There were no winners for my "Outback Love" contest. I guess no one wants to win a book by a new indie author. Oh, well. Maybe sometime down the line?
This brings to mind writer/author, Karin Cox's, recent blog post about "Respect." It's all about the need for respect between authors and the need for respect from authors for their readers. I think all writers/authors should read that post. You can find it at: karincox.wordpress.com
I'm noticing there's a great deal of animosity from established authors against indie authors. I haven't personally experienced animosity directed at me, but I've heard from other indie authors, ones who have been out there in the fray longer than I have. In some cases, it's carried to the point of hatred. Apparently, established authors think indie authors are going to take away their books sales and fans. Well, if an indie author is good enough to attract fans and book sales, then bravo. That's an author who should be published, whether it's with a big name publishing house or ePub.
The ePub industry is here to stay, whether established authors like it or not. I understand, that's a scary proposition. Will paper book sales drop? Yes! Will ebook sales increase? Yes! That's a fact of life. Times are changing. We can't stop progress. So we just have to learn to live and work with it.
I have to admit the ePub industry is a Godsend for me. I started writing seriously in my college days. I got zillions of rejection letters, but none were rejected due to the content of my writing. I was told one novel, "Firefall," sounded great, but it was too long (899 pages) for an unpublished author. I was advised to write something shorter. I wrote "Outback Love" and was told that they'd publish it if I was already a published author. Huh?
I received rejections from agents, my favorite being, "If I could only have worked with you from the beginning." The beginning of my novel? The beginning of the romance industry? The beginning of the publishing industry? The beginning of time? I never got an answer on that.
Yes, I kept every one of those rejection letters. I wanted to keep a paper trail of my writing career. Due to all those rejections, I wrote in spurts. A year or two of writing and then years of working, family and living life. More years of writing. Then more years of living. This pattern went on and on. All those years in between just added more fuel to the fire. It gave me more life experiences to write about, more travels and locales to add to my books.
I'm not the kind of person who gives up easily. Though the years I've just kept writing. A poem was published in a literary magazine. Several articles about boating were published in national boating magazines. I wrote bunches of short stories, none of which were published, but I enjoyed writing them. My favorite rejections on my short stories were received on "Harry's Garden." I received two rejection letters on the same day for "Harry's Garden." At that time, I'd long since given up sending my stories out to just one magazine at a time. I was sending the stories out to two or three at a time, supposedly a no-no, but I did it anyway. Oh, my!
Anyway, two rejection letters arrived simultaneously for "Harry's Garden." One said, "I love the beginning of your story." The other said, "I love the end of your story." Huh? I thought, why couldn't the two get together and decide they loved the whole story? By the way, I love "Harry's Garden" and it will eventually be ePubbed in my collection of short stories and poems, "Bayou Blues and Other Sorrows," which I plan to ePub before too long.
Rejection letters don't mean you're a poor writer. Acceptance from a publishing house doesn't mean you're a great writer. It's all about writing the best novels, novellas, short stories or poetry that you can. Then it's about timing. Was the reader having a good or bad day? Had the reader just finished three manuscripts ahead of yours, all with the same theme? Did your reader just happen to love your hero or heroine, because the reader identified with one or both at that particular moment in time? It also has a lot to do with luck. Did the stars, moon and planets align in the precise way on that particular day?
I don't regret getting rejection slips through the years. They made me a better and more determined writer. For several years I was a member of RWA and the Cactus Rose Chapter. Along with a couple other writing friends, we started Desert Rogues, our own writing group. Several writers came and went in our group, but eventually there were just four of us, whom I mentioned in a previous blog post, but here they are again: Ruth Kerce (who writes erotica, ruthkerce.blogspot.com ), Michele Bardsley (who writes urban paranormals and romantic comedy, michelebardsley.com ), Nancy Lynn (who wrote a really fun romantic comedy) and me, Teri Heyer (contemporary romance, paranormal and trying other genres). So now all four of us are published authors. Really cool.
At some point, I'd like to think the animosity between authors will eventually ease up. After all, we're all in this great big pot together. Some are on the top of this stew and others are simmering on the bottom. But when the chef comes along and stirs that pot, we're all going to get mixed up. Hey, I love food, so I had to use that analogy.
Anyway, I respect all writers/authors, big and small, established and indie. All of us have some great stories to tell. I'm a voracious reader myself, so I respect all readers too. I know what it's like to have a big name author treat a reader like crap. Yep, a couple big-time authors have been on my "Do Not Read" list forever, because they were so rude to me when I met them that I'll never again buy one of their books.
Writers/authors need to remember that every person out there is a potential reader. So be nice. Play nice. Treat your potential readers with respect and they'll stick by you forever, through thick and thin. They'll forgive your writing a slow, boring book now and then, so long as you follow it up with something good down the line. But treat your readers like crap and they won't buy your books no matter what you write. And it could be as simple as your reader saying, "Oh, it's so nice to meet you." Only you don't respond and turn your back on said reader. Believe me, it happens and all too often.
For those of you who are interested, I'm going to keep writing. My next release is a novella, "Moon Over Madness," which will be ePubbed by next week. It's a light-hearted paranormal about witches, vampires, ghosts, and those are the good guys. There's some bad guys too. It's a fun read for October and Halloween.
Many thanks to all who have waded through and read this particular blog post. I needed to say these things and I hope you all understand. Many more thanks to the readers of my books.