Thursday, July 2, 2015
Update from last week: the library and their IT contact relented, so I once again have access to my blog. Sort of. I can post and view comments from Blogger, just like last week. I just can't view the blog. To do that and to leave comments, I have to leave Blogger and go directly to the site. Then it's okay. I considered telling the library and getting the problem fixed, then decided to just live with it. If we get Blogger involved, they might take a harder look at Shapeshifter Seductions. I don't want to mess up anything else. Besides, this only happens at the library. If I go to Sheetz or Starbucks, none of this applies.
So here I am, for the time being. Freedom of speech wins again! And so does humanity. This is the first time the library admitted human beings were responsible for the blockage, and got actual people to fix it. Before they used to whine, "It's the computer program, not us. There's nothing we can do." Why? Did Skynet take over while no one was looking? I'll bet I could watch The Terminator online at the library without any problems, even though it's rated R and has a sex scene. Obscene amounts of violence is still not considered obscenity. America, land of contradictions.
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This is where the blog proper should begin. Or the blog improper. Remember, last week a computer program labeled this as Pornography. This week we're clean. And stumped. I have no topic to write about. No problem, really. I'll just do what I usually do: ramble until I make word count. That method hasn't let me down so far.
How about a nice, annoying whine? My first venture into self-publishing didn't go so well. Would promotion have helped? I have no idea. I wondered on a writers' site if I should join Facebook, but was told that only helps if you have a ton of followers to start with. Someone else said I had an "unfortunate" cover and need one that looks more professional. No way I'm going to tell Serena that. Another person agreed with me that the romance genre is currently saturated, especially on Amazon, where romance readers can get their fix for 99 cents. I've already documented my experiences trying to hunt down copies of Nocturne books, Harlequin's paranormal line. Apparently individual Nocturne books are only available online now. I notice RT Magazine doesn't review the Nocturne line any more. Maybe paranormal romance has reached the saturation point as well.
Meanwhile, here's a self-pubbing story from the other end of the spectrum. Some guy whose name I can't remember wrote a book called The Martian. It's hard science fiction, about an astronaut marooned on Mars and his efforts to survive. The author wrote it because he's fascinated by the science aspects and wanted to write a story that would be scientifically plausible. He initially posted it chapter by chapter on his blog, for free. People wrote in asking for an ebook version. He self-published on Amazon and charged 99 cents. People bought the book in droves, even though it was free on his blog. It became a bestseller on Amazon. Then on the New York Times. Then Random House bought the print rights and put out a hardcover edition. Then Hollywood called him up and wanted the movie rights. The movie version, starring Matt Damon, will be out in October.
"I don't have anything to do with the movie version," the author was quoted in an interview. "My job is to cash the checks."
I'm trying to be happy for the guy, I really am. This is the Cinderella story all writers dream will happen to them. The guy had written other things but never had any success. Then out of nowhere, pow. By all accounts, it's a well-written book with an engaging protagonist. It certainly struck a chord with a ton of readers. All without any sex scenes, I assume.
I haven't read it. I hadn't even heard this story until earlier this week, at the same time I was being told why my own self-published book had gone nowhere. In all honesty, when I read the synopsis the first thing I thought of was that old '60s movie, Robinson Crusoe on Mars. (Adam West has a bit part in it. I kid you not.) I don't know if I'll ever read it. Even though I like SF, hard SF was never my thing.
Mostly I'm sitting here stewing in jealousy and wrestling with self-doubt. All I ask of writing is to earn enough money to cover my bills so I don't have to look for a job. (I'm a woman over 50 who'd need medical benefits. Those start going up in price once you're over 50. The odds of me getting a job that pays a living wage with benefits aren't looking good in this economy.) I don't need the lightning strike. A near-miss or two would work out just as well.
It didn't work with paranormal romance. What do I do now?
What I'm doing now is an almost total rewrite of the story I just finished. I wrapped it up, let it sit for over a week, went back and reread it and decided it was missing something. I'm hoping the new version's better. I'll be sending it to a new (for me) publisher under a pen name. It's a paranormal romance. Wish me luck.
After that, I dunno. Maybe it's time to switch genres. Shake things up a bit. Writing something different might get the excitement going again. That energy transfers to the writing. The readers do pick up on it.
I could try those Stephen Kingish horror ideas I had in mind. Nothing beats writing horror when you're depressed. I could focus on the YA. Or mysteries. I like mysteries. Or straight comedy. Or gay comedy. I've got a M/M contemporary romcom in the works. Sooner or later, something has to hit. And if it doesn't … well, I'll always have this blog. At least until the library blocks me again.