Monthly Archives: July 2011

Stony Journey

These days, being a writer is as hard as it was before. Even mid-list authors like Holly Lisle (more than 30+ published books, a rarity in itself) admit that the publishing industry is not working in the authors’ best interest. Self publishing seems the way to go (return to the roots one may say since it used to be a viable option back when), but this path also has its pitfalls.

Assuming the books we write are good, we still won’t get readers if no one is aware the books are available. At least, with the rise of the eBooks, costs are no longer restricting availability. But how can we reach you, yes you — our target reader? If you’re only a little bit like me, you don’t care much for advertisements or car-sale-like banter. Stuff like “Read our books, they are the best” makes me fade out the words faster than an eye-tumor.

Authors like me need intelligent readers (those that aren’t easily fooled by car-sale-like banter) but how can we reach them with the little time we’ve got beside writing? When I’m writing (which is nearly always), I’ve got four hours from clearing the breakfast table and walking the dog, to the time my kids come back from school. During those four hours, I can write 1500 words if the story flows well. Also, I have barely enough time to answer my emails. It’s impossible to write while my kids are at home, although I do most of my planning then.

Now, I read John Locke’s book on how he sold millions of his books and I do think his idea to connect to my target readers is right — only I somehow find it hard to find the time for such an intensive use of social media. The more I connect with people online, the less time I have for my three lovely girls.

I wonder what’s more important.

So, even with the great opportunities today’s publishing landscape offers, the road to getting published isn’t easier. Writers have to become egg-laying, wool-milk-sows (also known as Jacks-of-all-trade) to juggle all the jobs that need to be done. But in the end, it’s worth it. For me, there is nothing more satisfying than a reader telling me how much they liked (or disliked) my story. It tells me they were interested enough to read what I wrote. They spent time in my imagination — what more can an author ask for?

Siblings? Or Not?

A lot of the fantasy stories I write are themed around family dynamics…the main character’s search for where s/he fits, coming to terms with who (and often *what*) s/he is. Which leads me to examine my own family dynamics; my own search for significance.

So where do you fit in your family? Are you a first-born—responsible, helping your folks keep track of the younger rug-rats; a middle-kid—occasionally feeling lost in the shuffle; the baby—sometimes spoiled, sometimes resentful that everyone treats you like an infant; or are you an only child?

If you’re the one and only, do you wish you had sibs?

If you have brothers and sisters, do you find yourself wishing you had your folks to yourself?

Well, I’m in a unique position to tell you there are pros and cons to both sides of the question. I’m an only child…with five brothers. No, seriously, that’s my actual position in my nuclear family. I have five sibs (all guys), but I was raised as a one and only due to the extreme difference in our ages. (I have a nephew just a few months my junior.) It’s an odd alignment, but it’s the only one I’ve ever known.

So, depending on how you look at it, I’m the baby of six, or I’m an only child. Bizarre, huh?

Like the heroine of one of my short stories, I was blessed (cursed?) with a mom who was wise to the ways of kids. By the time I was old enough to pull shenanigans, I knew I’d have to be very crafty to put anything past Mom. Fortunately, I’m smart…and female. Mom was accustomed to dealing with boys, so I managed to elude the parental units on a number of occasions.

Of course, I also had a bad case of youngest child syndrome—the need to please. Everyone else had already made their mark. What was left for me to excel in? Not much time for rule-breaking when you’re trying to measure up to (and surpass if possible) five excellent brothers!

So what effects have you noticed on your tough-as-iron yet delicate-as-a-butterfly’s-wing psyche that you can chalk up to birth order and the presence or absence of sibs?

%d bloggers like this: