Hey, Cave Dwellers: It is my honor to feature my writing colleague, Emerian Rich. She’s got three great pointers for new authors (and some not-so-new authors … just sayin’). Here she is!
As writers, we have many bad habits that hinder our careers. I am just as guilty as the next author and some of us don’t even know we’re doing it. I’m going to bring to light three self-torturing habits we have, in hopes that we can all help each other stop the madness.
- We don’t support ourselves.
Sounds weird, but it’s true. We wrote these stories, we love them, but are we going to stand up to the masses and say, “My story is good enough to pay $10 for! Get it now!” Most will back out of this quicker than dodging a trip to the dentist. We are writers and as a rule introverts. We’d rather write the 100 page essay than give the three-minute oral report. We also sabotage any self-confidence we may have by discounting our gifts. We tend to separate ourselves from “real” authors.
What to do:
Stop it. No really, STOP IT!
- We overuse the word JUST.
I’m not talking editing 101 here, I’m talking about thinking of yourself in JUST terms. I’m JUST self-published. I’m JUST a short story writer. I’ve JUST got one book out. I’m JUST with a small publisher. I’ve JUST sold two short stories. Cut out the JUST! What is the standard you hold yourself to? Stephen King? How many millions of horror authors out there are not Stephen King, but are still living their dream of being respected, valid writers, with something to say that people will listen to? It’s okay to set your sights on the Stephen King ideal, but don’t make it all or nothing.
What to do:
Believe in yourself. Believe in your message. Stop JUSTing yourself. Stop discounting your gift. Set your sights high, but reward yourself at every milestone. Keep track of your milestones and look back on them every year. This writing biz goes really fast and you’ll be surprised (if you take baby steps every week) what you can accomplish.
- We take editor response, critiques, and reviews too personally.
Yes, our writing is our baby, but the more I’m in this business, the more I realize that it’s all about timing. Most declines have very little to do with the story content. So what if you’ve submitted your story 512 times and never got a bite? Is it about you? Do the editors not like you? This is true in only the rarest of occasions ie… camping outside their hotel room at Con chanting “Sign me! Sign me!” all night until they give in—probably not a good idea. But to most editors, you are a nameless, faceless number. You’re number 902 in a pile they’ve received to read that month. They are under pressure to get through them all and they are looking for ghost fiction only this year, not zombies. You missed your window. It’s not personal. It’s not even about your writing half the time because they read the title: “Zombie Apocalypse” and because they aren’t buying zombies this year, bam… it’s in the reject pile. Critters are commenting on your work to help you. They are suggestions and you should take them into account, but you don’t have to change everything you are to fit every comment. As far as reviews go, they are completely subjective. The reviewer could be outside your target audience, against your message, or have religious differences. You may have said MOIST in the first paragraph of your book and from then on they just knew you were trying to gross them out. Every reader takes something different away from your writing. That’s what you want to happen.
What to do:
Make sure your work is as perfect as you can make it so if an editor decides to give you a chance, your writing will stand on its own. If you are a self-published author and you didn’t have money for a full edit, expect grammar slams. Expect them to point out errors. Don’t take it to heart. Don’t let yourself get caught up in what you did wrong in the past. And those crazy reviewers that suggest ten different ways you should kill yourself because they hate you so much? Let it roll off your back. Anyone with that much hate over a book review obviously has emotional issues. Take what reviewers leave with a grain of salt. Try to evaluate it in a removed way, see if there is any truth in it, and then move on. Put out that next book. Do better. Learn from your mistakes and grow as a writer.
And there you have it! Check out some of Emerian’s work below …
Praise for Dusk’s Warriors:
“All hail, the queen of Night’s Knights has returned! Emerian Rich’s unique take on vampires delights my black little heart.” ~Dan Shaurette, Lilith’s Love
“A world of horror with realistic characters in a fast paced thriller you won’t be able to put down.” ~David Watson, The All Night Library
Praise for Night’s Knights:
“Fresh, original, and thoroughly entertaining.” ~Mark Eller, Traitor
“Emerian brought the Vampire Novel back from the dead.” ~C. E. Dorsett, Shine Like Thunder
Emerian Rich is an artist, horror host, and author of the vampire series, Night’s Knights. She is the hostess of the internationally acclaimed podcast, HorrorAddicts.net. Under the name Emmy Z. Madrigal, she writes the musical romance series, Sweet Dreams and she’s the Editorial Director for the Bay Area magazine, SEARCH. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son.