I started actively pursuing a writing career in 2009, and since then I’ve seen the rise and fall of many trends for writers. I’ve seen new social media sites go up, most have an exclusive, Invite-only list to join them, and they fizzle just as fast as they start. I’ve seen new marketing schemes, and various other things that never seem to fully take off.
I’ve joined multiple groups online, filled to the max with talent from writers to designers to editors and everything in between. In doing this, you seem to see the trends as they start to take off, and one That is gaining momentum is the rise of Kickstarter campaigns.
Now I am not wise on the whole rules and regulations of kickstarters, but what I’m seeing in the majority of the ones I see are that you’re handing money to someone, investing in them or their product, with no return on investment.
Anyone who has followed me here for any capacity of time knows that I’m not big on coming off as a pushy salesman to people, especially on social media. Perhaps that is my downfall and why I’m not solely a writer at this point. I am a firm believer in building your standing online before you start begging for money.
The amount of GoFundMe pages I’ve seen set up for writers is astounding as of late, and it’s made me leave more than one group recently. I join groups mainly to get information, to see what tips/tricks others who’ve been doing this a lot longer than I have may be able to give me. I’m the first to tell someone what has worked for me and what hasn’t, but when I see my timeline blowing up with one person after another begging me to support them so they can sit at home and write, it turns my stomach. The majority of these have some guilt-ridden story about following their dreams but their kids are starving and they’re about to lose their home etc., not all but most.
Perhaps I am cynical, perhaps I just don’t understand how a Kickstarter campaign is supposed to work, and someone else has pointed out that I don’t look at my writing as a business yet. I’ve been told that it’s one of my biggest setbacks. Writing is a career I want, but I’m also a realist and I know that the likelihood of me ever being able to quit my day job to solely focus on writing is slim. That is not because I don’t believe in my ability or talent, but because I know the reality of it.
Fame is fleeting.
Stephen King will tell you that there is no big secret to making it big in this world, and at times, listening to him speak, I think he’s still as amazed by it as others are.
So, if you’re sacrificing your family’s well-being to follow your dreams, is that fair?
I get asked regularly how I parent, how I can call myself a mother when I work a full time job and write as much as I do. I get the disapproving looks that my children are left on their own far too much while I chase my dreams.
Here is the answer to that.
My youngest was 5 years old when I started focusing on a writing a career. She was, at the time along with her older sister, living with her father in another state (not by my choice). But yes, at the beginning, I had all the time in the world to write. Then in 2011, they were with me 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, barring a few weeks here or there when they would visit their dad.
So you had Monday through Friday where I worked, came home and played Mom. When they would go to bed, I would write. I would write on breaks at work, any free time I had. On weekends, I would spend Saturdays with them all day and stay up most of the night writing. I wrote when my family obligations allowed, not the other way around.
Was it easy? No, but I did it.
They’re at an age where they do not need me as much at the moment. Yes, I still go to work, I come home, cook dinner, help with homework etc, but they have their own little personal lives that take them away from me more than before. This frees up my time.
Again, maybe I’m missing something, but I have a hard time asking people to just give me money so I can chase my dreams. To me, the dreams worth chasing are the ones you will find a way to chase regardless of if you have the means or resources to do so.
You will find a way… with or without shortcuts if it means that much to you.
I remember sitting on one of those small examining tables in the doctor’s office, being five months pregnant with my second child, and being completely uncomfortable. Those exam tables aren’t made for comfort, they’re small and efficient.
Dr. Friedman walked in with one of his nurses and sat down in the small roller chair with a chart. He proceeds to tell me that there were some disturbing results on one of recent blood tests.
One test they ran showed that I tested positive for a bacteria that had been known to cause deformation with internal organs of the baby. The problem with the positive result on this test is that if I’d had this illness while pregnant, it could be fatal to the baby, but I could test positive for it if I’d ever had it in my life. So there was really know way of knowing if I’d had it while I was pregnant or not, so they would be doing extra sonograms to make sure that her organs were forming okay.
The next test also showed that I was a carrier of the gene that causes Cystic Fibrosis.
Those of you who don’t know, CF is a debilitating disease that attacks the lungs and most people born with CF don’t live to see adulthood.
I was given several pamphlets on terminating a pregnancy, even this far along, and that it might be an option if I felt so inclined. I was given the numbers to various therapists and support groups. The doctor said I needed to know all my options. I remembered my mother being told that my youngest sister would have Down’s Syndrome when she was pregnant with her, and the same information was given. I remember my mother telling people that she didn’t care if Stefanie had a third eye and was born with flippers instead of arms, that God had meant for her to be born, and God would take care of her. Now here I was faced with the same choices and trying to find the same strength to face this head on.
It was never an option in my mind. Trysha was supposed to be here, she was supposed to be in my life no matter what challenges that may bring.
Fast-forward a few months and it’s 9:50 A.M. on a bright Wednesday morning. I’ve just given birth to an 8 lbs, 7 oz little girl who isn’t crying. She isn’t making a sound. The doctors and nurses aren’t letting me see her. When her older sister was born they immediately placed her on my stomach, not with Trysha. They hadn’t let me see her, touch her, anything. They were very careful to keep crowded around a small station they were checking her out at, to where I couldn’t even catch a glimpse of her from.
After what seemed like an eternity, and some not-so-nice threats to the nurse who managed to walk within an arm’s length of me, I was told she was fine, and that they were cleaning her up and would bring her over.
A scream echoed throughout the room as she started to wail, the first noises she’d made since being born, and I’m sure if they had known that spritzing her down with water would make her start screaming, they would have done it immediately.
I tell you this story so you can appreciate the next one…
Today is 11 years since that morning, the morning that for a good 30-45 minutes the world stopped spinning for me when I couldn’t see or hear her or know if she’s okay.
It has been 11 years of broken bones, daredevil stunts, makeovers, sleepovers and sing-a-longs. It has been 11 years of ups and downs, laughter and tears and everything in between.
I know that Trysha is a force to be reckoned with, she made that abundantly clear the minute she was born that she is going to do things on her timeframe and not a moment sooner.
No one else I know has quite the fierce personality that she is. She will defend you to the death if she cares about you, and she loves completely and unconditionally. There is no middle, no halfway, no in between with Trysha. She is either all in or completely uninvolved. She is beautiful and smart and funny in a way that is simple and complex all at once.
I cannot imagine my life without her, without her laughter and love, the way she makes me cherish being a mom even when she’s making me pull out my hair. I love her to pieces.
So to my youngest, my most stubborn, my loudest, my fiercest in all things, I love you baby girl. I hope you have a wonderful birthday today!
Sebastian had walked through the woods until he got back to his car and had driven as far east as he could get before the sun set. He had thought of Esmeri all day, kicking himself for just leaving her. He was saving her the trouble of figuring out he was no good anyway. At least that’s what he was telling himself.
He wanted to summon Luc, to trade himself up in Esmeri’s spot, even though he knew the bastard would never go for it. Sebastian would have never given up a gem like Esmeri for a mutt like him either.
He pulled into a small diner in the middle of nowhere just before midnight and stretched as he stepped out of the car. He bent backwards slightly and then dropped to the ground panting as fear enveloped him, pain coming over him. It subsided as quickly as it came on but he still felt a gnawing ache in his chest. Struggling to stand, to make sense of what had just happened, he jumped slightly as the cell phone in his pocket rang. Looking at the display he didn’t recognize the number but flipped it open anyway.
“Monroe,” he said gruffly, still trying to catch his breath.
“Sebastian…” his heart broke as he heard Devrynne break into sobs.
“Dev?” he asked, his heart jumping into his throat. “What’s wrong?”
“I know we aren’t close like we used to be,” she managed to choke out. “But he took her. I have no right to ask you for anything but please do something, I will do anything, anything.”
Her pleading with him didn’t help matters and a lump rose in his throat as he had to fight back his desire to fix things for her. He would always do what he could for her, come rushing to her aid simply because she called him to. He was loyal like that, like a dog.
“I’ll get her Dev, don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.”
Sebastian hung up the phone, his jaw setting as he pulled the car into the back of the diner. He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t even know how to get Esmeri back but all he knew was that he would do anything to never again hear the sorrow he had just heard in Devrynne’s voice.
He ate, checked into a motel and tried to get in touch with any contact he could that might find a way to welch on Esmeri’s fate. Nobody would help. He tried to sleep, tossing and turning most of the night, still not able to summon Luc, no matter what he tried. The asshole apparently wasn’t listening.
Finally just as the moon crested the next night, he walked off into the woods, stripping out of his clothes as he started to shift, allowing himself to walk right into Hell. The smell of death was even worse than he’d remembered but even the sting of the flames that licked his skin wasn’t enough to get him to turn around. He had fought being around Esmeri since the moment she had been born but now he wasn’t leaving this place without her.
“Well, well, well,” Luc’s voice resonated through the walls as Sebastian walked into his chambers, back in human form. “The prodigal son has returned.”
Today is a day that we’re supposed to ignore, according to my older sister. It is the first year that I can remember her being adamant we not acknowledge her birthday, but that’s too bad, I’m gonna do what I want anyway. It’s typical when you’re the younger sister!
Elitedaily.com did a post last year about all the ways that a big sister is the best gift your parents ever gave you. I shared it on Facebook a while back and it has stuck with me. In short it is a list of all the ways your sister helped you. I re-read it recently and found some other posts very similar to it. Some of the lists hit home more than others, so I’m focusing on the points that did.
She’ll give you honest fashion advice
I remember telling Becky that I had a date with a new guy last year. It was an early dinner date, kind of like a drinks and appetizer thing and then I would be going to her house after for the evening. I remember driving the hour away to where her and said new guy lived and getting a phone call on the way from her. She was asking me to stop by if I needed to try on some of her clothes or wanted a second opinion on what I was wearing. Here’s the thing, I wasn’t self-conscious about my clothing until that phone call. I’m a no-fuss kind of girl, the kind that firmly believes in what you see is what you get. I dressed up as much as I would for anyone else. This was a first meeting with the New Guy, but she was already looking out for me to put my best foot forward. It is something that I, as the younger sister, would have never in a million years thought of.
She gives you solid advice on men
Becky is the first one to tell me if I’m being a judgemental ass when it comes to a guy I’m interested in. I’m far more picky than most women, and suffer from a Chandler-esque complex where the smallest of things are typically deal-breakers. She also tells me when I deserve far more than I’m putting up with. And let’s face it, she’ll keep it brutally honest when one of the guys I’m eyeing is a total sleaze and not worth more time than being eye-candy.
You can drag her around with you while running errands
I hate shopping. I detest it with a passion. I hate people in general usually, especially in large groups. However, Becky makes shopping fun. She has an eye for things I typically miss, and can people-watch with the best of them. It gives us a bonding time and helps make a generally terrible task even more fun. She is also the first one to recommend a detour to the nearest craft store too!
You have a built-in kick in the ass and bodyguard whenever you need
This is very true. No one else will give me more shit for not doing something I should totally be doing than Becky. She is the older, wiser sister, so I should listen to her always, even though I still struggle with this concept haha! When I argue that I don’t have the ability to write a book, she is right there reminding me that I’m lying, and she has a great way of guilt tripping learned from our mother to get me to do what I need. Then you have the flip side of that, she is more protective of me than almost anyone else, even if that means defending me to my kids. This last Christmas, me and my oldest were play spatting, in a way that Becky wasn’t familiar with and she was at my defense in no time because that’s what big sisters do!
All in all, these are just four of the reasons I love my sister. The list is very long and would fill more blog posts than I can put. So I’ll leave it at this for today.
Happy Birthday Becky!
There appears to be a new craze circling around author circles that as I start to build myself online more, create more of a presence, that I am getting bombarded with.
Emails from people I don’t know asking me to either review their work or to submit their manuscript to my agent/publisher.
Now I’ve stated on numerous times, I may have been self-publishing for going on six years now, but that doesn’t mean I know everything. There is something almost weekly that is a new piece of information that I had never known before. It’s all a learning curve, one that is continually changing as the markets change.
That being said, I’m going to give anyone going down this avenue some advice. Maybe not advice… we’ll say an opinion.
Please stop sending blind e-mails/messages to people you’ve done ZERO research on. I typically will delete them without responding if you’ve made it clear you have no interest in discussing anything outside of furthering your career as a writer. Guess what? We’ve all started from nothing, your time is no more valuable than mine because you’ve got a higher ranking/following than I do.
In this industry, respect will take you far. Keep that in mind.
If you want to approach an author, someone you do not know in any way, do your research. Check out their website or social media accounts. I don’t know a single author that doesn’t have a blurb on their website about them. 99% of the time, it will tell you if they’ve signed with an agent or if they’re self-publishing.
Submitting a manuscript to an author who self-publishes with a message asking you to submit it to their agent is pointless and shows you’re spamming people trying to bypass a system all of us have had to adhere to. If they’re rocking the indie circuit, they won’t have an agent that can get you an IN with a publishing company, just saying.
If you want reviews, I am all for submitting emails to people to do this. I’m all about contacting authors whom you feel may help boost your standing. It’s why others do blog hops and interviews because any word of mouth is appreciated. However, be personal about it.
Personally, I will be less inclined to answer a standard email that in no way shows you’ve read anything about me, than an email that shows you’ve done your research and know at least the bare minimum about the person you’re soliciting reviews from.
Has anyone really had any luck doing these chain emails/messages as a way of promotion?