Monday, March 28, 2016

How Commercialism Is Destroying Fiction

This is not a blog post where I make fun of genre writers and praise literary fiction. I love genre fiction. I read romance and fantasy novels all the time. This is a blog post about how the publishing industry is slowly getting rid of legitimate authors (both in genre fiction and literary) and replacing them. We're not being replaced by machines or artificial intelligence. We're being replaced by people who don't care about words and never read any books. We are being replaced by people who couldn't care less about the publishing industry and don't know that the phrase isn't "could care less." We're being replaced by models, reality stars, and actors.

This truth first hit me when I realized how many of the Kardashians are NYT Bestsellers and how few of my author friends are. Khloe Kardashian is the most recent bestseller. I was at Barnes & Noble on saturday and saw how her book "Strong Looks Better Naked" had officially reached the NYT Bestseller list. They had a display for her and her book, proudly presenting these facts to everyone.

She is not the first Kardashian/Jenner to achieve this status. Her mother has done it, too, so has Kim Kardashian, although Kim's book is just a bunch of pictures of herself. Because celebrities don't even have to write any actual words anymore to have a bestselling book. Her younger sisters, Kylie and Kendall Jenner also have a book, a scifi novel, actually.

The reason this makes me angry is because it's ridiculous. I could never be a model or reality show star and I don't want to be. I won't be getting lip injections like Kylie Jenner has any time soon. I don't plan to do waist training like Kim Kardashian to see if I can make my butt look even larger in comparison to my stomach. I don't have make-up artists or stylists. The Kardashians do. They live, breathe, and survive on being beautiful.

Well, I live, breathe, and survive on words. Part of the reason I am even writing this blog post is because my kindle is out of battery, so I have to let it charge for awhile before I can goof off and read some romance novels later. I'll probably write a chapter or two of something later today and procrastinate for a little while on doing housework. Because I live off of words. Other people's words written into books and mine fashioned together into novels as well. But I don't expect to be treated like a model. I don't expect my picture to grace magazine covers. Because I don't focus on any of that stuff. My passion is for books.

So why are a bunch of reality stars all NYT Bestsellers?

Would you buy a tomato that Kim Kardashian personally planted and grew? Would you purchase only food cooked by Khloe Kardashian? When you buy tampons, do they need to have Kris Jenner's face on them? Do you choose your doctor based on only people Kourtney Kardashian recommends you see?

No. Because the Kardashians are reality stars and models. They don't know anything about medication, tampons, or food. They know how to look pretty and be on television. They can teach you how to pose for magazines. So why in the hell are all the bestselling novels written by people like them?

I know people get all uppity about genre fiction. They get upset about books like Twilight because they feel like the writing is beneath them and girly and blah, blah, blah. But at least Stephenie Meyer cares about words and fiction. At least you know she sat around, poring over exactly how to write each page, obsessing over every word and learning how to be better at grammar.

The Kardashians didn't do this. Publishing companies beg them to write books, not the other way around. I've seen them go to their big publishing houses on their reality show. They get red carpet treatment. Everyone kisses their butt and praises all their ideas.

To the Kardashians, writing a book is a quick burden that they shuffle off onto some ghost writer or editor and care very little for. It's like taking a breath. It's just another bottle of perfume to them or shade of lipstick that they have to approve and then they're done with it.

I'd take genre writers over that any day. Because they care. Because they try. Because they study so much and re-write over and over again.

But we live in a world where all that matters is what will sell. While I agree that we should write things that please readers, I am upset by the fact that we are all no longer taking quality of fiction into consideration at all. If you poop on a page and it sells, then that's the important thing, right? As long as it's in pretty enough packaging to appeal to everybody?

Imagine a world where everything was dictated by the same idea. Where people wouldn't ride an airplane unless they knew it was personally designed by Kim Kardashian. Her idea of a design would probably be a picture of a pink airplane with a smiley face on it. I'm not saying mine would be much better, but that's because I never went to school for that and I don't have a passion for it. Neither did she.

So why are we letting people who never read or write take over book sales? It's going to make literature in this culture crash and burn like Kim Kardashian's pink, smiley face airplane would crash and burn if it were to ever fly. I don't like it at all.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

RELEASE DAY: Bright's Passion and Night's Lust - GET A FREE COPY!!!

It's not too late to join me and my celebration on facebook:

It's been awhile since I've released a full novel, probably because I was preparing to release two novels instead of just one.

Get Bright's Passion for free on Amazon:

Bright wishes he wasn't the god of the suns.

Every day is the same: he makes the suns rise and then they set. He looks down at humanity's corruption. He watches wars, people starving, and thieves stealing.

He can't help. Every time he tries, the humans take something from him. They've destroyed his family and he has no doubt that they'd like to destroy him, too.

Adonya is a raven-haired witch with powers that make her as close to a goddess as a human can be. He's wondered what it was like to be with a woman, but all the goddesses are dead.

He can feel it when he touches her—she's as dangerous as all the rest of the humans. Can the power of love join their races together? Or will one of them wind up dead in the end?

 Purchase for $2.99 on Amazon:

Adonya will never see the suns rise again. The suns bring beauty to the world, beauty that she craves. They also bring Bright, who she is desperate to see, but can't. Last time she allowed herself to be controlled by love, her mother died.

Terrifying things lurk in the dark like Night--the god who tried to kill her.

Adonya hates him, but he's become obsessed with her ever since he met her. He says there is something special about her, something that makes him desire to either sleep with her or kill her.

He shows her that the opposite of love is not hate. Her lack of indifference towards him shows that in a twisted way, she cares about him as well. Anger can intermingle with desire and create an explosion of passions unlike anything Adonya has experienced before.

Maybe a little fling won't hurt anything. After all, Adonya is used to playing with fire.

But what will happen when Bright finds out that she is sleeping with his brother?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

How Writing Goals Change

I was on a forum recently where some new writers were talking about how they had recently written something and submitted it. They were scared and nervous that their stories were stupid and that they were horrible writers. They were worried about getting feedback and hearing that they were awful.

It just reminds me of when I was in that place, too, and how your perspective changes the longer you've been a writer. After awhile, you get so much feedback from critique partners, reviewers, and editors, that you know your writing isn't perfect and you don't expect it to be. You stop worrying about that.

You become jaded after awhile when it comes to people's opinions. You still listen to them sometimes. You still want to improve, but after hearing how someone thinks novels where character's describe their appearance using a mirror are stupid and then reading several best-selling novels where the author does just stop listening to all the chattering as much.

Especially when it comes to romance scenes and metaphors. There are always the people who take every metaphor literally. They can't read the sentence,"His eyes followed her around the room" without picturing his eyes popping out of his face and bouncing/rolling behind her everywhere she goes like a sad lost puppy. We all know what this person meant, though, when they said this sentence. It's just that everyone pictures things differently and some people are more literal than others. You can't control how people will view your words.

People are very particular about romance scenes as well. They hate this word and that one. It makes them giggle and laugh. Probably because people view romance as very personal and intimate and there's a part of them that are like children still. Any little misplaced word can make us giggle at a romance scene. Maybe because as a culture, we still feel shy and awkward about romance.

So guaranteed there's going to be someone who laughs or mocks whatever you write. You stop looking for that validation. You don't need it and you know you'll never achieve it.

After awhile, you start worrying about how you write more. Did the way you wrote this scene impact people the way you wanted it to? Did the words say what you wanted them to say? Or did you write things wrong and confuse everyone?

You know everyone won't like you and your message, but you want to make sure that at least you portray your message clearly for them to judge.

And you get bogged down by sales rather than reviews. A one-star review is barely a blip on the radar of your life, but a month where you sell only one book has the potential to make you cry.

You have to write a certain way. You have to market a certain way. If your books aren't selling, then you're obviously doing it wrong according to everyone. You read articles about fixing this and watch other more successful authors (and try to imitate what they do), until you're blue in the face and sometimes it doesn't make a difference.

I really would like to let all these things go. I'd like to not worry about sales. Not worry about people's rules. I just want to be free and to just write. The more I hear these days about how I have to do things a certain way, the less I want to do them. It's not because I can't take advice. Of course, I crave advice, so I can improve as an author.

But after awhile, you hear so much advice and so many rules....on and on and on....

You hear about all the things you have to many things to sell books that there aren't enough hours in a day to do it all...

That after awhile, you realize, no author does all these things and no author follows all these rules and you just want to let them go. You want to be free from all the chatter and voices.

You want to be created again. You want to feel like a new author again. Where the world is full of possibilities of whether or not people might like you. Where the stories in front of you are art. They inspire and excite you.

Where you don't worry about dollar signs.

Where you don't know about all the rejection you will receive.

Where you write exactly how you want to and pay no mind to the consequences of it.

Where in front of you is only possibilities and butterflies in your stomach full of hope.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Why It's Important To Follow Other Authors On Social Media

I keep hearing over and over again about how pointless it is to have author friends on social media. You are trying to sell to readers, not other authors, who rarely buy one another's books (supposedly.) I have a lot of author friends on social media and this is the wrong way of viewing it in my opinion.

Here are some advantages to interacting with other authors on social media:

1. They are the only people who get you. In real life, you may not have family or friends who understand you and your need to write, but authors will get it. They'll understand why you are afraid of the fact that the NSA can see your google search history. They'll get why you're having an argument with one of your characters and why you're angry at your book while you're editing it because it's being so difficult.

2. They give better advice than other people. When I have a question, I can post it on facebook and usually get an awesome answer to it within an hour or two from another author who knows what they are talking about. Not only that, but they're constantly sharing that advice without even being asked. They're always posting blog posts with their thoughts and opinions on writing, social media, etc. It helps to hear what other people who have experience think.

3. Authors share opportunities they find. Like, when publishing companies have special submission calls, they might share it on their facebook and it could lead for a big opportunity for you. This happens all the time.

4. You can swap manuscripts when you need a critique. It really helps to get the perspective of another author. They usually know what they are talking about more and can look into your story more in depth.

5. You can help promote each other. You can feature each other on your blogs, doing guest posts or author interviews or sharing blurbs. You can borrow each other's audiences to try to get your work seen by more eyes.

6. They have connections. You need an editor and you have no idea how to find one? Ask the authors you talk to on social media and likely they'll have a bunch of people to connect you with.

7. Sometimes they do read your book. Not that this is the only thing that matters.

So is it really a waste to be friends with other authors on social media? In my opinion: NO.