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 | No 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 »

Do You Need A BookBub Deal To Be A Successful Writer?

By Cynthia Sax on April 6, 2017

When I first started paying attention to the writing business, many, many years before I was published, almost every writer wanted to have her book chosen for Oprah’s Book Club. That was seen as a way to guarantee success in Bookland.

Of course, many writers didn’t have their books chosen. The odds of having a book chosen for Oprah’s Book Club was about the same as winning a lottery.

And those ‘unlucky’ writers? Some of them are huge bestselling writers today. The world didn’t end for them because they weren’t chosen. (grins) They did okay.

Today, the perceived way to ‘guarantee’ success is to land a BookBub deal ( https://www.bookbub.com/home/ ).

I often hear writers say ‘If I could land a BookBub deal, I’d have a readership and I’d never have to promote again.’ Then, if they don’t land that deal, they figure all is lost…until the next month, when they try again.

BookBub Deals, from what I hear, are great. They CAN move a writer to the next level in her career. They can introduce that book to a whole different readership. They can get a writer noticed.

(These writers still have to promote but that’s an entirely different blog post.)

I say ‘from what I hear’ because I’ve NEVER had a BookBub Deal. NEVER. I’ve applied every month for years and have been denied. I’ve tried just about everything to land one and haven’t been successful.

There’s a huge luck component with these deals. Sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes you don’t.

Getting turned down for a BookBub Deal doesn’t mean you or your book is bad or unmarketable. Some of the top selling writers have never had a BookBub Deal and they do okay (grins again).

That’s because they don’t pin all of their hopes and dreams on that one promotional vehicle. They know there are a gazillion ways to find readers. A BookBub Deal is an awesome route. I plan to continue applying for them. But I am also having fun with other ways

(I’m on the slow path. I think I’ve ‘talked’ to every reader who has purchased one of my books… and I’m super cool with that. My reading buddies truly are my buddies.)

There are many ways to find the right readers for your awesome new book. BookBub is merely one of them.

***

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

Can love redeem a monster?

The Refuge is home to some of the most violent beings in the universe. Kralj, its leader, reigns over the remote outpost with terrifying ease, ruthlessly squashing any rumors of rebellion, killing anyone who breaks his rules. Primitive, deadly, powerful, he’s a monster, scarred both on his face and his soul. He has never met a being he couldn’t control.

Until he meets her.

Dita has one mission—to kill the three targets claiming sanctuary within the Refuge. Or so she claims. For the first time in his long lifespan, Kralj isn’t certain of another being’s intentions. The tiny assassin is immune to his powers, her thoughts unreadable. He can’t predict her movements, can’t control her, can’t stop wanting her.

Dita is rare, as unique as he is, and, to keep the residents of the Refuge safe, Kralj will have to kill her. But first, he’ll touch her, taste her, show her how passionate the beast inside him can be.

Dark Thoughts is a STAND-ALONE SciFi Romance.
The hero might be tall, dark, and scarred but don’t be fooled by his appearance.
He’s truly a monster.
This story is not for readers with delicate sensibilities.

Order Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Thoughts-Refuge-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MRAABGC/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Thoughts-Refuge-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MRAABGC/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dark-thoughts/id1200022597

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-thoughts-cynthia-sax/1125580992

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

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/699393

Topics: Writing Tips | No Comments »

Dark Thoughts And Writing Tips

By Cynthia Sax on April 2, 2017

I’m on Darlene Reilley’s blog, giving some tips for newer writers.

https://darwrites.wordpress.com/2017/03/31/cynthia-saxs-insights-for-new-writers/

Here’s a snippet…

There are also no lethal mistakes in this wonderful business. I’ve made a gazillion mistakes and I still have a career. One of these days, because I take quite a few risks, I’ll make a career-destroying mistake. All this means is I will have to reinvent myself under a new pen name.

Knowing that, I can be brave and try things.

***

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

Can love redeem a monster?

The Refuge is home to some of the most violent beings in the universe. Kralj, its leader, reigns over the remote outpost with terrifying ease, ruthlessly squashing any rumors of rebellion, killing anyone who breaks his rules. Primitive, deadly, powerful, he’s a monster, scarred both on his face and his soul. He has never met a being he couldn’t control.

Until he meets her.

Dita has one mission—to kill the three targets claiming sanctuary within the Refuge. Or so she claims. For the first time in his long lifespan, Kralj isn’t certain of another being’s intentions. The tiny assassin is immune to his powers, her thoughts unreadable. He can’t predict her movements, can’t control her, can’t stop wanting her.

Dita is rare, as unique as he is, and, to keep the residents of the Refuge safe, Kralj will have to kill her. But first, he’ll touch her, taste her, show her how passionate the beast inside him can be.

Dark Thoughts is a STAND-ALONE SciFi Romance.
The hero might be tall, dark, and scarred but don’t be fooled by his appearance.
He’s truly a monster.
This story is not for readers with delicate sensibilities.

Order Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Thoughts-Refuge-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MRAABGC/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Thoughts-Refuge-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MRAABGC/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dark-thoughts/id1200022597

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-thoughts-cynthia-sax/1125580992

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

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/699393

Topics: Writing Tips | No Comments »

When A Writing Buddy Walks Away From Publishing

By Cynthia Sax on March 29, 2017

Being a writer is one of the best jobs in the world.

This business can, however, be challenging emotionally and financially. The first five years or so of my published writing career, I spent more on writing than I made from it. The income not only didn’t cover my living expenses. It didn’t cover my writing expenses.

Success in this business is also a group thing. We often team up with other writers. These writing buddies push us to meet our deadlines, pitch in when things go wrong, help with marketing. Many of the writers in Romanceland are friends. We cheer for each other.

When one of us decides to walk away from publishing, it is challenging for the folks remaining. Like any loss, it can be accompanied by a wide range of emotions from anger to sadness. It often makes us question whether or not we should continue with this wonderful yet sometimes precarious journey.

Reasons For Walking Away

Writers have different reasons for walking away from publishing.

Some writers have a goal they want to achieve and when they achieve it, they move to different goals. Maybe they want to have a book published. That happens. Goal accomplished! Woot! Their next goal is to build their own house. That has nothing to do with publishing so they walk away from the business. Maybe their goal is to make a bestseller list or have a print book on a shelf in their mother’s favorite bookstore or… there are as many goals as there are writers.

That’s a happy reason for writers leaving the business. We will still miss our writing buddies but our sorrow is mixed with joy.

Then there are the writers who are ‘forced’ to leave. They can’t afford to continue writing, either financially, time-wise, or emotionally. That’s more challenging for the rest of us to deal with (and will be the focus of the rest of this post).

Self-Care First

Your friend has made a huge gut-wrenching decision. It might seem selfish to deal with our own feelings but we have to take care of ourselves to be able to take care of our friends.

When I hear a buddy has walked away from the writing or is considering it (once this is verbalized, I find the odds of the buddy leaving the business are pretty darn high), my writing day is done. I can’t focus on the words, not when someone’s dream is in jeopardy. The writing can wait for a day.

I talk things over with someone not in the business (often my Dear Wonderful Hubby). I ask him the questions I want to ask my friend yet know she isn’t in the right place to hear. I express my doubts about my own career. I cry. I get angry. I derive ‘solutions’ that I shouldn’t ever suggest to my friend.

I purge my emotions and then I can tackle the situation rationally.

You Are Not The Same Writer

The most important thing is to realize you are NOT your writing buddy. She made the right decision for her but she is a different person in a different situation. And you don’t know everything about that situation. Studies say that over 60% of people keep secrets from their spouses ( https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201406/why-we-keep-secrets-our-partners ). She’s your friend. The odds are… you will never know the entire situation.

Your writing buddy might be a New York Times Bestselling Writer but that doesn’t mean every release has sold that well. It doesn’t mean she can support her gazillion dependents on those earnings. It doesn’t mean she was covered by insurance when XXX disaster happened. It doesn’t mean she has the time to write and also care for her children and her aging parents. It doesn’t mean she can handle the harsh reviews on her most recent release, the book of her heart.

So don’t automatically think, ‘Well, if she can’t make it, I can’t make it.’ You are not the same person.

The Writing Dream Can Be Paused

The other thing to keep in mind is your buddy could return to publishing later. I’ve seen plenty of writers take breaks and then return years later, refreshed, in a better place to tackle this wonderful business.

Right now, your friend thinks she has quit permanently. Telling her that it doesn’t have to be permanent will likely result in an argument. But you can hold that ‘secret’ close to your heart, whispering in your best Arnie voice, ‘She’ll be back.’ (grins)

Communicating With Your Buddy

Once I’ve wrangled my own emotions under control, I can talk with my buddy. I’ll listen to her, offering her my support. I usually cool it with discussing my own writing issues for a while, focusing on her.

Then a week or two or three later, I’ll ask her if she wants to hear about the writing business or if she would prefer we talk about non-writing things. It can be extremely painful to hear about a dream you’ve recently walked away from. We have plenty of other things happening in our lives to talk about.

That’s how I survive when buddies walk away from publishing. Do you have any other tips?

***

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

Can love redeem a monster?

The Refuge is home to some of the most violent beings in the universe. Kralj, its leader, reigns over the remote outpost with terrifying ease, ruthlessly squashing any rumors of rebellion, killing anyone who breaks his rules. Primitive, deadly, powerful, he’s a monster, scarred both on his face and his soul. He has never met a being he couldn’t control.

Until he meets her.

Dita has one mission—to kill the three targets claiming sanctuary within the Refuge. Or so she claims. For the first time in his long lifespan, Kralj isn’t certain of another being’s intentions. The tiny assassin is immune to his powers, her thoughts unreadable. He can’t predict her movements, can’t control her, can’t stop wanting her.

Dita is rare, as unique as he is, and, to keep the residents of the Refuge safe, Kralj will have to kill her. But first, he’ll touch her, taste her, show her how passionate the beast inside him can be.

Dark Thoughts is a STAND-ALONE SciFi Romance.
The hero might be tall, dark, and scarred but don’t be fooled by his appearance.
He’s truly a monster.
This story is not for readers with delicate sensibilities.

Order Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Thoughts-Refuge-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MRAABGC/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Thoughts-Refuge-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MRAABGC/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dark-thoughts/id1200022597

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-thoughts-cynthia-sax/1125580992

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

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/699393

Topics: Writing Tips | No Comments »

Is The Quality Of Editing The Writer’s Responsibility?

By Cynthia Sax on March 23, 2017

I’ve seen quite a few posts from readers, reviewers, bloggers about how books shouldn’t be evaluated on the basis of editing because ‘It isn’t the writer’s fault. It is the editor’s fault.’

That’s very generous but it isn’t correct.

Bad editing IS the writer’s fault. A competent writer knows when her story is badly edited. She either hires a more competent editor if she’s self-publishing or she hires an additional editor if she’s with a publisher.

Yes, I heard those gasps. We, writers, usually don’t control whom the publisher hires to edit our stories. If we’re assigned a bad editor (and there are some of those in the business, even at the big New York publishers) and the publisher refuses to change our editor AND we care about the quality of our stories, we sometimes have to fix the problem by hiring our own editors. I’ve done this. Other writers have also.

If we can’t afford an editor, there’s always the critique partner route. Again, we have control over who critiques our stories and we have control over the quality of editing. It is our job to know the difference between a good edit and a bad edit.

Should a story receive a poor review because it has two or three typos? I read, on average, a romance novel a day and I have yet to read one that has no typos. There are no perfect stories. BUT the story should be readable. The errors shouldn’t be distracting.

There Are Different Types Of Editors

There are two main types of editors.

Content/Development Editors – These are the big picture folks. They look at our stories at the overall story and the scene levels. Does the story work? Are the main characters sympathetic? Do they have solid GMCs (Goals, Motivations, Conflicts)? Does every scene work? Is every scene needed? Do the scenes flow? Is the story structure right? Is the pacing right? Etc.

Line/Copy Editors – These are the detail folks. They look at our stories from the sentence level, hunting for typos, grammar goofs, that one wrong word choice that could change the story completely, echoes (repeated words or phrases), etc.

Some editors will do both.

It is important to know which type of editor we’re hiring. The bad editing that readers often talk about is due to bad line/copy edits. The writer will be assigned full responsibility for a bad content edit.

If you’re hiring both types of editors, I advise having the content edit completed first. It makes no sense to fix a sentence if the entire scene will be revised.

How To Find A Great Editor

The best way to find a great editor is through recommendations from other writers, preferably writers in your niche (especially for content edits). Read the writers’ books. Ensure they have the quality of editing you desire.

Editors will often ask for a few pages and give you a sample edit. This ensures they like your writing and you like their style of edits.

I changed editors a few times before I found one I worked well with (ELF – https://musingsbyelf.wordpress.com/) . That’s normal. It might take you a while to find your editor also. When you do, I suspect you’ll never want to let her go.

If you do let her go, remember that editors talk. It is an even smaller club than the writing club. Professionalism is a must.

What Editors Do And Don’t Do

Editors point out errors or places where the story can be improved. They will note these in the comments or in track changes or in a separate note/email. They rarely fix these errors. That’s the writer’s responsibility.

And we WANT this to be our responsibility. These are our stories. Our names are on the covers. Readers are buying our distinct voices. We should always have the choice of accepting or declining any changes, especially when it comes to content edits.

I almost always agree with a content editor’s suggestion that my story/scene needs to be revised. If an editor has an issue with it, usually readers will have an issue with it also. I can’t remember the last time I agreed with a content editor’s suggestion of HOW to revise it. That is our specialty, not the editor’s, and again, our solutions will be as individual as we are. How you fix the issue won’t be the way I fix the issue.

I also don’t always agree with a line editor’s suggestion. We, writers, know what words our characters would use, what words WE would use. Line editors, because they look at the story at a sentence level, aren’t always as aware as we are.

Repeated Issues

If an issue is repeated, often editors will give writers one comment about it. It is our responsibility to change the issue throughout the story.

For example, when I was a newer writer, an editor once told me to reduce the narrative in my story. I didn’t know what narrative was (sheepish grin) so I talked to a buddy (Christine d’Abo). She explained what narrative was, pointed out an example of it in my story, and suggested a way to fix it. That was my responsibility, not the editor’s.

Brand Watchdog

I’ve worked with my editor for years. She not only ensures my stories are as good as we can make them (though I tend to continue tweaking after we’ve finalized a story and that causes errors – grimaces) but she will also tell me if a new story will shock or disappoint my regular reading buddies.

A good editor, if she cares about you and your career, will ‘reject’ a story. Again, we are the masters of our own destinies. We can ignore this rejection and push ahead (I never have – I trust ELF and have completely re-written stories based on her feedback). But at least, we’ll be prepared for the reaction from readers.

Do You NEED An Editor?

There are writers who don’t need editors. They write super clean. Their stories are as tight as stories can be. These writers are rare but they exist.

I’m not one of those fortunate folks. I NEED an editor (whether paid or a critique partner). I require help with story. I need assistance with typos. I like having the reassurance of knowing someone else thinks my story is solid.

But there are no rules in writing. And, again, WE are responsible for the editing in our stories. Do what works for you and your readers and what makes you happy.

***

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

Can love redeem a monster?

The Refuge is home to some of the most violent beings in the universe. Kralj, its leader, reigns over the remote outpost with terrifying ease, ruthlessly squashing any rumors of rebellion, killing anyone who breaks his rules. Primitive, deadly, powerful, he’s a monster, scarred both on his face and his soul. He has never met a being he couldn’t control.

Until he meets her.

Dita has one mission—to kill the three targets claiming sanctuary within the Refuge. Or so she claims. For the first time in his long lifespan, Kralj isn’t certain of another being’s intentions. The tiny assassin is immune to his powers, her thoughts unreadable. He can’t predict her movements, can’t control her, can’t stop wanting her.

Dita is rare, as unique as he is, and, to keep the residents of the Refuge safe, Kralj will have to kill her. But first, he’ll touch her, taste her, show her how passionate the beast inside him can be.

Dark Thoughts is a STAND-ALONE SciFi Romance.
The hero might be tall, dark, and scarred but don’t be fooled by his appearance.
He’s truly a monster.
This story is not for readers with delicate sensibilities.

Order Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Thoughts-Refuge-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MRAABGC/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Thoughts-Refuge-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MRAABGC/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dark-thoughts/id1200022597

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-thoughts-cynthia-sax/1125580992

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

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/699393

Topics: Writing Tips | No Comments »

Talking Dark Thoughts, How To Find Time For Writing And Other Things

By Cynthia Sax on March 11, 2017

Book E Aholic has interviewed me today!

http://novascotianrantingbookreviewer.blogspot.ca/2017/03/my-interview-with-author-cynthia-sax.html

Here’s a snippet…

What drew you to the genre you write?

Cynthia Sax: I love reading SciFi erotic romance. I love the stars (all of that potential), anything about space, and I’ve always been someone who asks ‘What if?’ questions. What if, instead of sending humans into war, we designed half man, half machine beings (cyborgs) to fight our wars for us? What if our world leaders were secretly aliens? What if the Earth had two moons? What would humans look like then?

***

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

Can love redeem a monster?

The Refuge is home to some of the most violent beings in the universe. Kralj, its leader, reigns over the remote outpost with terrifying ease, ruthlessly squashing any rumors of rebellion, killing anyone who breaks his rules. Primitive, deadly, powerful, he’s a monster, scarred both on his face and his soul. He has never met a being he couldn’t control.

Until he meets her.

Dita has one mission—to kill the three targets claiming sanctuary within the Refuge. Or so she claims. For the first time in his long lifespan, Kralj isn’t certain of another being’s intentions. The tiny assassin is immune to his powers, her thoughts unreadable. He can’t predict her movements, can’t control her, can’t stop wanting her.

Dita is rare, as unique as he is, and, to keep the residents of the Refuge safe, Kralj will have to kill her. But first, he’ll touch her, taste her, show her how passionate the beast inside him can be.

Dark Thoughts is a STAND-ALONE SciFi Romance.
The hero might be tall, dark, and scarred but don’t be fooled by his appearance.
He’s truly a monster.
This story is not for readers with delicate sensibilities.

Pre-order Now:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Thoughts-Refuge-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MRAABGC/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Thoughts-Refuge-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01MRAABGC/

Apple/iBooks/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dark-thoughts/id1200022597

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-thoughts-cynthia-sax/1125580992

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

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/699393

Topics: Guest Post | No Comments »

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