April 10th, 2013
What Do You Want?

I have twelve pages left to edit on Aidan’s Mate. I believe I found the issue that was plaguing the book *cough*40+ page chapter four*cough*. That leaves one love scene and two chapters left to write. I’m thrilled that the book will FINALLY be done this weekend. I know I’ve said it before, but this time it’s true. 🙂

I’ve been having conversations with a friend of mine about the changes happening in the publishing industry. Those changes are affecting writers, agents, editors, and readers. There are only a few agencies that seem to be meeting the technological changes head on (ie The Nelson Agency, Dystel and Goderich, etc). Others are slower at turning the ship around. But that’s not what I want to talk about today. Today, I’d like to talk about the way writers are responding to the changes.

As most of you know, I started my writing career publishing for Ellora’s Cave. I quickly moved onto New York by selling novellas to Kensington Brava, and then to Harlequin Blaze. I sold three single titles to Tor (ie the Dead World trilogy), then several short stories to various publishers after that. It was all one big learning experience. There were some fun times. Reader signings being one of the biggest. Which brings me back to my conversation with my friend. I’m about to head off to the Romantic Times Convention at the end of the month. I’m really looking forward to seeing several of my friends and meeting others that I’ve only spoken to on the phone and online. I’d planned to bring ten copies of my Phantom Warriors’ bundles each to have available for a book-signing, but it’s turning out to be more of a pain than it’s worth. Let me explain…

Because I’ve been self-publishing my last several titles, I’m no longer considered a ‘regular’ author. What that means is that I cannot sign my books at the big book signing that takes place on Saturday May 4th with all the other authors. I’ve been relegated to a Thursday slot with all the other Indie and small press authors, which is fine since I’m in good company, but the time slot/day doesn’t bode well for sales. (The signing starts while most people are at work (ie Four o’clock). I am under no illusion that people will rush out of work just so they can come and get their ‘ebook’ signed or in my case, their paperback. If I were them, I’d wait until Saturday when most of the authors will be signing.

For the last few days, I’ve been a little bummed about the ‘separation of authors’. I know it’s an ego thing, but I kind of feel like I’ve earned the right to sit at the big table with the other authors given my professional publishing history. Dh had no choice has been gracious about listening to me bellyache. He’s the one who initially asked me what I wanted? What I was trying to get out of this conference? I realized that I didn’t have a good answer.

I’d originally planned to attend this conference so that I could get my Young Adult novel into reader hands. I’d planned to introduce the new pen name at the same time. Once those plans changed, then I think I lost sight of why I was going. My goal was no longer on the table. I thought it would be nice to sign some paperbacks and meet readers (I love meeting readers in person.), but given the day that’s been designated and the timeframe it’s unlikely I’ll meet many. Also, the focus of that particular signing is ebooks. I LOVE ebooks, but it’s really hard to ‘sign’ your name on them.

The one thing about being a writer is that 99.9% of the time you work alone. My only chance to interact with readers face-to-face is at a conference. Other than those moments, I don’t ever ‘see’ readers. I get wonderful emails, but it’s not the same as meeting someone in person. Back in the day, I used to be a pretty social person (you kind of have to be when you’re a flight attendant ;), but that all changed when I became a full-time writer. Now I’m about as close to a hermit as I care to get. If my comfort zone gets any smaller, I will not be able to fit inside it. LOL! Those are just some of the reasons why I like ‘getting out’ to meet readers and do signings. But it’s not the main one. The main reason is that by meeting readers at signings it reminds me that ‘real people’ are buying my books, reading my words. That there is a REASON I sit in my office alone 99.9% of the time. That my stories matter to people other than me. When that is taken away or curtailed, I feel the loss keenly.

4 comments to “What Do You Want?”

  1. Your husband is wise. And I think that really sucks about the signing, especially since so many trad. published authors are also self-publishing. It’s not a few isolated cases, it’s a huge percentage of us.

  2. Charli, Yes, he is.

    Not anymore it isn’t.

  3. Seems like it’s time to stop paying dues to an organization where loyalty and membership over the years means nothing to them.

  4. Bernard, I actually quit RWA last year. Unfortunately, RT isn’t a dues paying organization. It used to be mainly a readers’ convention, but now there are as many authors (if not more) than readers there.