Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Don't Judge a Book by its Publisher!

Not long ago, I came across a post on a Face Book group that I belong to that really fired me up. The group is one whose intent is for authors to support one another. It’s one of several that I joined in an effort to network with my peers, discover new authors and promote my own work.

The post that had me seeing red was from a fellow author who not only questioned the effectiveness of the group but went so far as to say that all self-published authors are garbage and he’ll never buy a self-published book.  According to this gentleman (boy, it took a lot of effort to type that word!), self-published authors are rejects whose books couldn’t make it in the “real” world of publishing. Self-published books are poorly written and poorly edited and therefore not worthy of his time or money.

Some self-published books do fall in to one or more of the categories this man pointed out. Some do, but not all of them. I’ve read some very fine self-published novels that had wonderful plots and tight editing. I’ve read some that I’ve been disappointed in for being poorly edited or difficult to follow or just plain unenjoyable. You know what? I’ve read some mainstream published fiction that I’ve felt the same way about. In fact, there are some self-published authors that I think are actually better than those who were lucky enough to be accepted into the hallowed halls of mainstream publishing.

And let’s not forget, there are some authors who choose to self-publish their novels without ever submitting them to an agent or publisher. That doesn’t mean these novels couldn’t cut the mustard. Authors have a variety of reasons for striking out on their own and they range from not wanting to relinquish artistic license to being able to turn a bigger profit without a middleman.

Lately, I’ve noticed a trend of authors whose first few books were traditionally published, yet they’re releasing their newest titles on their own rather than submitting to their publishers. Erin Nicholas and Cindy Dees are coming to mind. Both are damn fine authors. In fact, Nicholas is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has decided to release her next novel on her own. Clearly, her prior novels were up to snuff and her new novel due out in January of 2015 will likely be as good if not better than her other work.  Where does that leave us if we subscribe to the “all self-published novels are garbage” theory? Out the opportunity to read an amazing story, that’s where!

Yes, I’m passionate about this issue. Yes, it hits close to home because I self-publish all of my novels. I tried the traditional route and wasn’t happy with it. I had a loyal enough following that I felt confident that I could and should forge my own path. It’s because I self-publish all of my novels that I work so hard to edit them. I want to deliver the best possible product to my readers. Have I always? Sadly, I haven’t, but I’ve learned from my mistakes and continue to improve my craft.

Have you ever heard that old saying don’t judge a book by its cover? Well, how about we go one step further. Don’t judge a book by its publisher. Read it first before you decide you don’t like it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

I'm Saying No to NaNoWriMo

It’s November. If you’re a writer, especially a writer who’s just starting out, you know what that means. It’s National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. The purpose of NaNoWriMo is to encourage writers to pen the rough draft of a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month, 11:59pm on November 30th to be exact.

There are no monetary prizes for participating in NaNoWriMo. Writers taking part in the event can earn a variety of badges, aimed at both participation and actual writing. One badge, for example, is earned when the writer’s novel reaches five thousand words. Since this is an online event, the badges are awarded online as well.

Not everyone who signs up to participate will actually reach the goal of completing the novel, but that’s not a bad thing. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that NaNoWriMo is more about inspiring and motivating writers to get that first draft going. It’s also about providing authors a chance to network and meet their peers and perhaps promote their work. It’s about encouraging creativity and celebrating writing.

Every year, I’m inevitably asked the question and faced with the decision of whether or not I’m going to join in the fun. Every year, my answer is the same, and this year is no exception. No, I will not be participating.
I’m not going to deny that NaNoWriMo not only sounds fun, but it’s got a great set of objectives. Unfortunately, it’s not for me. 

Trying to crank out that rough draft in thirty days doesn’t work with my schedule. Writing every single day isn’t a luxury this busy working mom has, despite how much I’d love to be able to do so. Lately, my writing time is confined to the weekends where I usually spend a good chunk of both Saturday and Sunday working on my latest novel. It’s not an ideal approach, but it’s productive. I finished two full chapters this weekend and did the same last weekend and the weekend before. Given the length of my chapters, it’s’ an accomplishment I’m proud of.

To those of you who are participating, good luck and have a great time. I’ll be rooting for you to reach that goal. As for me, NaNoWriMo is a no-go. I guess you could say it’s a NaNoWriNo!