Writer, Gardener, Nacho Lover

Category: Writing Wednesdays (Page 2 of 3)

On Buying Books and Supporting Authors

The original post I made about this has gotten a lot of wonderful attention on Tumblr, so I wanted to put it here, as well.  It’s a good insight into the world of publishing, how you get paid as an author, and how you can build a career. I received the following question a while back:

“I want to buy your books, but wanted to ask how you preferred them purchased because I think I’ve read that Amazon shorts its authors on e-book sales and I want you to be fully paid for your work. I can buy e-books or physical copies.”

First off, let me inform you that you have jumped past my kids in my Last Will & Testament, because not a one of them have tried to buy my book. 😉

Oprah overcome with gratitude, gratitude for fans,thanks

Second, I’m traditionally published, which means I have a publishing contract, and my publisher is contractually obligated to pay me x% of each book sale based off net proceeds for the price THEY set the book to be, be that a physical book or an eBook. (When Amazon temporarily slashes book prices, they still have to pay publishers the agreed upon price.)

NOW. Whether this is true for self-publishers, I have no idea.  But I do know this: Continue reading

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Wait, who’s talking?

Dialogue tags. Super important, can be controversial, and can be used in ways that invoke madness. (In me.)

pubLIZity Nick Kroll show

We could talk about how you need to cut out using adverbs and how that’s tell, not show, but if you ever want to really get why you shouldn’t use so many dang adverbs with dialogue tags, go on a road trip with nothing but the (truly delightful) audiobooks to Harry Potter. I prefer the ones voiced by Stephen Fry.  But every single bit of dialogue is:

“What is it, Harry?” Hermione shrieked quite panickedly.
“Professor Umbridge’s hairy ankles,” Harry groaned vomitously.
“Merlin’s pants!” Ron moaned decidedly.

It’s, uh, it’s a lot. Lot of adverb abuse there.

But that’s not what we’re here to talk about.  No, what really chaps my hide and makes me tear out my hair is when I can’t figure out who the heck is talking. Let’s look at a few examples. Continue reading

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Why you should love the Editing Process

Personally, I love working with editors.  I’ve learned more about myself as a writer–and more importantly, how to improve as a writer–through the editing of my two novels than in any other capacity.  I’ve heard of writers bursting into tears, of feelings being hurt, and some writers up and quitting the whole shebang from frustrations regarding the editing process, and it leaves me baffled.

Lisa writing is hard

Listen to me: everyone needs an editor.  Everyone. And if you’re smart, you’ll get to a point where editors want to work with you–and you’ll be eager to work with them. God knows I get excited each time I hear who I’ve nabbed as an editor on my books.

Here’s how it works (and YMMV, depending on your publishing company, etc, but this is pretty standard): Continue reading

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It’s ARC season!

Not Ark, even though I would love 40 days and nights of rain. ARC, or Advanced Reader’s Copy, is the mostly-edited-but-there-still-might-be-a-few-tweaks-left version of a book that is sent out to review houses, book bloggers, and so forth so they have enough time to read and write a review by the time the book is released.

If you think about it, if you’re, say, USA Today or Foreward Reviews‘ book reviewer, you’ve got a lot of material coming at you. To have the time to read critically and write up your thoughts requires some breathing room. So these copies get sent out a few months in advance. (I’ll say this though: there aren’t going to be many tweaks between this and the Final Copy, maybe two or three typesetter issues. I have amazing editors with eagle eyes.)

I got an early morning call that my ARCs went out and a surprise knock at the door was a copy for me to hold, too! (I cannot stress enough that I have literally rolled out of bed here. I’m in my Oak Cliff Film Festival sleepshirt, for crying out loud.)

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I am so proud of this book, of all the research I did while writing it, the eye-opening experiences from researching a time that has been Anglicized to the point of absolutely washing away important people in our nation’s history. And beyond that, I really, really love these characters.

I hope that come December 3 (release day!) you will, too.

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Straight (and white) -washing of the Old West

My dad’s side of the family is filled with bona fide cowboys, ranchers and farmers, their established lives out west going back to the late 1840s when my great-great-grandfather converted to Mormonism and took his young bride to the Promised Land. He became a High Priest in Salt Lake City, was a choir master, landed more than one wife–several were his sopranos–a whole lot of land for sheep, and established our family’s Western roots.

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One of my uncles was the President of the National Rodeo Association and hermits his days out on his sprawling Wyoming ranch. Another uncle and his wife (goat roping and barrel racing queen, I thank you) have their quiet ranch with all of their animals out in the Unitas. Their lives have been anything but easy–managing land and animals never is–but they’ll be the first to tell you how those moments of solitude astride a horse who trusts you is one of the great things in life.

I say all of this because when I told my dad–who grew up on a farm/ranch in the middle of nowhere, Utah and remembers watching his dad get double back-hoofed right in the chest by a pissed off bull–that I was writing about gay cowboys (well, mesteñeros) who lived back in the 1800s, he laughed and said there weren’t any.

Welp. That’s not true.
Continue reading

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Writing Wednesday – On Diversity

Before I fell headlong into my next book project, I mapped out a general outline–as per usual for me–and detailed my Character Bible. This is when I put together the characters obituaries and physical descriptors. (Basically, what would the paper say about them when they’re gone. It’s just a weird thing I do.)

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I looked at it and realized: everyone was white. It was my default. Basically it was me being lazy, trapped in a comfort zone of absolute boringness. I was determined to change them from white to anything else, but I couldn’t just magically make them not white and still tell the same story, could I? Short answer: no. That’s even lazier. Writing colorblind, or rather, “I can just interchange the color of someone’s skin or their race without changing who that person is!” is some bullsh*t white utopia stuff. Because it does matter. It does. Continue reading

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Why I despise LOLITA (and you can, too!)

This morning the very fun, very talented Beth Wareham posted to Shadow Teams what I’m sure was meant to be a post to get people talking about how most men don’t succeed at writing erotica, with their noted exceptions. [I share the link for context. This isn’t to incite angry comments on either page, and please do not engage in any argumentative way.]

As a professional writer of romance (some might define it as erotica because, you know, it’s about The Gays), that got my attention…but not in the way it was intentioned. Please note that this isn’t an attack on one person. This is my anger with a particular work and how often it’s held up as a “gold standard” of “erotic” writing, and most often by male academia.

Lolita is a book about molestation, foremost and above all. It’s about gaslighting, it’s about manipulation, and it’s about the disgusting lie that a twelve-year-old girl is “sexually precocious” and on the same level mentally as a thirty-eight year old man. There is a built-in assumption that she has any measure of power.

“But it’s about language! Nabokov is at the top of his writing game! He set out to see if people would feel for a monster! It’s ART!”

This is what I’ve always heard in rebuttal. (And always from men. Always.) Nabokov set out to create a protagonist who is the worst sort of person and still make you care about him. And I’ll just say this: if you sympathize with a pedophile, you need to do some self-examining.

Because make no mistake: this book is responsible for teaching pedophiles and pederasts the world over how better to groom their victims. This book is responsible for normalizing rape culture. Continue reading

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Writing Wednesday – Research

LGBT novels indie research,research LGBT novels

Or as I like to call it, the Sarlacc pit of writing. Don’t get me wrong, I love research. Love love love. My former life as a burgeoning scientist meant nothing but research. And learning? Who doesn’t love learning! Not this gal! *counts the negatives*

Uh, you know what I mean.

I just often find myself in an inescapable vortex of book after citing after Wikipedia page after online research paper. And man, g-bless Google books online, because that can be a goldmine for research papers that are maybe out of print, or ones you can’t normally access without being an academic or having an in with the author of the published paper as there is only the one copy and it’s on their grandma’s shelf, displayed proudly. (As it should be!)

But my question for you is… Continue reading

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Writing Wednesday – When the words won’t come.

I keep forgetting this part...

I got a book idea– number 2! –and then promptly shut down. Now, there are some massive emotional upheavals happening in my life currently (to put it lightly) and it would be easy to push my inability to produce a product off onto that. But there are also times when things are mellow and lovely and the words won’t come, so it’s not fair to just point to this one thing as the cause. In the parlance of the internet, WHAT DO?

I just hit on a realization for myself. We’re all different, we all have our own methods, but here’s what I’ve just figured out about myself.

I’m…I’m a dragon. Continue reading

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Writing Wednesday – Musical Chairs-Writing Ed.

pretty desk

Listening to music when I’m writing is tricky: too engaging and I can’t focus on making words. I definitely prefer a groove playing in the background of the trippy-lounge variety. If that music mimics a heartbeat… oh, is that the song for me. It gets my brain rolling, but in a creative-energized way, allowing me to multitask my thoughts and (hopefully) get the words on the page.

Lately, I’ve been reliving my navel-gazing New Wave days of my youth after stumbling across an old favorite CD. And since you know how much I love the Pomodoro, I thought I’d put together some mixes for us that are Pomodoro length. It’s like the days of Musical Chairs: write when it plays, stop when it stops. Easy, right? Continue reading

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