Live Through Us at The Burrow



Posts related to writing and my writing.

What every character needs, actually … wants

As promised, here’s what I learned about character. Now, this post is not going to go in near the depth the class did, so I highly suggest you check it out.

Every character must have:

  1. A want. If the character needs something, the story is about fate. If they want something, it’s about the story being driven by the character. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as they want it.
  2. A weakness. As the instructor in the videos said, “We love Superman because he’s vulnerable to Kryptonite.” Imagine for a moment if he weren’t. Every character has to have a weakness. Maybe it’s their anger, their jealousy. Maybe they’re allergic to air or moondust. It doesn’t matter, just find one (or more) for them.
  3. Where are they from? This is both geographically and emotionally. Their region of upbringing will affect their language, their culture, maybe even their strengths and weaknesses. Think about how growing up an army brat would change a person. Their emotional baggage they bring with them affects their personality, the way they react to anyone and everything. This needs to be discovered before they first word is written.
  4. Where are they going? This one’s a little more difficult to explain as the teacher didn’t explain it very well to me. What he said was if you know where the character is coming from and what they want, you will know how they will react to obstacles they come across or are thrown at them. I think what he meant was, are they going to have a smooth ride? Will they get what they want? What will happen to them along the way? That sort of thing.
  5. What do they do to surprise you? Pantsers’ characters surprise us all the time. I had no idea Anya would get jealous of Gevin when he was chosen, but by golly she did! She was such a strong character to me, book three really shocked me when she broke down and panicked. That should have been a warning bell for me, and it was. The scene where they face their greatest fears? Yeah, that took me days to figure out what hers was. She didn’t seem to have any, and I kinda made one up in the end. But hey, it worked, so there. This is one reason I’m recommending you do all this before you start writing. That way you don’t wait till book 3 of a series to finally discover what gets your character’s goat.

That’s all I’m going to discuss in this post. Again, I highly recommend you take the class, and good luck with your writing!


Handing in my pants – but not permanently of course

I’m gonna knock your all’s socks off.

I’m plotting.

No. Serious plotting. As in, I’m spending today doing nothing more than creating my characters. It used to be that I discovered plot and characters as I wrote. I totally pantsed my stories, unless or course I ran into a dead end or something. Then I brought out my trusty 8-point arc and went from there. But recently, I found the 8-pointer didn’t do it for me anymore. So, I got more serious with my writing.

Now, I’ve always been serious with my writing, and I’ve wanted to take courses for years, but I only recently have been able to (mainly due to not being able to find any, especially cheap enough I can afford it—aka free—and yet still legit). I’m glad I waited to be honest. I think I’m learning more from it now than I would have in the past.

So here’s what I’m taking:

It’s a 5 course series offered by Coursera. In order to get graded and join in on the peer reviews, you have to pay the $50/month, but all the lessons and actual assignments are otherwise free, just not the grading a peer reviews. I’ve only done part of the first course, but I’ve learned a great deal and am very impressed. While I plan to do every assignment, no matter how silly I think they may be, I’m also working on my next story while I do.

For example, we’ve learned the major plot points, but explained in a way I’ve never had explained before. I feel like I’ve leveled up to a higher plane or something. Also, we’ve learned about character. And that character drives the plot. I’ve heard a lot about plot driven and character driven before, but I’m only now understanding it. I’m going to explain a bit about the characters’ needs and wants for the story to have a greater depth, but I’m going to make a separate post for it. Here’s a link:

What your story’s characters need.

How to get an agent and/or published for the beginner

Something happened today that made me decide a few things need to be addressed for authors out there trying to get agents and/or published. Someone asked how to get an agent and/or published, and I answered them. When I read their reply, I went back to read their original post and saw, to my astonishment, something I had missed earlier, something I had assumed differently. See, this was a forum specifically for authors seeking agents, but their question said they don’t want money, they just want the “support” of an agent.

That’s a waste of agents’ time, folks. If you have no intentions of following their rules and/or making money, don’t waste their time and yours by querying. And that’s what his answer was. He was an artist who would do whatever, however he wanted with his art. OK. That’s fine and dandy, but no agent is going to support any author. They’re going to represent professional authors.

So for those of you out there dying to be a professional author, here are some basic do’s and don’t’s:

  1. Do your homework. Aka, read every article, blog post, book on the topic. Soon you’ll be able to skip the bogus and go straight for the true, tossing the garbage left and right over your shoulders. This takes years, yes years, to learn, and you still won’t learn it all. Like ever.
  2. Finish the book. Publishers don’t give advances for partial books, and agents will toss you in the trash without so much as a rejection letter. (This is for fiction only. Non-fiction is a completely different world and is not discussed here. If you are specifically wanting to pitch a non-fiction, this post may help you some, but is not directed towards you in any way shape or form) If an agent gets really bored and feels really sorry for you, you might get a letter that says, “Finish a book before querying.”
  3. Self-edit the book. Go over the book. Over and over and over the book. Publishers and agents do not want your rough drafts. Instant rejection without reply.
  4. Buy the latest copy of the Writer’s Market, preferably in your genre, if available. These can be found at the library too sometimes.
  5. Don’t post your book online. I know I post WIP’s. Those are just tiny snippets of whatever I’m working on. There are people who post their whole book online and then ask for representation, and get this, with a link to where their book is posted online included in their query. Biiiiig no no. No one wants to publish a book available for free elsewhere. (This was what “the artist” wanted to do.)
  6. Don’t pitch to publishers until you exhaust all your agents. Agents can’t sell a book to a publisher that’s already turned it down. (Most publishers don’t take unsolicited manuscripts anyway.)
  7. The literary world is small and has a memory. Don’t burn your bridges. If you continuously insist on querying agents/publishers that don’t represent your type of work, in a way they specifically ask people not to, or without being professional, when you finally do write the next best-seller, it’ll be thrown in the trash without being read.

This is by no means an answer to every question. Nor is it meant to be. But it will get you started. If you are unwilling to follow these rules, don’t query. There’s nothing wrong with posting your beautiful literary work online for the world to read, print it on a T-shirt, I don’t care, but don’t waste an agent’s time by querying them if you’re not serious as a professional author. Please.

Why one writer chose to self-publish. Should you?

Hey, Guys! Today I’m doing something special. I’m posting an open and frank discussion I had with an author friend of mine on why she chose to self-publish. Yes I had her permission ;).

Before I post said discussion, let me tell you a bit about Ms. Angelique Conger to you. Ms. Conger discovered the wonders of writing books later in her life. For years, the stories of ancient women enticed her, challenging her to tell their stories. No one knows or tells the stories of these women, unknown in history, not even most of their names. Many of the stories of their husbands are unknown. Angelique tells their stories as though they sat beside her, whispering their stories into her ear in her series Ancient Matriarchs.
Angelique lives in southern Nevada with her husband, a bird, and two turtles. She looks forward to visits from her grandchildren, and their parents.
She can be found at

Let me also say before we begin that Ms. Conger’s opinions are her own. We are here to listen to her opinions and thoughts and learn from them.

Soooo, Hi Ms. Conger!

Hi, Debby 🙂

So tell me, why did you choose to self-pubish?

I had thought I’d try for a traditional publishing contract until I learned how long it took to go through the process. I’m 64 already, and don’t feel like I have time to play their games.

LOL. The traditional route can take a long time.

Once I started, I realized I like the freedom to make my own choices. I have friends with publishers. They don’t have any control over when their books will be published, or how they look. I like to be in control.

I can understand that. What reason(s) do you think others have for self publication? Is it mainly a desire for control over their work?

I choose to self publish for control and to get my stories out for others to read when I want them to go out.

Is writing more of a career or hobby for you?

This is a career for me. My husband has poor health. My goal is to reach the point I can support myself if needed. My husband can support us well now, but I will lose most of it if he dies. I’d like to earn enough to take him on a nice vacation.

A lot of writers are curious as to how plausible it is to make a career in self-publishing. We’ve all heard the instant winner stories like 50 Shades, but the truth is more fail than succeed in making an actual career out of it. What do you think you are doing that will make you one of the successful ones?

I have goals and plans. I have written a series of 4 books, with another 2 planned, and have 2 written for a second series. I published 4 books last year, and plan 4 – 6 more this year. I bought 3 courses that help me with marketing, though it is slow with limited funds.

I thought about taking marketing courses myself. Do you feel they have helped you?

I like the courses by Mark Dawson. They are full of helpful information. I haven’t gone through everything, but the parts I’ve completed have definitely helped. Also, I have a course by Nick Stephenson that helps me understand email marketing.

Ooo, excellent. Do you mind sharing links to them?

(shared links)
Self Publishing Formula
Revenue generating online marketing skills and tools for indie authors.
(These courses are only offered a couple times a year.)

I have spent more time writing and need to focus more on the marketing side of things. That is the tough part of being self-published, learning how to market, though I hear that even traditional authors end up having to be more involved in marketing now.

That’s true, but from my research, it’s nothing compared to what selffers do. What they call marketing, I call going out and having a good time! Lol. Do you have any marketing advice you’d like to share with us?

I think marketing is something we have to focus on each day, not just when we think about it. Promotion sites are great for a day or two, maybe a few more days. I haven’t ever tried yet for a BookBub promotion. I don’t really have the funds to pay for it.

Understandable. They are expensive, and it even appears as though their trends are aiming towards traditional authors.

Marketing includes sharing what’s going on in a newsletter, or social media. It’s promotion sites, and paying for ads on FaceBook and Amazon. I have tried sharing with other authors, and BookFunnel and InstaFreebie. I find the real problem is becoming that people want free books and I want to have them decide to pay me for my work.

Yes! The freebook war!
I have a friend in real life that makes puh-lenty of money and still refuses to pay for any of her books. She doesn’t think she should have to. This is what we’re fighting.

I have a short story only available when one signs up for my newsletter. It’s not on Amazon or anywhere else. Yet, those readers fill up their eReaders with free books and never purchase anything else.

Yes. Exactly. It’s sad. And a lot will instantly unsubscribe. And if you put up another book to draw in readers, they will grab it and leave again. There needs to be a way in the newsletter system to prevent anyone who has already unsubscribed from subscribing again to get another book.

Some newsletter services will prevent that. When I was with MailChimp, they prevented those who had unsubscribed from subscribing again. But, all they need to do is use another email address.

True. I also get a lot of “” subscribers. I can’t blame them, but still.

It’s a challenge. I understand when people don’t have lots of money, but please, $0.99 isn’t much, nor is $3.99 or $4.99. They pay more for a cup of coffee every day.

The coffee scenario is used a lot. One person said it was hogwash, that the barista put extra personal time into it and such. Personally I don’t drink coffee and would never pay that much money for something so frivolous, so I never use the comparison.

I never drink coffee. But, don’t tell me a barista spends more time making a special cup of coffee than I take to write a book. My books take months to years to write, plus I pay for covers and editing. I have yet to get back a fraction of what I’ve spent on my books. My books cost less than the fast food meal most people buy at least once a week. I can’t understand the insistence on free books. I think authors shot themselves in the foot when they started giving away free books.

I agree. Unfortunately, you can’t fight the ones who still do it, and it is them who bring the rest of us down. I refuse to put up a permafree. My work’s better than that.

I only give away the one book. I have given away my first book on a free promo site, and gave away 1800 books, but got few if any reviews, and little read through to the next books. I don’t like free. I do sometimes give free on the first few days a book is out.

Wouldn’t giving it free on the first few days be giving away your best sales?

I shouldn’t give any away. You are right. I’m probably giving away my best sales. I hate free. I work too hard to give away my work.
I’ve seen the book 1 free to entice book 2. Sometimes it works. Often it doesn’t. There are too many who will only download free.

I have seen, and have done myself, giving book 1 free when book 2 is released, that sort of thing. I think there’s also a formula for amount charged with popularity. The whole supply and demand thing. What do you think of those who have already self-published and want to join the traditional scene? Do you think they should hide their previous works until they have to confess or be open up front? Or do you know?

I believe in being honest. I have seen some who are offered traditional contracts because they have good response to their self publishing. I don’t ever plan on going that way. I do not want my books, especially the first few, to be turned into movies or tv shows. I want to retain the rights to make those decisions.

Yes, a good response always helps, but what about the author who hasn’t sold very many?

For the author who hasn’t sold many, I don’t know. I still think honesty is important. Maybe they aren’t selling more because of the blurb/description or the cover. Those could be helped by a professional.

I personally know a successful traditional author who went hybrid. Why do you think some of the traditional authors are doing that?
I believe she did it because the piece she wanted to publish wasn’t traditional material. She continues to write for a big 5.

I think they like the opportunity to have more control over when and how their books are published. More power to them, either way. I think publication is a personal choice. I don’t think the traditional way is good for me. I think some authors write things they want to publish, and if the trad publisher won’t, they try self-publishing.

So, if you had to make a check list as to whether a writer should self-publish or query, what would you write on it?
#1-Would a traditional publisher even be interested?

Desire to control content

#2-How much are you willing to change your work to suit them? Exactly, content control.

$ available to pay for editing and covers
Willingness to learn marketing
support from family/husband
time to spend on both writing and marketing
Age: time to wait 3 + years for a publisher to decide if they want your work.

Now, you made some great points, but are they all necessary? What if you don’t want/aren’t willing to market and are willing to accept lower sales as a result? Aka, you’re not in it for the money?

Then, perhaps your writing is a hobby, and you don’t have a burning desire to make sales or don’t need the $ to live.
I think it is a personal choice.

Well, I think we’ve covered a lot. Do you have anything else you want to add?

I love the opportunity we have today to choose self or traditional publishing. It is wonderful to be able to publish without the gatekeepers.

I love the choice too. There are a great deal of books that wouldn’t be here that are good if traditional was the only option.

Exactly. Sometimes the things we write are not things traditional publishers would accept, they don’t seem to be ones that would sell. Now, we can write what we want, and can sell books we wrote ages ago, that would have been taken off the shelves by traditional publishers and book sellers. It is a wonderful opportunity to have the right to choose.

That too! I forgot about books taken down. Excellent point!

It’s all part of the personal control and ability to do what we want with our own work.

Yes. Anything else?

No, I think I’ve said it all. I’m grateful for the opportunity to self publish and hope I can get the marketing down soon.

lol-don’t we all! Thanks!

Thanks for the opportunity.

That’s it, folks! Do you self-publish? What were your deciding factors? Do you have questions for those who have self-published? Comment and let us know-see ya next time! 🙂

And FYI, my latest book, What Does Spider Poop Look Like? is now available and currently my best seller. Visit my website for details.

What I Expect From My Beta Readers

Not a lot.

lol-let me explain.

A lot of people assume beta readers are like editors and immediately go into grammar check mode. While editing is most certainly welcomed, it’s not the main goal I want my betas to focus on. I want you to—

  1. Tell me what format to receive the book in. I can send it for Kindle, Word, PDF, and just about anything else out there, so feel free to ask. Don’t know what type of file the device you’re using wants? No problem! I probably do. Just give me the details of the device, and I can probably figure it all out for you. I can give you a physical copy if you’re local, or you may print out the copy I give you.
  2. Read the book in a timely manner. I’ll give a time frame with each manuscript at the time it’s given out. Normally I really need it read within 2 weeks to a month, if possible, but I understand life happens. If it’s going to be more than a month, I need to know. For example, I have a great friend who is honest (which is VERY hard to come by) about my writing. WOW! (I just made every author jealous, because, trust me, that’s hard to find.) But he takes several months to read each book. That’s too long. I have to move on to the next phase.
  3. What needs to change. Was it too detailed? Does it need more details? Did it feel like it was missing something? Were there sections you skipped because you didn’t care what happened then? Were there places you were lost and didn’t understand what was happening? Did the plot have an oops (was the main character short in the first chapter and tall in the last without the aide of a magical spell, potion, or surgery-was Harry unable to see the Thestral before Cedric died even though he had seen his mother die-doh!)? Were the characters believable/unbelieveable? Did you actually care about the characters?
  4. Each book will have a short list of concerns I have at the bottom. I ask these not be looked at until after the book is read so as not to affect your opinion as you read. Some examples might be: Did it grab you in the first chapter? Was the book long enough? If I have a specific concern at the end, I will explain it. Like, if I’m worried it’s not long enough, I’ll explain that wanting to read more is a good thing, but feeling like it’s lacking something isn’t. Understand the difference?
  5. At least one positive aspect. If I don’t get any positive feedback, I’ll take that as a bad sign, so do include one positive thing in there somewhere unless you just hated the book, in which case, I need to know that too. Also, if someone complains about a section, but others like it, I need to know that and weigh my options. This is where some of that positive feedback comes into play.
  6. Anything else you want to say. Every single person will have a different opinion about every single book. In the date and time of “everything offends”, we’ve grown scared to say anything negative. You will not lose me as a friend. Please don’t be hateful. “This sucked! Burn it.” But the whole purpose of this is to find anything I may I have missed that needs correcting. I see the story in my head, but do you see it in yours? Did I relay it enough for you to see it too? We as writers can’t know that without you telling us. Your job is VERY important.
  7. Ask questions. If you don’t understand, ask questions. I’m usually more responsive with facebook messaging. It may take me a few hours, but I’ll get to it much faster than e-mail. If you have to contact me another way, that’s fine, but just know fb is the fastest.
  8. How do you let me know your opinions? You can do this several ways. You can write me an e-mail with a complete summary of everything you thought and found, or you can detail it out. If you received a physical copy, please jot any notes in the margins and hand it back that way. While digital notes are ideal, such as using comments in Word, it’s not required. Again, whatever you’re comfortable with. I’m flexible. And again, if you don’t understand, please ask.

OK, that’s it! I know I wrote a lot, but it’s actually really simple. Just tell me what’s wrong with it IN YOUR OPINION, because, it’s your opinion that counts. And thank you beyond words for being a beta reader.

My writing process

Everyone has their own process. Some sit and throw words onto a paper until it’s finished. Some plot and outline until the book is written before it’s begun. I’m a mix.

Each book is different for me, which is both awesome and frustrating. I have to plot some. My stories are too complex not to. For example, in my first Cupolian book, I knew the ending would be XXX, and certain things would have to happen over time that I had to set up from the beginning. So I do have to plot. Planning of characters and such is a little different. With Cupola, I didn’t have to plan out characters for the most part because they were so passionate and bigger than life. They told me who they were. There were a few, like Avaline and the royal family, who I had to think on. “What are their desires. etc?” but that’s about it.

This new book/series, however is different. I had the original idea and then changed it. Like completely. A lot of that is because I need it to appeal to others. I wrote Cupola for ME. No one else. MEEEEEE!!!! I have a new series I will one day write, maybe, if I ever get the chance, that I will also write for me, but right now I’m writing for others. As in, I want a larger audience to like this book. I want this book to get picked up and do well in the traditional market, etc. I’m also writing it for a different audience. The style and voice, to me, is like it’s written by a different person. Maybe my readers will read it and go, “No. It’s you.” But it’s been very difficult for me because it is so different. But that’s a good thing. Stretching your abilities’ boundaries, practicing that which is difficult, improves your craft.

Now. Where was I? Oh yeah, my process.

So, I plotted until I had a basic plot. I can’t plot further than that. I have to write after that. Writing allows the characters to have faces, personalities, desires, etc. I rarely write the ending and sometimes not the beginning. On this book I had the beginning. It was the first scene that came to mind even before I changed the whole concept. It never changed. And it’s awesome 😉

But, after I get the rough draft finished, I take 7 days off. Sometimes it’s more, but that’s not on purpose. That’s just when life happens. Those 7 days allow me to come at it from a new light. So, my first edits usually add several thousand words to my piece. In other words, my rough draft is like an overly expanded outline that’s still missing a few things and out of order. It’s  a big mess. From my understanding, most writers write a ton of what they don’t need and then cut it. I’m the opposite. I go back in and add the details. I also add the first/last chapters if they’re missing, completely flesh out the characters as far as their roles, needs, desires, etc, and make sure the plot flows and makes sense and such. This is why first edits take so long for me.

Second edits are like most people’s firsts, from what I can tell. Second edits are like, sentence structure, any missed inconsistencies, grammar and such. They’re made after the entire book is written and no longer an indecipherable mess. Second edits also transfer the piece from Scrivener to Word and make sure the chapter breaks are where they need to be. By now, I want a title and should be working on a blurb. I want that blurb by the end of second edits, its rough draft anyway.

Third edits are basically just grammar, typos, etc. I may have to add another round of edits in there if I feel it’s missing something or there’s a spot I just can’t work on anymore in a previous edit and I’m like, “Just skip it for now.” Then I have to go back and fix it. I usually print out third edits and do them on paper. I also catch any overused words or phrases by now, hopefully long before now.

Fourth edits are where I read the whole book aloud. Yes, the whole thing. At this point, my beta readers should have a copy. They can read while I read. I can easily do two chapters a day this way. Any more, and it usually starts to run together and make it to where I don’t do as well. After that, I’m done. If a beta tells me something I need to change, I’ll go over it and see what needs to be done, but then I’m done. I either publish it or query it. I’m going to query this next one.

There is a long list of things to do at that point, polishing the blurb, getting a cover if it’s self, making a list of agents to query, that sort of thing. But that’s another topic for another day.

The difference between professional and the rest of the world

Since I’ve become a writer, an author I guess, I’ve noticed something. How the professional world of writing works.

They’ve read it all. They’ve seen it all.

But the readers haven’t.

This is something the agents, the publishers need to keep in mind. For example, I recently gave a survey on my author profile and my personal facebook profile. This survey asked, “Would you rather have it to where the first parts of a series you haven’t read or forgot the plot about were interspersed within the first few chapters or a small prologue that wrapped it all.” The answers were complete opposites. The writers wanted it dispersed, like it’s traditionally done and considered to require more “skill”. The readers wanted a prologue they could skip if they wanted to.

Listeners don’t care how hard a song is to sing or produce, they just like the way it sounds. For example, I hate the song “Barracuda”, but as a once professional singer, I totally see the extreme skill and talent required to do this song and was blown away by this rendition.

Now, I love Alice in Chains and have their tunes, not a big fan of country, but after listening to this, I have a total new respect for Gretchen. That girl’s got talent.

Does this change whether I like the song or not? Nope, can’t stand it, not even this cover. I don’t care how hard a book was to write. I like it or I don’t. Readers, listeners, watchers of TV and movies are the same. Producers, artists, and agents need to get this in their list of comprehended items. Hey, do the hard stuff whether it’s considered good by the “common population”. Go for it! But don’t expect them to think about it the same way you do. If you want to be a successful anything, you need to put yourself in the shoes of the audience. Period.

The cost of any business

Is Publishing Dead? (aka, is making a living as a writer still possible?)

Of course, anything is possible, but let’s answer this correctly. No, publishing is not dead, not yet; neither are agents or traditional publishers. But. It is changing, and quite possibly not for the better. I read a recent article on an agency’s website while querying this morning. We’re not a fit, but I thought I would read their stuff anyway, and I’m glad I did. The agency’s name is Doug Grad Literary Agency, Inc, and the article can be found here amongst their FAQ section. (They’re also looking for an intern at the time of writing this post, something I would LOVE to do but can’t-le sigh!) Here is what they had to say (I apologize for the font, but that’s the best Word press allows.):

Publishing is an odd business, as you will come to learn if you get involved in it.  The business model is completely obsolete, dating back to the Great Depression.  In the 1920s and earlier, books were sold on a non-returnable basis, like clothing, or food (non-returnable from seller to manufacturer—customers return things all the time).  There weren’t very many bookstores in the U.S., the population was about one half to one third of what it is today, and relatively few people had college educations, or enough leisure time to read.  That’s why first editions of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway are so rare and expensive—it’s not just that they were great writers, but that a first printing in those days would be about 2,000 or 3,000 copies.  When the stock market crashed and the Depression set in, bookstores would have gone out of business if they hadn’t convinced publishers to make the books fully returnable.  It kept the publishers afloat as well as the stores, and maybe even a few printers.  When the economy picked up going into WWII and the post war years, publishers and bookstores didn’t go back to the pre-war model.  But our soldiers had gotten so hooked on reading paperbacks while fighting in Europe or the Pacific, that they took their habit back home with them, and publishing flourished.  In the 1960s and 1970s, a bestselling paperback would sell 6-12 million copies.  But in the late 1980s, hardcovers began to take precedence over paperbacks.  There was a perceived prestige factor associated with hardcovers, and publishers loved the much higher cover price.  As they started to price themselves out of the market, the discount booksellers came to the rescue, as well as the on-line booksellers.  But a recent study showed that while the U.S. population has increased, readership has not.  As technology has taken over our lives, the competition for our leisure time has grown fierce, from TV and movies to cable TV (500 channels!), and the internet.  And it seems as though our leisure time has decreased and become fragmented–we’re all working harder to stay at the same level.  We as a nation have also gotten out of the habit of reading books, especially compared to Europe, but publishers continue to pump out more and more books every year.  As costs have risen and profit margins have shrunk, and per title sales have decreased (a mega-bestseller today is 2-4 million copies), publishers have tried to make up their profits by publishing more titles.  Great, you say, more books are being published!  But since overall readership levels have remained static for 20 years, that means that each title is selling fewer copies.  Kind of a long-winded way of saying, “You do the math…”

I went to a book signing in Knoxville last year for a NYT bestseller, and was saddened, terrified even at what I saw. This man, this man who had a successful career in the technological world and quit all that to write full time was standing before me and dozens of children asking them for help. “Please, tell your friends about this book. Write reviews about this book. Share this book on social media.” How sad is it that we have come to a time when that is required of a NYT bestselling author!!

I still remember querying my first picture book, a sad thing it was, to publishers and agents. The publishers actually responded better than the agents, but the difference was staggering. If I were to query that book now, I would be ignored by every one of them. A great book gets ignored by most now.

So, where am I going with this? Good question! #1, read the FAQ section in the link I provided. I wish we were a fit, because I really like the guy’s personality from what I can tell, but alas, so goes it. His history of publishing comment got me to thinking. At the present time, it looks rather bleak. I asked around (non-writers) “Tell me a household author’s name that’s new since Stephanie Meyer.” No one could. But look how publishing has changed over the last century and surely will again. Everything does. So little is the same any more, not even nature, which is terribly terribly sad. But I see people all the time who have grown sick of tech, who have thrown out their TV’s. Tech may be a fad, it may destroy the world, there is no way to know. There never was a way to know. All we can do is do what we love whether it brings us fortune or not.

I work a terrible job to pay the bills. I write to pay my desires. Maybe one day they will coalesce, but I’m not holding my breath, nor am I going to worry about it. I think the mentality that they must be one and the same is the 40’s cliche, “What do you do?” that still haunts society now. What difference does it make? Shouldn’t we ask instead, “What is your passion?” or “Tell me about yourself.”? (Unfortunately that second one is reserved for interviews and therefore it’s answer is already programmed into our brain and more than likely untrue. So it’s probably a good thing it isn’t used socially.)

What do I do? I try my best to be a good servant of my God. I try my best to be a good wife, mother, daughter (aka family member) in whatever way I am needed. I try my best to take care of myself, and I try my best to balance all of this together. What do you do?

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: