Sinking Into Relative Obscurity

Times change. Normally, I don’t blog here in the middle of the week. Normally, I don’t blog anywhere in the middle of the week. But today, I’m feeling the weight of something pressing on me and I want to get it off my chest if only for the length of time it takes me to write this post.

It’s been my observation, based on my own work and efforts this year, that authors who do not promo the fuck out of themselves and their books begin to sink into relative obscurity. Back in 2008, when I got my first contract, it seemed like a little Tweeting, a little Facebook, an up to date website, a weekly blog post occasionally augmented by a guest blog post or interview, a chat maybe once a month with a giveaway, high placement in a few contests plus some loop promo 2-3 times a week got you enough attention to sell books. No so any longer.

A case in point seems to be my M/M stuff. Fire Season continues to sell. However, there’s huge numbers of readers on the Goodreads M/M group who aren’t familiar with it despite it being on Jessewave’s Top Ten of 2009 and a Rainbow Awards Finalist. Those readers almost seem to be all about the authors who posted freebies during the group’s free read/write events. So this year, I did one, but I don’t think I’m seeing more name recognition for it. I got involved in the free serial story Lords of Aether. Not seeing more name recognition for that either. And all the books I’ve put out this year? Well, I guess you could say they’re not Fire Season.

The only thing I can see that I do differently than all the young up and coming authors in this genre whom everyone seems to know is that they are constantly on Twitter, Facebook, Facebook groups, blog tours and hops, Goodreads groups and all over a gazillion new review sites. And by constantly, I mean I see posts from them time-stamped all day long.

Looking at all that, I hear a death knell. I don’t have all day to promo. I don’t have any time to promo really, although I eke out some time here and there. Also, these authors are all over the conventions and conferences and all about tagging and reviewing each others books on Amazon and B&N and ARe. Whew. Just writing all of that has me exhausted. And discouraged. Because I can’t do all that stuff all the time. I have a full-time, demanding job. I have a family and a graphics business and things I’m supposed to write for my editors. And I live in an expensive part of the world and am the sole provider for 3 adults and a bunch of cats.

The upshot is that I can’t afford to promo like the authors whose names trip off readers lips, especially M/M readers. I don’t have the time or the money. And thus, I find myself sinking into relative obscurity. I can see the writing on the wall. One day, my editors are going to start giving me rejection slips because no matter how good my work is, if it doesn’t sell, they won’t want me.

So I guess I’m seeing the beginning of the end. This is what today’s trending is showing me. Even if I reinvent myself, I don’t have the time and wherewithal to do what’s necessary to sell books. I rather think that the era of “Lex who?” is upon me no matter how many times Wave profiles me, how many times I’m in the Rainbow Romance Writers ads in RWR  or how many freebies I write at the Goodreads M/M group.

All of this begs the question, do I stop? Or do I just wait out the natural attrition I mentioned above where eventually my editors don’t want my work anymore because no matter how good it is, no one knows me and my books don’t sell anymore?

No time to actually answer this question because lunch is almost over and I need to try to drop a few hundred words into my WIP. However, comments and observations are welcome…if anyone’s actually reading this. LOL 😉

Me All New Again

When an author gets a new publisher, no matter how long they’ve been doing this, you feel all squeaky and new again. You pretty much start out at the beginning doing forms and getting added to loops and meeting new people. It’s like you’re a brand new author. The feeling of that first contract comes back to you. And yeah, you might grumble a little at all the hoops you have to jump through, but you don’t really mind it because that new contract feeling is pretty  much priceless and fills you with excitement.

So, um, yeah. Loose Id took my NFL novel. 😀

I’m really excited about it in a quiet kind of way. I wanted to jump up and down and squee and stuff, but that’s not exactly me. I’m more the Cheshire cat grin kind of person. The I’ve-got-a-cool-secret kind of person. But I am totally excited to be with this publisher. I have a lot of friends with them. And I’m hoping to expand my readership by being with this house.

I’ve got some revisions to do and I’m willing to compromise. All my editors know this about me. If I don’t like their suggested change I will make a case for a change of my own or for leaving it as it is. I’m no diva. I’m always reasonable, but I don’t let anyone bulldoze me either. I’m a good writer with a good reputation and while it’s okay to treat me like a brand new author in some ways (the paperwork, etc.) it’s not okay to treat me that way when it comes to my manuscripts. Not that they are. They’re really respectful of my creative process.

So all the nail biting is done. And the hardest work is about to begin. The book is slated for release September 18. And there’s lots to do before then. I’ll admit to being a tad nervous about my cover but not about the editing process. I think my book will be better for the hard work my editor will demand of me. I asked for this. I wanted this book there. And I’m so glad it is!

And now, a Marcus for this overcast (at least out here in the canyon) Monday morning!

Man, he walk my runway any day! 😉 Happy Monday!

Franklins

Cold hard cash. Yep. That’s what the house buying has come down to. We’ve given them some of the Franklins, but the rest are waiting to be handed over when we sign one last paper. The exchange of cold hard cash for keys should take place today or tomorrow.  For the last three weeks I’ve thought each day might bring the end to the waiting but after backing out of escrow on the house we thought we wanted, we ended up with something newer and more expensive. Now, finally, we seem to be at the end of this process.

Everyone keeps asking me if I’m excited. I suppose I am, somewhere inside me. In truth, I’m mostly stressed. Time is closing in on me and money is always a factor. Those Franklins staring at me so obliquely make me nervous. Do we have enough time and money to get this complete in a week and be in the new place? I have to work. I don’t have time to pack and move. Panic lurks at the edges of my sanity…

I know I’m being a little dramatic here but I seriously have those near panic moments. They are mostly only moments though and not longer, thank God.  The reason for that is because I have work to do at the office and work to do at home. I’ve had a lot of stuff going on at the office and I’ve been swamped. At home, I’ve done a bunch of cover art. (If you want to see it hop on over to winterheart.com.) The Franklins keep coming and that helps part of the panic. Doesn’t help the part where all my stuff is magically boxed up and ready to go.

One good thing is there’s a bunch of stuff we aren’t taking. Nothing like moving to make you decide to jettison a bunch of crap you had in your closet. So I’m getting a cleaning and hauling away crew for the old place. The new place needs a cleaning and repair crew.  The kitchen has some issues that need addressing before we can move in and Rott’s friends offered to paint it all for us. Whether there is time to get the paint and get it all done before the weekend is a whole other thing.

I know Rott feels painting is imperative. The PURPLE paint in the master bath makes him want to hurl. It doesn’t bother me so much.  (Hello, I have a purple website for Lex Valentine.) However, one of the smaller bedrooms has a mustard yellow ceiling and red doors. Makes my stomach churn. And the master bedroom has this dark brown wallpaper that looks like library shelves. Now, I love books. Not so much that I want to sleep with them though. So, yeah. The painting needs to come soon if not before we haul our stuff over there.

But first, it’s the Franklins. The cold hard cash exchange. Cross your fingers that happens no later than tomorrow. I’m tired of waiting. I just want it over and settled. I know the cashier’s check is burning a hole in Rott’s pocket too. We’re impatient to finish after three weeks on the teeter totter.

A post Easter Marcus is what I need now to complete my morning and make me feel better.

Oh, now isn’t that a pretty sight? A man with his legs spread is so inviting, don’t you think? LOL

Hope all you peeps had a hoppy Easter and here’s looking forward to a fantastic (hopefully escrow closing) Monday!

We Are the Waiting

Last night I watched Green Day do all of American Idiot on VH1’s Storyteller.  I just love that band. Their energy, their ability to turn their politics into music, their willingness to stick their necks out.  And I love how one of the titles suits us right now.

We are definitely the Waiting.  We have an offer in on a house we really, really like (with a RED kitchen) and now we are the Waiting. I am both scared to death and excited beyond belief. And for once in my trial ridden life, I need something to go very right. I need this to go right.

The house thing has eclipsed getting ready for the Romantic Times convention. It’s eclipsed my new release the first week of April. It’s eclipsed the launch of my company’s new website (which isn’t actually up yet) that I’ve spent a significant amount of time on.  I can’t remember when I’ve been so damned scared that something won’t work out. And I hate living with fear. It means I eat Mylanta and can’t sleep.

So the ticking time bomb of my patience and self-possession is counting down to a scream of either elation or sheer bloody pain and disappointment. I guess we’ll know within a week which scream gets released.

Meanwhile, I do still have to go to work and bust my behind to get lots of stuff done early for month end in order to be able to go to RT and not leave the company in the lurch. So without further ado, here’s today’s Marcus.

Still the best abs and pecs ever! Man, I love looking at him!

And now it’s time to head off into the sunrise. You all have a great Monday!

Nosy

I’m surrounded by nosy people.  Some nosy people I don’t mind.  When my kid looks over my shoulder and says, “Whatcha doin?” I don’t mind.  When the neighbor in the building across from us has her mom over for a visit and the old lady sits in the window all day long staring into my house at Rott…I mind.  So if my immediate family wants to know what’s up, I find that sweet. When the neighbors, landlord, and other relatives poke their noses into things, I find that intrusive.

Am I alone in this feeling of being intruded upon when relatives come over and have to look at my bed and my bedroom? Or when the landlord has to come over with his handyman so he can look around while the guy is working? Or when neighbors come onto my porch to peer into my windows? My bedroom is my space. I don’t want anyone in it except the person I sleep with or my kid. I may rent the place where I live but it’s my home even though someone else owns it. And the set of stairs leading to my porch only goes to my porch so unless I invited you over or you have some kind of important business with me, you have no business on those stairs or on my porch trying to peer through my blinds or screen door.

I would love to hear from others about this. Do you get annoyed by nosy people? Nosy neighbors, landlords, and relatives? Do you not like people in your bedroom? I seriously don’t like people in my bedroom. This one totally gives me the creeps. The thought of people I don’t know well staring at my bed makes me want to hurl. Please tell me I’m not alone in this!

Anyway, moving on to non-neurotic topics…I have a very pretty Marcus for you this Monday. He could look at my bed. Or jump in it. Heh.

Go on now, tell me your worst nosy tales and while you’re at it, have a great Monday!