Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Kicking the Arse of Self Sabotage

We all have a gremlin living inside us. This gremlin's name is Self Sabotage. It's the voice that tells you that you can't do it. You will fail.

This gremlin could be some kind of primitive self-preservation mechanism. If you don't try, you don't risk heartbreak and failure. But it also seems to want to see us miserable. It doesn't want us venture out and risk new things. It doesn't want us to venture from the status quo. It keeps us in a rut, because the rut is safe and familiar, and even if we're not happy in the rut, we have got used to being in it.

Some people let this gremlin rule their lives. They are also the same people who fuel other people's gremlins. We all have people in our lives who tell us we will fail.  Whenever we hear that, our own gremlin gets a bit stronger. Hear it enough times, we might even start to believe it.

If you're a writer, this gremlin is the voice that is telling you you're no good. You will never succeed. You can't really write very well at all. And it fuels the fear. You are afraid of rejection. But if you repeatedly tell yourself you're a rubbish writer, you will never finish that novel, which means you will never get around to submitting it, which means you save yourself from the heartbreak of repeated rejection letters.

But it's not good to listen to that gremlin, no matter how loudly it speaks to you. Plenty of songs have been written about how it's better to have loved and lost than never loved at all, and so on. Some of them are pretty corny, but the sentiment is true. Sometimes you have to take chances. Sometimes the risk you take doesn't work out, but sometimes it does, and you won't know either way unless you give it a go. There's another corny old adage that seems highly appropriate here. The things you most regret on your death bed will be the things you didn't do - not the things you did. Even if some of those things proved to be mistakes in retrospect, at least you lived to tell about them.

So the next time you hear that Self Sabotage gremlin whispering to you that you're going to fail - whether it be referring to your writing, or something else in your life - be sure to give that critter a good kick up the backside. That doesn't mean it won't come back - it invariably will. But the further away and more frequently you kick it, the longer it will take to come back. And when it does, at least you'll be ready for it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Riding the Submission Merry-Go-Round

The insidious thing about sending a story off to a publisher is the tendency to want to check the email inbox multiple times a day, knowing it takes time for an editor to read the story and decide if they like it.

I submitted three chapters of The Ripper's Daughter yesterday, my vampire paranormal suspense novella I wrote for NaNoWriMo in 2011.

To say I'm trying to focus on other projects right now would be a bald-faced lie. Short of leaving the house without my laptop or cellphone, and only an old-fashioned paper notebook would be the only way I'd stop obsessing.

Dumb, right? I know how the submission process works. I have patience, and the fact I got this far on a pitch and query letter says my skills in that area are improving. Is it possible the log line and I will become friends? Yeah, right.

I think it's apprehension, fear of failure. I'd rather have the bad news early than wait. Like the saying goes, "Let's just rip off that band-aid." I need to get to work on my other stories, but I've decided to take today and read and watch some movies. There's nothing I can do about the submission, and if it gets rejected, I've a couple other publishers I plan to submit to.

Meantime, I'm sure I'll be jumping aboard that merry-go-round for another ride in the near future.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Who Am I?

Recently, the Smithsonian Channel aired a documentary about The Doors album, LA Woman. Being a fan of the band, this had me thinking of the cult that has sprung up around Jim Morrison. Here was a singer/poet/songwriter who knew how to brand himself, even making a anagram of his name: Mr. Mojo Risin' and calling himself "The Lizard King."

Ah, branding. It's not a four-letter word, but, like "platform," many authors would probably prefer running a marathon than deal with it.

This past Saturday, Charlene Burke, of Search by Burke, was the guest speaker at our local Sisters in Crime presentation, and she talked about this very topic. She gave me some ideas, like starting a Facebook page for my book and revitalizing character blogs I'd abandoned. Readers want to connect to characters as well as authors.

I know I need to work on my marketing platform. One of the things I've been considering is moving my stories into a different genre, given the current ones are over saturated.When you're an unknown author, you have to work harder to get noticed, and sometimes it's like being out in the middle of the ocean and holding up one finger. Yeah, who's going to notice that?

I see authors with banners touting their catchphrases, and I think how cool it would be if I could come up with one. Well, I have one, but it'd probably raise a few eyebrows. I'd share it, but I want to tweak it and run it by a trusted friend or two, before I unveil it.

Getting ready to start working on my marketing plan, not just for my upcoming book, but for my overall writing persona. And maybe I haven't yet discovered who that is.

Maybe I've been looking in the wrong place. Maybe I should study singers and bands and see what marketing ideas they've come up with.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

SUFFER THE CHILDREN Rebooted - Cover Reveal

SUFFER THE CHILDREN, my first novel with Lyrical Press, will be relaunched as a e-book at the end of June.  Lyrical returned the rights to me at the end of my three-year contract, and I have decided to re-release it, as a back list title, myself.

I can now reveal for the first time its awesome new cover, featuring original artwork from David Bezzina.

I always had a special fondness for SUFFER THE CHILDREN, for many reasons, and not just because it was my first published novel.  It took me ten years to write, and I learned so much in the process - not just in the writing, but in the editing and publishing process that followed.  I still think it holds its own as a horror novel, and I am very excited that I am able to make it available once more, with a new cover.

So if you haven't read SUFFER THE CHILDREN yet, never fear - it will soon be available to download to your e-reader once more.  Watch this space for further information...