Things I Probably Shouldn’t Say by Lynn Lorenz

I’m too tired for this. Most days I give no fucks.
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Ten years ago, no one knew anything about authors. Maybe if you were big enough, you went on a morning news show. But readers contact you? Nope. Much less every day, or once a week, or have an email you could write to, or a FB author page you could ask questions on. It was sort of nice, I think, having that privacy, that anonymity.

Nowadays, we expect authors to be at our beck and call – doing the promo wild thang – making sure readers knew us, our cats/dogs/kids, and could chat about our upcoming books and the hot guys from the last book, and not just on promo loops or FB party days, but All The Time.
writer distracted by internet

And that’s fine – for those of us who want to do that. I’m out there, and frankly before FB, I had much more interaction that mattered through email. I’m not talking about likes, or reactions on posts that most of my friends don’t ever see. I mean the fan/reader emails about my books. I had tons of reviews, most of which have been deleted from Amazon recently. I have hundreds of those love letters saved, but around 2-3 yrs ago, they sort of dried up. As FB rose in prominence as the way to contact authors, emails (for me) waned. I still get a few, but not like I did from 2008-20012 or so. And I loved getting them. So much I saved them.
got mail

Mostly because there were only a few writers who wrote gay romance. People got to know us by email. And we knew each other, because the writing community was so small. Not so much now. You might think it’s small, but trust me, there are dozens and dozens of authors whose names I don’t know, have never heard of them or they heard of me. It’s like it reached critical mass and exploded. And that’s okay. Don’t we say, there’s room for all of us?

Look, just because an author doesn’t want to maintain a place where readers have instant access to them, and believe me, FB and promo eat up a huge amount of our time, is no reason to think something nefarious is going on. It might be. But then again, it probably isn’t. A lot of writers are not social creatures. A lot of interaction really bothers them – they shut down, turn off, and for some it fucks with their creativity and writing.
vamp

My way of dealing with the push and pull of “promo/put myself out there,” is that I’m thinking of hiring a PA just to deal with some promo/contests/etc, because I’m swamped with it and have little time to actually write. (anyone have a suggestion for someone who wants to intern for no/little money, let me know.)

I’m here for the writing. The stories. The characters and their heartbreaks. Their HEA. And I do love to talk to readers. I could talk for days about books and romance and how and why I write.

But if someone, or several someones, decide to write the books with a team of people to help them, so what? It’s one way. Personally, I could never give up control of my books. Ever. That’s why I don’t write with a partner. It’s mine! Gimme! Don’t touch the precious!
myprecious

When I was writing like a dynamo, I was doing a novella a month, a novel in three months, but it was with publishers, and subject to their control of edits, formatting and publication. I wrote 40 books from 2008-2015, but I had at least 8 more books sitting in files that I haven’t even touched. I’ve self pubbed a few books, and let me tell you, if you’ve got that book written and edited, it takes little to format and upload. But it does take time. Cover art can be done in a few days. And that takes money. So, time and money.

That being said, if a group of people decide to work together to put out a book out under one name, I don’t care. But readers might, especially if they find the writing is inconsistent or there is shoddy editing. They might complain, but they have the right not to buy any more of those books. No one is forcing them to buy. There is Amazon Sample, after all. Just sample it, if it’s not up to par, don’t buy it. Personally, I never buy books without sampling and it’s saved me a ton of money. (This excludes my very small list of authors I’d buy sample unseen.)

You might not know it, but a lot of big name writers in mainstream fiction write a first draft and then turn it over to their publisher, who has it edited, and fleshed out. It’s a thing. So, to me, it sounds like a writer created her own personal publishing company, each person takes a different role, she writes, someone edits, someone may flesh it out, a formatter, a cover artist, etc. Voila, book!

And if several writers did this, then there would be enough books to churn out every week for quite a while. So they could take advantage of the Amz analytics to create best sellers. So these people are smart, they’re using the system, which everyone knows about, to win. They’re using the price point and KU, and Amazon first to “capture the market” so to speak.

How they split the money is another thing, and totally up to them.FB_IMG_1446351213291

And I understand with all the recent to-do with author identity, plagiarism, etc. going on in our community, some are quick to wonder and speculate. I get it. We’re all gun-shy, sitting on the edge of our seats, waiting for the next shoe to drop.
But is this deceiving anyone? Not really. Did you really need to know there were several persons writing the books or one person with several helping? Not really. This has been going on in the publishing industry for ages.

Is this because they’re hitting the bestselling lists? Probably. Are they gaming the system? Not really. Are they going to stay on top forever? Probably not. Does it mean they’re plagiarizing? Probably not. Does it mean they’re converting m/f to m/m? Probably not.

So maybe we should stop waving our arms, clutching our pearls, and just let it go.
let it go No author owes readers interaction. We never did before, and we still don’t. Interaction is the writer’s prerogative.

Frankly, I’d rather have people email me or post on FB about their experience reading one of my books, good or bad. That they posted a review cuz they loved it so much. That’s what means the most to me. I’ve been a bestseller. I’ve had books bomb. I’ve had months of fantastic sales, and months where I couldn’t buy a Starbucks Vanilla Bean Frappuccino and I love those suckers. It’s knowing someone liked me, they liked me! that means the most.

I’m here for the long haul. Have been since 2008. I’ll ride the ups and downs, the “who are you” and “What do you write?” and the “I’ve never read one of your books” and the “OMG! It’s Lynn Lorenz!” moments. The collapse of a few publishers and the mad dash to get those books back out there. The loss of half my backlist and my income, until it is re-issued or I get around to self-pubbing them.

I might be a “has been,” or not the flavor of the day, or not the name on everyone’s lips or have people begging to review my books, but I’ll hold my body of work up against anyone’s. I consider myself one of the old timers, and I’ll keep writing. It won’t be as fast or prolific as it once was, but it’ll be out there.

In the meantime, please, remember authors are people too, and have lives, and can’t always interact and write at the same time, like walking and chewing gum. And if they get creative in publishing, or write dino-sex books, or whatever, to get their names out there and make some money, that’s okay too.

I wish people would get over this idea that making money by writing is a bad thing. It’s a good thing, it’s a tangible reward for doing something right. It’s how we get paid, folks. Making money is necessary. If we didn’t make money, we’d probably have to stop writing and get a second job. That was my position all those years ago. I wanted to tell stories, but I needed more income, without going to a horrible part time job. I was fortunate that people loved my books.

Its bad enough our books are stolen by people who claim to love our books, either by piracy or read and return. Let’s hope Amazon will stop that practice, or at least clamp down on offenders.

The attitude, of “they’re in it for the money” is like, to me, yeah, what’s your point? Yes. I write to earn money. What about it? I also write for other reasons, all good. Reason like here’s a cool story and love is love and everyone deserves a happily ever after. Can’t I write for all those things?

Damn, this went on freaking forever.

One more thing. Let’s be kind to each other.

7 thoughts on “Things I Probably Shouldn’t Say by Lynn Lorenz

  1. Hi Lynn,
    Your post broke my heart–and drove home the point that to compete in today’s market, you almost have to either be full on Indie or as well established as Nora Roberts. In other words, you had a big name going into the time of turbulence/upheaval.

    It’s been about a year and a half since I made a full commitment to get all my books back and become mistress of my own ship. In some ways, it’s been a hell of a year with a ton of work. All those publisher books that I thought were well-edited? Well, the vast majority of them needed a whole lot of work. Maybe all books need yet one more set of eyes. Who knows? Mine sure did. My craft has improved so I can see the problems, but I’ve been shocked not by the typos, but by plot holes big enough to pilot a 737 through. Did I catch all of them this time around with my betas and independently-hired editors? Maybe. Maybe not. Only thing I know is my books are infinitely better this time around, plus I’m still writing new material. Eight new full length books this year plus the bunches I’ve re-released.

    I spend an obscene amount of time marketing, building my newsletter subscriber lists (including a review team) and running FB ads, but for the first time I’m actually making a decent living at this. A living I never could’ve made had I left my books with publishers. Sure, they paid for (slipshod) editing and cover art, but having a striking cover is crucial. That’s your hook, and there are so many books out there, yours has to stand out to get someone to click for long enough to even read your blurb. Not all my books sell, but enough of them do well enough to keep me in the black.

    Today it’s newsletters and FB ads. Yesterday, it was blog tours. Who knows what it will take to sell books next month. I know boatloads of authors who push their stuff for free or .99. At least so far, I’ve avoided that except for the very occasional .99 sale. I don’t want to train my readers to wait for sales–or even worse, free. I’ve also avoided KU. The other thing that seems effective in today’s market is joining up with larger author marketing co-ops. I belong to two spearheaded by very successful women, and the joint efforts do help with sales.

    This got long, but I’ve always liked your books and admired your writing. You were one of the seasoned ones when I was a newbie at LSB back in 2011, and I wish you nothing but the best.

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  2. A Readers View!…. Self promotion is the name of the game now….especially for Indie Writers, if you dont want to play the game dont get IN the game! Or as Lynn suggested get someone to play it for you, a PA etc…those who do it best will always come out on top…Readers want to know about you so we can see what makes you tick, what makes you a writer!….its up to each Author, how much or how little you share with us, family , where you live, pets etc…none of us Readers, 10-15 years ago really knew how to get in touch with Authors ……then authors started using email…..they could connect with Readers! Readers could connect with Authors! YEAH! if you as an Author like emails rather then Social Media-LET READERS KNOW! The world turned again… MySpace jump started the Social Media game, Amazon came on the scene , Facebook became premier, Social Media started changing the game, more writers cropped up…….. you could self-publish, Writers had more control? …A fork in the road happened, Traditional or Self Publishing?…..Which way do I go?..Now, another lane has appeared, we see a Hybrid publishing, a combo platter!!!…..I agree there is much that goes on behind the Book Publishing scene, much of it we readers really don’t care or need to know about!!…BUT with Social Media comes unprecedented access to this “behind the scene” side … Pssst!!! Guess what! …EVERY Business is undergoing radical change due to Social Media and the more access you grant, the more we consumers want and crave…So take responsibility and put parameters in place…. dont start giving us access and then say WHOAH!!! and stop it, like some authors have done as they suddenly dropped off the Earth ….make a plan on how much access you want readers to have…stick to it ……be conservative… but be courteous!! ….if you do pull back your Social Media, just be honest and say why…Don’t just Disappear… if you haven’t figured it out yet, look around, the whole Globe is going through these same birth pangs, we are ALL in a state of Constant Change, feeling our way…and it is making EVERYONE nervous and fatigued and cranky!!….its like Everybody lives in a small town and Everyone knows Everybody’s business…I also agree, lets play nice!…Just My 2 Cents!

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  3. Lynn from one old-timer (since 1998, that’s before Kindle!!) to another — amen.

    Social media is a time suck and every author has to find her own balance — I’m still searching for mine. I, too, have kept every fan e-mail I’ve ever received — love those suckers, love them almost as much as top pick reviews at established review sites.

    My productivity has never been more than 2 full-length books in a year — ever — but those I turn out are the best I can make them.

    But, as we all know, life happens, and since I only get one chance at this life, I choose to experience it fully — while still attempting to find that balance in turning out books.

    I can’t not write — but I can choose how I write and how much. I love my fans; their validation gives me the impetus to keep putting myself out there through my books. P.S. I am a very shy person, really, so taking that extra step to promote my work is one of the hardest things I have ever done. Hugs and thanks for the post. I will share. 🙂

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