As a follow up to Keri’s August 21, 2019 post as a guest blogger, where she talked about the things she wished she’d known before publishing her first book, in today’s post, she talks about the things she did right.
On the Other Hand…things I’ve done right
An Opinion By Keri Kruspe
In my last article, I thoughtfully discussed (okay…I whined) about my frustrations on what I would do differently in launching my writers’ career. Having admitted my mistakes and oopsies, it’s only fair I switch gears and talk about what I felt I did right.
To give some perspective, here is a brief history of how I got here.
Ten years ago, when I finally got off my keister and wrote my first full-length. It was a long one, around 100,000 words. I poured my heart and soul into that story. While it was a sci-fi romance (the genre I currently write-in), I took out my frustrations on the devastating thing that happened to me in my secular career in the banking industry. I had been let go from a company that I had worked for 21 years. I’d grown up at that bank, rising in the ranks to end up a VP in charge of the retail department. I had 300 employees reporting to my direct line.
Then unexpectantly, I got laid off. Depression hit me hard and heavy. To make matters worse, those who I thought were close friends either betrayed me or dropped me like the trash took out itself. Through the shake-up, I learned who my true friends were and found love and acceptance within my family.
But the best thing that helped me overcome my depression was to write that book. In it, I turned the villains in my life into clowns and enjoyed the various ways I killed them off or humiliated them. Ahhh…being a writer has so many perks!
With my novel in my hot little hands, I just knew someone would snap up my masterpiece and I’d be on my way to working as a writer full time.
Long story short, that didn’t happen. I had no idea what was wrong or where to turn to make it right. It took another ten years for me to try again in a more serious vein.
With clear hindsight, I can now share what I’ve done right since then to launch my career as an independent author:
THE JOURNEY IS BETTER WITH FRIENDS
When I started again in 2016 to write my novel, I realized going it alone was not the thing to do. As with many author’s, I’m a solitary creature who likes to rely on myself and not depend on others. I thought I could do everything on my own.
But, it didn’t take long to realize what I had done before wasn’t going to work (remember the definition of insanity…). I needed help from other people. I’d been a member of Romance Writers of America since 2008 but didn’t do much with it. Using that as a starting point, I reached out to some of my peers and begun to explore and develop contacts.
Indie publishing was starting to hit its stride when I wrote that first novel in 2008. From what I understand, there wasn’t a lot help around for writers to find their way into self-publishing. Today, there are numerous tools and assistance out there just for the asking.
When I gathered up the courage to ask someone to read my novel, she let me know it needed a lot of work. Especially on Point of View (POV).
I couldn’t understand it. I was an avid reader (my average is 100 books a year and counting!) and writing came second nature to me. After pulling my conceited head out of my rear end, I admitted I needed to dive deep into my chosen craft. To do that, I had to spend the money to get an education. While some classes were free with RWA, to get a better handle on what I was trying to do, I needed something more. I needed a mentor or mentors. That’s where the deeper training comes in. For a personal touch, I found the Barany School of Fiction. Their courses, as well as the bi-monthly online meetings, are a godsend.
The other training I did correctly was to find a course that went step-by-step on what to do once my novel was finished. I needed to know how, when, and where to create and market my book. There are numerous paths to choose from, all you have to do is a little research to find what works best for you. I encourage everyone to go out and look for it.
I call this section extra because it involves using your downtime to your advantage. For me, that meant using the time where I couldn’t be on the computer but had free time to listen. An example – it takes me a half an hour to get ready for work in the morning (putting on makeup, doing my hair, getting dressed). I used to listen to the TV or music, but now I’ll tune in to a podcast, a class, book, or anything audio that involves being an author.
I’ll do the same when I’m in my car going to work. Here is an extra hour a day that I can continue to listen to what I started that morning.
FARMING OUT WHAT I HATE TO DO
There are certain things in my new career I’ve found I didn’t have time or talent to learn in the beginning. I wanted to spend my time learning how to write before figuring out Photoshop. So, using my contacts, I’ve found someone to do my covers. I also hired a writer’s admin to tweak my website (I did learn the preliminaries on creating it and do the upkeep myself) and to format my novels. I can format, but I confess I hate doing it.
Also, I don’t think a writer should have the final edit on their work. That is a no-brainer for me. While beta/advance readers are wonderful, you still should hire a professional editor. I did and even though it was expensive, having the polished novel was well worth it.
One of the best things I’m doing as a new author is writing this guest post. I love how I can take a subject that’s bugging me and put it on paper. I hope I’m allowed to keep doing it for a while. After all, writing is my profession of choice.
So…far warning world! I’m in this for the long haul.
Keri Kruspe, author of Otherworldly Romantic Adventures – writing about feisty heroines who aren’t afraid to take chances in life or love.
Keri has been an author since the age of twelve and has always been fascinated with otherworldly stories that end in Happily Ever After. Her current sci-fi romance trilogy, An Alien Exchange (winner 2018 SPF Galaxy award) had its first release winter 2018. The story continues with D’zia’s Dilemma and concludes with Ki’s Redemption.
A native Nevadan, Keri resides with her family in the wilds of Northwest Michigan where she enjoys the stark change in seasons and the pleasures each one brings. An avid reader, Keri loves an enjoyable bottle of red wine, a variety of delicious foods and watching action/adventure movies…usually at the same time. You can find her most days immersed in her fantasy world on her latest novel while foot tappin’ to classic rock. When not absorbed in her writing, Keri works alongside her husband in building their dream home or discovering intelligent life in America in their RV. Join the fun and sign up for her mailing list at www.kerikruspe.com
The journey is definitely better with friends! I don’t know what I would do without my team of people. I do wish I was better at delegating, though. I have a hard time asking people for help. And I really need it sometimes!
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Loved the interview! Best of luck with your books, Keri.
Great post. Thanks for the insights.
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Wow… sounds like so many of us make the same mistakes. Glad you found the courage to start again and wishing you the best of luck and God’s blessings
We’re glad you decided to join Mid-Michigan RWA, Keri. Thanks for sharing your writing journey with us.
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This is a great post. I love how you turned the villains in your life into clowns in your story. I did something similar to a villain in Hubs’ (well, and my) life in one of my stories. Great stress reliever. lol As Lucy said, so glad you found MMRWA. I so enjoyed sitting next to you at lunch and chatting. Friends, whether online or in person, are the best in this solitary occupation. Best wishes on your career. Hope to see you soon.
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