Well, we’re fast approaching the end of another year and the beginning of the next one. It seems like a good time to wrap it up. For me, 2010 was a whole lot better than the previous two years; I’m hoping the trend continues. To that end, I plan on setting a few goals for myself (I refuse to call them “resolutions”…such a tired term, and oh-so easily broken) in the hope I can keep a little more on track and working smarter, not harder.
This year, I moved twice, visited my Muffin once, gained and lost several freelance gigs (the nature of the beast) and published my first collection of flash fiction. I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words in non-fiction, a lot less fiction, and gained and lost an equal amount of weight. I had an awesome experience tutoring a student from China in English, which required me to take a risk and step out of my comfort zone. I’ve edited a stellar work of fiction of which I am very proud, discovered some amazing new writers and made new friends, and have learned an unbelievable amount about marketing, social networking, breaking technology and just how resilient I can be. All-in-all, it’s been a decent year for me, and at this point I can actually look at 2011 with a sense of hope which was sadly lacking the past two years. I’ll post that in the “WIN” column.
Novelist Patti Larsen has a great blog post sparked by a conversation we had about one of the dangers writers face in the dawning of the self-publishing age. Like I said in my previous post, I have dealt with phucktards before and have preached often about doing your due diligence when considering a potential client. The same principle applies to self-publishing options. Do your research! Ask questions, Google these people, examine their business model and weigh all the pros and cons. Personally, I don’t see how paying someone to publish you benefits the writer in any way, unless they are including editing services, marketing, cover art, or another good reason they need to take a cut of your money, especially when you can do many of these things yourself. Even if you can’t, it’s much more cost effective to pay a cover artist, for example, a flat fee for their services than to pay a “publishing house” a percentage over a number of years for the same thing.
Call me crazy, but that’s how I feel.
Since putting Not Nice and Other Understatements out there, I have taken a close look at my body of work and see a change from in the beginning to today. I’m happy to see an improvement, of course, and I also see a change in tone and delivery. When I compare NN to my work-in-progress, similar themes pop up, but it’s a lot lighter and AP is not as…literary? I still manage to turn most things to the Dark Side; I don’t think that will change. But then, I think of reader’s expectations.
“Not Nice” is…well, not nice. I can see how this might take some people by surprise, because I am quite funny on a regular basis, and I can see how NN might disconcert some people. My option, and I did think about it, was to publish NN under a pen name. However, so much of me was in that book, I couldn’t do it. “Athena’s Promise” might be a different kettle of fish, and I’ll really have to consider a pen name as AP is very different from NN, aside from the obvious format — NN is a collection of shorts, and AP is an urban fantasy novel.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, there comes a time in every writer’s life, I would hope, that you aren’t just writing the same thing over and over. You may be concerned about your audience, and whether or not they will follow you. But I say as we change and evolve as people, we also change and evolve as writers and it stands to reason your material will change. This is not a bad thing, it’s actually a good thing. However, if you have concerns, a pen name is always an option. And have faith in your readers — chances are they follow you for a reason, and if you have forged actual relationships, they will continue to follow even if there is a change. Maybe because of a change. I know I have favorite authors I will follow no matter what they write. It doesn’t mean I totally love EVERYTHING they produce, but I will at least give it a chance.
Well, I’ve nattered on long enough for today, so I’ll leave the rest of the goodies for Fabulous Fiction Friday for the wrap-up of my favorite fiction and new writers. Stop back and see me!