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On getting better

Having fun and not being the best does not mean I am happy with my current level of profiency.

I recently put Colours of the Rain up for critique at Critique Circle.

I feared putting up something on Critique Circle. I didn’t want to hear “you suck, quit writing.” I feared that was the truth.

The feedback has been good. And helpful. Overwhelmingly helpful, I’m not sure where to start. Only one thing said I didn’t agree with. Which was that the starting scene shouldnt’ be there. But it’s the tie in to the title of the story, so I can’t cut it. But I have a better way to tie it in.

The good is that I don’t tell, I do show most of the time. What I’ve not shown was written when I was working out the characters etc. Good to know and something I couldn’t see. My characters are likeable. The plot is followable and enjoyable.

The bad is that a few typos. I tend to write “your welcome” instead of “you’re (you are) welcome”. I overuse WAS. It was, there was. Was, was was. I’ve been working on things so hard that when I write first drafts I worry about my use of WAS.

Does being imperfect mean I should have kept Colours of the Rain to myself?

No. I do have moments of panic when I worry that letting my imperfect writing will wreck my chances of being read as I get better.

Y’know what? The best authors in the world with legions of fans who support their every move and will claw your eyes out if you say something bad about them, these authors have readers who HATE them. A handful, a hundred.

Sure, it will deter some people.

Just as some people don’t shop at the Dollar store.

I don’t wholly want to infer that my writing is of bad quality. It doesn’t have the benefit of a $1,000/hr editor. But, some of those books aren’t worth the price you pay for them either. So …it’s not that bad of a metaphor. 99 cent book. Maybe you do get what you pay for.

I question the assumption that every written world there must be PERFECT. How much do computer companies get to charge for their software that crashes, freezes and is less than perfect? Why do we put up with the cost?

Publishing companies have taught us to expect it because they held the gate for many years. They said was good enough and what wasn’t. now the reader can decide. And I really don’t expect people to flock to my book and heap praise upon me because it’s the best thing ever written.

I know I limit my success due to the imperfection. I’m just refusing to stay in the shadows until I reach some goal. I’m putting my shit out there and a few people are reading it and liking it.

If in five years, I find that Colours of the Rain and Second Chance Romance and the rest of the imperfections are hurting my sales. I’ll dump the name. It’s not that hard to find another one. Especially when your entire premise is that you make shit up and people pay for your made up shit.

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Why cheap and free are okay

But what about free content?

Image by pr1001 via Flickr

I’m sure people hoard 99 cent books because they are cheap to buy. Some people download free content and never around to looking at it. I have a ton of free pdfs that I’ve forgotten about. They sit in a folder entitled “books” or “downloads” and once in a while I find them, glance through the pages, realize it’s not for me and delete it.

It’s still a valid way to get your name out to people.

Especially when it comes to short stories. Colours of the Rain has been downloaded 1500 times. If a tenth of the people read it that’s 150 reads. If half of them read it, that’s 700. Cool!

Second Chance Romance
has 748 downloads. If 5% read it and buy Summer Fling, that’s 40 sales.

It’s far better than no one buying it at 5.99 or even 2.99. I know I could get a higher royalty at 2.99 on Amazon. And I consider changing it and seeing how many copies get sold.

Part of why I don’t have it at 2.99 is I don’t feel like it’s a 2.99 book. I said before in my imperfection that my writing is 70%. I don’t have the 30% to get a professional set of eyes on it to push it past 100. I’m getting better at it.

I know 99 cents is equated with a less professional book. Maybe I’m reinforcing that attitude. Hey, become a beta reader and point out my flaws before I release the book. Email me 🙂

The second reason I’m going with free and cheap is I just want to be read. At two  years into the writing. self publish journey, I don’t expect to be on the best seller’s list. Many of the author’s going around talking about self-publishing are established, they have a name, they are known, so their success doesn’t apply to me.

ALso, I don’t have a strong backlist yet. I have three novel length books on Amazon and Smashwords. I have two short stories for free. That’s not a lot. I’m building my platform, I’m building my readership. That is more important to me than 70% royalty.

Lots of people can write about why 2.99 is better than .99 cents. It’s not better. It’s different. It’s not a lack of pride.

If you go with 99 cents because it’s cheap and lots of people will buy, do your research. Make sure you are setting a price point that works for you.

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Everyone has an opinion

I follow a few author’s blogs and a few of them have stepped out and said that self e-publishing is not the way to go. If you can, get with a “real” publisher. One who can market you and edit you and fit you into their mold.

You gotta wonder about their motivation.

I am just saying authors with contracts have a vested interest in publishers going strong. If they can convince a few people that indie is a bad thing …

They have convinced themselves it’s the right way, which translates into the only way for some people.
If indies do become stronger than the Big six.

Shit did those authors catch the wrong wave.

Ah, Zementa has many related articles, but I’m not going to link to anything else. It’s out there peeps.

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The trouble with porn studies

Ah, I ran across another porn is bad article on The Good Men Project.

In case you missed my last rantings you can find them here and here.

This one has studies. Rat studies.

Con­sider what hap­pens when you drop a male rat into a cage with a recep­tive female rat. First, there’s a sex­ual frenzy. Half a dozen cop­u­la­tions later, the fire­works fiz­zle. Even if she wants more, he’s not inter­ested. His brain chem­istry whis­pers, “Roll over and snore.” How­ever, if a new female shows up, his exhaus­tion will mirac­u­lously fade long enough for him to gal­lantly attempt his fer­til­iza­tion duties. You can repeat this process with fresh females until the male nearly dies of exhaustion.

My first thought was, god, how do men walk down the street everyday and not jump on every woman they see that’s gorgeous?

Oh right, we expect human men to control themselves. Same with porn.

Which brings me to my first point, just because a group of men who use porn end up with marriage/sexual issues, does not mean ALL men who watch porn will. Or, if John Mayer would rather jerk-off to a picture it does not mean my husband will.

In a Play­boy inter­view last year, musi­cian John Mayer admit­ted he’d rather jerk off to images than have sex. He explained,

actually if you read the quote Mayer didn’t say that at all, what he said was,

Inter­net pornog­ra­phy has absolutely changed my generation’s expec­ta­tions. How could you be con­stantly syn­the­siz­ing an orgasm [with a per­son] based on dozens of shots? You’re look­ing for the one … out of 100 you swear is going to be the one you fin­ish to, and you still don’t fin­ish. Twenty sec­onds ago you thought that photo was the hottest thing you ever saw, but you throw it back and con­tinue your shot hunt and con­tinue to make your­self late for work. How does that not affect the psy­chol­ogy of hav­ing a rela­tion­ship with some­body? It’s got to.

Okay, I’m not disagreeing that porn use CAN be a problem. It can be harmful if you get to the point of compulsion. But, reasonable people don’t. Of course, we could argue about the lack of reasonable people RE: food addiction.

Or really, it’s people refuse to use their self-control. i like chip and sugar. I don’t like walking in the winter. I know it’s not healthy for me to weight 200 lbs, so I don’t buy the chips and I walk to school. I keep my weight healthy.

Do I like it? Not always, I’d rather have the chips right now. But, I don’t think I”d be happy 75 lbs overweight either, so I CONTROL myself.

Just like, right now i’d like to masturbate. But I’m not alone, so I control myself.

Maybe these guys with porn problems actually are married to frigid women. Just kidding.

Accord­ing to a 2007 study, mere expo­sure to images of sexy females causes a man to devalue his real-life part­ner. He rates her lower not only on attrac­tive­ness, but also on warmth and intel­li­gence. Also, after pornog­ra­phy con­sump­tion, sub­jects in a 2006 study reported less sat­is­fac­tion with their inti­mate partner—including the partner’s affec­tion, appear­ance, sex­ual curios­ity, and per­for­mance. More­over, they assigned increased impor­tance to sex with­out emo­tional involvement.

Again how to men live in the real world with crap like this going on in their brains?

Oh yeah, they don’t. What a load of crap. (men if you want to not get in trouble for being an asshole- you can cite the study).

Just because I think GSP is sexy does not mean I want my husband any less.

Of course, if you stand me next to Katy Perry, she’s going to get all the votes for being better looking.

And, of course, he probably sees a few good-looking women when he’s at work. (some ugly ones too), but he makes the choice to come home and have pretty great sex with me.

And in three days when he’s in the mood and I’m completely wiped from having a screaming baby crawl up my leg all day, he will turn on a porno and touch himself. But, two days later I’ll have caught up on sleep and we’ll be like rabbits.

Porn is the only addiction in which we blame the object of addiction. We don’t blame alcohol for forcing alcoholics. We expect people to be able to have the occasional drink without ruining their marriages. We don’t blame malls for people’s overspending.

And my last point, is people it’s FANTASY. I don’t read romance books and expect my husband to start being a billionaire with a perfect body and a ranch, nor do I feel any less connected because he`s not a CEO or cowboy or Navy SEAL. Our being together is a choice we make everyday. It`s not always an easy choice, but if he wants to watch some people going at it, I`ll be okay with it. (I wasn`t always I used to buy into the myth that he should only ever want me).

Again, people TRY to control yourselves.

But remember, you don’t need porn to ogle women.

Since I stopped mas­tur­bat­ing to porn a cou­ple of weeks ago, things are chang­ing. When I see a woman with long hair walk by in a nice skirt or dress, I get that phys­i­cal rush of energy. Used to be I needed a stronger porno­graphic fan­tasy from the Inter­net to get any type of arousal.


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Where are the romances?

I went to the library last week and grabbed what I thought was a romance. It was chicklit.

Yes, there is a difference. Romance is boy meets girl, are attracted but not compatible, circumstances throw them together and they work things out.

Chicklit follows the woman’s journey more.  Usually the women are career women in their 20’s to 30’s who are a bit fluffy. They are floating along life thinking all is well, when they lose their job/boyfriend/husband/mind. And then they take control of their lives and turn things around.The conflict usually does not wholly centre around romance, but there is usually a romantic element.

There is nothing wrong with the chicklit genre. It’s good writing. But I want romance to be the focus of the conflict.

I love romance.

I want straight up contemporary (meaning modern times- I once saw Jane Austen categorized as contemp. Hello! no!) romance. No vampires, no 1800’s fashion, no wild west,no Navy SEALs.

I don’t mind an occasional paranormal. I love Lisa Kleypas and Susan Jeffries historicals. I love, love, love Suzanne Brockmann.

Are straight up romances only done by Harlequin now? My only problem with it is they are too short and my library doesn’t carry them anymore.

Anyone know if mainstream romance novels are dead? I’ll take cheap recommendations as well.

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Finding Time

One of most frequently asked questions (okay the one I imagine people asking me when I’m famous) is how do I find time to write? I have 2 children, no housekeeper, no cook and a husband who wants me to have sex with him. Occasionally. When the baby goes to sleep and stays asleep.

Anyway when do I write:

After everyone is in bed. I stay up too late and write. And play Free cell.

During nap times. Like right now. DS is sleeping on me and I am writing. And reading Twitter and not writing fiction. I should be writing. I feel guilty, but this SS is kicking my ass!

I read this once in a book of Julia Cameron‘s. You know creativity guru Julia. ANyway, she said she learned it from her mother. She would write when she could. Five minutes here, ten minutes there. In between life happening. She didn’t have an hour or three where she could just sit and write, so she would write when she could.

I used to always keep my WIP open on the computer and while I played with my DD two feet away on the floor, I would kneel in front of the computer (as I am now) and write a couple of sentences, then it would be my turn in Candyland and I would break.

I don’t do this because I hate this computer screen. It’s great for games and watching movies and things like that. But it is huge and makes my paragraphs into HUGE long things that go over the screen. I prefer the laptop’s tiny screen and lack of internet connection. I don’t use it in the living room because my son loves buttons and I’m afraid he’s going to wreck the ancient laptop and then I will be forced to write on the giant screen.

Maybe I should try wordwrap to make them look more like book paragraphs. Okay, I’m on that for later. It’s lunch time right now.

Funny, I’ve been planning this post for days in my head. And yesterday Write it Sideways posts about writing an ebook for busy moms trying to write.

I wanted to get my post in first.

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I was a member on Goodreads. I’m way too lazy busy to keep track of the books I read. Can’t always keep track of what I write (which reminds me I had the best idea for a line between hitting snooze on my alarm this morning and i haven’t forgot!).

Turns out I have reviews. Good ones. Well, good stars. And a mediocre review. Which  I totally agree with.

Second Chance Romance is an okay book.

Where I went wrong was the conflict, or rather lack thereof. I slapped in some at the end and as a result it was rather contrived and fair. I love the characters.  The book was a great learning experience. Summer Fling is stronger conflict wise, but I didn’t love the characters.

I’m struggling with conflict in the thing I’m working now. And I am realizing that is why I don’t want to write it. I hate abandoning shit I worked for many hours on, but I think it’s a write-off. Good idea, not so in excecution.I have a ton more ideas, so I don’t know why Iam attached to this one.

So, if i have a review on Goodreads have I made it?

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