Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What I've been up to

I thought I'd update everyone on what I've been up to, since I last updated my blog in May, but in the past few months, I've published more than I have in my entire life. And this blog is titled A Writer's Notes, so I think we need to be on the same page.

Have I been churning out novels? Well ... not exactly. I am rewriting Saturnine from a new outline, and I've been eyeing my paranormal series. They're on the back burner, simmering but not quite ready. When they are, I'll shout it from the rooftops and you'll be the first to know.

No, I've been having Adventures Under a Pen Name.

You must understand, for about eight years now I've been convinced by numerous nonfiction books and magazines that the only way to make money through fiction is to write a novel, craft a perfect query, send it to 100 agents and then sip tea until the inevitable book deal rolls around, and then happily write my second book on my small advance while waiting 18 months until the book hits shelves and Oprah comes calling.

How many people does that happen to?

I was inspired to start writing under a pen name by Rebecca Knight and many, many other indie writers who have success stories. I've discovered that readers love short stories. They absolutely love them, in certain genres, and I can't blame them. When I'm running around all day, sometimes the last thing I want to do is pick up a hefty tome and read 15 more pages where nothing happens. But a self-contained, exciting, well-edited 5,000 word short story I can read in a sitting? Sign me up.

I'm not against eventually getting a publisher (I've seen some amazing things done by editing/publicity departments from both Big Six houses and small presses alike), but that isn't my goal right now. Instead, I've been writing in several popular genres, churning out short stories or novellas under a pen name.

I have full creative control over the editing, cover, and price, and my stuff has been selling. I didn't hit any bestseller lists, but it's reasonable, sustainable income.

The blogosphere is full of people who will tell you what to do, and many of them have shiny books on how best to sell or write or whatever. They say you need a Twitter account and a Facebook account and a brand and a platform. I think those things are all right from a marketing perspective, but don't get too wound up in them.

We forget that readers are constantly looking for new material, in bookshelves both in stores and online. If you put out enough well-written fiction, readers will find you. They know what they want, they know how to separate the wheat from the chaff, and they're doing it every day with their money and their e-readers.

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