Christie Rich decided to stop by and chat about tips, writing, publishing, and her debut novel Five. Enjoy!
I’m excited to be here today to talk about my experiences in publishing and give you some publishing tips.
Writing is amazing. It has the ability to set my mind spinning with ideas and allows me to dream like when I was a child without people questioning my attention span or sanity. The problem is, it’s not all rainbows. There’s a difference between being a writer and an author.
Semantics, some of you are no doubt shouting right now, but hang on there. I’ll explain.
Being a writer means focusing on the writing. Being an author means focusing on what you have written. See the difference?
Now that I have traveled a few miles down the publishing path, I have realized there are some things I wish I’d known before I embarked into Author territory. I’d like to share those with you now:
- Being an author takes time away from being a writer: The minute I placed my first book, Five (Elemental Enmity) up for sale on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, I became an author. No longer was my writing just about completing a book. It also became about promoting the book I’d written. Some might find they love being an author more than a writer, but for me, the most joy comes from discovering that new world or learning more about my protagonist. It isn’t necessarily as great to promote, especially when I didn’t know the first thing about doing it. *grins*
- Writing is a business: So it turns out there is a lot to think about when you are a writer. Not only do you have to worry about promoting, you have to worry about accounting. I don’t know about you, but I happen to hate keeping track of numbers. This is one time in my life when I wish I was feeling the love. For me, not so much. You see, if you want to know how you are doing as an author, you have to either hire someone to keep track of sales for you, or figure out how to keep track yourself. Just because I know how to use excel doesn’t mean I want to *grins*.
- Covers count: Being a new writer, especially of the independent variety means there is a lot to think about and a lot you have to know. I’m not sure how publishing houses decide on cover design, but for Indies, there is a plethora of choices. Do we try it ourselves? Anyone with PowerPoint or image editing software can come up with a cover, but will it be the best for our book? I actually like this part of being an author. I paint on the side, so design is second nature to me. Unfortunately, I haven’t learned how to use Photoshop well enough to pull off the kind of covers I want. My first cover for Five was very simple and not as appealing to readers as I had hoped. When I found the Fivefold Symbol that is on my current covers, I was floored. It represented the themes in my books, but incorporating it into my artwork has sometimes been a challenge. Good thing for me I found an awesome cover artist that sees my vision. So even though I love messing around with Photo Shop, I don’t have the expertise I need to produce the product I want which leads me to…
- You have to be willing and able to spend money for your books. I’m okay with investing the money I need to in order to make sure I’m producing a quality product. The trouble is sometimes you pay for things that might not really help you. For example, I hired a “developmental editor” on my first version of Five and spent $3,000.00 to have the editor question every single thing I did within the manuscript. I had no idea that there was a difference between a developmental editor and a copy editor which was what I needed. Author beware is the phrase of the day where I am concerned. The key is to check into every aspect of publishing before you agree to shell out any money. There are several options for writers and a lot of them are affordable.
- Get ready to talk about your books: Some might think this is a given when you publish a book, yet how to go about talking up your new book is not that easy for some of us. You might be surprised how hard it is to narrow an entire book down to a sentence, which is usually what people expect when they say, “So what’s your book about?”
- Look for likeminded people to befriend: One of the best things I ever did as a writer was to join goodreads. Not only have I found a great platform to talk about my books (not as much as you might think), I have found a community of likeminded people who can give me advice about what books to read and help me know my market better.
- Social media takes time: As much as I like to chat it up with people online, it can take over my writing time if I’m not careful. I’m still trying to figure this out, but there are several options available to busy people to help us manage social networking. I’ve met some amazing people online. I even have a good friend in South Africa because of the internet. This is an exciting time to live in the world, but with so much demanding our time, we have to be careful to not only focus too much on promotion. When we finally find our audience, we need to have something to offer them, and that just won’t happen if we don’t spend time writing.
- Opinions are just that: I didn’t know going into publishing that there was such a wide variety of opinions on how to format, edit, promote…well, you name it, someone has an opinion about it. It’s actually up to the author to decide what will work best for their book. You can and should get advice, but just because someone says something doesn’t make it true for you. Research is key, and taking the time to make sure you have everything set the way you want it before you publish will make your life much easier.
- There is no perfect book: No matter how many eyes have scanned a manuscript there will be errors. I see errors all the time when I’m reading traditionally published books, but most people don’t mention them in reviews or whatnot. Taking the Independent path isn’t for everyone, but if that is the course you choose, be prepared to have people question every aspect of what you have done, from editing to your cover.
- Don’t take reviews personally: It’s hard when someone doesn’t like your book, but it’s going to happen. Every bestseller out there has one star reviews and many of them have thousands of one star reviews. As a writer, I can’t control how someone reacts to my books, but I can control how I react to reviews. The truth is I have learned not to react, and I think that is the key to a long writing career. As in anything, we can’t please everyone. Not every reader will connect with your story. That doesn’t mean it is bad. It just means you have had different life experiences than your reader. They don’t understand where your protagonist is coming from and that’s okay. I don’t love every book I read, so how can I expect every reader to love mine?
So there you have it. Are you contemplating writing a novel? Have you a manuscript your dying to release into the world? Great! Congratulations. That’s quite an accomplishment. But before you send out those query letters or hit publish on KDP, make sure you’re ready for the ride of your life. Being a writer is great, and being an author can be just as great as long as you are prepared. Have you had a similar experience? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Rayla Tate’s life is about to turn vertical…again. As if it wasn’t bad enough her mother disappeared under questionable circumstances leaving Rayla to be raised by her aunt in a horrendously small town. Her overprotective guardian is determined to ruin Rayla’s life. She refuses to let Rayla out of her sight or out of the state. Provincial living might be what her aunt demands of her purposely sheltered niece; but, Rayla has other ideas. In a desperate attempt to follow her dreams she flees the safety of her home and runs away to college with her best friend toward a bright future in the art world.
However, excitement over her newfound freedom turns into terror when she is chased by a mysterious stranger on her way to school. When his motorcycle suddenly morphs into a fire-breathing pegasus, Rayla questions her sanity. Worse, the man riding next to her stirs a burning desire in her soul she has never known or could have ever imagined. Using all the will she owns, she manages to resist the compulsion she feels; yet, as he disappears into the night, she is certain he hasn’t gone far.
Rayla quickly dismisses the encounter to her overactive imagination. She is determined to settle into her new life, yet the images and feelings of that night still haunt her. To make matters worse, her aunt seems to be in on the act, insisting that Rayla will soon be hunted by a pack of fae lords for a power over the elements she never knew she possessed—a power that could change the world. Quicker than she ever thought possible, she finds herself surrounded by stunning men that all seem determined to win her heart. Why does she feel drawn to each one of them? More importantly, what dark power do they hold over her? Rayla must quickly learn to fend off these beautiful and seductive pursuers using whatever means necessary or find herself lost to the fae world forever.
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About Christie Rich
I grew up daydreaming about fairytales, and my love for discovering new worlds has never died. I am not one of those writers who always knew I would write. I thought that was what other people did until one day a few years ago, I took a challenge from a friend and typed my first words. My journey has been wonderful, and I cannot imagine a day where I would ever give up writing now. My love for reading is what fueled my imagination in the first place and still does. When I am not writing or reading, I am enjoying family time with my husband and two children. We live in a quiet community under the Wellsville mountains in Utah, and I am so thankful for the rich life I have been blessed with.
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