The Success File For Writers

By Cynthia Sax on August 29, 2017


This wonderful career can be challenging. I published my stories for years without breaking even financially. Some stories I spent months crafting were enjoyed by less than 10 readers. There are rejections at every stage of writing and this doesn’t stop after finding ‘success.’ Big names still get rejections and bad reviews and nasty messages.

This is why I believe it is VERY important to celebrate our successes.

Celebrate Everything

Finished a chapter? Celebrate that! Finished a first draft? Celebrate! Finished edits? DEFINITELY a reason for celebration (and heavy drinking). Sold a book? Celebrate! Every step is worthy of celebration. It is bringing us closer to our goals (whatever those goals are).

I like to post my ‘successes’ on Facebook. Writing it down makes it feel more real for me. Many of my friends have stood by my side for years. They know how important these benchmarks are and they’re happy for me.

Sure, sometimes someone will post something grumpy. I tend to respond with, “You’re my friend. I know you’re happy for me.” (This immediately makes ME feel better about the grumpy comment.) True friends will feel happy for us. We might be also envious of your success but that envy is about us, not about you and your success. We’re thrilled for you.

Seeing other writers’ successes pushes me to reach my own benchmarks. I always write faster when I hear someone else has had a great writing day. So these posts don’t just benefit you. They benefit others.

Create A Success File

I also have a success file or a kudos file or whatever you wish to call it. Every time I receive positive feedback or an awesome review or anything that makes me feel great about my stories and my writing, I copy the information and put it in a Word file.

When the dark days full of doubt come (and they WILL come), this file is what keeps me writing. I peruse it and I get that passion back. This file is what pushed me forward when I was losing money year after year. If it weren’t for this file, I wouldn’t have made it through that disastrous fifth year, the year everything that could possibly go wrong did.

Think you don’t have anything to celebrate? Well, you made it to the end of this blog post, didn’t you? That means today you read a post about writing. You have one more tool in your toolbox. Congrats! That’s worthy of a celebration!

Enjoy this wonderful career as much as possible. Celebrate and revisit your successes!

***

Subscribe To My Monthly Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Dark Flight

His mission. His challenge. His forever.

Orol, the Refuge’s second-in-command, has been given what he believes is a simple mission—escort two human females to the settlement. The winged warrior arrives at the meeting site to find one of the females missing and the other aiming a gun at his head. To rescue the first, he must capture the second. Once he has Rhea in his talons, however, he realizes he never wants to let her go.

Her enemy. Her captor. Her everything.

Rhea doesn’t trust anyone. She certainly doesn’t follow commands issued by a gorgeous flying male with glittering eyes, a beautiful face, and a seductive touch. Orol is dominant, edged with darkness, and determined to find her sister. Rhea will do anything to prevent that, even if it means playing sensual games of submission with her powerful enemy, seducing him into forgetting everything except her.

Dark Flight is a STAND-ALONE SciFi Romance set in a gritty, dark world.

Buy Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Flight-Refuge-Book-2-ebook/dp/B07124941B/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Flight-Refuge-Book-2-ebook/dp/B07124941B/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dark-flight/id1242494643

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-flight-cynthia-sax/1126484675

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dark-flight-3

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/727350

Topics: Writing Tips | No Comments »

Collateral Beauty And Money As Motivation

By Cynthia Sax on August 19, 2017

Note: There will be spoilers of this wonderful movie in this post. Please don’t read it if you haven’t watched Collateral Beauty.

The wealthy hero and the struggling heroine trope has dipped in popularity recently but it will never disappear. These stories have been told long before Pride And Prejudice was published and will outlast all of us, even the cyborgs.

The key to writing this trope well is the motivation for the struggling heroine. That appears easy. It’s money, right?

Nope. It’s not money.

In one of the first stories I wrote, the heroine and hero went on a treasure hunt. The prize was… well… treasure—gold coins. I entered that story in a writing contest ( http://torontoromancewriters.com/enter/contest/ ) and I received, in return, a brilliant piece of writing (and life) advice well worth the entry fee.

Money isn’t ever the true motivation for our characters. Their motivation is what they believe the money will bring them.

I rewrote the story with the prize being a house both of the characters considered to be theirs and the story was MUCH stronger. Two people were competing for the same home.

The Dear Wonderful Hubby and I watched Collateral Beauty last night. This was a beautiful, emotional movie. I cried hard and was thoroughly (and surprisingly) entertained. I loved it.

One of the things this movie did wonderfully well was give each character strong motivation for their actions.

At first, the three business partners appeared to be taking extreme action because they wanted cash. I rolled my eyes at this. The greedy business man or woman is such a cliché. It is lazy writing, the characters cardboard and predictable.

But then the characters revealed they had three very different, very strong, very emotional reasons for wanting that money.

One partner’s ex-wife is dating a wealthy new boyfriend. This boyfriend is showering the partner’s daughter with expensive gifts. The partner thinks his relationship with his daughter is strained because he can’t match these gifts. He believes money will fix their problems.

Another partner wants a baby. She doesn’t have a love interest and would be having this baby on her own. That requires money—money for the medical procedures and money to allow her to take the time off work.

The third partner is dying. He has a wife he loves and a family he wants to take care of. The money will be his last and hopefully a lasting gift to them, a not-so-little thing this otherwise powerless character can do for the people he loves.

Bam! These are three powerful motivations for wanting money. The characters went from being cold and flat to being living, breathing people we can care about and cheer for.

Do this in a wealthy hero and struggling heroine romance and I’d happily read this trope over and over again. I’d love it.

Money isn’t ever the true motivation behind an action. Delve deeper.

***

Subscribe To My Monthly Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Dark Flight

His mission. His challenge. His forever.

Orol, the Refuge’s second-in-command, has been given what he believes is a simple mission—escort two human females to the settlement. The winged warrior arrives at the meeting site to find one of the females missing and the other aiming a gun at his head. To rescue the first, he must capture the second. Once he has Rhea in his talons, however, he realizes he never wants to let her go.

Her enemy. Her captor. Her everything.

Rhea doesn’t trust anyone. She certainly doesn’t follow commands issued by a gorgeous flying male with glittering eyes, a beautiful face, and a seductive touch. Orol is dominant, edged with darkness, and determined to find her sister. Rhea will do anything to prevent that, even if it means playing sensual games of submission with her powerful enemy, seducing him into forgetting everything except her.

Dark Flight is a STAND-ALONE SciFi Romance set in a gritty, dark world.

Buy Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Flight-Refuge-Book-2-ebook/dp/B07124941B/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Flight-Refuge-Book-2-ebook/dp/B07124941B/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dark-flight/id1242494643

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-flight-cynthia-sax/1126484675

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dark-flight-3

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/727350

Topics: Writing Tips | No Comments »

Leave A Magical Moment Alone

By Cynthia Sax on August 15, 2017

Yes, I’m singing Billy Joel’s ‘Leave A Tender Moment Alone.’ (laughs)

I recently received the second round of edits for Seeking Vector, my October release, from my awesome editor ELF ( https://musingsbyelf.wordpress.com/ ). ELF loved the epilogue, told me it made her cry (which is a rare thing for editors). I immediately skipped to that chapter and re-read it. The temptation to tweak it was strong but I resisted that impulse.

Why did I stop myself from ‘improving’ the epilogue?

Because magical moments in our books are rare. They’re special, fragile, damn easy to destroy. One changed word can make them disappear. One added comma can throw off the pacing (and pacing is key for emotion).

I will correct spelling but, if a scene is magical, I’m very cautious about making other changes.

What is a magical scene?

I consider a magical scene to be one that makes the reader feel deeply in the way I intended them to feel. Clearly a reader laughing where she should be crying isn’t a great thing. I’ve done that. (sheepish grin) But if she laughs where I want her to laugh and cries where I want her to cry, THAT is wonderful.

That is also difficult to accomplish, which is why I leave those scenes alone.

That leads me to the next point.

You CAN over revise a story.

You know your routine better than anyone else and every writer is different but it IS possible to revise the magic right out of a story. I’ve added words and smoothed out sentences until all of the emotion was gone. Those stories are currently hidden under my bed and will never see the light of day.

This is why advice about the ‘right’ number of books to write in a year is so dangerous. If I wrote a story in two months and then spent ten more months revising it, that story would suck great hairy donkey balls. It might be perfect craft-wise but it would be emotionally flat.

That routine might work for another writer. It doesn’t work for me. It also doesn’t signify quality. Sometimes a scene is magical in the first hastily written draft. Sometimes a scene is magical after six rounds of editing. This is writing and there are no rules (and there is no logic to it either – grins).

If you’ve created a magical moment in your story, celebrate.

And leave that freakin’ scene alone.

***

Subscribe To My Monthly Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Dark Flight

His mission. His challenge. His forever.

Orol, the Refuge’s second-in-command, has been given what he believes is a simple mission—escort two human females to the settlement. The winged warrior arrives at the meeting site to find one of the females missing and the other aiming a gun at his head. To rescue the first, he must capture the second. Once he has Rhea in his talons, however, he realizes he never wants to let her go.

Her enemy. Her captor. Her everything.

Rhea doesn’t trust anyone. She certainly doesn’t follow commands issued by a gorgeous flying male with glittering eyes, a beautiful face, and a seductive touch. Orol is dominant, edged with darkness, and determined to find her sister. Rhea will do anything to prevent that, even if it means playing sensual games of submission with her powerful enemy, seducing him into forgetting everything except her.

Dark Flight is a STAND-ALONE SciFi Romance set in a gritty, dark world.

Buy Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Flight-Refuge-Book-2-ebook/dp/B07124941B/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Flight-Refuge-Book-2-ebook/dp/B07124941B/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dark-flight/id1242494643

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-flight-cynthia-sax/1126484675

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dark-flight-3

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/727350

Topics: Writing Tips | No Comments »

Is There A Market For This Book?

By Cynthia Sax on August 11, 2017

I’ve seen quite a few posts lately from writers deep in the depths of despair because they want to write a certain type of story but have been told there is no market (i.e. readership) for it.

I want to set a romance in Thailand but I was told there’s no market for it.

I want to write a romance with an Irish heroine and a Chinese hero but I was told there’s no market for it.

I want to write a romance with a heroine who competes in marathons but I was told there’s no market for it.

I agree that having a market for a story is important. Very few of us want to spend months or years working on a story and have that story read by only three people. We want as many readers as possible for our beloved stories.

But our stories are more than the setting or the characters’ racial background or the characters’ jobs. We have our choice of what to focus on while marketing our stories.

Let’s look at our imaginary romance set in Thailand.

He’s a Navy SEAL, battered and scarred in a past mission, looking for redemption. She’s a virgin with a secret. (I’d say secret baby but she’s a virgin so…). There’s danger and an awesome baddie and hot scorching sex.

Why would we focus on the Thailand setting when promoting the story (to publishers or to reading buddies)? A romance with a Navy SEAL hero has a much bigger market. So does a romance with a virgin heroine. Sure, setting the story in Thailand makes the story special but hit folks with the things they already know they like first, and THEN mention the unique setting.

But-But-But my story doesn’t have any other marketable elements, you say.

Dig deeper because I suspect it does.

You wrote a romance. Is it love at first sight? A reunion love? Friends to lovers? Enemies to lovers? A workplace romance? Wrong bed (i.e mistaken identity)? A rebound relationship?

EVERY type of romantic hook up has a market. Almost every hero personality type has a market also (manwhore hero, geek hero, virgin hero, beast hero, iceman hero, etc). Tone has a market (comedy, sweet, sexy, dark, etc). If you study your story, you will likely find dozens of markets.

Note that I haven’t said ‘Rewrite your story.’ Whenever the topic of finding a market comes up, some writers push back and say their creativity can’t be constricted to a market. They don’t want to write generic cookie-cutter books.

Okay. Generic cookie-cutter books don’t sell. They’re boring and I don’t know any writer who writes these. And we’re talking marketing/promotion, not about the actual story. Write your non-traditional romance but consider marketing it first to readers who love non-traditional romances and second to readers who like heroines with gluten-free diets.

Which market should you focus on?

I look first and foremost at whether or not my story will make readers in my chosen markets happy. Does the story meet the readers’ expectations? Maybe my hero isn’t beastly enough to make the beast hero readers happy. But hey, he’s very much a virgin. He’ll make those readers ecstatic.

Then I look at the size of the market. Bigger doesn’t always mean better. If the market is too big, my story might get lost in it. On the other hand, if the market consists of two people, then I should directly contact those two people and forget the marketing. (grins) I like a happy medium.

I also consider the reading buddies I already know and love. Will this angle interest them? Clearly, if it is a cyborg romance, I will mention that first. Many of my reading buddies love cyborg romances.

This last point meshes with writer branding. If I want to be known as a writer of virgin heroines, for example, (whispers – I don’t) I will mention virgin heroines early in my marketing.

Having the right market for our stories doesn’t guarantee they will sell but it certainly does increase the odds. And hey, in this business, we need the best odds possible. (grins)

***

Subscribe To My Monthly Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Dark Flight

His mission. His challenge. His forever.

Orol, the Refuge’s second-in-command, has been given what he believes is a simple mission—escort two human females to the settlement. The winged warrior arrives at the meeting site to find one of the females missing and the other aiming a gun at his head. To rescue the first, he must capture the second. Once he has Rhea in his talons, however, he realizes he never wants to let her go.

Her enemy. Her captor. Her everything.

Rhea doesn’t trust anyone. She certainly doesn’t follow commands issued by a gorgeous flying male with glittering eyes, a beautiful face, and a seductive touch. Orol is dominant, edged with darkness, and determined to find her sister. Rhea will do anything to prevent that, even if it means playing sensual games of submission with her powerful enemy, seducing him into forgetting everything except her.

Dark Flight is a STAND-ALONE SciFi Romance set in a gritty, dark world.

Buy Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Flight-Refuge-Book-2-ebook/dp/B07124941B/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Flight-Refuge-Book-2-ebook/dp/B07124941B/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dark-flight/id1242494643

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-flight-cynthia-sax/1126484675

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dark-flight-3

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/727350

Topics: Writing Tips | No Comments »

How To Ask For Writing Advice

By Cynthia Sax on August 4, 2017

Almost all of us are struggling with at least one writing related problem right now. (I know I am.) Thankfully, there’s at least one writer in Romanceland who has tackled that exact problem successfully. All we have to do is find her and ask her for advice. (This could be a him also but writing her/him all the time is tiring so let’s assume the writer is female. – grins)

The Question To Ask

I start with the question I want to ask. I make it as narrow as possible. Asking a writer how to write a book is a question that will take her ten years to answer. Asking a writer how to write a great first line for a cyborg romance is a question she can answer in an email.

I only ask questions I truly want answered. If I have already decided to write SciFi Romance, asking her if I should write Paranormal, Fantasy or SciFi Romance is wasting her time and will likely frustrate her (as she will know I’m not truly listening to her answer).

How To Find My Expert

Once I have figured out my question, I investigate whom I should ask.

It makes no sense to ask a contemporary romance writer how to write SciFi Romance. It also doesn’t make sense to ask a midlist writer how to break out of the midlist. Or a trad published writer how to self-publish.

If I want a range of answers, I might ask that question on a Yahoo or Facebook group relevant to my question. There are groups for every writer niche.

If I want a specific writer’s answer, I’ll reach out to her.

Should I Ask This Question Publicly Or Privately?

The more public the answer, the more generic and safe it usually is.

If I ask how much money writers make on their SciFi Romance releases in a group that is open to everyone, readers and writers, I will likely receive very vague answers. “I break even” or “I lose money on every release.” If I ask in a SciFi Romance writer-only group, I will likely receive more detailed answers. “My sales are between X and Y.” If I ask one specific writer in a private message, I will likely receive an even more detailed answer. “On release B, I earned Z sales.”

Note: If a writer tells me something in private, I do NOT share it with anyone unless I have her permission. That writer WILL find out I shared the information and that will be the end of that relationship. I try to be a writer other writers can trust.

Receiving Advice

I always thank the writer for taking the time to respond to my question, even if that response was “I’d rather not say.” If I ask in a group, I individually thank every writer who responds. Picking and choosing whom to reply to sends a message that the other writers’ feedback isn’t valued. I do NOT want to do that.

If the answer to my question is “I’d rather not say”, I try to think of a different way to approach the problem I have. Or I simply share the key problem. Maybe I don’t truly need to know how many sales the writer has. Maybe what I truly need to know is if my release will cover the XX costs of producing that release.

This Doesn’t Apply To Me

Sometimes my first reaction is ‘This advice doesn’t apply to me. I’m different.’ Sometimes (rarely) this is true. Often it isn’t.

When I first started writing, I was advised by a gazillion writers to stick to one niche, to become known for a certain type of story. I dismissed that advice because my muse had to be free. It couldn’t be locked down to one niche.

I was a dumb ass. (laughs) Every writer who gave me that advice had struggled with that same issue. They had merely figured out ways to work with their flighty muses. (I don’t publish every story I write, for example.) If I had followed up on their responses with “How do you handle the urge to write in other niches?”, I would have saved myself years of struggle.

Should I Apply This Advice?

Every writer is different and what works for one writer might not work for another (this applies to ALL of my advice in this and other posts).

If the advice isn’t something I feel comfortable doing, I don’t act on it. If I like the advice but I’m worried it might not work (because this business changes so quickly), I might test it. If the advice feels right to me, is logical, is applicable to today’s publishing world, I might act on it with everything I have.

I don’t argue with the writer about her advice. That doesn’t accomplish anything. I simply thank her and move on. I don’t broadcast that I’m asking others the same question (unless I mentioned that when I asked her the question). That can be interpreted as saying her advice wasn’t good enough.

Any writer who takes the time to respond to a question cares about the person asking the question. She is spending precious writing time trying to help me out. She still might give bad-for-me advice. That’s entirely possible. But her heart is in the right place.


This is how I tackle asking for advice. How do you tackle it?

***

Subscribe To My Monthly Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Dark Flight

His mission. His challenge. His forever.

Orol, the Refuge’s second-in-command, has been given what he believes is a simple mission—escort two human females to the settlement. The winged warrior arrives at the meeting site to find one of the females missing and the other aiming a gun at his head. To rescue the first, he must capture the second. Once he has Rhea in his talons, however, he realizes he never wants to let her go.

Her enemy. Her captor. Her everything.

Rhea doesn’t trust anyone. She certainly doesn’t follow commands issued by a gorgeous flying male with glittering eyes, a beautiful face, and a seductive touch. Orol is dominant, edged with darkness, and determined to find her sister. Rhea will do anything to prevent that, even if it means playing sensual games of submission with her powerful enemy, seducing him into forgetting everything except her.

Dark Flight is a STAND-ALONE SciFi Romance set in a gritty, dark world.

Buy Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Flight-Refuge-Book-2-ebook/dp/B07124941B/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Flight-Refuge-Book-2-ebook/dp/B07124941B/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dark-flight/id1242494643

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-flight-cynthia-sax/1126484675

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dark-flight-3

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/727350

Topics: Writing Tips | No Comments »

Seeking Vector And Grueling Books To Write

By Cynthia Sax on July 24, 2017

When I was a new writer, I believed all I had to do was figure out how to write a story and then every story I wrote after that one would be easy.

Yes. Stop laughing. I truly thought that.

On Saturday, I finally finished the first draft of Seeking Vector. This cyborg story is supposed to be released in September. The release date is in serious danger because I am ONE MONTH behind schedule.

Why did it take an extra month to write?

I don’t know.

Vector is an established character. I love him, find him fascinating. His story made me cry a couple of times but it wasn’t an overly emotionally draining story to write. The plot wasn’t super complicated. I can’t point to any one reason why Seeking Vector was grueling to write.

It merely was.

I had to force myself to write EVERY single day and EVERY moment during those days. There were no ‘Woot! I’m in the zone. Words are flying’ moments (During the writing of it. Now, ironically, as I revise it, that is happening.). Every word was a struggle.

I was told if that ever happened with a story, I should discard it. It won’t contain the magic reading buddies crave. That’s not true. Seeking Vector is filled with magic. Not every reading buddy will love it, of course. I don’t think that’s possible for any story. But Seeking Vector will be the favorite story in the series for some reading buddies. I feel that in my gut.

I’m glad I wrote Seeking Vector. It is a story I’m proud to share with reading buddies.

If you’re struggling with a story, I’m not telling you to stick with it. Every story and every writer is different. But know that it still has the potential to be a GREAT story.

And there’s nothing wrong with you as a writer. Grueling stories are part of this wonderful career. They happen to all of us.

***

Subscribe To My Monthly Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Dark Flight

His mission. His challenge. His forever.

Orol, the Refuge’s second-in-command, has been given what he believes is a simple mission—escort two human females to the settlement. The winged warrior arrives at the meeting site to find one of the females missing and the other aiming a gun at his head. To rescue the first, he must capture the second. Once he has Rhea in his talons, however, he realizes he never wants to let her go.

Her enemy. Her captor. Her everything.

Rhea doesn’t trust anyone. She certainly doesn’t follow commands issued by a gorgeous flying male with glittering eyes, a beautiful face, and a seductive touch. Orol is dominant, edged with darkness, and determined to find her sister. Rhea will do anything to prevent that, even if it means playing sensual games of submission with her powerful enemy, seducing him into forgetting everything except her.

Dark Flight is a STAND-ALONE SciFi Romance set in a gritty, dark world.

Buy Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Flight-Refuge-Book-2-ebook/dp/B07124941B/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Flight-Refuge-Book-2-ebook/dp/B07124941B/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dark-flight/id1242494643

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-flight-cynthia-sax/1126484675

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dark-flight-3

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/727350

Topics: Writing Tips | 2 Comments »

Why I Take Writing Workshops

By Cynthia Sax on June 28, 2017

I’m currently taking Marie Force’s online workshop on series ( http://marieforce.com/workshops/ ). It’s so brilliant; I posted about it on Facebook. I then received quite a few messages from readers and writers asking me why, at my stage of my career, I’m continuing to take writing courses. I clearly know how to write a story. What is left to learn?

Oh boy. What ISN’T left to learn?

Every Story Is Different

Before I took my writing semi-seriously, I thought all I had to do was learn how to write ONE story and every future story would be easy to write. I’d merely apply what I’ve learned.

Yeah, no. That’s not how it works. (laughs hysterically at new writer me) EVERY story is different, which means EVERY story presents its own set of writing challenges. If I’m pushing myself as a writer, I haven’t yet faced these challenges.

But another writer might have.

Because this writer has already faced these new-to-me challenges, she will have tools in her writing toolbox that I don’t have (I first heard the toolbox reference in Stephen King’s awesome writing book – On Writing). During courses she hosts, she’ll share those tools with her students.

One New Tool Can Make The Difference

When I first started writing, I’d leave writing workshops overwhelmed, my brain uncomfortably full of new ideas, new writing tools. My toolbox was empty. Every point made by the host writer added another tool.

My toolbox is now fairly full. I have many of the tools the host writer offers. What I’m looking for is that one new tool, that one angle or trick or insight that could make a difference in my current story or in my future stories.

The Power Of Questions

I always come into a workshop with at least one question I’d like answered. Asking this question ensures I add one tool, at the minimum, to my toolbox.

Whenever I feel shy about asking my questions, about admitting that I don’t know everything, I think of the very first in person workshop I attended. I was seated near a HUGE name in writing. During a break, I asked her why she was taking a writing workshop. Didn’t she know everything? She smiled and said she didn’t. There was always more to learn. She owed it to herself and to her readers to be the best writer she could possibly be.

If this HUGE writer doesn’t know everything, it would be foolish to think I do.

Do you HAVE to take writing workshops? Of course not. This is writing. There is nothing you HAVE to do. But this is why I take writing workshops.

***

Subscribe To My Monthly Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Dark Flight

His mission. His challenge. His forever.

Orol, the Refuge’s second-in-command, has been given what he believes is a simple mission—escort two human females to the settlement. The winged warrior arrives at the meeting site to find one of the females missing and the other aiming a gun at his head. To rescue the first, he must capture the second. Once he has Rhea in his talons, however, he realizes he never wants to let her go.

Her enemy. Her captor. Her everything.

Rhea doesn’t trust anyone. She certainly doesn’t follow commands issued by a gorgeous flying male with glittering eyes, a beautiful face, and a seductive touch. Orol is dominant, edged with darkness, and determined to find her sister. Rhea will do anything to prevent that, even if it means playing sensual games of submission with her powerful enemy, seducing him into forgetting everything except her.

Dark Flight is a STAND-ALONE SciFi Romance set in a gritty, dark world.

You Can Pre-order Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Flight-Refuge-Book-2-ebook/dp/B07124941B/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Flight-Refuge-Book-2-ebook/dp/B07124941B/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dark-flight/id1242494643

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-flight-cynthia-sax/1126484675

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dark-flight-3

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/727350

Topics: Writing Tips | No Comments »

Luck And Book Sales

By Cynthia Sax on June 12, 2017

Many writers have been talking about Written Word’s article What Makes a $100k Author: 8 Findings Every Author Should Know ( https://www.writtenwordmedia.com/2017/06/07/100k-author/ ). This is a great article. I agree with most of the points.

However, there is one huge factor missing

Luck.

Why Writers Care About Sales

Some reading buddies are reading this post so I wanted to explain why writers care about sales. We’re often told we should be writing for the love of it.

And we do. We WRITE for the love of it. I wrote for many decades before sending my stories to be published. I’ll write until I’m dead, whether I sell one copy or a gazillion copies.

PUBLISHING, however, is a completely different situation. I only publish the stories I think reading buddies will want to read. Why? Because publishing is much more than simply writing. There’s editing, distribution, marketing, so much marketing, and various other not-very-much-fun-for-me non-writing activities.

It also costs money. I have to sell at least 500 copies of each book to simply break even with the production costs alone (cover, editing, formatting). That might not sound like much but the average book sells 250 copies ( https://www.quora.com/How-many-copies-does-the-average-book-sell ). That’s AVERAGE. J.K. Rowling is selling millions of copies. Jill Emerging Author is selling 10 copies if she hustles and markets her butt off.

Luck

One of the factors that divides a J.K. Rowling from a Jill Emerging Author is luck. Of course, the other factors play a part in it. It is easier to get lucky if we’ve written 30 stories, if we have a great cover, great editing, a great story, a wonderful marketing campaign. All of these things increase the odds of getting lucky.

But we still need that luck.

Releasing Rage is the story of mine that has sold the most copies. Yes, I marketed it heavily for months. Yes, my cover artist created a wonderful cover. Yes, it was the best story I had ever written (as I become a better writer with each story).

I still got lucky.

When I published Releasing Rage, for example, Laurann Dohner, one of the big names in cyborg romance, was taking a break from her super successful series. Eve Langlais had wrapped up her extremely successful cyborg series. This created a gap in the market, a stroke of luck for Releasing Rage.

There was also demand for darker romances that wasn’t being met in cyborg romance. I didn’t write Releasing Rage because of this demand. I didn’t know it would be there at the time. I wrote the story and when I published it, the demand for darker romance existed (as though by magic). It could have easily not been there. I got lucky.

There were many other instances of luck with Releasing Rage. A big blogger saw my cover, liked it and decided to read the story. Some reading buddies chanced upon the story, loved it and recommended it to their friends. Some writing buddies read it and mentioned it to their reading buddies.

Did I work hard promoting Releasing Rage? Of course, I did. But I had over 150 previous releases and had worked hard in the past promoting them. I didn’t ‘get lucky’ with any of them.

Luck is a required component.

Why The Luck Factor Is Exciting

The reason I’m writing this post is I’ve read comments from writing buddies talking about how they can’t satisfy all of the eight findings or how they can’t produce 8 books a year or how they can’t spend 10 hours a day marketing because they have a rent-paying day job or a family or other factors.

These writing buddies are despairing because they don’t think they’ll ever sell more than 10 copies a release. They’re asking, “Should I quit? Are my efforts being wasted? Should I spend Saturday nights with friends rather than staring at a blank screen until my brain explodes?”

We all have to make these decisions for ourselves but please keep in mind that, although the odds of getting lucky increase with these other factors, luck can be random. We could sell 10 copies with release 2 and 10,000 copies with release 3. We could sell 10,000 copies with release 1. We could sell 10 copies with releases 1 through 300 and 10,000 copies with release 301. We simply don’t know.

No one does and if someone says they do, they’re lying. If the luck component was predictable, publishers, entities with many years of experience in the book selling business, would only produce best-selling novels. They don’t. They’re often as mystified as we are when one of their books does surprisingly well.

I find this exciting because it means the next story we write and publish might change our lives, our careers. It could be the ONE, that coveted break out hit.

Never discount luck.

***

Subscribe To My Monthly Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Dark Flight

His mission. His challenge. His forever.

Orol, the Refuge’s second-in-command, has been given what he believes is a simple mission—escort two human females to the settlement. The winged warrior arrives at the meeting site to find one of the females missing and the other aiming a gun at his head. To rescue the first, he must capture the second. Once he has Rhea in his talons, however, he realizes he never wants to let her go.

Her enemy. Her captor. Her everything.

Rhea doesn’t trust anyone. She certainly doesn’t follow commands issued by a gorgeous flying male with glittering eyes, a beautiful face, and a seductive touch. Orol is dominant, edged with darkness, and determined to find her sister. Rhea will do anything to prevent that, even if it means playing sensual games of submission with her powerful enemy, seducing him into forgetting everything except her.

Dark Flight is a STAND-ALONE SciFi Romance set in a gritty, dark world.

You Can Pre-order Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Flight-Refuge-Book-2-ebook/dp/B07124941B/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Flight-Refuge-Book-2-ebook/dp/B07124941B/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dark-flight/id1242494643

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-flight-cynthia-sax/1126484675

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dark-flight-3

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/727350

Topics: Writing Tips | 2 Comments »

Jason Bourne And Motivation

By Cynthia Sax on May 22, 2017


I watched Jason Bourne on the weekend. I enjoyed it. Jason Bourne is an awesome character and there were so many great action scenes in this movie.

But one thing really bothered me—a secondary character’s motivation. She/he was doing terrible things—killing people, putting her/his own life on the line. The reason? Because he/she wanted a promotion.

I can see working late because I wanted a promotion. I can see sucking up to the boss because I wanted a promotion. Risking my life? Killing people? No way. That’s not strong enough motivation for those actions.

And the promotion isn’t the true goal. We want a promotion because it symbolizes something to us. Maybe a bigger paycheck comes with that promotion, which allows us to pay the rent, which gives us security, our true goal. Maybe our parents told us we’d never be anyone important and the promotion is a way to prove they were wrong, to earn us their love.

The actions can’t contradict the true goal. Putting my life at risk to ultimately gain security makes no sense. Killing people might not make our parents proud of us. I couldn’t figure out why this character wanted the promotion THAT much and it bothered me.

The motivation should also ideally be personal and as specific as possible. Saving the world is a great goal but why are we saving the world? Do we want to save ourselves? That’s a rather selfish goal. Or do we want to save our five-year-old Princess-loving daughter whom we’ve sworn to always keep safe? THAT is a powerful goal. I can envision it. I can cheer for it.

The more traumatic the action for that character, the bigger the motivation needs to be. If our hero is a cyborg warrior, a being designed for killing, a being who loves killing, he might not need much motivation to end a life. He could, however, require HUGE motivation to reveal one of his possible-life-ending weaknesses to the heroine.

If there is no motivation provided for actions, they appear random. There’s a lack of emotional connection. Some readers/viewers will become frustrated and care less about the characters.

If the motivation is provided and strong enough, however, almost EVERY action can be forgivable. We can write dark disturbing characters and folks will love them. The right motivation is THAT powerful.

***

Subscribe To My Monthly Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Fragile. Stubborn. His.

Ghost, a C Model cyborg, has disconnected his machine from his human side. Severely damaged, he knows two things—the curvy human female on his ship belongs to him and he must keep her safe. He’ll stop at nothing to protect her, claim her, make her his.

Primitive. Damaged. Hers.

Lethe has seen the savage side of beings. The courageous Rebel captain has never met a male like Ghost. Overpoweringly dominant, he appeals to her on a primal level, filling her mind with thoughts of sweet surrender, hard kisses, and body-heating encounters against the warship’s walls.

They are two broken beings, one determined to protect, the other intent on flying into danger. Can love heal them both before they face their common enemy?

Ghost Of A Machine is Book 9 in the Cyborg Sizzle series and is a STAND-ALONE story.
It is also a BBW Cyborg SciFi Romance.

Order Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Machine-Cyborg-Sizzle-Book-ebook/dp/B06XR6M6GG/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ghost-Machine-Cyborg-Sizzle-Book-ebook/dp/B06XR6M6GG/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ghost-of-a-machine/id1218969448

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ghost-of-a-machine-cynthia-sax/1126040142

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/ghost-of-a-machine

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/713288

Topics: Writing Tips | No Comments »

Writing – This Is YOUR Career

By Cynthia Sax on April 14, 2017

“I don’t like giving out ARCs.”

“I don’t like attending conferences.”

“I don’t like putting keywords in titles.”

“I don’t like man titty on covers.”

“I don’t like giving away books.”

Then don’t do it. Yes, it is THAT simple.

It won’t be the end of your career. Hey, it might even be good for your career. Why? Because you will be happier, care more, perhaps write more. Readers can sense that.

“But-but-but I HAVE to do it.”

No, you don’t. I don’t know one thing, outside of actually getting books written, that is essential for a writer’s success.

Sure, it helps if you have a half decent cover (i.e. a cover readers don’t wince at when they see it) but I know writers who have dreadful covers and they have found readers who don’t give a shit about that. Sure, spellchecking a story before it is published seems like a necessity but I know writers who have books filled with spelling errors and they have readers. These readers might be challenging to find but they are out there.

There are no rules. None. If you don’t like something, ask yourself why you are doing it. If it is because you think every other writer is doing it, I can assure you they aren’t.

In some ways, this makes this wonderful career more challenging. There’s no blindly following the crowd, allowing others to make our decisions for us. Everything is a decision. But there’s a reward for that additional work. We can craft the career we truly want.

The flipside of this is… we don’t get to dictate what other writers do with their careers either. If Writer X wants to give away all of her stories for free, she can. If Writer Y wants to put every keyword she knows into her titles, she can. There are no rules.

Craft the career you wish. Enjoy this wonderful experience.

***

Subscribe To My Monthly Newsletter: http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Fragile. Stubborn. His.

Ghost, a C Model cyborg, has disconnected his machine from his human side. Severely damaged, he knows two things—the curvy human female on his ship belongs to him and he must keep her safe. He’ll stop at nothing to protect her, claim her, make her his.

Primitive. Damaged. Hers.

Lethe has seen the savage side of beings. The courageous Rebel captain has never met a male like Ghost. Overpoweringly dominant, he appeals to her on a primal level, filling her mind with thoughts of sweet surrender, hard kisses, and body-heating encounters against the warship’s walls.

They are two broken beings, one determined to protect, the other intent on flying into danger. Can love heal them both before they face their common enemy?

Ghost Of A Machine is Book 9 in the Cyborg Sizzle series and is a STAND-ALONE story.
It is also a BBW Cyborg SciFi Romance.

Pre-order Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Machine-Cyborg-Sizzle-Book-ebook/dp/B06XR6M6GG/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ghost-Machine-Cyborg-Sizzle-Book-ebook/dp/B06XR6M6GG/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/ghost-of-a-machine/id1218969448

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ghost-of-a-machine-cynthia-sax/1126040142

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/ghost-of-a-machine

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/713288

Topics: Writing Tips | 1 Comment »

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