Writing Through Brambles started as six young moms who wanted to dedicate more time to writing. Over the years we have grown, broken up, and reunited only to explode in our productivity and vision. Now we have a blog where we get to talk to you wonderful writers weekly and we are growing a collection of our own published works! Is it any wonder, then, that writing groups hold such a special place in our hearts? We firmly believe that to be a successful writer you will need a group of people who you can join forces and talents with. Yet we hear all the time that people don’t know where to find a group, or that their group wasn’t helpful or didn’t last long. Sharing our experience, we hope to clear up some of these questions and help lead you to a functioning, uplifting group where you and your writing can be nurtured and strengthened. If you like this article, you can sign up for our newsletter and we will send you a free PDF of writing group resources that we recommend for your own writing group!
After years of querying, when I finally got my first book contract, I heard something shocking: books are more work after you sign the contract than before.
I assumed they meant editing. Turns out, they meant promotion.
Wait, what did I even need a publisher for if not to take care of all the business and marketing? I wrote the next great American novel, so shouldn’t they earn their share of the royalties by doing all the sales?
The book market has changed dramatically. The days of passive authors showing up for the odd signing while the checks roll in are over… if they ever existed. Amazon and the Internet have forever changed publishing. Whether it’s better or worse now is entirely another matter. More authors get their books out, but fewer authors can live off their book sales. Whatever your opinion, the reality now is that readers are inundated with the constant white noise of book ads. The only way for a new author to make any sales is by doing it one book at a time.
That sounds harsh, but it’s just the nature of the modern publishing game. It’s not much different than if you were at a bookstore with a pile of paperbacks sitting in the middle of shelves full of books. Few if any of the patrons came in to buy your book. But some of them may have come in willing to discover a new world. And if you reach out and connect with them, it will probably be yours. E-book sales are no different. If you make a connection, readers will be willing to give your novel a try. If you just blast cover graphics and blurbs all over social media, few if any of those who actually see it will even give it a second thought.
How many random authors’ books you saw ads for online do you seek out and buy?
Imagine this: You’re a writer (probably easy to imagine) and an introvert. Social interactions are difficult at best. That’s part of the reason you chose this career or hobby. But when you’re an author, a big part of being published is creating a platform. (If you’re wondering what an author platform is, look no further than this post by Rachel Huffmire.)
Part of creating your platform is to be present on social media and build a following. If you’re seeking traditional publishing, know that your following could be very important to them. Some won’t even take your work, no matter how amazing it is, if you don’t have a strong enough online presence. Is that scary, or what?
Now, not every publisher will snub you if you have fewer than 20k followers, but even if that’s not a requirement, it’s still important for people to know who you are. Utilizing social media is a great way to meet and connect with lots of people who can support you and your work, with friendship if not with sales.
Here at Writing Through Brambles, we believe that parent writers are basically superheros. Often times being a writer means that you're juggling raising a family, perhaps a full time job, and a passion project. Holli Anderson is a model example of this. She has a degree in nursing, is the Chief Editor at Immortal Works, an amazing mama, and writes paranormal and urban fantasy. Her newest novel, Myrikal, is being released on February 12, and I was excited to sit down with her to discuss it's release!
Rachel Huffmire: In your dystopian world, Myrikal is born during a time when pregnancies are rare. Not only is Myri's existence improbable, but her life is granted unique powers. What inspired you to give Myrikal the powers she has?
Holli Anderson: The inspiration for the whole story came from a video I watched on Facebook, believe it or not. It was a young woman testifying before Congress about being an abortion survivor. She survived a saline abortion attempt and was born 2 months early with chemical burns all over her skin. She was placed in foster care and ended up growing up to be this amazing woman. Her name is Gianna Jesson, I believe. This is also what inspired me to make her most obvious power invulnerability, her skin is impenetrable. The other powers sort of showed themselves as she grew and as the right opportunities presented themselves.
Rachel: From the moment the book starts, we are plunged into a pretty harsh reality. Not only the world Myrikal lives in, but her very parents are shockingly severe. It definitely sets the naturally compassionate Myrikal apart from the world around her once she arrives. Was this inspired by anything?
Holli: I think it stems from my belief that we can choose who we want to be no matter our circumstances. We can choose good even when surrounded by bad.
Rachel: Is there a quality in the real world that you think brings hope to any circumstance?
Holli: Yes – our innate desire to help others. Whenever there’s a disaster anywhere in the world you see normal, everyday people clambering to help in anyway they can. From donations to actually jumping into the disaster area with both feet. I love Mr. Rogers’ quote about helpers, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” No matter your political, religious, cultural beliefs—there are always people who will help in dire circumstances.
Rachel: What was your favorite part about developing Myrikal's character?
Holli: My favorite part was her friendship with Branch. That’s when she really started to believe that her dad was wrong about there not being any “good” people in the world. She saw the good in Branch and was then able to see the good in others, too.
We're all writers, we're all moms, writing our way through the "brambles" of life and our stories.