Monday, June 7, 2021

Advice to the Frustrated Author



We all know that writing is not the way to get rich fast, but I’m sure everyone following this blog has been frustrated with writing and publishing at least once. I know I was. Several times.

The good thing is that I’m stubborn as a mule. If I want something, I work to get it, even if it takes ages. I shudder to think how many of you give up because the headwind is too strong.

 So here are a few words of encouragement:

Things will get better!

Your Indie sales are low? Agents reject your queries again and again? That’s all too familiar to most of us. If you don’t mind listening, I’ll tell you a bit about my journey.

 When I started out Indie publishing at a time where the concept was still alien, most people told me I’m crazy (I am but that’s beside the point). I hand-sold 1000 copies of my first ever novel (a historical novels based on genealogical research) over the next 2 years, and the feedback I got was great. BTW, the novel is still selling today.

 So, enthusiastic as I was, I thought I was destined to become a good mid-list author. I got an agent and wrote more novels. One by one, they were rejected. And that wasn’t a question of quality. To prove the point: I got phone calls from German editors who apologized for not accepting my novel despite their strength. They had guidelines from their admin that told them only to buy historical novels set in the Middle Ages, or fantasy novels that were set in a Tolkienesque world.

 I returned to self-publishing, and since I was bilingual, I wrote my novels in English. I had no idea of cover design, copy writing, or marketing, and never heard of rapid release, eMail lists, or writing to genre. I only wanted to tell stories that other people liked. Sure, I found some rabid fans but no financial success.

 After Indie publishing more than 12 novels, 14 novellas, and a stack of short stories, I sat back and re-evaluated what success meant to me. I had learned a lot since the gold-rush times of Indie publishing and realized that my love and my strength lay with short fiction. I prefer writing short stories and novellas, and my fans love those tales for their rich small-scale worldbuilding. So I started honing my short tale craft and began sending out my stories.

 To my great surprise, the very first one I sent out was snatched up and included in the IWSG anthology "Voyagers: The Third Ghost" and the editors loved it. Nearly at the same time, the Swords & Sorcery online magazine bought my story "A Twist in Katlani’s Plan". And a few months later, Dean Wesley Smith bought one of my short stories for his Pulphouse Magazine (it’ll get published sometime later this year). There’s no question of what I’ll be doing for a while yet: I’ll be writing short stories, sending them out to paying markets for some time to come.

 Sometimes being mule-headed has its advantages. You just have to find the right direction for your inner mule. With that in mind:

Cherish your mulishness and write with joy!

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

#IWSG Day June 2021 - First Drafts, A Good Team at IWSG, and A Contest Reminder


Our purpose: to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts or concerns without feeling foolish or weak. Writers can also give assistance, guidance, and motivation. Together, we're stronger.

Many thanks to our found Alex J. Cavanaugh and our co-hosts today Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, Lee Lowery, and Rachna Chhabria!


OPTIONAL QUESTION: For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?


One of the reasons I love IWSG: a good team always has your back.
Case in point: Today, somehow, I missed my opportunity to post here in the early hours of the day. My schedule was packed. I discovered an email a few minutes ago, and thanks to the awesome team of IWSG admins, I am posting right now. It's not my finest hour, but the team had my back. I've seen this time and time again among the members of the admin team, and among the ranks of IWSG writers. It is one of the reasons I am glad to be a part of this group. 

Keep on encouraging one another! 


The contest is open now!