing to finally see these characters in real life. Also available is last year's 'Frost and Snow' heart design. There will be more designs coming - of North, South, and Eclipse - so please check back in soon to see those. But for now, please check out the Jack and Clara designs! Thank you so much for your support. You can purchase tee-shirts and stickers here: http://www.redbubble.com/people/foxfiredesigns
With the release of Clara Snow only a few weeks away, I'm excited to unveil another teaser for the novel! If you missed the first teaser, you can visit it: HERE.Actually, this is one of my favorite scenes from the novel, and the first scene I thought up before writing it (Jack and North overtook my head and had a war for a little bit). I hope you enjoy! It's some fun banter, if I do say so myself.
- - - - - - - - - - - “I did manage to buy you one present,” North went on, subtly pulling the topic away from the gift sitting beside him (and its owner) as he slid a lidded paper cup towards Jack; it was obviously an eco-friendly coffee cup, something North was fond of, as he was connected to the ecosystem in ways that most people weren’t. “Here, drink,” he ordered, and after a grimace, Jack did as he was told-- And nearly choked on the liquid. Jack had to stop from coughing, feeling as if his throat had just been cut with a razor-sharp knife made purely of awful taste. “What is this?” he asked, shoving the cup aside, nearly overturning it. “Coffee. Black,” North said as he took another calm drink from his own cup, eyes trained on Jack. Jack could have thrown the cup at him. “Awful. Completely!” he threw back, and North sighed slightly, shifting his paper cup in his hands. “You know, Jack, sometimes I doubt you enjoy the finer things in life,” he said, and then amusement lit his blue eyes. “I suppose you would prefer a peppermint mocha or some such nonsense?” he guessed, and Jack simply glared at him again.He nodded feverishly. “Actually, I would!”
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Recently, I wrote a post about Self-Publishing and book pricing (you can read it HERE), and through writing that post, talking with friends, and viewing the impact that my previous post had on Twitter, Tumblr, and Goodreads, I decided to write a follow-up post, concerning what I've deduced about books from my findings and chats. Books -- e-books, namely -- have become very inexpensive. This is simply a fact. Books are, perhaps, less expensive than they have ever been before (films along with them, though video games appear to be steadily increasing in price; one can't say the same for film downloads as for film tickets, however, but I'll talk about that in a minute). And if we -- yes, I say 'we', because I hope I'm not the only one who feels this is unfair -- don't ban together, the price of books, and also their value in people's (readers AND writers) eyes will diminish, as well. You might be reading this, and think that the low price of books is not that big of a deal; you are not alone. Unfortunately, while books have become less expensive, everything else seems to have become more expensive, and there are such business things as supply and demand, cost, etc. to think about. But, it makes me wonder...I may not be the best with math, and I may not be the most successful nor proficient businesswoman to walk the planet (though I do my utmost), but when it comes to demand...why are books, some of the bestselling things on giant websites like Amazon, so inexpensive, and yet they are in such high demand? I believe there are a few reasons for this. One can argue that books are selling because they are inexpensive, and I am sure that this is true to some degree. If a reader knows that they can pick up four full-length novels for less than five dollars, chances are they will come back regularly, especially if they are an avid reader. However, aside from the pricing point, I believe there is another factor as to why books are becoming (and staying) so low in price, and this is it:Inadvertently, perhaps, by making books so readily available for such low prices (not to mention free online in various places) at the beginning of the self-publishing e-book boom, authors and companies alike have made literature cheap, in both price and in importance. Now, I am in no way attempting to step on any toes, or to say that writers don't appreciate their work, and that there aren't readers who appreciate it, as well. There are most certainly many of both. As a writer, I cannot say that I haven't priced my books low to capture the attention of readers, or offered free e-books -- because face it, there are so many books out there, it's hard to get recognition, and not get lost in the crowd, and this is marketing, as well -- but I will never say that I priced them low because I wanted to; just the opposite. I started the self-publishing game late, and I had a lot to learn, and by the time I got a handle on the ever-changing market (as much as it can be handled), books had already become so cheap that it was difficult to ask anything more than practically nothing for my literature, because readers were not familiar with me, and no one really wants to buy a book from someone that they haven't read before, anymore (that is a whole other topic, however). Consequently, I believe that readers, having grown used to the idea that books are or should be extremely underpriced have become accepting of the idea, and may not understand how they could be hurting their favorite authors, or books in general, by supporting these low prices -- and consequently, how their continued support of low prices might harm literature in the future.
I personally hope that books can find a happy medium; what it might be, I don't know. Authors never do forget that not all readers have plenty of money to spend -- especially when that author might not make enough off their books in a month to buy a cup of coffee for themselves. I mentioned coffee last time, and how disheartening and downright heartbreaking it was to see readers complaining that even books they may rate 4 or 5 stars are too expensive, when they cost less than coffee, but it wasn't until I was speaking to a fellow writer recently that we, together, really began to realize how serious of a problem this issue causes.
In pondering the sadness of the fact that it's alright for coffee to cost more than a good book, my friend and I began to wonder why exactly it was that people in general were okay with this idea, and why they would rather pay for coffee than for a book, which will take them much longer to savor. The question we ultimately posed was this:
Have literature and reading become a mundane for most people, instead of an escape -- a thrill, a hobby, an interest, a passion?
It would seem that the answer is: yes. I can't say for anyone else, but I usually buy coffee because it is something I enjoy, something that I want to savor, a treat that I treat myself to. It isn't a chore, and I don't do it because I feel like I have to, or because I want to wake up (no effect there, sorry), or because it's just something I've always done. But, say coffee is just a norm for you -- okay, so what about film tickets? Plenty of people enjoy going to see a good (hopefully) film, and will pay ridiculous prices to see it in 3-D, and eat dinner while they are out; they are treating themselves to something they enjoy, and that is great (I love films). I love theme parks, and they are expensive too, but I wouldn't want to miss out on the experience. And what about sports games, or theatre, or clothes shopping, or hunting, or anything else that is a hobby and is enjoyable? It seems to me that reading has lost some of its enjoyment, and that is reflected in the cheap prices, and hastily written manuscripts, and sometimes awful covers. And, most of all, it is reflected in the author's measly paycheck.
I love art, of all kinds. I think artists overall do not receive enough for their efforts -- and there is plenty of effort put into any work of art. Last time, I calculated even a quickly written 60,000 word novel would take over 90 hours to pen (minus cover art, marketing, etc.), with more like 300 to 600 being a realistic norm. It kills me that our readers seem to think all that is worth is $0.99...which might give me $0.35 for my effort, in the end.
I don't want to see the world lose its appreciation for literature, self-published or traditionally published. I don't want to see books become penny candy. I work too hard for that; we as authors work too hard for that. There is a reason the saying of 'To write, open a vein and bleed' exists. And, honestly, readers deserve better than this 'cheapness', too. Eventually, a disheartened author might want to either give up or not write the masterpiece that they could write -- because it seems as though it's all for naught. If not even large name authors can price their new works at $10.00, then no one is going to want to bother writing a good, not to mention decent book, because if they can't make something from their stories, then how are we, the lesser-knowns, supposed to? Why is it wrong to want decent money for your story? Why is it wrong to not want to work for free, or for very little, when so much time is spent 'on the clock'? Writing is not a profession that one should expect to make millions from (unless you're very lucky), but that doesn't mean it should be wrong to want to make something.
The biggest thing to any writer is that the reader enjoys the story, but when readers say your work is too expensive, it's like saying you're not good enough, like you're not worth that cup of coffee your reader might have bought their best friend -- it's like saying your work is cheap, and you are cheap, even if the reader praises the book, and really means well...because you spent time on it, and you know it's not trash, and it shouldn't be priced like it's trash; it's part of you, and it's important to you. I don't know about other authors, but hearing this makes me feel like: "Well, if you like my writing, if you praise it and enjoy it, then why isn't it important to you, too? You got behind J.K. Rowling, and James Patterson, and Nicolas Sparks, and Cassandra Claire, and all of those other authors -- why not me?".
So, what can be done about this? Readers, I hope this has opened up your eyes a bit. We as authors wouldn't be anywhere without you; you keep us going. We love that you love our work, and we appreciate your support, but at the same time, I think we deserve more. I'm not saying that books should be ridiculously priced -- no -- but I do believe that there needs to be a change. We are worth more, our time is worth more, and our stories are worth more. I don't want my life's work to be nothing more than one cup of coffee.
So, if you're a reader, please think about this, and please say something to your fellow readers. Speaking out is one of the best ways to be heard. And authors, please do the same. Let everyone know what you think, ban together with other authors. I think it's really high time we started saying something, and reminding everyone that, hey, we all have our things that we're passionate about -- but I'm passionate about literature, and I don't want my passion to go to waste; this is important to me, not just another fad, not just something that should be thrown away. Blog about it, talk about it, make videos, make gifs, write books, do whatever you can, but make your voice heard, and connect with other authors. I'm happy to help pass the word along!
Literature is still important. It doesn't matter if it has become a social thing, or if it's electronic, or if anyone can publish or not. Literature has not stopped being important -- but if we don't say something, some day it might not be considered as important, and that will truly be a sad day.
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