Thursday, May 14, 2009

You Like Me, You Really Like Me!

Naw, not protagonists. :) Today, I'm over on Writer Unboxed talking about that fine line that writers need to walk between seriously messed-up and still relatable characters. I know from what I speak, as I've occasionally scribed some real bitches, only to have to rewrite them when enlightened that no one really likes a bitch...most people just like a touch of bitchy with a side of disfunction. That's enough.

Anyhoo, click on through to get my thoughts.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Price of an Agent

Question of the day: What do agents charge? What advice do you have for someone that wants to write a book & be published?

Legitimate agents don't "charge" anything. If anyone, ANYONE, wants you to pay him or her for reading/submitting/publishing your manuscript, run, run, run as fast as you can in the other direction, and you might consider reporting him to Editors and Predators, as well.

Agents earn their keep by selling your work. Period. So if they make money only when YOU make money, which is critical, because their success is contingent on your success - this is why it behooves them to work for you. Agents usually take about 15% of the, if your ms sells for 10k, they earn $1500; if your ms sells for 100k, they earn 15k. You get the idea. Anyone who wants to charge you differently (more or less) is a scam artist. (I should note that these percentages might change slightly in the area of foreign rights, film, etc, but this is a general barometer.)

As far as how to get started? WRITE. Full stop. You cannot sell a book without having written it. I've read before that something like 90% of the populations believes that they are capable of writing a book. Ha! Of that 90% how many actually write it? Well, I don't have the specific percentage on that one, but I can assure you that it's a tiny fraction of this percentage. Wanting to write a book and actually doing it are two very, very different things. So get going. Prove to yourself that you're one of the few who CAN do it, not just dream it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The. End.

So...I did it! I did indeed finish this baby on Friday. I wrote 20k words in three days, and it all happened so quickly, I actually think I'm in a small state of disbelief about it. I mean, there were points in writing this book that I actually didn't think I could do it, that I either peaked with Time of My Life or that I needed to ditch this one and start over. And so, no one is more surprised than I am (albeit pleasantly surprised) to suddenly have that lightening bolt strike and have everything click into place.

It's funny: I was chatting with some other authors at my reading last week with Laura Dave, and we all agreed on a few things: 1) the more books you write, the easier it gets. (More on that in a minute.) And 2) the more books you write, the more you realize that this is just a job (a great job, but a job nevertheless) and the less exciting it is to hit The End.

What I felt when finishing this one was...relief. :) Well, that's not true. I reread the last 20k, and actually, if I do say so myself, I love, love, love, love it. BUT, when I finished my first one, I was nervous about selling it/AMAZED that I'd written a book, and when I finished my second one, I was THRILLED to discover that I wasn't a one-hit wonder, and this time, I just thought, "Well, thank the sweet lord, because I'm under contract and if I hadn't finished it or if I'd really tanked it, my career would take a real nosedive." Ha. Not exactly what you'd expect.

I shouldn't minimize it too much, to be fair. I am genuinely thrilled at not only what I've produced, but at the fact that I produced it both well and at all, but yes, there is a very different feeling now than four years ago with my first one. This is what I do now. I write books. After this one, I will write another one. It's a wonderful, wonderful job, but it's my job now. There are expectations, contracts, and a need to prove myself each time I publish. I love it. I'm not complaining. Don't even think for a second that I'm complaining, but the feeling between my first book and now is so, so different. I don't know - maybe the same as that honeymoon stage in a marriage and what real life marriage actually is? Is this making sense to anyone? :)

The good news is, as I alluded to above, that every book, in some ways, is easier. This one was harder for a lot of reasons - pressure, expectations, plot complications, a difficult protagonist - but know that I know HOW to write a book, well, that part makes it a hell of a lot easier. I know when to crank up the tension; I know when to throw in more conflict; I know when to dial back characters and how to pace various plot lines.

I don't know - I hope this post isn't too rambling! I guess what I'm trying to say is THANK GOD I AM DONE!! But now I have to write another one... LOL.

Any other authors out there understand what I mean?