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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sad Day/Good Day

A couple things. One sad. One good.

First sad: Despite pledging my devotion to Mike on Dancing with the Stars and posting the call-in number on twitter and Facebook, he did not get enough votes to stay on. And now I am sad. Because he endeared himself to me. He doesn't seem like he'd be super adorable, but he really is.

Mike on DWTS - you will be missed


Oh well, I'll just throw all my support behind Macchio, since he's going to win DWTS

Good thing: I ran an impromptu caption contest on Twitter and Facebook last week. I said who ever came up with the cleverest response would win a signed copy of a book. I based my decision solely on how much I laughed upon reading the caption.

Here's the picture:



And here's the winning tweet:



The caption is especially fitting, because although you can't tell, I am in fact wearing a Star Wars shirt in the picture.  It was this shirt, actually (from Threadless.com):



Thanks to everyone for participating in that. I had a lot of fun reading what everyone had to say, and I think I'll be doing more of that kinda stuff in the future. Because it was fun. And I enjoy fun things.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Coolest. Thing. EVER.

If you know me, you know I'm a huge fan of blink 182 and Mark Hoppus. I also really enjoy helping out people whenever I can. So a few weeks ago, when Mark Hoppus started putting blink 182 paraphernalia up on ebay to raise money for the Red Cross efforts in Japan, I was like, "I'm in."

I bid on and eventually won the orange shirt he wore in the music video for "Dammit." As seen in the video below:



Naturally, I was excited enough by that. "Dammit" was the first song I heard by blink way back in the day, and I still think it's a fun song.

The shirt came today, and it's awesome, and I'm excited. But along with the shirt, there were a couple blink 182 stickers, and  a hand written letter from Mark Hoppus.



Since I saw it, I have shouted "It's the coolest thing ever!" no less than 15 times, because it is in fact, the coolest thing ever.

Monday, March 28, 2011

My New Idea for the Greatest TV Show Ever

Here's what I hate about reality TV: I get attached to people, then they get voted off and I never see them again. I want to see them again, every week for a half-hour to an hour for the next 3-7 seasons, until they start to run out of interesting stories.

I still talk about much I miss James from Big Brother Season 9 and Flex from Daisy of Love 2 and Fabio from Top Chef Season 5 & Top Chef: All Stars. Eric is crazy obsessed with Big Brother, but I think he gets annoyed when the season is because of how much time I spend talking about how much James was than everybody else on the current season.

I'm thinking about this because I really enjoy that Mike fella on Dancing with the Stars. I find him very amusing, but since his dancing skills aren't the greatest, I know it's only (a probably short) matter of time before he's gone, and I'll relegate him to the long list of reality stars I miss.

There should be a show with just former reality stars living together. But like the Jersey Shore, where the same cast comes back every season.

So far, my dream cast would be James, Flex, Fabio, and Mike. I also love Raja on RuPaul's Drag Race a ton, and I still miss Jordan from Big Brother & Amazing Race, and Jes from Rock of Love. And JWOW and Snooki from Jersey Shore (because that show has about one season left.) And Bridget from Girls Next Door.

Yep. You can put them all on an island where they have to live together and share rations of food. You can call it Reality Show Castoffs or something ridiculous like that. It'd fit in perfect on VH1. And I would watch it every week. I wouldn't even wait to DVR it. I'd be too excited.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Blog

Okay, I've been writing this blog in my head for about a month or so, and I was trying to decide how I would break the news to everyone. But by the time I got to say things, everybody had already heard.

And if you haven't, here it is: I've got a deal with St. Martin's Press to publish a four book young adult paranormal romance series called the Watersong series. I think they're shooting for a fall 2012 release. The Wake book I've mentioned a few times, that's the first book in the series.

Here's the article from the NY Times about the deal: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/24/self-publisher-signs-four-book-deal-with-macmillan/

There's also going to be many articles in the future about it. So many, that I'm sure you'll be sick of hearing about me, if you aren't already.

But the big question on everybody's lips isn't what the deal is but why? If I've sold over a million books and made close to $2 million dollars on my own, why oh why would I possibly want to give up rights? How could they possibly offer me more then what I'm getting myself?

Is it because I feel I need validation? (Somebody misunderstood my post of my saying "I want to be a writer" to mean that I didn't feel as I already am one, when in fact I meant, "I only want to be a writer. I do not want be a publisher.") Also, after selling a million books, making the USA Today Bestseller list, and getting the amount of support from my readers that I get, I feel pretty validated as an author.

Is it because I think publishers will take over marketing over me? No. I enjoy marketing. I am hoping that since I'll have their publicist on hand, the process will become more streamlined. I know I will have to continue doing interviews, and I'll always blog and tweet because I enjoy that.

Is it because I'm so hung up on the idea of seeing my books on shelves in bookstores that I'm willing to give up huge portions of my profit for it? No. That's just silly. I'll be honest, it is pretty cool to think about having a book in stores. Having large distribution is part of the reason why I wanted a deal, and part of that is having books in stores. But just the thrill of seeing my book at Barnes & Noble in no way affected my decision. It's just an added bonus.

Here are the two considerations I made in my decision: what's best for my career, and what's best for my reader. (Notice I didn't say what was best for my wallet).

It boils down to these points:

1. Readers inability to find my books when they want them. I am getting an increasing number of emails from people who go into bookstores to buy my books for themselves or friends or family members, and not only does Barnes & Noble not carry my book, they can't even order it for them. People are requesting my books, and they can't get them.

2. Readers complaints about the editing of my books. I have hired editors. Many, many editors. And I know that I can outsource editing, but I'm clearly doing a really shitty job of picking editors. EDIT: The people hired as editors are great people who worked very hard. Which is the most frustrating thing about the continued complaints of errors in my books. I know that my books are better because of the people I hired. And I don't understand how there can still be errors. So my remark at "shitty" is over my frustration at the situation. Not the actual editors or the work they did.

3. The amount of books I've written and the rate of speed that I write books. If it took me five years to write a book, and I only had one book written, I'd be thinking long and hard about this deal. But right now, I have 19 books currently written. By the time the Watersong series goes to print, I'll still have 19-24 titles at least that I can self-publish.

The reason I took this deal wasn't for the money. At least not the upfront money. Also, let's be honest - if I self-published the Watersong series on my own, I could probably make $2 million within a year or two. Five years tops. I am fully aware that I stand a chance of losing money on this deal compared to what I could make self-publishing.

I honestly didn't do this for money. But let's not forget that as much money as I've made, James Patterson made $70 million between June 2010 and July 2010. Legacy houses (is that what we're calling them now?) have made a lot of authors very rich.

So what do I actually want out of this deal? What do I hope to gain?

Career stability. As an author, I'll never really have one. Each book I come out with could bomb and could be the one that turns readers off me forever. Any day, my books could just stop selling. And I know that going with a house isn't going to change that. Any author can stop making money any day.

James Patterson has a book out now that has incredibly low reviews, some of the lowest I've seen for any book, and that book is still selling like crazy, and I can find it Target and Walmart. Even the sequel to the book, which the reviews say is even twice as awful as the original, is selling like crazy. Why? Because James Patterson wrote it. (Or more accurately, because his name is on the cover).

I want that. Not the writing bad books thing. I'll always strive to write a product that people enjoy. But I want to be a household name. I want to be the impulse buy that people make when they're waiting in an airport because they know my name.

That, I think, is as close to career stability as I can get. And that's why I took the deal.

Does this mean I'll stop self-publishing? No, absolutely not. I have a few titles lined up this year yet to put out via the self-publishing. And I'll have more in the future.


Did my agent push me into this? Nope. This exactly how the conversation went: Steve (my agent): "Have you thought at all about going the traditional route?" Me: "Yeah, I have. And I have a series that I'm ready to pitch." Steve: "Great. Send it to me when you're ready."

Did you sign the contract without reading it? I haven't actually signed anything. But on top of my agent, I have a lawyer, an accountant, a financial adviser, and a personal assistant. I like my agent. I trust my agent. But that doesn't mean I'm so excited about this that I'm going to ignore logic and forget to make sure everything is in order the way I think it is. Not only will I look over it, but I'll have other people who understand contracts better than me read it.

Aren't you going back on everything you said? Nope. I've made a number of blog posts in the past, and I haven't changed my opinion on anything. I always said if the deal was right, I would take it. Part of the reason I'm taking it now is because I have made enough of my name for myself that I had the leverage to get the kind of deal I wanted.

What happens if they screw you over in a contract, steal all your money, and keep your erights forever?
Then they do. I like the books St. Martin's bought. And I believe in them. But if I lose money on them, I lose money on them. That's the risk I'm taking. And I do know this is a risk. But it's a calculated risk, and if it works out, the payoff could be enormous. But I'm making enough money on my other books - and I will continue to make enough on my self-published books - that I can afford to take this risk.

With all that said, I am very excited about this. The folks I've talked to at St. Martin's have been very kind, and they're pretty jazzed up to have me. They even sent me flowers and chocolates today.

But it is crazy that we live in a time that I have to justify taking a seven-figure a publishing deal with St. Martin's. Ten years ago, nobody would question this. Now everybody is.

Which is really silly, you guys. If there's one thing I've proven in the past year is that I'm pretty business savvy. I'm practical and level-headed. I've thought this through and talked it over with a lot of different people.

And now, I'm watching Scream 2 with Eric. It's his 25th birthday today, and I'm going back to celebrating that with him.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

UPDATED: What I Can Say Right Now

There's some buzz on the internet about me, and I'm not at a point where I can say much about it.

But here's what I can say - I'm writer. I want to be a writer. I do not want to spend 40 hours a week handling emails, formatting covers, finding editors, etc. Right now, being me is a full time corporation. As I said before in my post - Some Things That Need to be Said - I am spending so much time on things that are not writing.

I like writing. I even like marketing, especially when it comes to interacting with readers. And I don't mind editing. I just don't want to run my corporation, because that takes away from writing and everything else that I actually enjoy doing.

Also, I have not had time to get Lost Without You ready yet. I have a book that is almost ready to publish, but because of everything else going on, I have not had time to get it ready and publish. THIS is a problem. I am a writer, but that doesn't mean anything if I can't get a book to readers. 

There's several factors that go into my decision making about any possible future endeavors. The biggest factors are my readers and the longevity of my career. My goal has always been to put the highest quality product I can out in a way that is the most accessible to readers. My goal has never been to be the "darling" or the "poster child" for any movement.

I currently have self-published 9 books, and I will continue to self-publish books in the future. Lost Without You will be coming out self-published sometime in April or May (I'm hoping for April, but as I said earlier, other things are taking over my life).

To put some things in the indie vs traditional in perspective, I'm going to post something that the fantastic Nathan Bransford posted on his blog only two weeks back (to read the whole post, click: here):

    The reality: This is still a print world and probably will be for at least the next several years. Even as some publishers report e-book sales jumping to between 25% and 35% in January, the significant majority of sales are still in print. As I wrote in my recent post about record stores, over a decade after the rise of the mp3 the majority of revenue in music is still in CDs. 
    So let's not get out of hand (yet) about the scale of this e-book self-publishing revolution, if it is indeed one. Yes, this is real money we're talking about. Yes, these authors deserve all the credit in the world. And yes, these authors are also making money in print as well. 
    But we're still a ways away from self-published Kindle bestsellers making Dan Brown, James Patterson, Stephenie Meyer, J.K. Rowling kind of money, the old-fashioned way, through paper books in bookstores. It's not as exciting a story to remember that traditionally published franchise James Patterson made $70 million between June '09 and June '10, but it's still worth keeping in perspective.

Also, you should really check out my older blogs: Indie vs. Traditional (especially the part about Ann Author) from February, or even Some Things That Need to Be Said from earlier this month. And here's a post from way back in August called My Thoughts on Indie Publishing.

UPDATED: Even though I specifically said in this blog that I enjoy marketing and editing, and I know that regardless of how I publish in the future, I will have to continue to market and edit, people think that's what I'm referring to when I say I'm spending time on things that aren't writing.

No. I'm not. I'm referring to staring at the computer for ten hours straight trying to get the margins just right on the book cover, because no matter how many times I check the rulers, Createspace insists that I got it wrong. Or getting a thousand emails from people offering to help edit, and then since I need the help, weeding through them for hours to try to find people that would be the best fit. Or working with people on various tasks only to find that for whatever reason, you're not going to work well a person, and I have to fire them. Do you know much it sucks to fire people?

That's what I am talking about. I have no problem with marketing or editing. I will continue to do both things. I think both of those tasks fall under the umbrella of being a writer. I think desigining covers, firing people, formatting books, hiring and firing people - those fall under the heading of publisher. And I would be happy to relinquish more of my publishing role.

So that's my clarification.

Monday, March 21, 2011

all that you see that you wanted

I watched The Next Three Days three days ago, and I've been listening to the soundtrack ever since. It is awesome. It's Danny Elfman, but I had no idea it was Elfman, and I can always call Elfman. That's not to say anything bad about him, but there was just something extra fantastic about this score. Especially the songs by Moby. Phenomenal. It really elevated the film to a whole new level.


I do like Moby, though. I always feel weird saying that. But "Porcelain" and "Natural Blues" are amazing songs, and I stand by that.

I'm writing a blog, but I don't really have a lot to say. It's just been awhile since I updated.

My cat got fixed last week, so I'm obsessing over her incicion to make sure she'll live. She doesn't seem to care at all that she had an organ removed, but she does get incredibly irritated when I don't give her my undivided attention. And I'm not giving it to her now, so she's meowing at me. So I should go. Apparently.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reverse Childhood & Other Ramblings

I don't own Jurassic Park. Not even VHS.

That doesn't sound like much to you, but this is a fact: Jurassic Park came out on tape October 4, 1993. Do you know how I know this? Because I had it marked on the calendar. I obsessed about it with an unhealthy fervor. I wanted to skip school that day so I could go buy it, but I eventually convinced my parents to pick me up from school so I could go get it.

I distinctly remember my mom and dad picking me up my classroom and apologizing to my teacher for me being such an irritating spaz all day. I probably disrupted the class a thousand because I just could not wait to get the movie.

So to me, it's very strange that I don't own it. I don't even know where my VHS went. It's just gone, in the magical pile of things that got lost when my parents split up. Also in that pile: my Stray Cats .45 for "Stray Cats Strut," She-Ra's horse, my TMNT Halloween costume, and my awesome Jurassic Park t-rex that had a chunk of flesh that could be removed from side for realistic battles.

I was the only fourth grader in my school that had read the complete works for Michael Crichton.  So suffice it say, I was a pretty awesome fourth grader.

I read Jaws by Benchley when I was eight.I read Terminal Man by Crichton when I was nine years old.  I read Cujo by King when I was ten, and subsequently went on to read most of Stephen King's books by the time I was twelve.

It should also be noted that I didn't start reading young adult books until I was an adult. I read anything I could get my hands when I was a kid, and I was into horror and sci-fi, I guess. So that's mostly what I read.

But I also wanted to make a point of reading books that I'd heard of - things that people talked about as classics. So I sought out Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Jack Kerouac, Sylvia Plath, J.D. Salinger, Edgar Allen Poe, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, that guy who wrote Lolita who's name I can't remember and I'm too lazy too look up.

I read all of that stuff by the time I was sixteen. I do everything backwards, though. I didn't start getting into graphic novels and young adult books until I was in my twenties.

I grew up backwards, I think, and I like that better. It's much more fun being a kid now that I'm an adult.

And I really need to get a copy of Jurassic Park.



P. S. To all those who weighed in the Australia trip - I'm seriously looking into it. I haven't bought any tickets yet or made any official plans, but I'm in talks to get something going. Because Australia is fancy.

P. P. S. To those didn't understand my ABBA comment in the last post, it's because in the hit Australian film Muriel's Wedding, Toni Collette listens almost exclusively to ABBA, and it was my attempt at being funny. But I'm not always funny.

P. P. P. S. The Australian film Candy is actually a big inspiration for the My Blood Approves series, particularly Letters to Elise.

P. P. P. P. S. You should all listen to "My Body is a Cage" by Peter Gabriel. It's a cover of an Arcade Fire song, but I like the Peter Gabriel version better. To be fair, I love covers of songs though. They're my favorite.

Monday, March 14, 2011

In a Land Down Under

My Australia obsession is at an all-time high this week, and I'm seriously considering a visit. It's just a very expensive, very long flight, and I'm not a huge fan of flying. If Australia were like an hour away, I'd probably live there already.

Here's fun fact (although I'm not entirely convinced of the factual nature of this fact): When I was a small child, I really wanted to move to Australia. My parents told me that before they knew they each other, they had both separately made plans to move to Australia, but at the last minute, these plans changed. (I don't know if they were really "plans" so much as "briefly wanting to," but this is the story as I remember them telling me.)

Anyway, I became convinced that in a parallel universe, my parents had moved to Australia, met each other, and still conceived me. So in another universe, I'm Australian. And thus began my unnatural feeling of kinship to a country that is very, very far away.

Everything in Austrailia is just awesome. Every creature there sounds like Eric named them. (Wallaby? Koala? Didgeridoo? Okay, so the last one is an instrument, but still) And they all have bizarre super powers. Platypi lactate and have venom.

Then there's the luscious Sydney Opera House. Toilets flush in a different way. Heath Ledger is buried there somewhere, or his ashes are spread out in Perth or something. And there's the coral reef.

And everyone has fancy Australian accents. New Zealand is semi-nearby, and Peter Jackson has repeatedly shown me how gorgeous it is there. Isn't Flight of the Concords filmed somewhere there? And I've seen Muriel's Wedding and A Cry in the Dark like twenty times, so I'm all caught up on Australian culture. (It's all ABBA and dingos, right?)

So yes, Australia is crazy awesome. And if I went this summer, it would be winter there. (But I don't know what that means in terms of weather). BUT its still crazy expensive, and the flight is so long I could be incepted seven times over. (If you haven't seen the hit film Inception, that reference I just made was really funny). 

So people of Australia, and the general Oceanic community - what do you think? Is Australia really awesome enough to risk crashing into that weird island from Lost on the incredibly long flight over? And what are the chances of me running into Daniel Johns on the street? And do you guys really have gold eagles the size of city blocks like in Rescuers Down Under?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Couple Shout-Outs

If you haven't already done so and you can afford to, please donate to RedCross.org and/or Shelterbox.org to help those hurt in the disasters in Japan. I know a lot of people can't afford to give much, but every little bit helps. Also, if you know of any other good relief efforts that are worthy of donations, please post them in the comments section. I know I'll check them out, and hopefully, other people will too.

The phenomenal Zoe Winters pointed this app out for me called "Focus Booster." It sounds stupid because it's basically just a timer on your computer. Okay, it's not basically that. It is that. But somehow, watching the time go down has kept me focused, and I've actually managed to get a lot of work done. I think I ended today with almost 8,000 words, and the awesome part is that it only took me four hours to do it. Because I just stayed off the internet when the timer was counting down. It was some bizarre psychological trick that totally worked.

So, if you're a writer, I would highly recommend you getting it. It sounds silly, but it really helped me. 

And, on the subject of Zoe Winters - the internet has really latched on to me as an "indie darling" (their words, not mine). But if you really want to have a leader for the indie writer movement, it should be Zoe. I'm not sure of her exact numbers, but I know that she makes a living off her self-published works and her rankings are pretty good.

But more than that, Zoe loves being an indie writer. Loves it. She's crazy about doing all the crap that drives me insane. She chose to go the route she did because she believed she could put out a better quality product on her own, and her case, I'd say she was definitely right. She's a valiant and outspoken proponent of self-publishing, and if you really want to know anything about it, read her blog.

Also - I've been forgetting to give a shout-out. My laptop has been showing up a lot in the pictures when reporters and what not photograph me. If you've seen those pictures, you may have noticed the decal on the back of my Dell.



That decal is from Gelaskins.com, a company that makes decals to fit all your electronics, including laptops, Macbooks, iPads, ereaders, and phones. That particular decal was done by an artist named Lawrence Yang, and I absolutely love his artwork. I have several of the pieces he's done for Gelaskins so that his various artworks adorn my laptop, nook, Kindle, and phone.

I love his work. I think it's really brilliant. Lawrence Yang also has a website where he sells original artwork and prints. I'm waiting until I move to buy some so I can figure out exactly where I'm going to put, but his artwork will definitely end up in my house.

And the tee shirts I wore for the pictures taken for the Star Tribune, Associated Press, and Pioneer Press were all from Threadless.com because I love ironic tees.

Here's the one I wore for the AP stuff and it's one of my favorites. It's called "A Simple Plan," and it's available in tee shirts and hoodie:



The majority of my writing today was done whilst I listened to the soundtrack to the Pixar feature film Up because it's awesome. Up actually is one of my favorite movies. It's sandwiched right up there somewhere between The Dark Knight and My Own Private Idaho. And also I listened to the Gin Blossoms Outside Looking In: The Best of the Gin Blossoms.

I like promoting stuff I enjoy. And I'm off to bed now.

Oh, don't forget to set your clocks or change the time in someway. I don't own any clocks that don't automatically update anymore (my phone, laptop, and cable box all do it themselves). And that's a big relief. Every clock should automatically set itself.
 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Paradox

I attempted to unplug. I did for awhile.

I got some work done tonight. Not very much. Only about 2,000 words. I was hoping for more like... 10K. So that's a fail in my mind. I have some time left to write tonight, so I might still get some done. I'm blaming my lack of enthusiasm on the past few weeks, and trying to switch gears from business and logical thinking to more creative type stuff.

But I'm taking a break, because my brain has requested it of me. So, I thought, hey, why not let you all in on my writing process since people are asking me a lot about said writing process?

Okay. Here's how it works:

I sat down at 8 PM to write. But first I had to move around in my office so it was just so. I printed off the outline for the book I'm working on and reread it. I also played with my cat. I listened to my 90s playlist really loud, mostly skipping to the Gin Blossoms tracks.

I wrote for about 15 minutes. Then I checked twitter. I donated some money to the Red Cross and bid on some auction items by Mark Hoppus. Eric came in to tell me something. I don't remember what. But he scared me because I was listening to Sonic Youth so loud I didn't hear him come in.

Then I turned off the internet and vowed to get some work done. I wrote straight for about 20-30 minutes. I sang along to "Until It Sleeps" by Metallica.

I tried to avoid the internet, so I started watching Inception on my iTunes. I skipped around to my favorite parts (which are mostly towards the end where Joseph Gordon-Levitt is fighting people or the music is being really dramatic or Tom Hardy is being sassy). I thought about how either the movie doesn't make any sense or Christopher Nolan is a genius.

Then I wrote again for about 10 minutes straight, but then I gave up to watch Inception some more. I bid on more Mark Hoppus stuff. And I played on twitter.

Now I'm writing a blog. And that's the last three hours of my life. I've maybe written about an hour of that. And I've definitely spent more time being plugged in than I have being unplugged.

But I will most likely continue the pattern of writing for a period of time, then screwing around, then writing some more. Hopefully, though, as I get back into it, the time I spend writing will grow longer (like an hour or two at a time instead of 15-20 minutes at a time.).

And that is how I write a book.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Unplugged

I make my living on writing books, so it's funny how much time has been spent not writing. I plan to get back to my roots this weekend and really dig in and get some writing done. That means I'll be unplugging myself from the internet. Probably not completely, because I don't know if I could survive a full 72 hours without tweeting about something.

But I won't be answering emails, checking my Facebook, or blogging. I will be avoiding the internet as much as possible. Starting today, at 5 pm central time, I will be off those things until Monday. I will instead be writing a lot and relaxing a little. And not worrying about anything else.

Everything else can wait until Monday.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dude Geek vs. Lady Geek

I am a fangirl. Mostly of cult classics, 80s films, superheroes, obscure actors, one-hit-wonders, and bands popular in Australia. But I'm a fangirl about pretty much anything that catches my fancy.

Here's a struggle I've had my whole life, and maybe it is just a "me" thing, but I feel like it's something I'm seeing in the real world. All the stereotypical "dude" geeky things I like are socially acceptable, and all the stereotypical "lady" geeky things I like are frowned upon.

Even as a kid, I was treated cooler when I brought my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to school for show and tell than when I brought my Barbie.



And stuff I classify as "dude" doesn't mean that ladies can't or don't like it. It's just the sci-fi/fantasy stuff that seems to be more populated by male geeks than lady geeks.


You may ask yourself, what is lady geek stuff? Well, I didn't even realize that's what it was until a blogpost I read from Shane Nickerson eons ago in which he talked about going to see a movie the same night that Sex and the City 2 opened. The ladies at the movie were all dressed up as their favorite characters and drinking the drinks from the movie, and Shane Nickerson was somewhat annoyed and put off by it until he realized that they were no different than the Star Wars fans who dressed up as Boba Fett to see to see that movie or as people who dressed up as Dr. Frankenfurter to see Rocky Horror Picture Show.

It was at the moment when he realized that the Sex and the City fans were geeking out in the same fashion that he geeked out about Star Wars, which gave me the same epiphany. They were just lady geeks.

But what I don't understand - and I may be wrong - is that lady geeks are not looked at as the same way dude geeks are. Joss Whedon geeks are not treated the same way as Twilight geeks. (I'm sure there are crossover fans, but for the sake of this discussion, it's easier if it's more black and white.)

The argument for this is going to be it's the quality of the work. Firefly is a better quality of work than Twilight. To which I say - as a fan of both - that's that is debatable. And any geek can argue that the thing they're geekiest about is of a higher quality than the thing you're geekiest about (such as me arguing with Eric about Batman villians.)

I think if were to get a room of geeks together and have them make a food chain of what geeks would be on top and what would be on the bottom, there would be much arguing, but there would be almost a unanimous vote to put Twihards and Sex and the City fans on the bottom.

Why is this? Why is it so much more respectable to geek out over spaceships and a made up religion than vampires with undertones of a real religion? Is it because of the romance? Is romance inherently uncool?

Is that really it? Because The Lost Boys is cool, and that's a different modern take on vampires. But I think that's still a respectable thing to geek out about, even though there is some romance and two Corey's. But the romance isn't the main plot.

Is that what separates respect?

I'd really like to see people's thoughts on this, but please don't say stuff like "Because Twilight sucks" because that's not the point. Lots of people could argue Star Wars sucks, and then it would just became a debate about what's good and what's not good, and that's not what I'm talking about.

I am asking why is it cool and respectable to geek out over sci fi and JJ Abrams, but it's not cool to geek out over romance and Stephanie Meyer.

Or maybe it's all in my head, and it's not cool to geek out over anything.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

iBlog

Something I just wanted to clear up - a lot of people seemed to think that m last post "Some Things That Need to Be Said" was directed at people sayid negative things about me. It wasn't. I actually wrote it for all the people telling me that I'm an inspiration & that they were completely sold on the self publishing idea.

I don't mind so much if people read something about & decide I suck. It bothers me more if somebody reads something about & gets the wrong idea & makes a major life decision based on that. I want people to research & be careful. That's all I'm really saying.

Tonight was the season finale of SouthLAnd. I haven't it yet because I'm tired & in bed, but everybody should watch it & do everything they can to keep it on the air because I love SouthLAnd lots. And since NBC took Law & Order away from me, I needs crime drama that I enjoy. And no, Law & Order: LA does NOT count.

At any rate, I wrote this blog on my iPhone, so I'm sorry if it ends up weird.

And I'll be in the Wednesday issue of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, if you want to check that out.

And don't do drugs. RIP Mike Starr.

Monday, March 7, 2011

that guy from that thing

I feel like I should update my blog, but I don't want to talk about me. I've talked about me a lot and everybody else has talked about me and it's just enough of me.

Let's talk about William Fichtner. You may say to yourself, "I don't know who that it is," and you'd probably be right, but then you'd look at a picture of him and go, "Oh yeah! He's that guy from the thing!" Yep. That's William Fichtner.



He's been in a number of television shows and movies over the past twenty years, including The Dark Knight, Prison Break, Armageddon, Mr & Mrs Smith, and Crash. And I've always enjoyed him. But on Friday I saw on Drive Angry, and it officially won me over as a hardcore fan.

Okay. So I know what you're thinking. "Drive Angry 3D? Really?" Yes. I expected it to be horrible. But it wasn't. I seriously loved it. And I would say at least 90% of that love came from William Fichtner's protrayal of the Accountant.

I will say that by the end of the film, I still didn't completely understand what he was "accounting." And some of the film didn't completely "make sense." But the explosions were fun. The cars were awesome (it was mostly a 69 Charger). And William Fichtner was incredibly badass.

So I would recommend going seeing it. I honestly gave it to a 9 out of 10. My viewing companions didn't enjoy it as much as I did. But I've figured out that if at least one thing blows up and at least one person is super awesome and kickass, then I will enjoy the movie. Especially when I see it in theaters.

At any rate, William Fichtner is somebody who deserves more buzz this week than me. So go watch Drive Angry  or Albino Alligator or The Dark Knight. But really, you should watch The Dark Knight every day anyway.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hollowland Updates

Hollowland is getting revamped in preparation for my work on the sequel, Hollowmen. I've already began drafting the outline, and I'll hopefully be able to start writing the book in earnest sometime next month.



Hollowland got a new cover today, courtesy of phatpuppart.com (who also did the covers for Lost Without You and Honalee). I'm thrilled with the new cover.

Meanwhile, I've got a small stack of paperbacks with the old cover of the bleeding heart on it. So I'm going to sign them and sell them off. I don't have the paperbacks up with the new cover yet (I'm hoping to work on that later today or tomorrow). But if you want to get your hands on the cover with the heart - now is the time to get it.

UPDATE: I've sold out of the heart paperbacks of Hollowland. Thanks to everybody for bought a copy!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Some Things That Need to Be Said

Oh, the internet is saying so many things about me. I don't understand why the internet suddenly picked up on me this past week, but it definitely did. My inbox has been flooded and I jumped up over 1,000 followers on twitter. Which was just in time for all my Charlie Sheen retweets.

The past few days have mostly been spent with me answering emails (and not writing - which makes me sad).

Meanwhile, I've been reading things written about me here and there, and hearing what everybody thinks this all means. I've been thinking about what I wanted to say about everything. Well, I've come up with it, and I have a feeling it will be a very long post.

I am not going to rehash things I've already talked about. Like how this happened. If you actually read back in my old blog posts, I was blogging as everything happened. I've publicly written down exactly what I've done. So if you're really curious about all that, check out my FAQs and scroll through some older blogs. I've got it all laid out.


What I'm about to say next is something I've been debating how to say. I think it needs to be said, but I know that I need to word it carefully. I want you all to know that I don't think I'm super awesome special or anything like that.

Everybody seems really excited about what I'm doing and how I've been so successful, and from what I've been able to understand, it's because a lot of people think that they can replicate my success and what I've done. And while I do think I will not be the only one to do this - others will be as successful as I've been, some even more so - I don't think it will happen that often.

Traditional publishing and indie publishing aren't all that different, and I don't think people realize that. Some books and authors are best sellers, but most aren't. It may be easier to self-publish than it is to traditionally publish, but in all honesty, it's harder to be a best seller self-publishing than it is with a house.

I don't think people really grasp how much work I do. I think there is this very big misconception that I was like, "Hey, paranormal is pretty hot right now," and then I spent a weekend smashing out some words, threw it up online, and woke up the next day with a million dollars in my bank account.

This is literally years of work you're seeing. And hours and hours of work each day. The amount of time and energy I put into marketing is exhausting. I am continuously overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do that isn't writing a book. I hardly have time to write anymore, which sucks and terrifies me.

I also have this tremendous sense of urgency, like if I don't get everything out now and do everything now, while the iron is hot, everything I've worked for will just fall away. For the first time, I truly understand why workaholics are workaholics. You can't stop working, because if you do, it unravels all the work you've already done. You have to keep going, or you'll die.

Or at least that's how it feels.

There is so much stress in doing it all yourself. The editing is never good enough. And finding an editor isn't as easy everyone thinks. People thinking an editor is just having someone read through it a few times, checking for basic grammar and spelling, and while that is part of it, it's also much larger than that. It's helping tighten up sentences, watching repeated phrases, helping with flow, etc.

And it is really, really hard (or at least, it has been for me) to find an editor that can do all that. My books have all been edited - several times, by dozens of people with varying backgrounds - and people still find errors.

Here's another thing I don't understand: The way people keep throwing my name around and saying publishers are "terrified" of me and that I really showed them.

First of all, no publisher is afraid of me. That's just silly. I'm one girl who wrote a couple books that are selling well. That doesn't scare them - they just want to be a part of it, the same way they want to be a part of any best seller.

And just so we're clear - ebooks make up at best 20% of the market. Print books make up the other 80%. Traditional publishers still control the largest part of the market, and they will - for a long time, maybe forever. Ebooks will continue to gain ground, but I would say that we have at least 5-10 years before ebooks make up the majority.

Saying traditional publishing is dead right now is like declaring yourself the winner in the sixth inning of a baseball game when you have 2 runs and the other team has 8 just because you scored all your runs this inning, and they haven't scored any since the first. 

And all ebooks aren't self-published. Even if ebooks end up being 80% of the market, at least half of those sales will probably come from traditionally published ebooks. So publishers will still control the majority of the market.

I just don't understand writers animosity against publishers. So much of what I've been reading lately has made me out to be Dorothy taking down the Wicked Witch.

Publishers have done really great things for a really long time. They aren't some big bad evil entity trying to kill literature or writers. They are companies, trying to make money in a bad economy with a lot of top-heavy business practices.

Almost all of my favorite books were traditionally published. All my favorite authors - Kurt Vonnegut, J. D. Salinger, Jane Austen, Richelle Mead, Chuck Palahnuik, Bret Easton Ellis, Jeph Loeb - were all traditionally published with the exception of one - J. L. Bryan.

Which brings me to another point.  As much as my name has been thrown about, I haven't seen J. L. Bryan's name mentioned. He's the author of a fantastic young adult paranormal romance called Jenny Pox. Like my books, his is priced at $.99 EDIT: It's $2.99 now. But it was $.99 earlier. Like me, he has several other titles out. Also, like me, he has paperback versions of his book available and he reaches out to book bloggers. In fact, he just did an intensive blog tour for the release of his latest book The Haunted E-book. I even included an excerpt of Jenny Pox at the end of my book Ascend, because I like his writing so much, and I want other people to read it.

With all of that said, Bryan sells less books than I do. I don't know how many exactly, because I haven't asked, but I can tell from his rankings that it's not as many.

What's my point in all of this? By all accounts, he has done the same things I did, even writing in the same genre and pricing the books low. And he's even a better writer than I am. So why am I selling more books than he is?  I don't know.

That's the truth of it. Nobody knows what makes one book a bestseller. Publishers and agents like to pretend they do, but if they did, they would only publish best sellers, and they don't.

I guess what I'm saying is that just because I sell a million books self-publishing, it doesn't mean everybody will. In fact, more people will sell less than 100 copies of their books self-publishing than will sell 10,000 books. I don't mean that to be mean, and just because a book doesn't sell well doesn't mean it's a bad book. It's just the nature of the business.

Self-publishing and traditional publishing really aren't that different. One is easier to get into but harder to maintain. But neither come with guarantees. Some books will sell, some won't.

Don't get me wrong - I am excited about the world now. I am proud of what I've accomplished, and humbled that so many people have embraced my books. I think it's a really great time to be a writer. We have more control of our destiny before - or at least, it feels that way.

I love what I am doing now. I hope to continue self-publishing for a long time to come. I am immensely grateful to all my readers, book bloggers, and to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Apple for all the work they've done publishing my books and getting the word out there.

But I just think everyone should be realistic about this. When J. K. Rowling became the world's first billionaire author, I didn't go, "Ha! I will publish now, now that I see an author can make that much money doing it." (Admittedly, I was trying to get published when that happened, as I had been for the past seven or eight years).

That's all I'm saying. Self-publishing is great, but it's not easy. Most people who do it will not get rich, just like most authors signed up at Scholastic books aren't billionaires.  Traditional publishers are not evil any more than Amazon or Barnes & Noble are evil. Things are changing, hopefully for the better, but it is still hard work being a writer.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

About the Book Bloggers

Julie at A Tale of Many Reviews tweeted this link to a really great post about how book bloggers can help writers. It gives a lot of tips on how to reach bloggers, and it's much more helpful and specific than anything I've said. So if you're a writer, and you want some ideas on how to get the word out about your book, I would highly suggest checking this out. Read: here.

The one thing the blog doesn't mention is what happens after your book is reviewed. If you submit a book for review, no matter how they review it - even if its a scathing 1-star review - your only response should be: "Thank for you taking the time to read and review my book. I appreciate the time and work you put into it." That's it. That's all you can say.

I meant to write more, but Charlie Sheen is on 20/20 right now. And he just referred to beating up his hookers and porn stars as "tomfoolery and skulduggery." And Ambien made him do it.

So yeah... I gotta go. Read the book blogger tips. Be nice. Have fun. Don't do drugs or hurt porn stars.