Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Everyone Likes "Free"

Free seems to be the magic word today, especially when it comes to ebooks. I hear comments like "there are so many free books, you don't have to buy anything." It's a great enticement to grab as many free books as you can. Some of my friends have hundreds of books on their device and they haven't paid a penny for any of them.

I like free, too. Who doesn't? But the truth of the matter is someone spent countless hours writing, revising, and formatting that book so others could have it for free. Interesting. As an author, I have made some of my books free for a brief period of time hoping to get name exposure; and sometimes my book would appear free weeks after I had changed the price to normal. Thousands of copies of my book were downloaded onto reader devices at no cost whatsoever to them. While I would like to build up a readership of loyal fans, I didn't plan my writing career to be an unpaid volunteer position.

When I made a decision to be a writer and not hold a day job, my goal wasn't to continue making the same amount of money I had in the corporate world. I wanted to pursue my passion for storytelling and share it with others who enjoy escaping into a good book. I want to entertain, to touch a heart, to bring a smile, a tear, enjoyment to those who read my words.

Writing isn't easy work. It takes months of writing, researching, editing, and rewriting to get my book ready for the public. I spend money on ink, software, paper, computers...all to put out a quality product. I send my work off to editors and then take their input to make the book even better. My story and characters are in the forefront of my mind while I'm driving, cleaning, gardening, cooking, and even in my sleep. It takes me six months from the idea stage to the finished product. That's a lot of hours. I don't know anyone who would go to work for six months for no pay, do you?

Readers might think writing is easy and perhaps that's why they don't think twice about that book they snagged for free. What do authors want from readers they have "given" their book to? Maybe an honest review from the place where they downloaded the book. Maybe a quick note to say "Thank you!" Maybe a recommendation to a friend.

As for me, I plan to "value" my hard work by putting a price tag on it. My books are currently priced at $2.99. What does that make the hourly wage? Less than two cents an hour. None of my friends or family would work for that kind of money. I'm happy to do so, and I hope readers will understand when I don't offer my services for free.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mindless Eating

I must admit that I'm guilty of mindless eating. It's an addiction. If I have a bowl of grapes sitting beside me while I'm reading or brainstorming, I will eat them one by one and not even realize what I'm doing. Suddenly the bowl is empty and I have no recollection of the joy of eating them! Now If I could stick to eating grapes or something else healthy like that while I'm mindlessly eating I'd be okay with it.

However, my mindless eating includes a jar of chocolate covered peanuts, sugar coated pecans, or other equally high sugar and bad for me foods! I can inhale a ton of these without thinking and afterward feel like a huge slug.

What I need to do is keep all bad foods out of the house. They are like a magnet to me and once I eat one, I'm a goner. 

Anyone else out there guilty of mindless eating? Have you come up with a miracle cure?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Answer to What is More Annoying Than the Terrible Two's!!

My crazy cat, Templeton, has been going out of his way to annoy me today.

He's found the addition of a rag rug in front of the refrigerator to be a fun way to run, hit the rug, and slide across the floor! Today he banked off one of my grocery bags, hopped off the rug, and then jumped into the bag. Sigh.

The floor is also littered with cat-bite size pieces of the newspaper.

He started the day by taking his paw and opening the cabinet door beneath the kitchen sink. He pulled it open, then let it bang shut. Over and over and over while I was trying to enjoy a quiet cup of tea. In the summer he liked to go on the outside deck and open the cabinet doors there. Yesterday I found the doors to the printer cabinet open. I went to close them and spied his face staring at me! The bugger had climbed in and was perched on top of my mailing envelopes.

Whenever I yell at him, he curses me in cat language. I can tell it isn't very nice by the look on his face.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Everyone Wants a Magic Pill

To be successful as a writer, forget the lure of a magic pill. There is no magic, except the magic within you.

When the idea of writing first draws us to tell a story, we get lost in the creation process. It's such a freeing and fun activity. Words follow words, paragraphs follow paragraphs, and before we know we have completed our first novel. How exciting! We dream of seeing our book in our favorite store, bright and shining, sitting on a shelf where people are scrambling to grab the last copy. Ah, the dream...

Then come rejections. What? Pain rips a hole in our confidence. Despair, depression, and self-doubt replace the excitement. If we're lucky, we join a writer's group seeking guidance and a magic pill to turn us into an "author."

We bury ourselves in craft books, attend seminars, workshops, and take online classes. We become addicted to learning, following the "rules," being perfect, editing, re-writing...and by doing so we lose the spontaneity of telling a story. We try to follow the "market," write what's hot, all the time stumbling around and seeking what we want to be when we grow up.

Maybe that's not you. Maybe not. Maybe pieces of what I've said apply to you. It happened to me. I became addicted to learning and in the process I found out...gasp...there is no magic pill! No magic formula! The writing process is unique to each of us.

We are individuals, each with our own thought process, ideas, idiosyncrasies. That's how God created us. Knowing that, how can we expect to follow in someone else's footsteps and achieve the same success? We can't. All we can do is be true to ourselves. Write the stories we want to write, not what we think will sell.

The process? Whatever works for you! But the most important thing to remember is that you have a writing voice. Yours is different from mine and from any other writer. If you seek critiques, read them and take what makes sense for your writing. Don't change your story because of what someone else says. That's their opinion, their "voice" speaking.

The best advice I can give? Read, read, read in the genre yow want to write. You'll know what that is. Then just write your story. Don't look for a magic pill to help you succeed. Just write.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Cat and The Jewelry Box

Most of you who follow my blog know about my "almost human" cat Templeton. But not sure if you all know that Templeton has trouble deciding if he's human or a dog. He LOVES to chew on things. My hubby cannot read the daily newspaper without Templeton being right up front and in his face. And if he doesn't get the attention he desires, he grabs the newspaper and shakes it like a dog taking bite size pieces and tossing them.

A couple weeks ago, one of our daughters was visiting. She and I were visiting in the family room when I realized she'd left her "expensive" designer bag on the floor next to her feet. She didn't know about Templeton's chewing habit until she caught him gnawing away on the handle! Luckily, she rescued it in time. I wasn't so lucky when I first learned of his chewing tendency. I left a new bag on the sofa and when I picked it up to leave for work, the handle fell off!! He'd chewed completely through it. Mine wasn't an expensive one, thank goodness, so I replaced it. Now I know to keep all my purses hanging on a hook inside my closet.

So, now to the story of today's post. I have a velvet covered jewelry box on my dresser. I've had it for some time, but recently decided to put it on my dresser and fill it with small and "best" quality jewelry. When I went to open it this morning I noticed a hole had been gnawed through the velvet and "teeth" marks appeared all over the top!!

I kind of wish Templeton was a dog. Then he wouldn't be jumping to the top of things to get at items to chew on...well, unless he was a dog that thought he was a cat. But, that's another story.