Category Archives: On Writing

Making Money the Traditionally Published Way

on October 26, 2015

I was chatting with some newer authors the other day, and one made the comment that she wanted to self-publish her first book only because that was the only way to make money from books.  A couple of other newer authors nodded at her comment, and I have to say, it surprised me a little bit.  To set the record straight, it’s entirely possible to make a good income, hell, a great well-into-the-six-figure-income, from traditionally published books.

Please note that I’m all for self-publishing, hybrid publishing, and traditional publishing…it’s all good and any avenue that gets books to readers is a win in my opinion.  I have friends following every path out there, and it’s extremely exciting.  So, this post is probably more for authors than fans, FYI.  The publishing industry, unbeknownst to most fans, has several different avenues available for authors to get books to readers.  I really don’t think readers care how a book gets published, or who publishes it…they just want good stories with dynamic characters.

So authors can do it themselves (often with a professional team they put together), go hybrid (have both traditional and self pubbed books), or go traditional with a publisher (which does everything but write the book.).  Even with traditional, an author does marketing and promotion, FYI.  Just not all of it.  I get excellent marketing and promotional support from Kensington and Grand Central.  Stuff I’ve never even thought of or heard about before.  On my part, I have a newsletter, a blog, a FB page, and twitter.  While I have help with those, I do post myself sometimes.

Last I heard, there were about 3500-4000 books uploaded to Amazon every day.  That’s a lot!  The idea of coming up with the marking to stand out in that crowd makes me nervous, to be honest.  Although, I know some very successful Indie authors who are doing just that.  Impresses the heck out of me.

The other thing I really like about traditional publishing is the editing.  My editors are phenomenal and see things in a book that I miss…and it’s always my decision on what to tweak or not to tweak.  Many Indies hire good editors, and that’s fantastic, but my editors are there and ready to dig in…and have a stake in the book since they acquired it. 

One thing that I’m a little concerned about, and this is across the board, no matter how somebody is published.  Many of the author conferences I’ve attended the last couple of years are focused much more on marketing and promotion (I totally admit this is crucially important these days), and not as focused on craft.  This makes me a little sad. 

Marketing and promotion might get a reader…but only craft and excellent writing will keep a reader.

Craft matters, and right now, if I have extra time, I want to work on craft and not on marketing.  But that’s just me. I’m on several author loops, and I can’t remember the last time anybody posted a question that didn’t have to do with marketing, key words, ads, etc.  I miss the days of talking about the hero’s journey, character arcs, motivations…etc.  I’m sure those days will come back, BTW.

shutterstock_122830036So any time I’m not writing…I’m not writing.  It would take time to learn how to market, promote, distribute, format, etc…and that takes time away from writing.  I know of some Indie authors who have the system down perfectly and only spend an hour a day doing all of that.  But…I can write about 1500 words in an hour.  So that’s 10,500 words a week, 42,000 words a month, or 504,000 words a year  (about 5 books).  That hour a day, for me, could be spent writing five more books a year.  (Okay, probably 4 books…I don’t write every day, and sometimes I have slow hours.  But you get the point).

Please, for the love of all that is holy, do not think I’m knocking self-publishing.  I’m  not.  Do not think I’m against it or will never give it a shot – I probably will someday.  Yeah, in fact, I’m sure I will someday.  I do have a friend, one I really like, that somehow thinks if I say the sky is blue, I just insulted her and self-pubbing.  Yeah, that’s probably a ‘her’ problem and not a ‘me’ problem, but still, I never want to hurt anybody’s feelings. (Then she blogs about it…)

shutterstock_131894630Please don’t pick apart my little blog here…I’m just sayin…take a look at traditional publishing, new authors.  That’s the entire message here.

All three avenues of publishing are valid, exciting, and important to a healthy industry as a whole. I just wanted to set the record straight a little bit that it is possible to make money the traditional way, and that I think newer authors should look at going traditional as well as Indie.  That’s all.  Rebecca out.

(**The license to use the pictures in this blog was purchased from XO Rebecca signatureblue

Rebecca’s 10 Steps for Writing A Book

on October 19, 2015

Depositphotos_3744598_l-20151. The fun blank page: yippee! A first meet, hero and heroine, OMG I love this book

2. 25,000 words in: Wait a second. Who’s the bad guy?

3. 50,000 words in: Okay, I figured it out. This will come together.

4. 70,000 words in: My career is over, this book doesn’t make sense, I’m going to tank.

Illustration of a girl writer leaning on her chair while thinking

5. 95,000 words: Well, it’s finished. I can fix it in copy edits

6. Editorial edits: Hmmm. Good point. The heroine can’t magically fly, now can she? And a penis can’t do that from across a room. Fixed!

7. Copy edits: I’m liking this book. It actually came together.

8. Page proofs: It’s too late to change anything. What did I do? My career is over. Maybe I can open up a yogurt shop with Joanna Wylde. So long as she’s in charge of the caramel, she’s on board.

9funny cocktail dog behind a white banner. Release day: I think I’m gonna throw up.

10. After release week: Whew! That was kind of fun. Let’s write another book…

**Just a quick reminder that TAKE THE STORM releases on October 29th, WICKED EDGE releases on November 10th, TEASED releases on December 8th, and MERCURY STRIKING releases on January 26th.  WHEW!

XO  Rebecca signatureblue

You Know You’re a Writer When…

on October 11, 2015

Hi all!  I’ve been busy hitting deadlines lately, and I haven’t had much time to blog.  I hope you’ve been enjoying all of the guest bloggers through the summer (and we’ll continue on Fridays through the rest of the year)!  It has been a while since I posted one of these blogs about being a writer, so it’s time.  LOL.

You Know You’re a Writer When:

Illustration of a Female Editor in Glasses Reading Documents

1. You’re at a workshop or class, and the instructor tries to get everyone to move up to the front…and you try to sneak out the back door.  Going to the front gives you hives.

2. You can have a perfectly reasonable conversation at a busy restaurant about the best way to dispose of a body without having to use any chemicals.

3. Your husband asks you, just every once in a while, which voice in your head is talking out loud right now?

4. You ask your spouse if he will flip you over his head, turn left, and still be able to shoot you with his right hand, and his response is: “Well, I could last time.”

5. Somebody tells you about a recent murder in the news, and your response is:  “That’s not how I would’ve done it.”

6.  You get in a good natured argument with a fan because they think they know your hero better than you do, and after they talk for a while, you realize they kinda do.

SUPERNATURAL Pictured: Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester. Frank Ockenfels 3/ The CW © 2011 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

7. Your idea of research is a full day of watching Supernatural because the writing and characterization is just awesome and not because you’re a Dean girl.  Yeah.  Right.  Honest.

8.  If it turned out that vampires really exist, you wouldn’t exactly be shocked into silence.

9. You watch a movie and think: “That’s totally the wrong ending.  Somebody needs to change that.”

10. The UPS guy is still scared of you because of that one little time he had to get you out of handcuffs.  You were doing research for another writer friend, you had the cuffs from Halloween, and you were trying to see if you could shimmy out of them.  Turns out you couldn’t.

Everyone have a wonderful week!   XOXO

 Rebecca signatureblue


What NOT to say to an Author

on January 5, 2015

I love being an author, and I’m truly thankful at the chance to do what I really want to do and somehow make a living at it.  I mean, I make stuff up and people pay me.  How great is that?

But every once in a while, something tickles me, and I have to share.  (There are a couple of expletives in this post, FYI).  Also, please take this in the vein of fun in which I wrote it.  There are more than a few authors out there, and you guys will know exactly what I’m talking about.  You readers probably will, too…maybe.  So here it is.

  1.  I have a great idea for a book.  How about I give you the idea, you write it, and we’ll split the profits?

The appropriate response:  Thanks so much for thinking of me, but I’m pretty swamped with deadlines right now and don’t have time for another project.

The real response, which might be bitten back or not:  Are you fucking kidding me?  I have seventeen books out, ten more in the pipeline, and the last thing I need is your idea.  The idea is the easy part.  You go park your ass in a chair and crank out 95,000 words.  Then you rearrange those words in a pattern that makes sense.  And tells a good story. And has character arcs, creates threads, finishes threads, and provides enjoyment for anybody ponying up money to read it. 

2.  I’d like to write a book, I just don’t have enough time.

The appropriate response:  Man, there’s just not enough time in general, is there?

The real response:  If you wanted to write a freakin book, saying you actually could, you could find the time.  I’ve written in the hospital (both as a patient and as a visitor), on planes, in airports, in carpool lines…you get it.  And during times of having another full time job and busy kids.  If it’s important, find the time, and don’t make it sound like those of us who’ve actually written a book somehow found and bribed the great time-fairy to give us more.  There is no more.

3. You’re so lucky you’re creative and can just sit and write. 

The appropriate response:  Fuck you.

The real response:  I am grateful for creativity and brain synapses that work well.  However, I have to say, that writing does take work.  No, I’m not digging a ditch all day breaking my back (although sitting all day ain’t good for it, I’ve learned), and my fingers are on a keyboard and not skidding across some guy’s brain trying to remove a tumor.  If I goof up, I move on, and nobody dies.  I get that.  I understand that.  But writing is about 10% natural creativity and 90% learning craft, business, etc…and sitting in the chair and actually working.  There’s no magical fairy dust or lovely muse that just perches and vomits a good story.  Although now I want to write a book about a fairy muse that pukes reality and somehow shifts the cosmos.  Hmmmm.  Was that the idea you had originally?  Because it is good.  Maybe we’ll have to revisit the 50-50.

4. Your books are doing well because your publishers promote you so much.

Appropriate response:  I like my publishers and they work hard…and I’m grateful for them.

Real response:  I like my publishers, and they work hard, and I’m grateful for them.  However, in effect, what you’re saying is that success is all about promotion and nothing about the book.  I don’t think so.  More than ever, especially this coming year, we’re going to see good books sell and okay books not sell – no matter on the promotion, marketing, or latest advertising fad.  I also like to think that I might have something to do with the books doing well.  That studying craft, writing sixteen hours a day, promoting like a mother-effer…you know.  I’ve contributed.  Yeah, I’m lucky, and yeah, I know it.  Doesn’t mean I haven’t worked my butt off, too. 

5. You published the wrong way.

Appropriate response:  Big punch to the face.

Real response:  Double punch with a kick to the balls/groin area.  Nobody, and I mean nobody, has the right to tell you how to create or how to live your life.  I don’t care if you’re solely traditionally published, solely self-published, Hybrid or Indie (and for the record, I’m not even sure labels make sense any longer), however you decide to get your work out there is your decision and it’s the right one for you. 

I like how I’m published.  I really like the people I work with.  I’m doing well, much better than I would’ve imagined, with the traditional publishing path I’ve taken.  Period.  Will I branch out?  It’s entirely possible, but who the heck knows?  Right now, it’s about the book, and it’ll always be about the book. 

This was fun, and I had fun writing it. 🙂  Now I have to go park my butt in the chair and crank out words.  Another big thanks for helping MARKED to hit the NY Times list!!!  It looks like the Sin Brothers are still on sale, as is Against the Wall from those Maverick MT cowboys.  Just a thought…

About Being an Author

on December 10, 2014

Hi all!  I was contacted by Bob at Webucator to answer a few questions about being an author, and since I’m in blog mode right now with the blog tour and promo sweep for Marked, which releases on the 22nd, I figured now would be a good time to answer these.  Here it goes:

What were your goals when you started writing?

You know, it’s funny.  I think that with any endeavor, your goals change.  At first, I just wanted to finish a book.  Then I wanted to get an agent and a contract, which I did.  Then, really, all I wanted was to see the book and hold it.  That was a very exciting day, and the book was Fated, which is the first book in the Dark Protector series.  The tenth and final book, Marked, will soon release.  After that, well…then I wanted to write another series, so I wrote the Sin Brothers and the Maverick Montana series.

Right around the time that the fourth Dark Proctor book released, one of the publicists at my publisher mentioned that it might hit a list.  Well, I have to be honest.  I’d never even considered hitting a list.  We hit the USA Today list.  At that point, of course, I reeeeaaaallly wanted to hit the New York Times Bestselling list by myself with a book (instead of in an anthology or group set).  We hit the Times last March.

What are your goals now?

Now?  Honestly, now it’s all about the writing.  I want to keep improving and making each book better than the last. That’s the key.  Also, I just signed with a film/tv agent for a new series called The Scorpius Syndrome, which will debut next year.   Going to film/tv is more of a dream than a goal, though.  Still…it’s nice to dream.

What pays the bills now?

I’m fortunate in that my husband works hard and can always cover the bills.  However, to be honest, writing is paying well and has been since almost the beginning.  My first book came out in 2011, and in 2012, I replaced my salary as a college professor.

Assuming writing doesn’t pay the bills, what motivates you to keep writing?

I’d keep writing even if it didn’t pay, because I don’t think I could stop.  Once you open those floodgates, you’re always thinking about the next story.  That’s just the way it works, I think.

And optionally, what advice would you give young authors hoping to make a career out of writing?

Don’t give up!  Seriously.  I know several fantastic authors who just gave up instead of powering through.  Power through and keep on going…it’ll all work out.

Thanks for the Webucator gang for the fun questions!  Just a quick reminder that the Marked blog tour is going on right now, and you can enter daily for a chance to win $50 at Amazon.  There’s also a fun interview of Zane Kyllwood over at BooksnKisses today, and he’s giving away a couple of books.  Under the Covers interviewed me, and the raffle copter to win the gift card is on their site right now.  Drop by and say hi!