business of writing,  the writing life,  thoughts

Lessons Learned from a Writing Life Part One

Some readers can be fickle and fame fleeting

Your latest novel will be the most popular thing since sliced bread one minute, but the second the next trend hits, most readers will forget you ever existed. Fame is fleeting. Do what you do because you love it. That passion and love will attract loyal readers and super fans who will stick with you your entire creative career.

People would rather believe a colorful lie than a bland truth about an author.

People love a juicy piece of gossip. Gossip has painted me as a B list celebrity with a publicist and an active social life where I attend numerous parties with glamorous young people and date dangerous bad boys with questionable ethics and morals. In real life, I’m a 50-year-old, married ( with the same man for 24 years now) introvert and rarely leave my house. My idea of a party is cocktails on my back porch with my husband and a few close friends nearer my own age where we talk about life and gardening. That imaginary glamourous, party life sounds mentally and emotionally exhausting. But it’s definitely far more glamorous and interesting than my actual life. Most writers are normal people with very plain lives, and that’s bound to disappoint some people.

Some haters will go to any lengths to destroy you, including lies meant to “cancel” you.

Someone, probably one of my many anti-fans, decided to make up a story painting me as a Nazi-sympathizer because there is a particular group out there that, many years ago, incorporated things from Modern Demonolatry, without my permission, into their own website. When I spoke out about it and explained to people I was NOT a Nazi and did not condone or support white supremacy in any way, shape or form, someone actually started to argue with me! “I was told by a reliable source that you’re dating a Nazi and you have ties to XYZ Nazi Group.” No, I am not. I’m not dating anyone. I’m married. As a matter of fact, my husband of 24 years has some Jewish ancestry and he’s very much a liberal. “Yeah, but I was told by a reliable source. Someone I trust.” But I’m the actual person you’re talking shit about, telling you the facts about my real life. Who are you going to believe? How reliable do you think that source is if they got *that* information SO wrong? But I guess it’s true what they say — if you don’t volunteer the information, and have tons of online evidence to back up your side of things, and talk about your spouse, readers will make it up as they go. My husband is not on social media and has asked me not to include him in my social media. And I assure you – he’s NOT a Nazi.

Some people don’t understand how things work and instead of asking questions, they often make really bizarre and erroneous assumptions.

One guy actually thought that because I write occult books, that I edit all the other occult authors’ books, too. I’m not even sure how he came to that conclusion. Another person thought that all writers have to be approved by someone, and asked me who they could contact about that. Like a writer approval council? 😂

How quickly or slowly you write a book has little bearing on quality or salability.

I have had publishers contract books that took me years to write and books that took me a few months to write. I have had books I took years to write that didn’t go anywhere or sell well at all. Whereas books I wrote more quickly were bestsellers and were a huge hit with readers. I hate to break it to anyone who still believes the myth that slower is better. I understand how you feel. I, too, used to believe that myth.

The process happens in its own time.

Everyone’s creative process is different. Some people create more quickly. Others create more slowly. Some people are wordy. Others are more concise. Some folks puke it out and clean it up later. Some people edit and clean up their work as they go. Sometimes the process changes depending on the type of book. Each book is unique. Each writer is unique.

It’s all about the readers who love what you write.

There is nothing more satisfying as an author than when a reader tells you how much they loved a book, or how one of your books changed their life or inspired them. Those are the people you wrote the book for.

You’re not writing books for your haters.

They are not your intended audience and will never support you, so stop trying to win them over. You’re not the asshole whisperer. Write for your love of the story, and the readers who love what you write, and you can’t go wrong.

Don’t offer advice to aspiring authors unless it’s asked for.

The fact is that some writers really don’t want your advice. They want your validation, and if your advice doesn’t validate what they want to be true, they’ll ignore it and it will be a waste of everyone’s time and breath. For example – cover art. Just don’t.

Steph is an award winning and bestselling author of thrilling steamy and paranormal romances, dark urban fantasy, occult horror-thrillers, cozy mysteries, contemporary romance, sword and sorcery fantasy, and books about the esoteric and Daemonolatry. A Daemonolatress and forever a resident of Smelt Isle, she is happily married and cat-mom to three pampered house cats. Her muse is a demanding sadistic Dom who often keeps her up into the wee hours of the morning. You can contact her at swordarkeereon@gmail.com

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