The Broken Hearts’ Society of Suite 17C and How It Broke Me

My last post, 4 months ago, detailed how I’d been kind of kicked in the butt my my last book. It wasn’t (still isn’t) selling as well as I would have liked, and WOW did that kill my confidence. I didn’t think it could get much worse, writing wise, and I was in a relatively good place anyway, like I said in the post – I believed in my work, I still had my job, there would always be a next book… Can you believe I actually typed all that stuff out without thinking I’d jinx myself?  At that point, I had just started work on The Broken Hearts’ Society of Suite 17C. It was going to be a fluffy, yet poignant, romance. I loved the characters, and I had a pretty good handle on them and their stories. I had an 8,000 word outline. I’d drafted books in just a few weeks, and this one would be no different. What could possibly go wrong? Well, nothing much,  but enough to derail my hopes for a speedy, solid draft that was supposed to be ready for publication…well, a month ago. First, it was gray outside. Very, very gray. My seasonal affective disorder kicked into high gear, and I was feeling unusually sluggish to boot. My doctor confirmed some stuff was a little messed up with my thyroid. It was rainy outside, nearly every day. The Jewish high holidays had my kids home from school on and off for the better part of a month. It was cold outside. I couldn’t lose weight, and it was really getting on my...

When a Book Fails

Sometimes, books don’t sell.   We (authors) don’t talk about it much, for lots of reasons. We think it’ll reflect badly on us. If we admit that this one book failed, that very very very few people wanted to read it enough to click the “buy” button, maybe readers will think all our books, past and future, aren’t worth their latte’s worth of book money. Maybe fellow writers will want to distance themselves from us, afraid to catch our bad selling juju or look totally lame by association.   Perhaps most of all, for self publishers, we don’t want every proud, confident, totally contented thing we publicly said about our publishing choice to look stupid.  We made a brave choice, and, for this book, at least, it didn’t pan out as we had hoped. And because that choice isn’t the popular choice, isn’t the lauded choice in this industry, instead of looking brave? We just look ridiculous. Naive. Quixotic in a worse way than Quixote himself (after all, we knew all the risks.)   Well, readers, my latest book has been out for a month, and has, so far, failed.   To be clear: It has sold some copies, an average of one a day. It’s made just under $100 this month, against a $1000 investment. Those are, by some measures, pretty decent numbers, and I know that a lot of writers would love to see $100 a month from one of their books.   But, see, I’m spoiled, I guess. In a way. The first book I ever self-published made one hundred times more in royalties (yes, you...

Writing Stand-alones vs. Series: YA Author Jessa Russo on her newest novel, DIVIDE!

Hi, sweet readers! My friend Jessa Russo has a new book out! I first met her years ago when we were both working toward publication. Her debut was the first in a trilogy, but DIVIDE, her latest release, is a stand-alone! So of course I asked her to blog about the difference between her experiences writing a standalone vs. a series. I’ll be giving not one, but TWO e-copies of DIVIDE away at 8:00 EST tomorrow! (May 9) All you have to do is comment for a chance to win!  For five (5!) extra entries, tweet about it using this text: I’m dying for a chance to read DIVIDE by @JessaRusso! http://goo.gl/h3NDZL #giveaway #amreading   But first, look at this stunning cover and blurb! (And don’t forget to stick around for the excerpt at the end!) From senior class president to dejected social outcast, with just the flick of a match. After accusations of torching her ex-boyfriend’s home are followed by the mysterious poisoning of her ex-best friend, seventeen-year-old Holland Briggs assumes her life is over. And it is. But not in the way she thinks. As Holland learns the truth about her cursed fate—that she is descended from the Beast most have only ever heard of in fairytales—she unites with an unlikely ally, good-looking newcomer Mick Stevenson.  Mick knows more about Holland’s twisted history than she does, and enlightening as it is to learn about, his suggestion for a cure is unsettling at best. Holland must fall in love with Mick in order to break the spell, and save their future generations from repeating her cursed fate. Having sworn off love...

A Working Writer

About  one week and one day ago, I became a full-time writer. This past year, I found myself in the very best of problematic situations – having two jobs I loved, but enough time to do only one.  I’ll miss my college students more than I can say, but in the end, writing was the best choice for me in terms of flexibility, long-term sustainability, and, yes, even income. So at the end of the year I packed up the office I’d spent so many wonderful years in, boxing up hundreds of books I’d collected during five years of grad school and five more years of work, and lowering my hard-earned diplomas from their places on the wall.   Now, every weekday, four hours are dedicated to writing books and preparing them for publication. Feeling like a “real” writer has crept on me slowly, so quietly that it’s hard to pinpoint when I felt the title really fit me. (I do know for sure it wasn’t when I published my first book, or even when I started earning money.)  When I started testing out the title, telling people, “I’m a writer,” it felt like a terrifying leap of faith. It felt like a commitment to something I wasn’t sure I could follow up on, a promise of some brilliance I knew I hadn’t uncovered, nor was I sure I ever would.   Now, with six books published (three under a pen name,) I’ve instilled in myself a sense of expertise, of “knowing the ropes,” of familiarity with the roller-coaster ride that is drafting, editing, and publishing a book. But...

ONE is a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Spark Award Honor Book!

Well, this is a pretty surreal announcement for me to be making.Last fall, on a long shot, I submitted ONE, my Young Adult debut about a girl with only half a superpower, for a SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) Spark Award,  an annual award that recognizes excellence in a children’s book published through a non-traditional publishing route. Well, I got news late yesterday that ONE was selected as one of two Spark Award Honor Books in the Young Adult category. I’m not only honored, but I’m so, so proud. It’s not often I say that about my own work, but you guys. SCBWI is the organization for anyone who writes books for children and teens. They set up a top-notch decision process for the Award, with judging in two rounds by agents, editors, booksellers, and other publishing industry professionals. Besides, I never thought that my self-published debut novel would ever be eligible for any awards. Ever. So yes, I’ll get a plaque, and yes, I’ll get a shiny gold sticker to put on ONE’s cover (eee!)  But to me, the real sweetness in winning this award is feeling like, on one more way, I’ve earned my chops as a Young Adult author. And, as always, I wouldn’t have ever kept writing or published a single thing if it hadn’t been for the love and support of all of you, sweet readers. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank...

It’s an Honor to Be Nominated…

…and it would be awesome to win! Back when I announced my book deal for ONE, my debut novel, I knew (and accepted!) that my decision to self-publish it meant that I would never get a few things for it: widespread distribution in brick-and-mortar stores, reviews from major publications, and book award nominations. Not that awards are all that important – the fact that readers love ONE has always been the most important to me, and the greatest award I could ask for. BUT – it would still be really, really, REALLY cool to win an award for the novel that made me brave enough to publish myself. That’s why it’s so exciting that ONE has been nominated for IndieReCon Best Indie Novel of 2013!!!!  Seriously, I’m still grinning over this. I don’t know who nominated ONE, but I’d like to hug them and turn my silly grin on them and buy them a latte and then hug them again.So please, if you liked ONE or if you like me or if you believe in indie-publishing with a whole lot of hard work, time, and love invested in it, VOTE HERE.  Anyone can vote. You, your critique partners, your co-workers, your siblings, your spouse. Anyone you know who you’ve recommended ONE to who’s liked it (thank you!) can vote and share the link with all their friends so they can vote too. You know, if they want to. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million times again – I owe every ounce of my success to my readers, especially those...