I am always a work in progress... We never stop learning to master our craft.

Some of my favorite personal quotes..

"Everything I do, everything I am, all that I breathe is 18+ and will contain sexually suggestive material. ~ Gina Kincade 2011

"If you never have any expectations of other people then you will never be disappointed. When a positive experience occurs it is always a reason to rejoice." ~Gina Kincade, 2009

"I have learned, as a rule of thumb, never to ask whether you can do something. Say, instead, that you are doing it. Then fasten your seat belt. The most remarkable things follow." ~Julia Cameron

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

For the Love of Books or Money? Why we must stay true to ourselves.

"I’m not good enough to do this author thing! I can barely pay the bills never mind buy groceries!"

Are you a writer who has said (screamed) something like this? Do you get discouraged when that quarterly royalty report rolls around with the discouraging numbers where there aren’t enough place holders before the decimal point?

Well, join the millions who don’t get those big dollar signs and big five contracts! I mean, not everyone will become the next Stephenie Meyer, JR Ward, or even the super lucky EL James for that matter. Despite the fact only a select few make a lot of money on their books, many still decide to jump in the proverbial sandbox and showcase their work to the world. Some will get upset when they get those statements and give up entirely, a sad but true fact I've seen too often in my time, but others continue to press on and type away, fingers flying across keys in the hope that someday, someway...

Why? Because we love to write! We have to write. It's just part of who we are.

Think about this. The ebook revolution opened doors for many authors like myself to tell our stories to the masses. This might not have happened just over ten years ago but we got lucky. The print market was pretty much closed to authors who like to dabble in high heat, kinky bdsm, and/or lgbtq romances. And my niche, paranormal romance? Just forget it! The market is and always will be saturated with many authors who are far more seasoned and have already built a huge following. And, well, I’m not the fastest, most prolific author who can push out a book a month, so there goes that market in reality. I'm a tiny fish in a vast indigo sea.

However, with the inception of electronic publishing I am able to weave my tales of vampy love and alpha werewolf shifters, getting them out to readers without my work just being a dusty old paper book hidden on a shelf in some library where no one ever sees it, and I can market my books to the best of my ability, hopefully effectively enough to make sales, even though that's an ever-changing, higher grasping task, too. Does it work with every book? Not always. Will I keep at it? Yes, I will. I'm stubborn or stupid, I never know which, but either way the biggest thing is I'm driven and determined to serve up my books to the readers.

Why? Why put myself under scrutiny for reviewers and even some book bloggers who seem to be know it all’s? You know, the ones who are armchair editors claiming my books have "too much detail" or "spelling mistakes"  because I happen to be a Canadian author and we spell things weird sometimes. Weird to them, maybe, but imagine all my years of school and learning the English language, and then you try to curb the natural love of the "u" and other differences and force your writing to become US Standard spelling to appease the masses. It ain't easy!

The reason I keep going day after day? I love to write. I definitely didn’t decide to do what I do every day for the money. My royalties last quarter were okay, in my opinion, for a relatively unknown writer. But, there are so many other authors who are household names, on many readers auto buy lists when it comes to my primary genre. I’m most likely somewhere near the bottom of the "who is who" list, but I’ll keep on bookin’ and hope to get there because it's just in me to never give up without a fight. I have to know I've tried and done the best I could at it no matter what.

One huge key is to have a support system to kick you in the ass when you feel down. Yes, I have one, whether I feel like I do some days or not. The many authors in the genre who will give a kind word, lift others up, or simply give me a kick in the pants when I need it the most, these authors who've become friends rather than simply associates,  honestly, they see me through some of my worse "I'm done" days and steer me back on track more often than not. I have to send a huge, heartfelt thanks to each and every one of them because without that support I am pretty sure I'd have walked away long ago and lived to regret never knowing if I could have made it or not.

Yes, there are many authors out there who won’t help other authors. Cause, it's all a competition, right? Yeah, not in my little world but the "me, me, me" mentality is most certainly strong in this business. Or  you run into authors who claim they are there to lift others up but in reality you can see through their "front face" to the real person behind the screen when their actions don't meet their words unless it's self-serving in some form or another, but...that’s on them. They can live with knowing they aren't what they make themselves out to be. I ain't one of them and I never will be.

Writing is a lonely business and, in my opinion, when you close yourself off in a bubble and don't interact online or even in person with fellow writers, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice.  It's not about stepping on others to get ahead or using them for all you can–which, sadly, happens far too often– it's about hanging on tight and going for the ride with those on this roller coaster with you for better or for worse.

Not getting the support at home from the significant other? Well, that’s something that varies by household but you are not alone. My husband is openly not very supportive of my career. I think he's only ever once told me he's proud of me after a few too many drinks and let me tell you, that hurts like you wouldn't believe and plays in to my constant thoughts of never being good enough no matter the milestones I may reach. Hey, just like the USA Today Bestselling Author status I gained in November, on his birthday no less, but that seemed to go entirely unnoticed and like I'd achieved nothing more than my normal mundane task of making dinner.

Yeah, I'll get off that topic now as I've made no bones about my jealousy of those authors whose husbands and families support their career choice and celebrate each and every win with steak dinners and flowers. I've long since realized (not accepted cause I can't understand it) that my life partner just doesn't care what I do in a day. My achievements simply don't interest him. That's something I simply live with, I guess.

I do have two growing kids, and one fully grown up young man (my life light, truth be told) who occasionally send a high five or "congrats, mom" my way so I guess there's some support somewhere at least. I know others who have less so believe it or not this isn't a complaint.

I have to do what I can to support my family, and even if I were making more the deposits still only come once every quarter so it's about making that almighty dollar stretch as far as I possibly can. A feat I'm lucky enough to be talented at, thankfully.

Do I get discouraged, too? Hell yes! Sometimes almost daily! But then I  think about how I’d feel if I gave up. Yeah, I could write for my friends and not worry about promoting, just put stories up on my blogs or reopen the stories forum I had so many years ago. Or I could go back to writing for rag mags. *groan*

Sure, that would make some naughty old men (and women, too) happy, I'm sure. Would it be the best solution for me? In my case, no. I might never make millions off my writing but that’s not my sole purpose for being here. What is? I love to write. I have many, many stories to tell, and dammit, I feel I’m good enough but yet I can still always improve. Am I the best? Far from it, I know, but I’ll always do what I can to get better!

Whew! So, I guess what I'm trying to say to my fellow authors is, no matter what genre you write, we all feel the same. We could make more. We want to succeed more.  Everyone has different levels of success so you've got to decide what makes you a success to you.

Stop comparing yourself to the top writers or even your peers who have made more of a name. Concentrate on making yourself, your writing, your online presence and marketing skills better! Take what you learn every day and promo and market yourself, not just your books, though, whenever and wherever possible. Tune out the naysayers, the negativity, the drama, and surround yourself with positive people. A lot of them, including me, are in the same boat as you are. Being an author isn’t easy but we do it for the love of writing!

And remember, most of all, when you are having a shit day...there's lots of us out there riding along right beside you. We are here to lend an ear, a helping hand where we can, and best of all...that big kick in the pants you need to get you moving again. Don't ever give up on the dream cause we can do this!

Lovingly penning the next crazy assed installment of whatever gig I have on the go–ask my friends, they will tell you I am certifiable some days, but then most authors I know are in some form or another... Yours,,.. Crazy Lady G

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