Looking for a Dramatic Ending

on December 31, 2012 in Misc

Guess what — I’ve decided to make 2013 my final year of writing.  As in writing books.  Novels.  Stories.  Fiction.

Unless at least one of my novels becomes a bestseller this year, then that’s it.  I just can’t do this anymore.  And the funny thing is, I’m kinda happy about my decision.  Or maybe it just gives me a sense of peace.

This means The Compass Master or my two forthcoming Charity MacCay novels have gotta pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get out there and sell themselves,  or they’re headed for the dustbin of literature, which is a very  crowded, very bleak place.  They’ve got to do this because I myself suck like a Dyson vacuum at sales and marketing.

Besides, I’m not setting an unrealistic high bar here.  I’ve decided that if just one of my books makes a local bestseller list for one week, or, say, into the top 200 on Amazon, then I’ll be happy as a pig in clover and maybe (I wouldn’t swear to it) I’ll try my hand at writing for another year.  In the meantime, I’ll be spending 2013 editing and publishing my two Charity books, which will probably be enough to make me happy I’m swearing off my vile, destructive, unhealthy addiction to writing.

And what will I do if I don’t write?

Oh, I dunno — have a real LIFE maybe?  Get out again and DO stuff instead of writing about it?

Just so you know, this decision has been brewing in me for a while, but the tipping point came on Christmas Eve night when two family members (NOT my Mom, who’s very supportive), neither of whom has finished Compass or read the manuscripts to Charity, told me I shouldn’t be writing fiction, I should write non-fiction.  Which, I assume, they won’t read either.

Oddly enough, their opinion was the first thing I thought of hours later when I woke up with food poisoning (4:30 a.m. to be exact) and proceeded to bond with the porcelain in the bathroom.  And on Christmas night, as I lay curled up on on my mother’s sofa under a nice warm blanky and nibbling on a dried piece of toast (Gawd, I was such a pathetic sight), I decided Oh, to hell with it.  2013 ends and I call it quits.  Nice, how this gave me a feeling of closure.  I also vowed never again to combine too much wine with too many different foods.

Will I blog past this new year?  Most likely, given how mouthy and opinionated I am.  But this blog, like all things in life, will go through changes.

Meanwhile, I’ve found that I really enjoy visiting other writers’ blogs and saying hi and cheering them on.  I am SO impressed with the pals I’ve made here in cyberspace and their phenom talent.  You guys are great.

So here’s to 2013 and great success and happiness to you all.  And to me, in whatever form that might take.  Love ya.

14 Responses to “Looking for a Dramatic Ending”

  1. Sorry about the food poisoning!
    That’s ironic you would post about this decision, as I am wrestling with a similar one. I never intended to be an author and after my third book’s release, that may be it. It’s not that my books haven’t done well, just that I have other things pulling harder on my life.
    If you’re at peace with your decision, that’s all that matters, Helena. Fans will be disappointed, but they will get over it. You have to live with yourself and your decision, not them.
    So, Happy New Year, whatever happens!

  2. Helena says:

    Alex – My decision makes more sense than yours, since you’re so successful. But if you don’t feel driven to write anymore, why force yourself? But you really are such an extraordinary blogger, Alex, that I hope you keep that going. Thank you for caring.

  3. Rob Stitt says:

    I have to admit that I haven’t read your blog regularly, but I did read the entire Compass Master and enjoyed it very much. I’ve started a number of blogs over the last few years but don’t seem to do much writing any more.I probably spend more time reading my Twitter feeds (which I often retweet but seldom write original ones). I guess it comes down to running a retirement business that should be staffed by 4 people but is only staffed by 2.2.
    I sympathize with your frustration with not being able to market well. But I also urge you to hang in there. Eventually self-published books will catch on, I think, but it will be a long slow process. I have a grade/high school friend who has recently published her first book. I urged her to get it put into Kindle, but I guess she’s probably tired after writing it and it will take a bit of time to get up the enthusiasm to convert it. But she wrote the book after retirement and got it published.

  4. I’m not a successful writer. The only reason that I write is because I don’t really know what to do with myself if I don’t write. That kind of sounds pathetic, doesn’t it?

    My New Year’s resolution is to 1) lose weight and get in better health 2) buy a house and 3) get a new car.

    If I can accomplish those three things by year’s end, I’ll be happy.

    I honestly hope you don’t stop writing. But it happened to another writer I liked–Elizabeth H. Boyer. She wrote some really interesting fantasy books that got published by Del Rey. I met her at a Waldenbooks once and she signed one of them for me.

    She gave up on her writing because she didn’t have enough readers.

    I don’t know if marketing has anything to do with sales. When I go to writer blogs who sell millions (Conrath is one) they say it’s all luck. That either lightning will strike or it won’t.

    I hope lightning strikes for you.

    There are a lot of similarities between you and I. We both have families that could honestly give a shit about our writing and think we’re wasting our time. At least you have options. It sounds like you have a fulfilling life that’s beating the door down. I wouldn’t ignore that. For me: not so much. No one calls, no one stops by, I go to movies by myself. It’s just the way life is here in Utah for a gay atheist in his forties that doesn’t ski and is kinda fat and takes high blood pressure medicine.

  5. Helena says:

    Michael – Darlin’, if I were in Utah I’d go to movies with you in a heartbeat. Except maybe no gross zombie ones. And since I can’t afford to ski and I’m not very good at it (and I live in Colorado!), you and I could find some other fun stuff to do.

    I love how blogging has shown me that there are a lot of great people like you around, and some of them would be good friends if they lived close by. You and I would definitely be pals. Are we alike in every way? No. I’m not gay and I’m a believer, for instance. But hey, one of my best friends is a loyal Republican — go figure. So maybe there are some straight Mormons near you who’d love to hang out with you? Seriously.

    As for your writing — you’re a natural storyteller with a great imagination, so DO NOT underestimate your innate talent. I mean, I really enjoyed Slipstream and I’m looking forward to Oculus. Combine them with your drawings, your wit, your kindness to fellow writers, and so many other traits, and you are one helluva guy.

    You know what? We BOTH deserve to have bestsellers. In the meantime, I know you’ll lose weight and buy a car and a house. And I want to hear all about it.

  6. Helena says:

    Rob – Thank you so much for reading my book! It really means the world to me when I hear out of the blue from a reader. If you like to write yourself I hope you can keep it up, but I also understand that you’re too busy at present — and may your situation change for the better soon. Just before the holidays a co-worker was out for a few days with sick children, so I was doing double duty during an already hectic time. I can’t imagine how hard you must be working every day.

    Congrats to your friend for writing her book and publishing it. If her book is on Amazon she can pay to have it converted to Kindle, which is what I did rather than doing it myself, and as I recall the service is less than a hundred dollars and worth it.

    I’ll be checking out your blog, and if I ever figure out tweeting (I’m such a technical twit), I’ll look them up too.

  7. Thank you, Helena. I think the problem with the whole best seller attitude is sheer numbers and the fact that there are so many writers trying to outshout one another.

    I looked on Bawker which is the one that issues ISBN’s to see what our competition is and for 2012, they issued in excess of 12 million ISBN’s for one year. To put that into perspective, a decade ago it was like 100,000 or something like that.

    12 million books published in one year, and a lot of them are done by writers who won’t read other people’s books. So what you and I face is a shortage of readers, or really, how to connect with them.

    I want to share one marketing “secret” that has helped me grow my readership. I post stories on a pornography web site. The site has an audience for gay/straight/ and bi people and is mostly friction fiction but they have been eating up my free offerings and a few have spilled over and bought my books.

    Basically, what I’m saying is that you need to get out of the circle of people who blog (which is writers) because writers for the most part give you moral support by reading your blog entries, but then the rest of their time is used to write their own stories and their own marketing.

    I know there’s an audience out there for your books. But they don’t know about you, and that’s a problem. For me, the porn site people have been great because I know they don’t get a lot of love because most people view that audience down the length of their nose. I, however, don’t mind them at all. They’re just people who like stories like everyone else. And they buy books and have friends that might buy books.

  8. Helena says:

    Michael – You make a good point about expanding beyond my small circle of writer blogger friends. Since I’m a history and archeology nerd and these fields are reflected in my stories, that could be a good area to explore for contacts. Then there are thriller readers (not writers), and I haven’t made contact with them at all. So I’ll start making the effort. And I’m so glad you have a growing number of readers ’cause you deserve them.

  9. It’s such a hard decision to make, but it has to be the one that feels right to you. I read through the other comments. Michael is so right about expending your circle of contacts. If you’re on twitter, search for ‘history’ and ‘archaeology’ and follow those people. I have your book on my Kindle, but I haven’t read it yet. I’m so behind.

  10. Helena says:

    Carol – Well, as I said I have a whole year to make good, but right now there’s a kind of sadness mixed with a sense of liberation. And I have your In Name Only, and I plan to get to it very soon. and The story sounds like one I won’t be able to put down, and unlike my book it’s not a doorstopper.

    I think it’s also time I figured out Twitter. Thanks so much.

  11. I agree about your joining Twitter. You should also open yourself up more to communication (like providing an email address). Honestly, Helena, it’s 2013 and the whole “distance yourself from an audience” doesn’t work anymore.

  12. Helena says:

    Michael – Really, I’m not trying to distance myself, I’m just (a) trying to get over my privacy tendencies and (b) kind’ve worn out and too tired to learn a whole lot more techie stuff. I know, I gotta buckle down and learn.

  13. Old Kitty says:

    Lovely Helena!! Hope you are recovered from your food poisoning! Yikes!!!

    Awwww but what a way to say hello to the New Year!!! I’m not one to set goals or resolutions or plans for any new year any more – I just welcome the first day of the new year with open arms and feel completely fresh and excited at all the possibilities that the next 365 days will bring.

    I say you just go with the flow and never say never!! You’re becoming Layla is super duper awesome and you are super duper talented and determined and I just know your star will shine brighter and better and more brilliant this 2013!!!

    Take care
    x

  14. Helena says:

    Old Kitty – You are such a sweetheart! Well, maybe this “last year” goal will make a big difference for me. Meanwhile, my not writing will give me more time to read your lovely stories!