When Does It End–New Release-itis

 

It’s a special day. The day that I have the privilege of seeing my 30th project published (articles aside because I quit counting those after I hit 100).

Before the White Rose is a general market short story I wrote for the love of it. I didn’t write it intending to publish it. But I am thrilled Belle Bridge Books has. In it, three people who are at wit’s end and despairing all take action–and discover something they wished they’d discovered sooner.

For long-time readers, I wrote it as one of my Sunday book projects. Those I write for me, ignoring everything except the story itself. This one I wrote and it continued to nag at me. I wasn’t sure why, and I ignored it as long as I could. But it didn’t stop. So I pulled it out, read it again, and saw something of value in it. That’s when Belle Books got involved.

They’rereissuing many of my earlier works, and added a sampler of the three Seascape novels in Before the White Rose.
It’s a Kindle 99 cent exclusive. I’ve never done one of those in fiction, so I’m eager to see how it does.

Someone asked me this morning on Facebook when you stop getting the adrenaline rush on the day a new project is released. “You’d think it gets old after you’ve done so many,” she said. My response was this.

“If and when it does, and if and when I ever stop being thrilled to pieces about a new release, I’ll let you know. But I have the feeling doing so might frighten you.”

She asked, “Why?”

I responded. “Because as tickled as I still am, I have a feeling that won’t happen until I’m dead.”

Have to chuckle here because I am tickled. I do still feel that same rush I did on holding my first book in my hands. And I hope and pray I never stop feeling it!

The moral of the story (you, of course, knew there’d be one) is that if you’re not thrilled by pleasing aspects of your job, you’re in the wrong job. Look for that in which you find joy. Life is too short to settle for less.

Blessings,

Vicki

 

BEFORE THE WHITE ROSE is an original, general market short story.  Kindle 99 cent exclusive.

Includes bonus material:  Seascape Series Sampler.

That’s the first three chapters on:
Beyond the Misty Shore  (10/1/2011)
Upon A Mystic Tide  (11/1/2011)
Beside a Dreamswept Sea (12/1/2011)

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What Ignites Inspiration?

WARNING: THIS IS A NO-EDIT ZONE…

Inspiration comes to us all in different ways and it impacts us in different ways. Let’s prove it. Listen to Staff Sgt. Angie Johnson, USAF in this video of ROLLING IN THE DEEP:

What’s your emotional reaction? Note it. Stop and write it down.

Now, what did you react to? The music, the lyrics, Staff Sgt. Angie Johnson’s voice? The group’s environment? The lack of adornment? The BDU–battle dress uniforms–these soldiers are wearing? Write it down.

On the lyrics. What is this song about? What does it speak to you? Is it a song about love lost? About despair? About falling down but getting back up? About the kind of crying that runs so deep inside you, those tears are rolling in the deepest recesses of your soul? Or maybe the lyrics evoke a feeling of frustration and broken dreams, for coming so close to realizing your dreams and missing, of being used or betrayed. Or maybe of being under-appreciated or underestimated.

Or maybe none of those things snagged you. Maybe you related not to yourself or your situation but to the other person in whatever conflict challenge has occurred in your life. Perhaps your’s is a “you blew it reaction” and contains a “Man, when it hits you what you’ve lost, you’re going to regret it–HUGE.”

Yet your reaction might be none of those things. It might be that you homed in on the verse that advises: “throw your soul through every open door.” It also suggests counting your blessings and seeking whatever you most want, addresses sorrow turning to gold and reaping what you sow. Maybe that’s the part that resonated with you.

My points are these:

  1. 1.Whatever your take is, odds are high it is an emotional reaction.
  2. 2.Whatever your emotional reaction is, odds are high it is seated in your personal perception of the whole of this. Music, lyrics, environment–your sensory perceptions–filtered through your current circumstance and your feelings and attitudes toward and about that circumstance.
  3. 3.Any and all aspects and reactions that are honest are valid.
  4. 4.Whatever is tapped in you is very likely rooted in universal emotion. Meaning, emotions that most human beings relate to as individuals. The emotions that spark not sympathy but empathy (love, anger, shame, despair, regret, honesty, fairness, retaliation and on the list goes).
  5. 5.Your reaction and the aspect or attitude you have changes. Listen to this again in a week and you might well have an entirely different reaction–and it too will be seated in emotion but through your own shifted perspective. Why? We change. Our attitudes change. Our emotions change. But you still will react. You just get a different emotional tap.

How does this relate to books?

The exact same thing happens in books. The reader reacts to a universal-emotion tap and sees the story and characters and setting–all aspects of the novel–through that prism. The prism that is influencing whatever is evoked in the reader.

Writers write stories that evoke emotion in them. Readers react to the emotion–but not necessarily in the same way that the writer reacted. Not necessarily on the same emotion but on one relatable to them in their own lives.

So what do we as authors learn from this? What can we take away from it that best serves our work and our readers?

First is an understanding about the universal power of universal emotion–that relatable aspect that creates a bond and a connection.

Second is that a story isn’t always the story for the reader. While we might write a story about betrayal, a reader could perceive that story as one about broken dreams. A response can be personal or professional. It can bring up close and personal the troubles of another–a friend, a child, a parent, a resented stranger who has impacted someone close–or not so close. (Think Casey Anthony. Think Callie Anthony. Think George or Cindy Anthony.) Same story, different reactions. Different relatable aspects.

Does this insight help or hurt the author? The answer to that, in my humble opinion, is up to the author. If s/he writes honestly, plays fair with the reader, tries to be even-handed in both sides of a conflict, then the insight should benefit the author. If not, it’s definitely a hindrance–and worse, a missed opportunity to connect with the reader in a way that is significant to that reader.

Whether through a song, a music video or a book, inspiration comes in many ways and is related in many ways. Some are intentional, some are not but are as a consequence of tapped emotions.

That’s the biggest point. In the end, storytelling, whether through song or book, requires a potent vehicle. That vehicle is emotion.

And carried on that emotion in whatever form is inspiration.

Blessings,

Vicki

P. S. I’m considering combining all of my blogs into one–this one. But out of respect to my readers, some of whom have been with me for over a decade, I want to hear what you have to say about it. Please pause a moment and take the poll. It provides a place for your vote and your comments. Take the BLOG POLL here.

READ FREE ONLINE NOW: INVITATION TO A MURDER by Vicki Hinze

INVITATION TO A MURDER

A few years ago, I wrote an ebook, INVITATION TO A MURDER.  It’s a prequel to the IT GIRLS series, which was later optioned for a series as Gotham Roses by Twin Star Entertainment.

Right now, Mills and Boon has INVITATION TO A MURDER as a free online “daily” read.  (Daily = a chapter a day.)  29 of the 31 chapters are currently online.

In the past couple of years, I’ve gotten dozens of letters from readers wanting this story and it wasn’t available.  Right now, it is, so I wanted to let you know it.

I don’t know if the daily reads add chapters on the weekends or if the final two chapters will be added on Monday and Tuesday, but 29 are up and available now.

You can read INVITATION TO A MURDER at  http://ht.ly/5QR2C.

So far as I know, this is the only way to read this book.

Enjoy!

Blessings,

Vicki

UPDATE:  All 31 chapters are now online at Mills & Boon  http://ht.ly/5QR2C

Niceville Public Library Fundraiser

A Writer’s Fairy Tale: Bare Face, Bare Soul

Traditional or Independent Publishing

WARNING: THIS IS A NO-EDIT ZONE…

The debate hasn’t just started on this subject and it’s far from over. We hear of traditional success stories and independent publishing success stories. In either forum, at this time, we hear many more stories from authors who are struggling.

About five years ago, I wrote a post about my belief that mid-list wasn’t dead, it was morphing. That the new mid-list would be in ebook format and that only when an author reached a certain sales level would that author be put into print.

Just as the world wasn’t ready to receive my “romantic fantasy” (now a genre tagged as paranormal romance) in the early 1980s, it wasn’t ready to receive that mid-list prediction. But just as a the paranormal genre birthed and thrived so too, I believe, will mid-list novels in ebook format.

That isn’t to say that there won’t be some serious bestsellers by authors who elect ebook and shun traditional publishing. There are already and will continue to be more of them. But I still believe publishers will move to ebook for mid-list and only major bestsellers in fiction will be out in print. Another couple years maybe…

I also believe the pressure is on our traditional publishers. One question I hear repeatedly is: “How can traditional publishers stay relevant?”

It’s a fair question and honestly asked. Publishers find themselves in a new world now. One where authors can and are publishing without them. The reasons why vary. Some authors write niche books–ones that appeal to a limited but dedicated audience. This lack of volume makes these book less appealing to traditional publishers, and the authors want to write them anyway and do it then publish themselves.

Some authors have written to the genre/market dictates and haven’t gotten publisher support or pushes to elevate their book’s standing in the market, so they opt out and publish themselves. Some are weary of the submit and reject process–whether it is to a publisher or an agent (or committee of agents at the agency)–revising the book to the point the work has become a work-by-committee and the author no longer recognizes it as the book s/he wanted to write anymore. And for still other writers, they’ve done the math on their specific book sales and determined that publishing traditionally is costing them serious money so they opt out and publish themselves.

There are some authors who feel to be taken seriously they must traditionally publish. However, when those same authors talk to other authors who are independently publishing and discover that they’re out-earning the traditionally published authors who are at the same level in their writing career, they hop off that ladder rung or pause and rethink their position. Some go, some stay with traditional publishing.

Traditional publishers can do things for authors that independent publishers can’t do for themselves. At one time, many things. But as the market changes, that list is dwindling. How much or how successfully it will dwindle, whether or not the list will disappear, is another topic of debate.

Where once authors found an immense stigmatism attached to independent publishing, they’re now using adverbs like “liberating” to describe the writing experience. Some do however resent the time required to market what they publish. Some authors just want to write their books.

I fall into the “I just want to write my books” category. However, let me assure you that it doesn’t matter if you’re traditionally or independently published, you’re not going to just write your books and sell. You might hire someone to handle the other aspects for you, but in either forum, you have obligations and responsibilities and seldom do few of them come with the tag, “Optional.”

These days, traditional or independent publishing is a personal choice. You know there are advantages and disadvantages to either selection, and that regardless of your choice, you are going to have to engage in some level of promotional activities.

If you hate deadlines, don’t care if you are paid an advance (that actually pays in advance of publication) or are weary of the submission process and rewriting of your books, you might do the math and determine independent publishing is for you–or not.

The bottom line at this point is traditional publishing is driven by bottom lines as they’re interpreted by said publishers. Editors don’t have the luxury of buying books they love, they buy books they love AND they can sell. That’s fiscally responsible and wise. Independent publishers bring a lot of different and personal-to-the-author priorities to the table. They weigh the bottom line and add those personal priorities and decide accordingly.

A guess on how publishers stay relevant is content but also execution. If they develop killer marketing and promotion forces that drive sales and if they create an environment that is author-friendly and fiscally friendly, then they will. If they cross-media market, that’s a big perk–one too time-consumptive for an author to do, unless s/he hires a firm who does that specifically. There are ways, IMHO, for publishers to stay relevant. But it’s not going to be in the ways they’ve relevant previously, and they’re aware that authors look at the matter through different eyes. They now have options.

I suspect that many major sellers will elect to opt out of traditional publishing eventually. Some have already, finding in cost-benefit analysis that it behooves them to subcontract editing, cover artists and other production aspects, as well as marketing/promotion.

Now understand that these opinions are predicated on professional level work being done in both traditional and independent forums. Does this mean I believe traditional publishing is doomed?

Of course not. Publishers can be nimble and flexible and creative. Traditional books will be with us for many reasons. But I do expect it to change. It must. Just as independent publishing has and will continue to change.

It’s the nature of all business to change. Stagnant industries die. It’s that simple, and complex.

When you get down to the bottom line, what you find is the answer is in the author’s bottom line. Whether to publish traditionally or independently is a matter of choice. And the reasons for making the choice you, the author, make are as varied as the books authors write. Key is to study your market, study your path, so that you’re making informed choices based on reasonable expectations. This isn’t the place for off-the-cuff decisions. Know what you’re getting into and what is required. Understand that publishing a book is and always has been a craps-shoot. Some books have all the push there is to be had and still tank. Some get zero push and soar. The readers choose.

And that–the readers choosing–is the one constant in all of publishing, traditional or independent.

Blessings,
Vicki Hinze
ⓒ 2011

 

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An informal chat video. Vicki responds to your question: Does writing articles on how-to write, on the craft or business of writing, translate to sales on your books?

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Attn: ACFW Book Club Members

ACFW Book Club is choosing what book to read. Deadly Ties made the list from which they’ll choose. If you’re a member of the book club, would you please consider voting for it?

The link is: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/acfwbookclub/surveys?id=2356502

Thanks!

Vicki

Criticism

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