Immortality of Vampire Fiction vs. The Industry

frustratedWARNING: I'm venting a little here today.

The Nelson Literary Agency posted some advice/information in their newsletter about the difference between a “good” manuscript and a “salable” manuscript. You can write a great story, good grammar, character development is tight and storyline is solid. But if the editors don't want it, they won't buy it. I quote the following, but I'm going to put my own adaptation in brackets because I've been told the same thing about my manuscripts (both vampire and steampunk/dystopian):

“For example, dystopian [vampire] stories are hot right now in the young-adult [adult/erotic] genre. As a result, for the past twelve months, editors have been inundated by dystopian [vampire] projects. They are tired of them, even though these titles are still releasing and some are doing quite well. Readers are still enjoying dystopian [vampire] novels, but editors don't want to buy them anymore. So right now, no matter how well written your dystopian YA [vampire novel] might be or how cool the premise, if an agent is taking a look at it, she is probably thinking she can't sell it and will pass on offering representation. That's the bald truth. The timing just plain sucks, and as an agent, selling projects is all about perfect timing: landing the right project, on the right editor's desk, at exactly the right moment.” (my emphasis on the underline)

More than anything else, I think this is a prime example and reason as to why self-publishing is so successful. Yes, you get the crap out there…I totally understand that. But the Big Six (as the big publishers are known as) publish crap, too.

What frustrates me the most is the editors KNOW there is an audience for these books – such as in the aforementioned Dystopian YA and my genre of topic, vampires – and yet because they're tired of reading them, they don't want to see them anymore. This is a business, people! Not your time to have a leisurely read! Print what the readers want!

OMGOne agent told me the reason why editors won't even look at such manuscripts (e.g., vampire, dystopian, steampunk, etc.) is because they're tired of getting a bunch of crap manuscript with the same stories. My response – and I can say this because I'm an editor – OMG get over it! That's your job as an editor. READING MANUSCRIPTS. If you don't like reading crap manuscripts, get another freakin' job. The sad truth is there is a TON of crap out there; it comes with the territory.

I belong to a group called I Love Vampire Novels and they have been my biggest supporters of my self-published novels – my Bonded By Blood Vampire Chronicles. Their FB page boasts over 100,000 LIKES. And I'm sure there are a lot more vampire lovers out there than just 100,000. This group and others like them, J.R. Ward, Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton and Sherrilyn Kenyon are all proof people love vampire stories and they sell well.

But the editors are tired of them. :\

No problem! We'll just self-publish and make 70% off our book sales and the Big Six can continue whining about how their industry is failing. Enjoy the trip down!

Thanks for letting me vent! If you made it this far, thanks for putting up with me! Do you feel just as passionate about this topic? Does it really matter to you? Do you have your own experience about the industry you'd like to share? How about from a reader's perspective? Am I completely whacked in my reasoning?

That's my two pence…

Arial 😉

 

I’m Falling in Love…with Google+

Facebook SucksYes, I'm going to publicly confess…I've never really been a fan of Facebook. But as a writer, it's a necessity to use the darn social media networking tool. My biggest beef is all the changes they keep doing. The YouTube video “A Facebook Update In Real Life” says it all. That's EXACTLY how it feels when Facebook changes something. However, if it wasn't for Facebook, I probably never be in contact with my relatives back in Chicago. It's really the only interaction I have with them. And I have indeed met a lot of WONDERFUL people in the publishing world. So many awesome readers and fans and authors and *sigh*. Love all the people I've connected with.But it's not the people that make Facebook suck. It's the interface and all the bloody ads.

I love Google+Now Google+ (aka Google Plus, G+ or GPlus) will be celebrating a 2-year anniversary come June 28th, so admittedly I've been a little slow in getting on board. Yes, I've heard it went through an embarrassing launch and there were a lot of bugs to work out…so did Facebook. And I know it's changed it's interface, even very recently…so has Facebook…many, many, many times (see previously referenced YouTube video). But I just really started using G+ in the last month or so…and OMG I'm really liking it.

There is indeed a learning curve, especially since I've been using FB for a few years. You don't go to someone else's wall and post something. You actually post it all on YOUR G+ profile page, but address it to either individuals or groups or even a community. That was a little scary at first because I wasn't sure if I just shared my latest endeavor of shopping for panties with one of my girlfriends…or if it was out there dangling in the breeze for everyone to see. Lucky for everyone, it was a private post.

What do I love about Google+?

Well, that's the kind of embarrassing part. I don't know! I just do! I like the way the individual posted messages flip around like, well…a card. I think that's what they're called. It's just freakin' neat! And they have these communities you can join where people share like-minded ideas. Yeah, FB has Groups you can create, but the interaction just seems cleaner and more organized…without all the ads…in G+. It's bizarre. I go to Facebook and I can almost hear the din of activity and noise traveling through cyberspace. I get to Google+…ahhhhhh! Blessed silence.

The one thing I think I can nail down about what I like about Google+ are the Circles. It's soooooo much easier to share information with a whole group of people or a community when you have your connections sorted into these Circles. They're so easy to sort, too. Just drag and drop. And you can have the same person in many Circles.

In FB, they do indeed have lists you can add people to when you become friends…but then what? I can't use them when I want to send a message to all my reader friends or to my writer friends. It's crazy! Create a list for what purpose? Of course, I could be using it wrong. But here's the point…I've been using G+ for a month and I already know how to do that. I've been on FB for over 4 years…no clue.

So that's my rant for the day. Anyone else getting into G+ and have some fun tips to share? I'm new, so I'm eager to learn new ways of using the fun social media interface.

That's my two pence… Arial 😉

Fantasy Fiction Author Finds a New Home

Welcome to My New Fantasy Home!

Ahhh! A warm fire crackles beside me. The cushy chair craddles me as I sit before the hearth and absorb the warmth from the flames. I put my book down upon the table to my right and smile at the faeries flitting around the room, decorating my new home with sparkling dust. My spirit guide and friend, MaeDawn the unicorn, curls before the fire. Raja the dragon swoops by my window and I enjoy the overcast sky. A perfect day for writing. Broderick MacDougal saunters into the room and sits in the adjacent chair, his roguish smile setting my insides to fluttering. Would you like to join us?

I welcome you to my new home. I haven't moved physically…just in cyberspace and in genres. In realizing my clarified role as a fantasy fiction author instead of a romance novelist, I thought it fitting to surround myself with the images and atmosphere of the genre…the things I love. Unicorns. Mystical places. Dragons. Vampires. Werewolves. *sigh* I believe I've finally found my home. Yes. It feels right now.

I struggled with being a romance novelist, as I was told my romance stories were more about the layers and the details I'd woven into the plot versus the romance. The final resolution of my stories was NOT the relationship, but the journey the chacters traveled with each other. No matter what story I penned or planned, romance was not the center of the story even though there were strong romantic elements and I tried to hard to fit into that mold. I felt lost. Homeless, if you will.

As such, I could not live up to the expectations of my audience, which influences my sales and by which I gain more readers. Though the romance community never shunned me, I did feel out of place, like walking into a Regency ball, unsure of how to behave under the social scrutiny. I don't blame them at all. It wasn't their fault I went to the wrong party. In directing my attention to the fantasy fiction community, however, I was welcomed with open arms. It was as if I'd walked into the Prancing Pony. A mug of ale was shoved into my hand, I pulled a chair up to a table surrounded by hobbits, dwarves, wizards and elves. We laughed and spun tales and I felt the freedom to be myself. How refreshing! Pass the brew!

Now that I've accepted the idea and settled into my new home, I look back on my old place, surprised I thought I belonged there. I write fantasy fiction with strong romantic elements. It's as simple as that. I welcome you to my new home and invite you to sit awhile and explore. You'll find, as I did, it's not that much different. Just a little more magical.

Anne Rice Made Me Do It!

Anne Rice - Inspiring me for 30+ years

I just started using Pinterest and was pinning pictures of women who inspire me…one of which is Anne Rice…and it just made me want to post about how she inspired me to start writing.

I was an avid reader as a kid, but nothing moved me as much as her Vampire Chronicles and tales of Lestat De Lioncourt. Whew! The poetry of her prose. The vivid descriptions of the dark settings her stories took place. The emotional torture her characters experienced. The twist she gave an old legend. I felt her stories were so real, she MUST have interviewed a vampire. She MUST have the inside scoop. What a delightful journey she led me through! I enjoyed The Vampire Lestat so much, I'd read it four times.

Now, I'm dating myself here because I read Interview with the Vampire in the 80s a few years after it came out and I was in high school. As such, I was NOT enthralled with her books because of the Twilight craze. My love affair with these creatures of the night started over 30 years ago, so this is not a bandwagon I've jumped on. The world is just now catching up to me. 😉

I devoured vampire novels like vampires devoured their victims. I'd read every book of vampire fiction I could get my hands on and, at the time, I didn't think anything could compare to the genius of Bram Stoker, who was the father (or known as such, at least) of these gothic and tragic beings with his novel Dracula. (Incidentally, if you haven't read it and you're a vampire fan…you should or you're not officially an avid reader of vampire fiction. It is truly and surprisingly enthralling and unique…even compared to modern fiction.) Though I was writing, my stories were about dragons and unicorns and knights in shining armor.

Sting wrote a song called Moon Over Bourbon Street and my sisters and I were intrigued. Being huge Sting and Police fans, we read all the fine print on all their albums, scouring the inserts for bits of information about their personal insight into their music–and so we learned this song was inspired by Anne Rice's novel Interview with the Vampire. We HAD to get the book just because Sting read it! All three of us–my two younger sisters and myself–became obsessed with Mrs. Rice's stories and began penning poetry. One day I will compile these poems and publish them. They're haunting, beautiful and tragic…just like vampires.

I carried this obsession into my twenties–still reading anything related to vampires, both fiction and non-fiction–and eventually wrote my first novel, then known as Bonded By Blood. Through the years, more stories evolved and now I've developed a six-book series from the first story and use the original title as the name of the series.

And thus is the reason for my dedication page in my debut novel MIDNIGHT CONQUEST:

A Thank You to Sting
For “Moon Over Bourbon Street”
He fed me the intro
To Anne Rice’s treat
She’s planted the seed
To all that I’ve written
If it wasn’t for her
I’d have never been bitten

I had the wonderful privilege of corresponding with Mrs. Rice, letting her know I dedicated my first book to her and how she has been my inspiration. I could have sworn that I blogged about it, but I can't seem to find that entry. Oh well. I guess that's for another post. Thanks for reading!

That's my two pence…

I HATE TECHNOLOGY!!

Okay, I'm venting and the truth is I really don't hate technology. I'm just having major issues with it today. I have this AMAZING program called SWiSHMax 4 that is a 3rd-party Flash program which creates SWFs. Why use this and not Adobe Flash? Because  SWiSHMax 4 is a helluva lot easier to use AND it's a fraction of the cost. I use this program to create animated banners and book trailers with wonderful effects. Presently, I'm working on a book trailer for my awesome author friend, Brenda Hill and her up-and-coming release of WITH FULL MALICE.

So, what's my problem, then, if I have this kick-ass program? Unfortunately, I can't seem to export the audio I've added to my movie. I've got really neat sound effects and background music…and it won't export.

The last time I did this, I had to…

  1. Export the file as a silent FLA
  2. Import it into Adobe Flash
  3. Add the sound files manually AGAIN to specific frames
  4. THEN export it as an MPEG
  5. Then YouTube.com didn't like the MPEG, so…
  6. I had to find a program to convert the MPEG to an AVI.

*Stops to take a breath*

HOLY CRAP, I do NOT want to have to do all that again.

However, trying to find the right driver to capture the audio is turning out to be almost as complicated! If I can't solve this problem in the next day or so, I will have to resort to that tap-dance approach to get the darned movie in a format Brenda can use. GRRRRR…ARRRRGH!

BLAH! How's that for venting?

That's my two pence…

Pseudo Moving

I'm still trying to decide if I'm going to make the move permanently to Blogger. Some friends in the industry have told me I should stick with WordPress because of it's flexibility and it's ease in integrating with your web site. I haven't moved my blog to my web site yet, so that doesn't really matter to me now. However, I may do that in the future. Hence why I am reluctant to make a complete move.

I will keep this blog, but put my full posts on Blogger for now, linking from this blog to that blog. Confused yet? 😉 I will keep you posted.

If you're interested in seeing the new blog, click here.

If you'd like to argue why I should stay with WordPress or complete my move to Blogger, I'd love to hear your comments.

That's my two pence…

Catching Up – Sick of Being Sick and Tired!

I really hate to be one to bitch or complain, because honestly, I'm the happiest I've ever been in my entire life. I have my romance-novel-hero husband (pictured right), a roof over my head, a career that I thoroughly enjoy (editing / writing / cover design / recording audio books / creating book trailers) and pets that are adorable and love us. Read more…

How to Protect Yourself from Vampires

I Met A Real Vampire

Because I've become an amateur expert on the subject of vampires, people have asked over the years one profound question: Do you believe vampires really exist? The short answer is…YES!

Anne Rice‘s books inspired me to delve deeper into vampire fiction. I've written vampire poetry, studied the subject rather extensively, read countless books on the subject–fiction and non-fiction–and have finally released my debut novel…a vampire romance set in the early 1500s of Scotland: MIDNIGHT CONQUEST. So, I definitely wanted to believe in vampires, but never knew one…until this incident.

I was in the military at the time and in my twenties, going to technical school to learn a new skill, so I was in a strange and unfamiliar environment. While sitting in the day room reading, an attractive man came in. Even now, I cannot recall his face. I just remember thinking he was a handsome man and was flattered he sat at the table with me, starting up a conversation.

Forced to put my book down and interact, I became engaged in an interesting chat…but I noticed it was all about me. Normally, I don't mind talking about myself, but he kept asking questions about who I was, where I came from, where I'd been, etc., so I became suspicious and limited my answers, not wishing to divulge overly-personal tidbits.

I noticed my energy waning. I crossed my legs.

Continue reading

Making Money With My Writing

My latest heroine is Amanda Hocking. You may or may not have heard of her, so for those who are unfamiliar with her name and what the hype is all about, I'll give you a very brief description: She's making thousands of dollars (close to being a millionaire, if not already) self-publishing her YA (Young Adult) vampire romance novels through Amazon.com for the Kindle. She started last April 2010 with her blog (click on her picture here to visit said blog) and since then she has sold about 900,000 copies of her books (<–In this link, she addresses this fact and others, such as how much she is charging, etc.). She'll tell you all the details on her blog, but in short, she's charging anywhere from $0.99-2.99 per eBook (more for the paperback versions). Do the math, she's making a lot of money.

If you want to know more about her, her point of view and what she's doing, I highly recommend visiting her blog.

So, on to my post. Why is she my latest heroine? Because… Continue reading

Spaghetti Sauce on a Dime – AND IT’S GOOD!

Times are tough and I love being creative in the kitchen. I look in the cupboard and the refrigerator/freezer at the few ingredients I have here and there and the challenge begins: Can I make a meal out of what appears to be nothing? (Mission Impossible music plays in the background) Frozen mixed veggies…Bisquick…left-over roasted chicken. VOILA! Chicken Pot Pie!!

But sometimes, pulling a recipe out of my backside can get a little taxing if I have to do it everyday. So there are a number of things I like to have on hand in my kitchen (like some of the above) that makes for a meal almost anytime, but perhaps that's for another blog. One of things I enjoy having on hand that makes a meal real easy to whip up when I don't feel like being ultra-creative: jarred spaghetti sauce. Continue reading