Monday, August 29, 2016

Comparisons and Jealousy

I recently came across an article that focused on a writer, a very successful writer who is now making a six figure income. The thing that kills me is she only burst onto the scene a few years ago. I used to follow her blog. I don't anymore. Why? I'll admit because I'm jealous of her success and I hate to compare myself. Pretty simple.

Don't get me wrong, she's a perfectly lovely woman. She's smart, funny, well-spoken, well-written, and we could probably be friends (or at least in the same book club if we lived near each other.) However, this woman is all over the place with book ads, podcasts, blog posts, guest appearances, and is quoted by everyone. Yup, she works hard for her money. And I don't begrudge her one cent.

What I do begrudge is how she makes it look so easy. Her books are everywhere, she is everywhere, and I'm just sick of it.

Why? Because I'm not.

Why? Because I can't.

This woman has no children. She is also married and her husband is her marketing manager. She focuses her life 100% on her books, writing, marketing, and promoting. Oh, if we all could live in that world.

I'm lucky if I can find time to wash the kitchen floor. (I swear when I'm rich I'm getting a maid.) I have so many things pulling on my time CONSTANTLY I fall into bed exhausted just thinking about all the shit I have to do TOMORROW. Between school, my parents, the yard work, not to mention Monster and figuring out how to feed her eight times a day (my God, the child never stops eating), I barely have time to take a shower every day. (Yes, I know that's just TMI and too disgusting for words, but I'm sure a lot of other moms out there know exactly what I'm saying.)

So, yes, I'm jealous of the writer who has time for all the stuff I can barely dream about. Sure, I'd love to do podcasts. Sure, I'd love to write timely and interesting blog posts. Sure, I'd love to have a six figure income. But, I don't have time.

And I can hear a whole bunch of you screaming, "Well, make the time." I hate to inform you, there's only 24 hours in a day, and of those I need seven to sleep. (Although, I never get the full seven because something is always waking me up in the middle of the night--be it my to-do list for the next day, the scene in Chapter Ten that's giving me fits, or an uncontrollable bladder. Again, I apologize for TMI.)

I remember when Kindle was the new craze. Yes, I jumped on the bandwagon and self-published and made a lovely little name for myself. But then, as more and more writers took the plunge, I found myself drowning in a sea of other Regency authors. I was no longer arriving at #11 in the Top 100 on launch day without a review. Now, I can't even get placement in the Top 500 with three reviews.

What do these other authors have that I don't?

Time. Time to blog, and Tweet, and FaceBook, and Instagram, and whatever other social media craze is out there to talk, discuss, mention, brag, and sell the latest book they have out. It's disheartening for a writer like myself. I can't even do ONE of those things on a steady basis, never mind for a book launch.

I'm jealous of this author's time management skills and envious of her success. Does it drive me to distraction? No. I've given up worrying about what other people do or don't do to achieve the limelight.

I have a new book out. I Tweeted about it a couple of times. I posted it on my blog (which then gets shared to Goodreads, LinkedIn, and Amazon.) And that's pretty much it. I don't have time for the other stuff. (By the way, in the article about the famous author, it was also revealed she doled out five grand for a BookBub ad. Ha! If I had five grand, I wouldn't know what to do with it. Yes, I would. I'd put new floors in my house.)

I've always maintained the way to a book's success is by word-of-mouth. No ad in the world will make people buy your book. (Okay, that's sort of not true and I know it, but for argument's sake let's just go with my premise.) If one person likes the book, then hopefully, she'll tell two friends, and they'll tell two friends, and so on and so on. (Or we could hope for one particularly brilliant review that ignites a spark.)

I can't do anything about the concept of time and my lack thereof. The only thing I CAN do is to use what I've been given wisely. One hour equals ten pages of edits, two can get me a blog post written for next week, three hours could possibly find me finished with the dreaded Chapter Ten rewrites.

We can only do what we can do. Will I continue to be jealous? Hell yeah. There's nothing wrong with a little envy--it's what actually spurred me into writing to begin with (I thought I could write a better book than an author I had read). Will I allow it to eat at me until I can't function anymore? Nope. I don't have time to wallow.

I'll write my books, publish my books, and continue in this vein until I get rid of what is sucking my time (right this moment it's the lawn. Between the rain and the humidity I haven't been able to do the yard in almost ten days.) And hopefully, I'll make enough money next summer to be able to hire a lawn guy so I can shave off four hours every week for myself. Wouldn't that be nice?

Tell me -- Are you jealous of other writers who have TIME to do the things you can't? Do you have (or have you ever used) BookBub to promote your books? Do you have a lawn care guy?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2016

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Ambiguous Ending

Okay, so here's the story -- my friend sent me her finished manuscript. One of her requests was that I take a look at her ending -- was it too ambiguous and should it be stronger. So, I looked. Oh yes, it totally needed to have a definite ending. This book was the third of the trilogy. I have been honored to read all three and this author put the MC through so much pain and heartache, she needed to find a little happiness at the end. And truth be told, as a reader, I needed the closure.

I finished my latest project a couple of weeks ago and I sent my friend my final draft. My novel is the first in a new series. It has an ambiguous ending. When the MC rides off into the sunset with the love of his life, we still don't actually know what is going to happen. A bad thing to do if you're a romance writer.

However, if you've read the last four books in the Reluctant Grooms series, you'll know exactly what happens to him, and why. In this new series, I'm turning back time so-to-speak and showing how he got there.

I don't mind that I've written an ambiguous ending. And I don't think my readers will mind either. They already know what happens. I'm taking a chance, I know, with new readers, but I hope if they enjoy this new book, they'll follow along as the rest of the series unfolds.

Because by the final book, he does finally get his own closure and it all ties in to the other series

Having said that, as a romance writer, we all know the rules--a Happily Ever After ending must be provided. My friend was not writing romance, but literary fiction with a semi-romantic bent. (I guess that could be a genre.) Her main character was not searching for love per se, but on the hunt to find herself, and I suppose if love came along, that would be great.

HOWEVER, as a reader, I placed my own EXPECTATIONS on the ending of my friend's book. I WANTED the MC to find happiness with a man. And that was not my friend's intention. Now, because we've been friends and colleagues for a couple of years, she trusts my critique and as always I told her this was her book and whatever crits I gave, she could take or leave. I don't know what she's done with the ending. But I'll find out when I read the published version.

Anyway, how do you feel about ambiguous endings? And I don't mean cliff-hangers, I mean no final resolution for the main character? As a reader, are you satisfied if the MC is satisfied without resolution? Or do you feel cheated by your own expectations of the story?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2016

Monday, August 8, 2016

And Done - Regrets and Responsibilities

Well, I finished my book last Wednesday night at 10:29 pm. It came in around 92,000 words. Funnily enough, a couple of weeks ago I was worried I couldn't even get to 60K.

I like it. I like the way it turned out. It made me cry. Twice. So that's always a good sign. It totally needs a couple of rounds of editing (five might do it). And then it's on to the next book. No rest for the wicked.

I did a mock-up cover because I can't generally finish a book until I have one. I  don't know why. It's like if I don't have one, I'll jinx myself. I know, it's weird.

It's a little plain, but I think it's Regency inspired. I might add some flourishes. I might change it entirely. I don't know. What do you think?

Here's the cover copy.

After nearly thirty-five years in the Army, Henry Wade, the Marquess of Dunbury, finally returns to London to officially claim his father’s title, hopefully to reunite with his long lost love, and to exact revenge on the man who ruined his life. Add six orphaned nieces into the mix, and suddenly, Henry’s life is upside down. Marrying them off seems like a fine plan, but finding suitable husbands for them is an impossible task.

They all wish to marry for love.

I'm going to take the rest of this week to get Monster ready for school, and then start work on the next book. Christmas is only four months away. 

REGRETS and RESPONSIBILITIES should be out in September sometime. 

Anne Gallagher (c) 2016