About Me

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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Road Less Traveled

Did you miss me? I didn’t realize how long I’d been gone until I came to write this update. Never fear, I’ll be back soon.

Today I’ll try to spill my guts about the road less traveled. As most of you know, I’m a free-thinking, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of gal. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes not so much, but I’m okay with that.

For the past couple of years I’ve had to be much more careful about how and why I spend my time on different things. My reasons for doing or not doing something usually don’t make much sense to those outside of my brain, but I thought I might actually try to explain this divergence from normality.

See, I’ve decided to self-publish a couple of books.

When someone tells you, “I’m a writer.” What kinds of things automatically come to mind? Odds are, it’s whatever types of books and authors you like to read. If you don’t like literature you might even experience a nasty taste in your mouth. When people hear I’m a writer, their next question is usually, “What do you write?”

They get very confused by my standard answers. “Nothing you’d ever willingly read.” Or “It depends on the day of the week.”

You kind of expect “I’m a writer” to equal “I write best-selling novels”. It kind of gives the rest of us a bad rap, you know? I, for one, have absolutely no aspirations toward fame and fortune. I just know what I’m good at.

I have a sweet friend who has known me for years. She knows what I do for a living. But, when I announced my first book contract for a *novel* (which later had to be cancelled) she was giddy and very supportive, but her words kind of had me rolling my eyes- “I know an author!” FYI I’ve been working as successful freelance writer for over 10 years. So, in the eyes of the general public you aren’t really an author until they find your book on the shelves of the Wal-Mart. No wonder so many aspiring authors give up. No one wants to take what you do as serious work until after you’ve shared your nonexistent royalty check with them.

That’s the other thing. Most people assume the ones who do have a book on the shelf at Wal-Mart are rolling in the dough. Another big fat no. It takes a lot to be a full time fiction writer, especially if you have a family to support and that support is dependent on being a reclusive multi-book a year writer and a beloved, active public figure at the same time. I can tell you which one the author prefers and it’s not tied to how pretty their signature is.

Are the stigmas just present between writer and non-writer? No. If anything they’re worse when you’re dealing with a room full of authors. Now the judging gets serious. Sometimes it’s just “She’s an amazing writer. I could never hope to capture a reader the way she does.” Sometimes it’s a lot less kind. I’ll leave those thoughts up to your own imagination. What you do have to understand is that there is a way-things-work method to our madness. We live in a totally different reality than regular 9-5ers, but rest assured, there are still rules.

Self-publishing is one of those strange unwritten rules. The bias is lifting, but the general assumption among many is that if you have to self-publish everyone who “matters” in this business (agents and editors) have pretty much declared that you stink. You’re the black sheep of the book writing family.

So, why have I just announced myself to be the black sheep? It goes back to knowing what I do best. I am a writer. I love the process of taking little tidbits and turning them into beautifully flowing prose (that no one will ever read). I also know how to make money with my writing and it’s not from scrambling to become the next Stephanie Meyer. I’m a nonfiction type of gal. It works for me.

I write fiction for the feelings of joy and reckless abandon that go with it. If I spent all of my time pursuing the normal course of action for a fiction writer, I’d never have time or energy for my family or for the writing assignments that actually pay for my kid’s fencing lessons, dance lessons, gymnastic lessons, “I’m bored” moments, and trips across the country when someone says “Mommmmmmy! Where are you?”

Writing is my joy, but it’s also my business. I’m just lucky enough that I know where to draw the lines. There are things I do for the sheer challenge; there are things I do for the paycheck it brings in. There are also things I do for the joy it brings into my heart. Hence, self-publishing. It allows me to still share the parts of me that bring me the most happiness without turning it into “work”.

Will you totally love my fiction? I don’t honestly know. All I know is I loved writing it and there are a few people out there who will love reading it as well. If you don’t happen to be one of them, I’m good with that too. See how easy going I am?

In the next few days I’ll be putting up information about the two titles. But just in case you won’t be able to sleep a wink tonight without knowing what I’ve been up to, here are the basics.

The Prodigal Son- LDS general fiction (A modern version of the parable addressing a mother’s desperate journey to save a child who doesn’t want to be saved.)

The Price of Gold- YA paranormal fiction (What if the Ancient Egyptian gods were real? What if you were a modern teenage who still carried their golden blood in his veins? What if you had to choose between blood and love?)

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