It's been quite awhile since I've done my one "regular" feature, so today is for YOU! Ask as many questions as you want about whatever you want today, and I will answer them as soon as I can. That is usually in real time, though sometimes I have to feed/diaper/drop off kids.
Twitter, Facebook, or even Tumblr.
Here is a pretty beach picture to distract me while I wait for questions.
Which social media application has been the most successful avenue for reaching readers? Other authors and publishing folks?ReplyDelete
Hmm, Becky, good question. I think it really depends on which social media outlet you put the most effort into, if that makes sense. For me personally, I would say Twitter and my blog have had the biggest impact. But some authors would say Tumblr and others would say Facebook, you know?Delete
My blog really got me off the ground. I started it…well it's approaching 8 years now! I hit that "social media trend" right on point, when everyone was blogging and it was really the primere way to communicate online. There was no twitter or any of the others save Facebook. You had your blog and hoped people would link to you and comment a lot.
I found twitter early on, too. Early enough to get my whole name and everything. It was a site that worked for me, and linking to my blog brought me more followers on both. I liked the way Twitter worked. So I stuck with it.
The others I have no marked "success" on. I post sporadically, and don't often check them so I have the following to reflect that, I guess.
Honestly, I feel like social media is a bit of a mystery still. Some people gather up followers so fast, and others don't. But really…it's not as necessary as people make it out to be. Let's just say it didn't magically make me a bestseller or whatever. I'm not even sure I can say it helped with sales at all.
What it did help me with was finding amazing friends to travel the road with, and it helped me learn more about publishing in general. That's what I found useful and rewarding.
I've always wanted to write a novel - I've finally thrown myself into the fray and I really enjoy it. In my mind, a good writer is also a good reader - but there is often only time to do one or the other. There's no read-to-write formula but I was curious how other writers choose which, and when.ReplyDelete
D Haynie, honestly right now I don't read much at all. I used to have more time, but with 3+ novels out this year and deadlines and conference and 3 children and being in charge of a Girls Camp thing…yeah reading has fallen by the wayside currently.Delete
I am hoping at sometime I will find more moments, but I have about three hours when my toddler is napping for work—I have to use it the best I can.
Though I guess there is that whole "you make time for what you love" thing. I know friends who read on the weekends (I run errands and clean my house then). I know some who read before bed each night. Some who read multiple books a week and others who are like me and can't really squeeze it in right now.
What I think is important is remaining a student of stories. There are many ways to do that, be it books, music, movies, or even a great TV show. Thinking about and studying story is really the core of why authors encourage aspiring writers to read. It also helps you become educated in your genre and its expectations.
What are five odd things you googled while writing relax, I'm a ninja?ReplyDelete
Ha, Eliza, I wrote Relax, I'm A Ninja in 2009, so I'm afraid I don't remember specifics about what I googled. But I can make good guesses:Delete
1. San Francisco: Tosh and his friends have grown up in the city, so I knew I had to do some serious research on the place to get the right feel. Luckily, I did grow up across the bay (in Fremont) so I had basics, but I did a lot of research on the different districts/areas of San Fran, what they looked like and who would live there. Almost all of the locations in the novel are real places, save like the dojo and their school.
2. Ninja: I read up as best I could on the shinobi. I of course took some of my own interpretations, but I wanted to have a good foundation to go off as well. I learned about their history and traditional weapons, stereotypes, how they're presented in mainstream media, etc.
3. Martial Combat: I sought out not only words about different types of combat, but also videos and practitioners to get a good idea of what was realistic for my fight scenes and what would become "supernatural." I wanted my ninjas to have some "larger than life" abilities for certain reasons, but I always wanted the combat to be believable and not "movie fight" like.
4. Japanese Mythology: This book does employ "paranormal" elements! While I have learned a lot as a lifetime learner and all around "interested person" in Asian culture/myth/food/etc, I of course wanted to cover my bases and make sure I was adapting my world building from the proper sources.
5. D&D: While I've played as part of campaigns, I've never approached D&D as a DM so I had more to learn there. I spent more time reading the codebooks and trying to get inside the minds of hardcore role players:)
Now that the E-Revolution is strongly upon us, what form of marketing do you suppose writers will be having, meaning, will there still be things like signings? What if everyone wanted to wait on a book- like Harry Potter-will people still line out in the streets waiting for their books to pop on their e-readers on the twelve hour? cause that would be lame huh? (It sounds a bet ridiculous to me now that I asked it but bear with me I’m not a citizen of the first world:P)
Also, are there any new books we don’t know about that you're going to publish this year (in any form of publishing?)
By the way, for a writer who is fairly new you have published A LOT (*\o/* cheering for you!) why do you think this happened, was it simply your time?
Haneen, I will number these to keep better track:)Delete
1. Ebooks and marketing: Honestly, I think the best and most important form of marketing any author has ever had has been this one thing—writing more books. Marketing your one or two titles is great, but putting more out there improves your visibility and also gives your readers more to buy and hopefully fall in love with. No matter how the formats change, I think this will always be true.
I also think print will never fully go away, and it's been shown that people who read an ebook and love it often buy the hard copy as well. Either for a signing or just because they love it and book buying is kind of a "collectors" type thing. At least I know I love collecting them:)
Things are changing, but I'm not afraid of that anymore. There are more options than ever for writers, and that is really exciting. Really, it means more chances for readers to find you.
2. New Books You Don't Know About: HA! I plead the fifth? Let's just say don't be surprised if you see more from me this year than you currently know about:)
3. Lots Of Books In Short Amount Of Time: Part of it has been serendipitous. Like, I didn't expect Blindsided to happen at all. It was an opportunity I was offered out of the blue and I took it. Same with writing for Torment: Tides Of Numenera. House Of Ivy & Sorrow has always been scheduled to come out around a year after Transparent, so I knew about that since I sold to HarperTeen in 2011. When it comes to Relax, I'm A Ninja, that was really me wanting to take control of part of my career. So much of publishing can be out of your control, and I figured I may as well do something I loved while waiting for other traditional publishing things to happen.
Publishing is weird that way. Some things are in the works for years. Others fall in your lap. And somehow they all end up coming out close together. Though when I think about it, most of my projects being published this year (by myself or publishers) have been a long time coming except for Blindsided (so appropriately named). House Of Ivy & Sorrow was written in 2011 around the time I sold Transparent (which I started in 2010). Relax, I'm A Ninja was first written end of 2008, beginning of 2009. Here it is 2014 and finally going to see print. So yeah, lots of long-term projects coming to fruition this year!
I need some advice. One of my best friends wants to be a writer, and I've known this about her almost as long as I've known her (about 15 years now). The thing is, she tends not to write at all, and she always has an excuse as to why she hasn't written (too tired/too much on her mind/car broke down at home, etc.). Do you have any words of encouragement that I can pass along to her? Or words of inspiration? Because, I'll admit, I feel like the frustrated friend of late. And seeing your Q&A Day post today made me think asking an author about this would be a good idea. Thanks!ReplyDelete
Lisa, you are such a good friend! It's hard to watch someone who wants something but may not be ready to go and get it.Delete
I wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. Like, I'm talking 5 years old. But for a long time I convinced myself I either couldn't do it or would be able to make it. Honestly, I was scared I'd fail. I don't like failing. Fine, I HATE it. And for a long time that kept me back. Deep down inside, I knew I wasn't trying because it was safer to dream about being a writer than to actually TRY. Because trying opened me up to failure, and I wasn't sure i could handle that.
I'm not entirely sure what flipped the switch, but one day I found I just really couldn't be happy with myself if I didn't at least try. I think I'd just finished college. I had a new baby in the house, and a whole new life staring me in the face. I'd finished all my goals: graduate college, get married, have a family. I faced the sobering reality of "What the hell do I do now?"
So I started writing things down. Maybe you could call it a bucket list. Maybe not. I just was brainstorming things I wanted to in my life—things I would regret not doing if I got to the end of my life without experiencing them.
To my surprise, writing just kept coming up. I wanted to publish, even if it was just one book. I had even written that six novel published before I died would be AMAZING. Haha. That's when I knew writing wasn't something I could keep being scared of.
I started sincerely pursuing publishing after that, and it was even harder than I thought. And honestly, I failed a lot more than I expected to. It hurt. But it also helped me grow. I kept trying, and 7 years later my first book hit shelves.
I don't know if that's advice or not, but that's my story. Or part of it, at least. I wish you could push someone into doing something, but in the end your friend will write or she won't. It's up to her. She'll make the time if she finds the courage. But if she doesn't, that's okay, too. I wish her the best of luck. And you, too;)
Now for an easy question ... How tall is Lee Seol? (I'm really only asking this because I'm wondering if the character is shorter than me!)ReplyDelete
Oh, Lee Seol, she's my favorite:) I picture her around five foot nothing, maybe an inch or two taller. It's hard to know because I see her through Fiona, who is five eight. Basically, Lee Seol looks TINY to her, but Fiona is pretty tall! But Lee Seol is shorter than Bea, who I picture around five three or four.Delete
Thanks for your responses, Natalie. Sure do appreciate your point-of-view. Additionally, I'm glad to learn that Lee Seol is basically my height. :-) She's one of my favorites as well -- I don't come across many Korean characters in the books I read, so thanks for including her!Delete
You are very welcome! Little known fact? Lee Seol was actually the reason I started watching Kdrama and learning about Korean culture. She popped into my head and I realized I needed to learn a lot—that's when the research began:)Delete
Just from my time spent cruising blogs, it seems 2014 has brought a lot of debate over traditional vs. self-publishing. If you could change one thing about both of them, what would it be? Thanks!ReplyDelete
Leandra, what a good question! It seems like there has been more talk about it than ever—many more authors entertaining the idea of going indie is what I think is bringing that on. Authors have more options than ever, and figuring out the best route for each book can be more confusing than ever.Delete
If I could change something about traditional publishing, I think it would be how they treat the midlist. It used to be that midlist authors were looked upon as a good thing—steady selling with deep backlists that kept the publishers going. Now midlists are almost looked down on and are being swept out instead of nurtured. Books are almost being treated like they have a shelf-life, as if they spoil after just a few months when that's not the case.
As far as self-publishing, I'm still learning but I think I'd change the perception of it. While I already think that's improving, I'd love to see it improve more. Of course there are some not great indie books out there, but there are so many amazing authors getting thrown under a bus when they really don't deserve it. And that causes them to be defensive, which in turn creates an unnecessary divide.
I guess really I just wish everyone could get along and respect each other. Perhaps that's my new "hybrid" identity coming out. I don't think writers realize they don't have to pick a side—that in fact having both side available is extremely advantageous to them. It doesn't have to be all one or the other. We can coexist. Of course neither option is perfect—this is publishing we're talking about here and *nothing* is perfect—but both have merits not to be ignored.
That's sad about the shelf-life/spoiling aspect. B/c I know as a reader, there are books that I definitely want to/and am going to buy, just maybe not right away(b/c finances can be rough sometimes!)(oh, who am I kidding- all the time, lol!)ReplyDelete
And I can imagine being a hybrid is exciting! Also, thanks for your thoughtful answers.