Posted in Funny

How Writers Spend Their Time (Infographic)

untitled-5c-20i_35604065

I once had to Google how much force was required to crush a human skull for a book I wrote. I am 100% on some kind of watch list now.


Click here to support me on Patreon and get writing tips, prompts, and exclusive content available only to patrons, including my new novel!

I can’t guarantee that supporting me on Patreon will cause you to have endless good hair days . . . but I can’t guarantee that it won’t either.

Posted in General, Writing Advice

Ignoring the Haters

On Christmas Day, I woke up to a notification on my phone. Someone sent me an anonymous message telling me that although they’d initially enjoyed a fanfic series I wrote, they hated my main character. This was a character I’d spent a lot of time developing and working on and I’m not going to lie–it hurt to have someone tell me that I’d created “the worst character ever.” It wasn’t exactly how I’d hoped to start my holiday.

them-do-you-take-constructive-criticism-me-already-crying-sure-29527028

Unfortunately, terrible people are a part of life, especially if you spend any time on the internet. People feel a lot braver behind the anonymity of a computer screen and will then say horrible things they might not say otherwise.

But you know what? Fuck ’em.

Uf08

Dealing with negative comments and people isn’t fun, but it’s going to happen as more people read your work. And it’s not a reflection on you–it’s a reflection on the person making the mean comment. Do they really not have anything better to do than go on the internet and tell someone that their hard work sucks?

Being told I created the worst character ever isn’t even the worst thing I’ve heard. I’ve been told that my stories suck, I’m a terrible writer, I chose the wrong ending for my work, I should give up, and, of course, the classic “kill yourself.”

29313978_2023653604525100_3179746735144566784_n
Joke’s on you, I have depression and am way meaner to myself than you are.
You’re going to have to try a little harder than that.

This isn’t to say that I think you shouldn’t listen to constructive criticism–that’s how you get better. But there’s an obvious difference between someone giving you authentic feedback with the intent of helping you improve and someone who just wants to be an asshole.

At the end of the day, you have to just ignore the senseless negativity, as hard as that might be. If you put your work out there for others to read, some people will tell you it sucks. Everyone hears it, from beginning writers to huge names like J.K. Rowling and Stephen King.

screen-shot-2017-12-28-at-1-41-15-pm-1514486508
SAVAGE

The most important thing is to remember that you are creating something unique that didn’t exist in the world before. Not everyone is going to like it, but that doesn’t take away from what you made. Some people are just awful. But you, creator of something magical and new? You kick ass. Don’t let some pathetic weasel hiding behind the anonymity of the internet make you feel any less like the amazing writer you are.

512OOMv4ZEL

And don’t you forget it.


Click here to support me on Patreon and get writing tips, prompts, and exclusive content available only to patrons! 

I can’t guarantee that supporting me on Patreon will cause you to have endless good hair days . . . but I can’t guarantee that it won’t either.

Posted in General, Patreon

Shameless Self Promotion: a Guide

The hardest part of being an indie author is being in charge of my own marketing, mostly because I hate how narcissistic it feels to continually toot my own horn (that’s what she said).

thats-what-she-said
Oh come on, I call myself a smut peddler. I had to do it.

But unless you can afford to pay someone to do your marketing for you (and many of us can’t), it’s just you. So how can you market yourself without investing a ton of money? Here are some tips of stuff you can do (for free) to get you going:

Social Media

Guess who has two thumbs and hates promoting herself on social media?

Y9J3BaF

However, you’ve gotta do it. Get yourself on social media sites and promote your stuff! You’re going to feel like a broken record but, again, you’ve gotta do it. You never know who is going to read something you’ve done and want to know more, so make sure your links are available. But it’s more than just having the social media profiles–you have to actually use them. I’m guilty of vanishing for periods of time due to my mental health, but there’s a noticeable difference between my sales and reader engagement when I’m actually showing up and interacting with people (shocking, I know).

1klhm5

Which social media sites are the best? It sort of depends on what you’re doing. I’ve gotten great interaction on Tumblr in the past, but Tumblr is kind of turning into a trash fire right now so I wouldn’t necessarily suggest starting anything over there at this exact moment in time. Instagram is a good one that I’ve recently started using again. Even though it’s a photo-based platform, you’d be surprised how much people love photos of quotes.

IMG_0689
I revived my Instagram recently and so far, this is my most popular post.
People love quotes.
And Terry Pratchett.

Facebook is another monster entirely that I discussed in another post, so I won’t go into that here.. I have a Twitter, but I honestly don’t use it that much other than for sharing my work from other sites. I read some marketing analytics that said you need to tweet at least 30 times per day to make it useful as a marketing tool. I don’t have a whole lot of snappy one liners, so that’s not really the best fit for me. However, if you tweet a lot, make Twitter work for you! Pin tweets to your profile and be sure to keep your followers abreast of any new updates about your work.

10wmt-articleLarge-v4
Make that goddamn bird work for you.

Exploit Your Friends and Family for Fun and Profit

I know that sounds bad, but bear with me. Think about it–who is your first fan base? Your friends and family who love you and will buy a copy of your book just because they know you! Ask your loved ones if they’d be willing to share the link for your book and recommend it to others. Better yet, ask if they’d leave you a review on Amazon. Strangers are going to be more likely to buy a book with several five star reviews than one without any reviews at all.

512px-Herd_of_sheep
Make that herd mentality work in your favor!

Speaking of reviews…

Booksprout

If you haven’t heard of Booksprout, you should check them out immediately. Basically, you offer a free copy of your e-book in exchange for people to read and review it. Each review has to have the disclaimer that they received a copy for free, but they in no way have to be nice to you–you’ll get honest reviews, which can go either way. Then again, people give Neil Gaiman negative reviews on Amazon, so sometimes there’s no accounting for taste.

180px-Kyle-cassidy-neil-gaiman-April-2013
Hey, have I mentioned yet that I love Neil Gaiman?

Talk to Your Local Bookstores

Want to get your books in stores? Talk to local bookstores! Lots of times, all you have to do is ask, but I like to come in armed with free copies of my book so they can check it out to ensure they’d like to stock it in their shop. A lot of places have shelves dedicated solely to local authors, and you’d be surprised by how quickly tourists eat that up.

O84HvSe

It’s best to create a personal connection with store owners, but if you’re really freaked out about going in, you could again lean on your friends and family. Send a handful of them in there to request/order your book and, once the store sees the potential for sales, they might stock it. But seriously, you should just go in yourself. You might even be able to talk to the store owners about doing a reading/book signing, which is a great way to get new readers from foot traffic.

Check Out Local Readings

Most towns have a local literary scene of some kind, and it’s a great idea to get in touch with them. Attend readings, get to know the other people who frequent these events, and talk to whomever is in charge to get yourself on the schedule to read. I hate public speaking, but I can’t deny that it’s a great way to sell copies of my books.

O84HvSe.gif

And Now…

I couldn’t write a post about self promotion without promoting myself, could I? Click on the links below to check me out on the following platforms:

Instagram: Like writing and obsessive posts about coffee? This link is for you!

Patreon: I post exclusive content for patrons, including daily writing tips and/or writing prompts as well as a first look at new short stories, poems, and essays. Plus, starting next month, I’m going to serialize my new novel exclusively for my patrons.

Tumblr: As I mentioned before, Tumblr is kind of a trash fire right now. But I do have tons of free content on there.

Amazon: Hey, look, I sell stuff! I’m hoping to get more shorts up soon, so check back here for upcoming content.

Booksprout: Follow me on here and get a notification when I’m handing out free copies in exchange for reviews!

Twitter: Might as well include this for shits and giggles.

As you might have gathered, Lola Black is a pseudonym I use for my romance/erotica writing, mostly because my wonderfully supportive father reads everything I write and I just can’t have this particular conversation with him. But I have published under my real name, so here are the links:

Amazon: I’ve been published in a range of genres, including the nonfiction essay collection What’s an Adult? No One Knows Anything and We’re All Going to DieIf you’ve ever felt like you’re faking adulthood, that book is for you.

 

Please support indie authors! We basically exist off of coffee and can’t afford it without your support.

Posted in General, Writing Advice

7 Self Care Tips for Writers

When I’m in the zone of creating something, I feel incredibly alive. My brain doesn’t feel foggy, I don’t notice how tired I am, and it’s like the rest of the world melts away. That’s how I know I’ve chosen the correct profession. Once I’m done creating something, I ride a high for a little bit, that euphoric feeling of satisfaction that comes with accomplishment. It’s wonderful.

However.

Once I come down from that high, I am completely and thoroughly drained. Creating is hard work and it can take a lot out of you. Like the popular quote says, “You simply sit down at the typewriter, open your veins, and bleed.”

256px-ErnestHemingway
Although this quote is often attributed to Ernest Hemingway, The Hemingway Society disagrees.

Self care is incredibly important to writers–or anyone who creates–for this exact reason. You can’t possibly continue to create and create and create without doing something to recharge or proverbial batteries unless you’re actively trying to have a breakdown.

tenor
Pictured: me trying to do it all

I’ve talked a lot about mental health in the past and will continue to do so because I think it’s an incredibly important topic and because so many people deal with it, it is necessary to talk about it to help remove the stigma. Coupled with that is the need for self care. So often we’re told that we need to go go go and multitask and “do it all” but I know that for me, I need to take time to breathe. Below, check out my self care tips for those days when you need a recharge.

1. Take a nap.

Before you say anything, I know this isn’t always a viable option. My kid is four and two years ago he gave up naps completely because he suffers from a severe case of fear of missing out.

b525add8309469c9dcf9f92513feb352dda54ee6bfda48fe75bbaa73ba278780
My kid in a nutshell.

However, if you’re able, let yourself take a nap. You might not think you’ve been expending a ton of energy because you’ve been sitting at your computer instead of running a marathon, but creating is exhausting. You’re putting so much of yourself on the page and it’s necessary to allow yourself to rest. Plus, there’s nothing more decadent than sleeping in the middle of the day as an adult.

sleeping-cat-2754329_640
Let yourself be a cat for a few hours.

2. Watch a movie.

This might not seem like a huge treat in the age of epic Netflix binges, but there’s something to be said for letting yourself indulge in someone else’s creation. You’ve just done all this work to write your thing–let yourself consume someone else’s creativity for a little bit.

MV5BMTQ3MjM3ODU1NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjU3NDU2MTE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_
CONSUME!

Plus, watching a movie (or an entire TV series, no judgment) requires zero effort except keeping your eyes open.

3. Read a book.

Whenever I feel like I’ve overextended myself, I like to let myself relax and enjoy a book from an author I love. This seems very similar to the last item on the list and it is, but reading is different. Even if you’re reading on an e-reader, you’re eliminating the stress of blue light on your eyes (like what happened when you stared at your computer for hours on end to finishing writing that thing). Plus, I feel that all writers are first and foremost readers. It’s why we fell in love with words and writing in the first place. Reading exposes us to different thoughts and ideas and turns of phrases we’d never considered that can trigger our minds to think in new ones to later create new content of our own.

My personal favorite? Anything by David Sedaris. In particular, “The Santaland Diaries” from Holidays on Ice. Regardless of the time of year, that essay both inspires and intimidates the fuck out of me.

41Zqn0cSJ4L._SX259_BO1,204,203,200_
Sedaris is a goddamn genius.
Fight me.

4. Treat yourself to a fancy drink.

coffee-2446662_640

I don’t know about you, but I fall heavily into the stereotype of the writer fueled solely by coffee. I usually make my coffee at home, but every once in a while I’ll splurge and buy coffee like the bougie basic white girl I am. I don’t generally encourage using food as a reward because that can get into sketchy territory, but the occasional indulgence can make you feel good. If you’re on a tight budget, you could even make yourself a fancy coffee drink at home. Stock up on hot chocolate mix, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce to drizzle on top. If you’re not into coffee because you’re an alien, splurge on a tin of fancy tea. Or, if you drink neither, go get a fancy smoothie or something. The point is to treat yourself to an elevated version of something you love. After all, you just wrote a thing–you deserve it!

5. Go for a walk.

woman_person_dog_human_animal_nature_connected_walk-865123

Seriously, you’ve been inside for how long working on this thing? You need some fresh air. Your skin hasn’t seen sunlight in god knows how long. Put on some sunscreen, put on your shoes, and go outside.

nosferatu-1922-001-max-shreck-bedside-00n-2r5

6. Hang out with a friend.

men_boys_fun_friends_friendship-887457

Remember those people you used to spend time with before you started writing that thing? Your friends? Take a break and hang out with them for a bit. Whatever you folks like to do, go do it. I’m an introvert and I don’t often like to leave my house because it’s too people-y outside. However, I do have a couple of people that don’t drain the life force out of me and hanging out with them is kind of nice. It gets me out of my own head and makes me stop staring at my navel for a minute, which is refreshing.

7. Do a face mask.

Model Mad Face Mask Beautiful Women's Fashion

If you’ve never done one before, hang in there. Face masks are one of the simplest ways to pamper yourself and they require little to no money. You can get a basic mask from Target or Walmart or wherever for a couple bucks or you can make one at home with ingredients in your kitchen like oatmeal and honey. If I’m being honest, I used to view face masks as the height of vanity. But then I watched the reboot of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy on Netflix, and I was really struck by a comment Jonathan Van Ness said about face masks to a client: “It’s not vanity, it’s self care.”

tim-and-eric-mind-blown

I really think Jonathan is right. There’s nothing wrong with caring for the body you have and if that means spending ten minutes with a mask on your face, why not do it? It’s a simple way to indulge and treat yourself AND your skin will feel wonderful when you’re done. You’ve earned a reward–just do it! No one else has to see you in a mask if you don’t want to be seen.

239024825_c1277103f3_m
“Occupado!”

What’s your favorite way to reward yourself or de-stress after you’ve finished a writing project? Let me know in the comments!


Like this post? Please consider clicking here to support me on Patreon so I can regularly bring you more content like this! I can’t guarantee that supporting me on Patreon will cause you to have endless good hair days . . . but I can’t guarantee that it won’t either.

Posted in General

“Do I Need an Author Page on Facebook?”

As you begin to publish your work and build an online presence, you might wonder if you need to create a Facebook page for yourself as an author. But do you actually need one?

Probably not.

flat550x550075f-u2

It’s not that you’re not awesome, because you are. But you might not need a Facebook page quite yet. Think about it–when you’re a brand new author, who is going to follow your author page? Your friends and family who are already friends with you on social media, which makes an author page kind of redundant. Honestly, your time would be better spent building up a presence elsewhere on the internet (like a blog or on Patreon) until your reach extends past your loved ones.

However, you shouldn’t discount your friends and family! When the day comes for you to make a Facebook author page, you’ll need people who already like you to follow the page to boost your likes and visibility.

l-22866-when-i-get-asked-why-im-smiling-today-me-all-my-supportive-friends-and-family

Another reason you might not need a Facebook author page is because of some of the issues with Facebook and its algorithm. Every time it seems like something is working, the Facebook team seems hellbent on ruining it. Seriously, I don’t even see my husband’s posts 90% of the time–and he usually tags me in them! Admittedly, some of that could be user error, but sometimes it’s just the algorithm. With all the recent issues Facebook has been having over the last few years, a lot of people aren’t using it as often. It seems like more people–especially a younger audience–are gravitating towards Snapchat and Instagram.

IMG_0573
I’m a kitty!

Twitter is also an option, but from a marketing standpoint, you need to post close to 30 times a day for it to be worth it (unless you’re already very well known). If you post a ton on Twitter–great! If you’re like me and forget Twitter exists, then I suggest trying other avenues.

I don’t personally have a Facebook author page, but I just resurrected my Lola Black Instagram page on Monday. I’m planning to post random photos relating to being a writer, both funny memes I find as well as my own pictures. You can check me out on Instagram by clicking here.

8518cdb28111578c547de39004fabab119
I appreciate you!

Writing can be hard enough and managing social media on top of that can be exhausting. But unfortunately, it’s just the nature of modern publishing. If you’re fortunate enough to get a contract with a big publisher with a marketing department, they’ll do a lot of the work for you. However, if you self-publish or land with a small publisher, the responsibility of marketing falls on you. Like anything else, it’s important to just work it into your schedule so it becomes routine and you can do a little bit at a time rather than everything at once.

Another option is to just lurk around Tumblr and chat with people. After all, that’s what Neil Gaiman does.

180px-Kyle-cassidy-neil-gaiman-April-2013
Hey, have I mentioned yet that I love Neil Gaiman?

By the way, I’m also on Tumblr (click here).


Like this post? Please consider clicking here to support me on Patreon so I can regularly bring you more content like this! I can’t guarantee that supporting me on Patreon will cause you to have endless good hair days . . . but I can’t guarantee that it won’t either.