Yesterday I watched a documentary about the history of rock climbing in Yosemite. To this you probably arch an eyebrow. “But Laura doesn’t rock climb,” you say to yourself. And you would be correct, but I found it absolutely fascinating. While I listened to the interviews and watched the athletes climb I was struck by their passion. Climbers have been referred to as dirt bags and adrenaline junkies. Both of these labels might be accurate and from what I’ve heard, often self-proclaimed, but I dare to say one-dimensional as well. It’s passion. Once a person is “bit by the bug” so to speak, you can’t hold yourself back. It can be anything. You can be a voracious reader without inching your way up the side of a sheet of granite.
I love to write. Clearly, that’s no secret. I’m passionate about writing. Even the thought of writing a new novel gives me a rush. And when I’m in the throws of writing – that’s just amazing. Not always euphoric, but emotional, crazy, and above all, essential. I’m also passionate about running, hiking, yoga, and most recently kayaking tickles me pink. Most importantly I allow myself to indulge in all of my passions so that I can be the best at being me. And trust me, my loves, Randy and Lane, appreciate that.
While I watched these climbers I respected them and their passion. I was happy for people I don’t know because they have a passion or many passions and they’re doing what they love.
So what is your passion?
When I made the transition from short stories to novels and made the decision to publish my work, I had no idea how the publishing world worked. I envisioned an editor pouring me a glass of whisky and making suggestions while I sat in front a roaring fireplace making notes. Maybe I wasn’t that idyllic, but close. Needless to say, that’s not how it works.
As a self-published author I have contracted with an editor for the entire editing and development of my novels. I’d recommend that for any author that wishes to self-publish. But what about authors who choose to pitch queries, hope to land an agent and then a publisher? You still should hire your own editor and this is why. When you submit queries your novel must be complete. All agents require a complete novel or they won’t respond to your query at all. Typically with your query, agents require a chapter or a number of pages. You want these pages and your entire novel to be submission ready. You want the best possible version of your work out there. Not anything short of what you consider to be story and copy perfect.
The next important decision is aligning yourself with an editor. I use the word “aligning” intentionally because you are glued to each other’s sides for the duration of your project. Maybe not literally, but definitely figuratively. Each editor has a style and so do you. Contact as many editors as necessary, have each one give you a sample edit on about six pages of your novel, meet in person if you can, have long conversations about whatever and anything, and evaluate your compatibility. Compatibility is the key. An editor that you are compatible with will coach you, urge you to make better writing decisions and encourage you to turn out your best work. With a great editor, all of this will happen without you even knowing it.
Where do you find an editor? Start with referrals, then look online. I have built an entire publishing team by doing internet research. There are many, many freelance editors out there. Do the research, make a list, and start interviewing. It can be time consuming, but in the end it will be quite worth it.
Good luck to you. Your amazing novel is just around the corner.
Yours in writing,
Social Media set-up. Wow! It’s a ton of work.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m working on a new novel, The Fifth Day. I’ll publish this work under the pen name LJ Bethmann as it falls into the Adult Fiction Romance Genre. Writing, editing and publishing a novel is work enough, but add in all the social media set up and I’m in for it. I wrote and published the Emily Series from 2009 to 2012 and set up all of the respective websites and social media accounts. It’s safe to say I’ve forgotten the magnitude of work. Between Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Amazon, Create Space, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and so on, it’s daunting. Let’s not forget the design, hosting and launch of my new author website: ljbethmann.com.
So if you’re looking for advice, keep looking. Just kidding! It’s one step at a time for me. And keep in mind there most definitely avenues not mentioned here that I have yet to learn about. But I will. Ask the right people the right questions and boom; the perfect hook-up.
Check back here for updates and directions to the new websites.
Best, as always,
Where is Emily this time? Last we heard Call Me Emily was hanging out in Cozumel, Mexico. Now in Emily Calls It, Emily is lounging above the clear blue Tahitian waters. And yes, that is the Island of Tahiti beyond.
Long story short book two, Emily Calls It, has gone international. Look out world, Emily is taking you by storm.
Congratulations to Cheryl and Rachel, my two newest readers, for winning the Goodreads Summer Giveaway. Enjoy!
There were 656 entries and two lucky winners. Cheryl and Rachel, I hope you enjoy the Call Me Emily journey. I enjoyed writing it.
I finally had the chance to watch the “Hollywood” release of the big screen adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey. I didn’t rush to the theater upon it’s much anticipated release like most of my demographic; instead I waited in fear for the DVD release. I say “in fear” because like most readers I’m often disappointed when I see a movie following a particularly poignant read. I was disappointed for various reasons, but most importantly it made me think about writing in a different way. As I watched I started checking off a list of things I would have done differently and my mind went to my novels. The reason I turned the pages of that particular book was two-fold. One obvious answer and one maybe not so obvious. First, it was the first book I’d read at that point that introduced a love scene on almost every page and second, the inter dialogue of the protagonist and her inherent struggle was interesting. Those two qualities failed in the movie.
As I take away those observations I wonder how many authors think about the movie version of their work. Not who will be cast, but how it will translate mediums. We’re writing in an age where most everyone watches movies. Often when we read we imagine the Hollywood version. At least I do.
My next challenge – and I’m always looking for one – is to circle back to my works in progress and evaluate at a deeper level if I’m really creating not only a scene but an experience that allows the reader to transfer the written word into a screen adaptation in their mind. I think this exercise will uncover any weak areas where I haven’t portrayed a “GMC” (Goal, Motivation, Conflict) well enough. One of my ongoing works, The Fifth Day, has given me a bit of run for my money in this area, and I think this new outlook could help me turn this work around. Let’s see what I can do. Check back.
In my New Year’s post I talked about shaking things up this new Year. I intend to do just that, but maybe in different ways than some do.
Late 2013 and 2014 marked a period of drastic career change for me. I went from working part time for a number of years while my son was younger, to freelance, and now returning to my career in a full time and-then-some capacity. That alone tested my routines and comforts beyond what I could have imagined. Now, still not entirely living in a “comfort zone,” I do feel like I’m getting the hang of it. That brings me back to what I’m going to do.
They say you use the two sides of your brain for different things. One for creativity and one for analytics. I say I use my whole brain for creativity and my whole brain for analytics. A demanding career can be overwhelming and has at times, but creativity can coexist.
Writing novels is never easy, story-lines don’t always come to me in the shower (although sometimes) and it’s certainly not in my comfort zone. It’s hard work, beautiful, but hard work. Four published novels later I always wonder if I’ve seen the last of it. I’ve written many stories, but some are on a path to publish while others were just for me. It’s the one that continually nags at you that finds it way on Amazon. For me it’s a spin-off. For years I’ve been nagged by my Call Me Emily character “Colin.” Colin resonated with me in a way other characters just tickled me. This man, so loving and selfless, yet in his journey with Emily did not find his happily ever after.
My plan to reconnect with Colin and maybe some other characters from the series is exciting. And no, not in a comfortable way. I’ll post pieces of the new novel here as they come to me and share with you the journey. I’m looking forward to it.
This lovely Friday marks the beginning of a new year for all of us, so from my family to yours I wish you a great year ahead. I find so many of us use this time to inventory and set goals. My husband and I do the same. We take a quick inventory of our finances, vacation plans as well as home improvement goals. If you know my husband it should come as no surprise that although our house is perfectly renovated he always has home improvement plans. I, on the other hand, have vacation plans that are often out of reach – so there. Overall, each year marks a little more of the same for me and for must of us I assume. I find that comforting as well as a little rote. I plan to shake things up a little. I will enjoy the comfort of knowing I have some healthy routines in place, but I also plan to do a few things outside of my comfort zone. I haven’t figured out what those things are yet, but I will and I’ll post them here. So please enjoy your year and maybe do a couple things that are new to you.
Best, as always,
It is the season for kindness and giving. Well, that’s what I thought. Let me paint a picture for you. Yesterday evening I’m scrolling through books to download on my Kindle and momentarily wander to the Emily Series to check on my sweet books. When to my surprise there is an additional review for both Call Me Emily and Emily Calls It. With one click and a scroll I see it’s one word, “boring” and one star. My heart immediately sank until the name associated with the review caught my eye. Donna Rhama. Better known as AUNT DONNA. I spent the last twelve hours completely offended and angry. I couldn’t believe a woman who had spent time with my family for the better part of my adolescence would post something so negative. Then I spoke to my mother. Clearly there was a falling out I wasn’t a part of. Still an attack was thrown my way. So I ask, dedicated readers, please add a review to Call Me Emily and Emily Calls It on Amazon.com to bury this silly attempt to upset me and my family. I will be ever grateful. (And if you feel like it, add one to Emily’s Calling and Meet Emily.)