Bitch-Slaps Through the Laptop Screen
Sometimes I dread opening my email every morning. I never know what is in there- it’s like Pandora’s box or a snake readying to strike. It’s always a mix of spam, notes from friends, fan mail, Wicked Reads stuff, the usual notifications… and then there is the kind that feels like a brick to the face.
I DREAD looking in there. I have so many responsibilities and it’s difficult to get a moment’s peace within my own head, let alone when dealing with everyone in my life. I see the unopened Wicked Reads mail and makes me feel guilty. Wicked Reads is a sideline project. I do that to help connect readers with Independent and Self Published Authors, along with the high profile authors that are in the mainstream. I shouldn’t feel guilty for doing my own work first, but as irrational as it is, I do.
Basically, I feel pressured.
I work… hmm… anywhere between 10-24 hours per day. Yes, I said 24 hours. I have pulled 63 hours of constant writing before passing the hell out. When the muse is firing, I can’t escape, even through sleep. So when I get a few winks and wake refreshed to begin anew… the first thing I do is my responsibilities- check email, respond on Facebook-Goodreads-the Blogs, and then I get to work. The problem with this is, is that it is very demotivational. If I receive hate mail for instance, or anything that feels like pressure, I lose all interest and drive to work.
I’m a lot like the Masters in my books- I HATE BEING TOLD WHAT TO DO- HATE IT! *I feel better now* It’s why I am a self-published author, I control my world. I’m so spiteful that if I already planned on doing something and someone pressures me to do it, I WON’T. After years of being reduced to dog shit, I refuse to kowtow to anyone.
I get fan mail and it puts a smile on my face, but inwardly I know that for each fan there are dozens of haters. It is just how it is. I’ve learned to accept this and move on. My skin is very thick. I KNOW my books aren’t for everyone. Many think they are getting a quick, sexy read. I’m not quick and I’m not sexy. We write what we know. I’m dark. I’m sardonic. I’m sarcastic. I’m quiet and moody. I’m friendly when I feel like it. I am an introvert. I like to laugh. I like to make ppl laugh. I’m a control freak. I have OCD. I am emotionally numb on the outside and a stew of feeling on the inside. My books reflect me. They are emotional, dark, twisted, sarcastic, and sometimes not very pleasant. My characters are mix of who I am or who I’d like to be- trait wise. I use writing as an outlet to leak my feelings so I do not implode.
People in general want to be happy. They want to smile. They want a HEA life. They believe in romance and fairytales. They believe that in order to be happy you must have a partner who will make you happy. They believe love is the ultimate happily ever after.
I’m not most people.
I just want to be content doing what feeds my soul. I believe in self-enlightenment. The ultimate HEA is within yourself.
My characters may or may not get hooked up with the love of their life, because I don’t believe in the love of your life. We are individuals and we can’t help but hurt the ones around us. People lie, hurt, betray, and die on us. People make us laugh, smile, feel loved and complete. But we are born alone and we die alone. Yes, I sound morbid. No, you don’t have to agree with me. My philosophy is that you have to be happy with yourself, because that’s the only person you cannot escape.
Within my books: some of my characters get romance, while some get a partner or two or remain alone. Sex may just be sex, or about pain, or release, or pleasure, or an act of connection. My characters are bad and good- not one single one of them is a saint, because we are all sinners. We are all good and bad- selfish and selfless. Human Nature.
My reason for laying that out for all of you is that the hate mail or reviews do get to me. No matter how thick of an emotional skin I shield myself with, it still permeates and stings. On one hand, I feel I shouldn’t have to explain my reasonings. On another, I feel the need to connect with my readers.
I apologize if I sound angry or threatening. If you’ve read my work, you realize I am slightly intimidating, less so in person. When reading something, you can never be sure of the emotion behind it. Today’s emotion: frustration. But this is written with a clear head and an open mind. I’m simply clearing up some misconceptions. If you feel this is directed towards you, don’t. I’ve had at least a dozen comments of some kind on each of the following. I appreciate the notification because it allows to me explain myself.
A few complaints from readers:
#1 complaint from readers and reviewers: NO HEA.
Dexter has an HEA.
Dalton has an HEA.
Whitt has an HEA.
Regina has an HEA (how you ask? Within herself)
Every character has went though life altering events and come out of it stronger, resilient, alive. They know what’s in their heart. So does it matter if they run off in the sunset with the sexual partner of their choice? We have people in our lives who feed different needs. Friends to vent to, who offer a shoulder to cry on. Parents who lend unconditional love. Sexual partners who give us release. How is it humanly possible to be all things for another person? The pressure that creates is suffocating. I know, I lived it. You can never be all things to one person- it’s impossible. Am I saying that you need 2-3 partners. No, get your head out of the gutter, this isn’t just about sex. Married couple seek their parents, friends, coworkers for advice and comfort because sometimes you just can’t talk to the ones you love. So that HEA, where the sun sets as they walk down the beach, is just bullshit. A couple is just a couple- a beginning. Outside forces will always make an impact, and if you aren’t strong within yourself, you will HURT your partner. Therefore, HEA, is in you.
Those who don’t agree with what I just wrote, that’s fine. I take no offense. My books just aren’t for you, in the same way many books aren’t for me.
When explaining what I write, people stare at me. Like one grandmother asked if my other grandmother knows what I write. No, should it matter? She was clearly judging me, trying to shame me. I don’t write for anyone but myself. I do not feel ashamed about what I write.
I’ve read reviews that say, Ugh, smut! It was nasty! or EROTICA- no! I remember those because I was downrated with a one star for that. You’ve read my work, so you know damned well that they didn’t. I have a lot of these. I’m in the erotica genre because of content- the explicitness- the violence. I have nothing against sex. I love a hot, raunchy read. But do not call my work something it isn’t. I can’t explain what it is. Is it erotica, BDSM, suspense? The only thing I know for sure that it isn’t, is romance. I hold firm to the DARK part of erotica.
I get a lot of wink wink and nudge nudge from people. Like I’m a sexual fiend. If they only knew, huh? I’m a heluva lot more mentally twisted than they imagine- I hold myself back in that area. They see my books and think that I’m amoral or a deviant. Shall I give a very surprising fact about myself? I think I will. The only man who has ever sexually touched me was my ex-husband. I’ve been a very good girl, who’s had very bad things happen to her. It irrevocably changes you. So the snickers and sneers from random strangers or the friends from school who found religion who look at me crosswise, yeah… I’ve never even broke those commandments you’re so fond of. But I bet you have, so don’t judge and I won’t judge you.
My cynical self says, Self, do what you can live with, and forget about the haters!
To each their own- Carpe Diem.
Dom/DommeYes, I write from the dominant perspective. Why, you ask? Um, really? You have to ask that? I’m a control freak. I am a dominant personality. I’ve created a list of rules I abide by on a daily basis. I’ve lived as a reluctant submissive, so I know how it feels. But not really. It was forced on me through emotional warfare. I didn’t accept that position, so I can’t accurately imagine the emotions a real submissive person feels. I can do a Switch because after being emotionally dampened and then finding my way back to my true self, I can imagine how a Switch mentally feels.
The down rating for my work being erotica or not romance or not from the submissive pov is just total bullshit. It’s like me going over to the cookbooks on Goodreads and giving one stars ratings because I don’t read cookbooks. I don’t even downrate the books I read that don’t do it for me. It takes a lot to get me to give a book less than a 3 star. Out of respect, I will 3 star it and say that it wasn’t for me- because it wasn’t. Which is on me, not the author. But in the case of reading my work only to find out it’s from a Dom pov, I put it all out there for the reader. There is a HUGE disclaimer stating what is within the pages. The title of the series is MISTRESS & MASTER of Restraint. So I get angry when I receive a downrating because it is in the dominant perspective. The title says it all. Obviously you will be reading about a dominant personality within my story. If you don’t get that… *bites tongue*
EditingI know the more books I sell, the more likely that I will receive comments about the editing. (EVERY authors gets this, btw. I’m shocked at the number of closet-editors or backseat-editors there are) I take it with good grace. I try not to be offended. I try not to be defensive. Why? Because I know my books need work. I don’t want to explain as if I am making excuses for shoddy work that you are purchasing and reading. That isn’t the case. I WORK my ass off- constantly. It has officially been one year and one week since I became a published author. I could spout about the amount of books I’ve written or the pages, groups, and websites I run, or the day job I have. I won’t.
I am ashamed, and I shouldn’t be. I want to make excuses by comparing my work to others, but I don’t. I compare my books with my books. Restraint’s first edition was bad- laughable bad. Since I issued the second edition, I’ve had so much growth-growth that I will use when re-editing my books. So as it stands, the first few books and as you go up the series, they get better editing wise, but nowhere near where I want or need them to be.
I want to say that when writing, it is IMPOSSIBLE to catch it all. Your mind replaces the words. Look at your Facebook Statuses, and then I want you to tell me I need to fix my work- that is just a few sentences- 50 or so words, not thousands. Everyone misses a word or two out of ten- every single one of us does it. Authors, English teachers, Doctors, students- we are just people who make mistakes. so don’t judge me for 20 out of 120,000. So I can pretend that I’m not offended, but I am. I freely admit this. I DO NOT have an editor. I AM my editor. (I will explain why that angers me in a moment)
I liken the emails and comments about editing to walking up to a chubby girl and saying You’re FAT!Do you honestly believe she doesn’t already knows this? Is there an alternate universe where she thinks she’s a size zero? Do you not believe that she doesn’t own a mirror. Do you believe this makes her a bad person? Honey, do you really need to eat that? What the girl is thinking is, go away, bitch. I have a right to eat. I’ll die without air, water, or food. What the other person is really saying, I own you. I control you. Do as I say or I will make you feel badly about yourself.It’s just a few moments of superiority while the other person cries. It’s all about pushing your will onto another human being.
I make mistakes. I own them and acknowledge them. It doesn’t give you a right to smack me in the face with it and it doesn’t make me a bad writer- just a bad editor. Honestly, I think I’m a damned fine writer and I’m a so-so editor that is improving by leaps and bounds. I’m proud of that. I proud that I’m doing TWO jobs- and many more. Most authors outsource the editing and other aspects of publishing.
Even if the comment in written with no offense, it is still a helpful insult, now isn’t it? I’m not directing this to any person. I’m just letting you know how I feel. I’ve enjoyed the communications that have been born from these inquiries. Some, not so much.
I do not have an editor. I am trying. I will fix it. Time- I just need time. Time heals all wounds- not in writing. Time clears the mind so you see what is actually there, not what the mind overlays. Restraint isn’t perfect, but each book is better than the last. Am I cocky and arrogant? No, I will go back to the beginning when enough time eclipses so it’s not a waste of time to over-edit.
I could be a stubborn bitch, like I want to be. I planned on re-editing and reformatting Restraint after Faithless was released. I planned on re-editing a book in between writing new books. I could do what I love to do, which is a mental fuck you when I go against what you said for spite, even though I already planned on it anyway. But I will be an adult and tell my dominant nature to bend a little bit.
My editor comment. I do plan on getting a reputable editor because I plan on releasing my books in softcover within the next year. I have to bank monies to pay for an editor. If I’m a control freak, then you might as well call me a tight-wad too. Parting with the money that I have worked so hard for will be a challenge.
I’m not sure readers get this part of the equation. I gave away 4,444 books this last cycle- over 8,ooo since Restraint’s release. I intercept blog web search results daily from ppl looking to pirate my work. I give a lot of books away to readers for review, as gifts, or for the honest person who can’t afford the book but wants to read it.
Restraint was 99 cents for 4 months out of the 12 it’s been released. Meaning I only made 33 cents a copy. I spent thousands of hours writing it, fielding nasty comments, and I get 33 cents for the copies that were obtained legally. So when I get those editor comments, it hurts me. I’d love an editor… you feeling me here?
What I really want to say is that I’d love to afford a quality, professional, thorough editor. But since I can’t, I’m riding a learning curve.
The other books. I have to be competitive with my pricing. I joke around with my buds, but it’s to cover the hurt. If I were to pricepoint my books in correlation with other authors in my genre by wordcount or number of pages- Queen should have been almost $200. Instead I made it $9.99 for the 3 book set. Now, I do not get that 1o bucks. I get 6-something or 3-something depending on the territory it was purchased. Now you must factor in the pirates who read Queen, or the books that are lent. You can purchase a copy from Amazon and then lend one to a friend for a certain amount of time. I do not get paid for that, either.
Restraint is in the Amazon program so you can borrow it with your prime membership. I do not get full price for that either.
Then there are the nasties that play the return game. They purchase my books one after the other, read, return, read, return. They feel since they aren’t keeping the ‘physical’ book that it isn’t a crime. I don’t get paid for the story they read either. Don’t get any ideas. But I look at my sales report and watch it get an additional return- Restraint-Unleashed-Dexter-Dalton-Jaded-Queened-Checkmate-*Queen*-KING. One right after the other within days. This happens several times per month- the entire series, minus a few Restraint returns.
Now, I understand returning Restraint if it isn’t for you, but you do have the sample option. You sample, see if it’s to your liking, and then either buy or don’t. What I don’t understand is returning any of the books past Unleashed. It is obvious it was a read/return issue and it is a crime. You can’t buy a book from a retailer, take it home, read it, and then return it. By book 4, or hell, book 8, you know my writing style, my voice, the story. You won’t be returning a book unless you accidentally hit the one-click or you are cheating.
Then I read books that are by huge publishers. They are riddled with grammar errors, misspelling, plot holes I can fill a story with, or no story at all. I read a book by a New York Times bestselling author a week ago and I was incensed- seething. It was rushed. No editing. No commas. Like 3 pages without a comma. I had to reread sections or even pages to make heads or tails. Common mistakes that anyone wouldn’t miss. Not twenty mistakes- HUNDREDS! This book had an editor. This book had a publisher. This book cost 3 times as much as my own. This book had no story. Whether the end or the beginning nothing changed. This infuriates me.
So when I get comments about editing. I UNDERSTAND. I’m trying my fucking best! I don’t have a support staff. I don’t have a publisher, an editor, an agent, illustrator, web designer, computer programer, or publicists. I do all those jobs by myself!
But what I do have is integrity, a drive to perfect my craft, and I will fix it until it is as good as it will ever get. Just give me the time to grow and learn. I really am trying my best.
So I wanted to break something when I read that book. Not directed at the author. Those ppl I don’t have, didn’t do their JOB, and then they published a book to bilk the readers out of their hard-earned money. This book has thousands of 5 star reviews & I get a one star because of my genre. Give me a fucking break!
So yes, this posting has taken a turn to the bitch-zone. I’m TIRED! I feel exposed, raw.
The title of this blog post is: Bitch-slaps through the Laptop screen. My laptop is my office. How would you feel if a stranger came into your home or office and told you that you weren’t doing your job? Mind you, they don’t do or understand your profession. I know that being an author gives people the feeling that you are public, that they have a right to insult or chastise or tell you what to do or what they want.
I am a human being. I make mistakes. Every day I wake up to go to work, only my job requires an intense concentration- a concentration that is as fragile as glass. So as I work, these fists come through my laptop screen and punch me in the face or shake me. Voices screaming into my face that they want this or that from me.
Now at your office, your boss would be wicked pissed if you were writing a report and a dozen randoms walked into your office and started punching and screaming at you. How would that be for productivity? My boss is very angry, and her name is Erica.
This feeling of being public domain helps as much as it hurts. I’ve been manic lately- ill at ease. While some interactions are uncomfortable, others inspire or comfort me- even the nudge nudge wink wink or the helpful insult. It is the manner in which the message is intercepted or the mood I am in.
Two night ago, a group of ladies inspired me. I was dealing with the worst case of writer’s block I’d ever suffered. Five minutes of their time revitalized me. In less than 48 hours I wrote 30,000 words- that is more than some books people publish. I am thankful for this type of interaction, it is what feeds my need to create- while one saps energy from me, the other refuels me.
This is why I hate reading my emails, msgs, and comments. 3 hours have passed and I haven’t worked. I’ve bitched and vented. I’ve stuck my foot into my mouth and alienated people. But as I’ve said, I wake with an energy to write and one simple helpful insult derails the day. Even if it isn’t about my writing. Wicked Reads needs this or that. This group or page or blog needs attention. My home, family, and job need attention. I have to be other people’s shoulders to cry on or their rock of support.
Such is life.
But the life of a working writer is difficult to balance. We don’t go to an office and shut the door. There is no 9-5 where ppl know to leave you alone. It’s always, you got a minute? Can you do this for me? Can I ask a favor? Just one more thing? and then your days is gone, your creativity is sapped, and no words were written on a page. You are left feeling angry and repressed while those around you needs have been met, but not yours- never yours.
As you can see, Syn and I are in perfect symmetry. I will have no issue writing our petite sadist.
I have one more addition. Faithless will be over 1000 pages in length. I am warning you, not because this is an issue. I am simply saying it will be $9.99. That sounds expensive. But many popular, indie or self published reads are only 30 pages and marked at a $4.99 pricepoint. This is a difficult position for me. I could have split the book into 3 and sold it separately. But I want my fans to read my books at a reasonable price with a heluva lot of content and story.
That was my sad joke: As I get ripped for editing, genre, HEA, or a myrid of things, Faithless should be priced at $166.00. Now, who is getting ripped off here: the reader who had to read the wrong tense, or the writer who is dodging potshots and written insults while trying to stay centered enough to create something from nothing?
Be kind. Be respectful. Be content. And do what you love. Peace out!