I’ve been spending a lot of time talking with my publicist and discussing the work habits of this new generation of romance authors. The astounding thing is that observing this generation of new authors gives me both good feelings and bad.
For starters, with the growing E-book revolution (and it IS a revolution) and social media we’re able to get published faster but so many authors don’t take a hard look at the houses they’re submitting to. If they did, we’d end up with less crap out on the market. The lesson here is to not only research the house but other authors who WRITE for that house. This will avoid mistakes. Take a new publisher that has been courting me lately. They don’t have a solid reputation entirely due to mistakes made because the owners didn’t understand the business model of the E-book industry from the outset. They admitted this and this has been confirmed by a friend of mine who is one of the most respected names in Erotica today. And other authors have come forward to share good experiences about this house as well as a few bad ones. That’s fine. Talking to the authors of the house gives you a well rounded view of how they operate.
Total E-bound has a huge and successful stable of happy authors. Before I signed with them, I looked at the website, got some feedback from some of the authors and felt that I had done my due diligence.
Next up, work ethic. Raise your hands if you’re a new generation author and you struggle to make that word count every day while trying to promote your books with all the Web 2.0 nonsense. Tell me it’s a pain in the ass.
It is. But I do it and have done it for years. I’ve had to grow and learn to utilize different technologies while still embracing the old ones. Not only do I have to do that, I have to recognize and jump on opportunities that come my way all while writing, doing PR, blogging, doing my Radio Dentata show and attempting to keep a clean house. I threw that last part in because for the sake of argument (and let’s face it, my S. O. is NOT) I am Alpha Homemaker. So I cook dinner, do dishes, clean (somewhat) all while maintaining a successful writing career.
The key is determination and the fact that even as technology improves and makes our lives easier, we need to do the things that make us successful regardless of what they are. Otherwise we’ll get lost in the shuffle.
Work Ethic: I’ve seen too many new writers get by on turning in stories that are basically crap other than the bones. Listen. I had to bust my ass (uphill in the snow both directions) to get a good first draft finished and then sold. This goes back to my earlier point about researching the Houses you write for. A bad house will take a crappy first draft. A good one will reject it with comments.
Piracy Complaints: Saw this one coming didn’t you? How many of us reading this have had our work pirated? I have. I was flattered on one hand and pissed on another. Sure I’ve spent time chasing these jackanapes but it’s useless. Another blogger/author posted a great blog about piracy and she’s right in suggesting that we’re not going to convert pirates to readers or shut down the sites. Let it go. Hell, call it free publicity and don’t forget to write off the loss as a tax deduction.
Writing and Excerpt sharing: The concept of an excerpt is NOT to give me 500 words of your 10,000 word story. That will NOT get a book sold no matter HOW great an author you are. Christ himself would NOT sell the bible on 1,000 words. Give us something of value to entice us. If your story is 5k or less, why? Learn to write longer. Take the shorter pieces and sell them to e-zines, throw them up on Literotica for free marketing or put them together in a short story collection. Then give us a lengthy excerpt from the story. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time and mine.
If you have a 10k story, that excerpt can and should be 2500 words of HOT. And DON’T GIVE US THE ORGASM. If you’ve got more than 10k, that excerpt should be no more than 5k.
I know some of this seems harsh but I’ve been around a long time. And I’ve at least been tactful here compared to my blogs on Midnight Seductions about cross dressing or fellatio!
What say you? Care to share other lessons for this new generation of authors?