Monthly Archives: November 2014

Stop asking how much money I make.

I worked for twelve years in the field of education, and let me tell you… I did NOT do it for the money.

Nope. I once told a neighbor what I made and she laughed so hard she started crying. Then she saw my face and realized I was serious.

Yeah, that was awkward.

Then after a series of twists and turns, I did it. I took the leap. I committed to being a full time writer!

My day consists of getting up at 6:45, taking the offspring to school, grabbing a cup of coffee and sitting at my keyboard. Some days I outline, some days I write, some days I revise, some days I edit, some days I format.

Books do not appear out of thin air. They require work. Shocking, I know.

Lucky for me, when I’m in the groove I’m actually pretty quick. During the month of September I wrote an 83K novel in 21 days. In October I wrote, edited, and published Reborn. In November I finished writing and published Revenge while editing my 120K manuscript that I’ve been working on for YEARS. That book, Killing Darkness, the sequel to Taming Darkness will be released on December 5th. AND before Christmas, it is my intent to wrap up The Blood Clan Chronicles and publish the final installment, Redemption. Then it’s on to edits of the book I wrote back in September so I can release that in February.

Tired yet? I can’t afford to be tired. I chose to be an Indie author, which means the more books I have available the more my name becomes a brand. The more recognizable I am, the better my sales. Which leads me to the reason for my blog post.

People need to STOP asking me how much money I make. Seriously. Stop. It’s INSULTING and RUDE and it makes YOU look ignorant. Usually the conversation goes like this:

“How are book sales?”

“Great!”

“What’s great? How many?”

“Uhhh… I sold X amount last week alone.”

“How much is that?”

**Cue my reaching for a bottle of vodka.**

First of all… you shouldn’t even ask how my book sales are. Do you actually care? Does it impact your life in anyway? I’ve also found that the people who ask are the people who have not bought my books. If I give a low number, does that make you feel better? If I give you a high number you raise an eyebrow in disbelief thinking, “Wow! She made a ton of fast cash and all she did was write a few words down.”

I don’t understand why in any of the professions of the arts, people feel justified in asking this question. I also have noticed that it is MEN who more often than not are the ones who ask. I suppose a woman who goes after what she wants is intimidating to them, so they feel this need to tear at her to make up for their own incompetence.

At the end of the day, I can close the door on all the haters. I’m doing what I love. I DO go to work everyday– perhaps not in the conventional way that most people do, but trust me I’m working. I’m putting in 12 hour days. I am an INDIE writer which means I not only write, I do all of my own marketing. I’m the one who handles the covers. I’m the one scheduling reviewers. I’m the one approving the budget and I’m the one with the final say. You know why? Because I’m my own boss. So the next time you’re about to ask an author about sales… how about you help contribute to their sales instead.

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Hi. My name is Kat, and I’m an #Indie author…

About two years ago I had a talk with a coworker, as my eyes glazed over with tears. I had just gotten a rejection on a full and it crushed me. My coworker’s advice was, “Just self publish. Isn’t it more important that readers have your work, and you continue to write than you spend another two years querying?”

I rolled my eyes. He didn’t get it.

I dismissed his advice, and got back on the horse. I revised my work. I went to workshops. I made connections. I signed with a small press, who eventually led me astray. I self published that book, to “save it”. I flew down to New Orleans and pitched my work to agents and publishers that included the big five— and got full requests!

I was learning. I was motivated. I was hungry for that contract.

But– I wasn’t writing.

When I’m not writing, I get depressed. Every rejection felt like a stone cast at me. I started becoming obsessed with reworking my one manuscript to fit into that perfect box. It had to be diverse, yet relatable. It needed heartbreak, but HEA. The voice had to be distinct, and fresh. The heroine had to make us feel empathy, but be kick-ass and strong. The setting should be anywhere but NYC. The age difference  between the characters was too great, and therefore unrealistic. Too many characters have blue eyes, give her brown eyes. Why not change this to YA? No, how about NA? Kill this character. Make him crazy. Make her crazy.

It was making ME crazy!

I became afraid of my inbox. No news meant they were still considering it– or never opened it. And a message more often then not was heartbreaking. I had an agent respond after seven months of having my full with, “Sorry it took so long. Not for me.”

But, there were some great rejections too. Some agents were moved by my characters, found emotion in my story, calling it original and complimented my writing. They said I had the talent, the story just wasn’t for them. That was what gave me hope, and to those agents, thank you.Truly.

I hadn’t written anything new in over a year. I didn’t feel like a writer anymore, I felt like a poser. I needed to get back what I had lost. I was hungry for words. I sat down at my keyboard and started writing in a genre I never ever thought I would write in: A New Adult Contemporary Romance.

I’m dark and twisty. I like to torment my characters, kill off heroes instead of villains and surprise readers with the unexpected. Sweet love was not my forte.

That’s when I realized, it didn’t have to be. If I was going to self publish this work, I could be angsty and snarky. I could be me. I wrote the 83K word manuscript in 21 days. I was alive again! The words flowed, I fell in love with my characters and I had the writing bug once more.

I moved on to what I was told the world didn’t want– Vampires.

Once more, I wrote fast. I fell in love with the work and I wanted it to be amazing. I put The Blood Clan Chronicles through an editing process and hit publish alone in my office, late at night, in silence. Two days later I told my friends. Then I told Facebook, and finally twitter.

Something I didn’t expect to happen, happened. The book started selling. Readers contacted me asking for book 2! I published book 2… and it sold as well. Then I noticed a bump in my original self published book that was saved from the fires of the small press. On a small scale, I was creating a name for myself. Last week my little Vampy ranked, making the top 100 list in Horror and Occult. My little secret book was on a digital shelf sitting BESIDE Stephen King. It was the kind of thing that I looked at, scratched my head and said… whaa???

Of course, moments like that are rare. At least for now… but it’s a start! It’s given me confidence I was greatly lacking. You know what else gives me confidence? The team of writers I associate with on a daily basis. It’s important to align yourself with people who have common goals, take pride in their work and support you. This is a TOUGH business. You need dragon scales to be able to bounce back in this field. The best way to acquire those scales? Be passionate.

Passion leads to motivation. Motivation leads to learning. Learning leads to success.

Now I’ve settled into the skin of who I am. I Am An Indie Author. I own it. I wear it like a badge of honor. It took me years to shake off the shame, but now I couldn’t be prouder. I have taken my career into my own hands. I found my readers, I sell books every single day! I write with more passion than I ever had before. I’ve taken the critiques, the advice and soaked it up like a sponge. I’ve made an effort to discard my bad writing habits and embrace solid writing techniques.

I used REJECTION to make me a stronger writer.

They say every no leads you to the right yes. Maybe the “yes” had to come from me. Yes, I choose to self publish. Yes, I choose to write in an overcrowded genre. Yes, I am willing to work from the moment I get up until the moment my head hits the pillow.

Indie authors do not take the easy road. We write, we revise, we edit, we INVEST in cover art, editors, and formatters. Then afterward we need to think about marketing. Marketing costs money– ads, blog tours, swag, promo– it all adds up. Just like anything else, we learn from trial and error what works. Some days you lose money. Some days you make money– those are the good days.

The better days are when you hear from a reader across an ocean asking for more. That’s what makes this all worthwhile.

Above all, it’s key to focus on your goals and to stay positive. So on this, the eve of Thanksgiving, that’s the attitude I bring to the table. Passion and Positivity.

I wasn’t what the traditional publishing world wanted, but, maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it means I’m what readers wanted.

I’m in love with writing again. I should have listened to my coworker years ago.

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Re: Build Bridges, Not Barricades

Tammy Farrell

Yesterday I came across this post Build Bridges, Not Barricades  It’s an opinion piece about positive collaboration between traditional and indie authors. Unlike my blog post on the same topic, this post took a more positive approach.

“Isn’t it my duty as a self-published author to fly the flag? If I don’t challenge these arguments, aren’t I just letting people go on believing in their old prejudices and misconceptions about self-published books? Yes, I am – because I don’t think that rising to this sort of bait is always the best way to present our case. I prefer a less confrontational approach, one that focuses on the positive. If whether or not you are self or trade published makes no difference amongst authors themselves, what’s left to argue about?”

I feel like this blog was written for me. Who knows, with the amount of people angry with the tone…

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The Indie/Traditional Debate. Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I really loved this! Thanks Tammy!

Tammy Farrell

You’re not the cool kid.

If you’re an indie author, I think you’ve figured out by now that we’re the underdogs, the gnats in traditional publishing’s ear, and the ones the traditionally published kids don’t want to sit with in the cafeteria.

I came in to the publishing game with rose colored glasses, a positive attitude, and a love for the supportive writing community I’d found. More than one year later the rose colored glasses are off, and I’m well aware that members of the “community” I loved so very much are often sneering at us behind our backs.

I don’t mean to say all traditional authors minimize the accomplishments of indie authors. There are many who genuinely cheer us on, showcase our books, congratulate us when we have success, and happily share the road with us.

But the judgment of indie authors is everywhere, and it’s getting harder to…

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Why Indie is WRITE for me.

I used to have a 9-5 job. A great job, that I loved.

I was a teacher.

I still am, I think that profession will always be entwined into my core. But I left teaching to chase after my dreams, and guess what? I’m doing it.

For close to a decade I have seriously been putting pen to paper. I look back on the first drafts of my precious manuscript that I dumped on my amazing friends asking them to beta, and I cringe. Of course they were all polite. I didn’t fully grasp then that writing was rewriting. Yes, I had polished it, but I had not gutted it like a fish. It needed everything flayed out on the table to get to the heart of the story.

Writing should be like looking at a scene the way a filmmaker does with his camera. It’s getting reactions out of your characters in order to obtain some emotion from your readers.

And it is undoubtedly– Killing your darlings.

I couldn’t cut a few words back then far less entire scenes, or even characters. So as a result, the books weren’t ready.

I have learned so much in the three years that I have actively started pursuing this dream and following the path of traditional publishing. I learn more every day. But my recent lessons did not come from an agent, an editor or a large pub house. It came from a successful independent author who sat me down and said, “You need to decide if you want writing to be your career. If you do, Indie is your path.”

It was like I was hit over the head with a mallet. It made so much sense, and everything was crystal clear. I had been trying for so long to fit my books into this traditional little box, but they didn’t fit. I have heard repeatedly from agents how much they admire my work, that I actually do have talent… but they don’t know how to sell it.

They no longer have to.

When I removed the concept of writing for an agent, or writing for a particular publisher out of my line of vision, then I had what I loved back: The writing.

Recently, I was told something similar about my contemporary manuscripts by two separate agents. I’ll combine their pearls of wisdom for you. “Kat Daemon writes dark paranormal. Therefore, Kat can never write contemporary. Kat only wrote this new piece because she thinks it will sell.”

Wow! As a teacher, I found this to be borderline abusive. How dare any person say what we can and cannot write? Isn’t that our first amendment rights? To say I created a character because I thought it would sell, was absurd. The character I had created actually had experiences similar to my own as a teenager. So if I’m drawing on my own life, than how can I, Kat, not write it? Makes no sense.

It struck a nerve with me.

Work gets rejected. This business is subjective.

That’s part of the writing world. I get that. But to say, you can’t write that… No. That’s not going to fly with me.

I realized something truly amazing when I dwelled on what my friend had said about choosing Indie to have a career path. If I am an independent author, then I can publish as many books as I want. With the content I choose, and I would set my own schedule.

It means I would have to work twice as hard producing more books than the average signed author does in a year because my name is now my brand. It means marketing falls on me. It means cover artists and editors are all part of my budget. It means I have to condition myself to avoid social media and get this done!

Guess what? I love it.

In the past two months I have written one full length novel and two novellas, totaling approximately 145,000 words. In the past it took me a year to write 100,000 words. Like anything, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Practice makes perfect. I have a schedule for my books– it’s an exciting schedule, and I am looking forward to the next few months when more of my Paranormal, Horror and my New Adult Contemporary will be available to my readers.

Things are happening, and for the first time in a long time I’m happy when I sit down at my keyboard. The words are flowing! I’m writing without fear and without expectation. I am writing the sequels that readers, my readers, (squee!) are asking me for.

But there’s always going to be that person who wants to rain on your parade. There are a lot of people who want to trash indie authors. The things I have heard is quite terrible, but you know what, like anything in life you have to turn away from the haters. Shake ’em off. People always fear that which they don’t understand.

I am in no way trashing the traditional publishing path. Every time a friend signs with an agent or lands their dream deal, I celebrate them. Hell, I still look forward to the day when I walk into a bookstore and see a stack of Kat Daemon books at the front of the store. (Notice I didn’t say in the store… I actually do have my books in my local Barnes and Noble in New York as well as a Connecticut book store. See? Indie authors can get there, too!)

All I am saying is this is the path I am choosing. It is my choice. A choice I am excited about. I am anxious to get more books out to my readers. Taming Darkness and Reborn was just the beginning. In the next few weeks keep your eyes peeled for Revenge, and Redemption. Books 2 & 3 of my Vampire series: The Blood Clan Chronicles. You can snag book one for only .99cents here:

AND!!! Now that my new laptop is here, Killing Darkness… my personal masterpiece will be in your hands SOON! I urge you to pick up a copy of Taming Darkness to catch up with Luce, Lilith, Maria and Michael before Killing is out.

To find out more about my indie adventures and where to get my books, be sure to check out my website http://www.katdaemon.com.

As always… stay true to yourself, and your dreams. And anytime someone tells you that you can’t do something… show them that you can.

Love & bloody kisses!

~Kat

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