Top 10 Things Every Writer Wished You Knew

Kelly Moran is a bestselling author of enchanting ever-afters. She gets her ideas from everyone and everything around her and there's always a book playing out in her head. No one who knows her bats an eyelash when she talks to herself. She's a Catherine Award-Winner, Readers Choice Finalist, Holt Medallion Finalist, and landed on the "Must Read" & "10 Best Reads" lists in USA TODAY's Lifestyle section. She is a proud Romance Writers of America member, where she was an Award of Excellence Finalist. Kelly's interests include: sappy movies, MLB, NFL, driving others insane, and sleeping when she can. She is a closet caffeine junkie and chocoholic, but don't tell anyone. She resides in Wisconsin with her husband, three sons, and her hound dog. Most of her family lives in the Carolinas, so she spends a lot of time there as well. She loves hearing from readers.

I’m an author. I love being an author. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do from the time I first started reading as a kid. To create worlds and escape? Nothing better. Not only that, but it’s something I have to do. Yes, have to. We creative types are lost and broken without the ability to make our characters heard. Most readers probably don’t fully understand the inner minds or everyday life of a writer. In that regard, here’s a list to take into consideration.

Top 10 Things Writers Wished You Knew:

1) Oddballs: Yes, we are. We know it. We own it. We may be at your Christmas party or summer BBQ with 200 people, but sitting alone. It’s because we’re watching. Plotting. We often live in our own heads and are sometimes socially awkward because make-believe is where we exist. Don’t take offense. We probably still love you.

2) Money: Contrary to popular opinion, we’re not rolling in it. Getting published doesn’t mean we’re resting easy, buying summer homes, and hiring a hot pool boy. Remember, our paycheck is dependent mostly on sales, and that’s flux at best in this inundated market.

3) Work: Eh hem. Let me be clear. We. Do. Work. We don’t watch Hallmark Channel and eat Cheetos all day. Unless we got a really bad review, but I’ll get to that. Seriously, though. I can’t tell you how many times I heard: “So-and-so isn’t doing anything, ask her.” “So-and-so stays home all day. She has the time.” “It must be nice.” Sigh. Working from home takes discipline. Yes, I get to stay in yoga gear and suck coffee through a straw, but I’m working. Let me lay this out for you. On average, we produce 2-3 books per year (80,000 to 100,000 words/300-500 pages.) That means written, polished, critiqued and ready to send off to our publisher. Besides doing the actual writing, we have 1-2 manuscripts coming in from our editors for rewrites and editing changes to the books written before publication, and this process sometimes happens 2-10 times, depending. To top that off, we have the books being released that have to be marketed, toured and talked about for sales – which means attending online parties through blogs and Facebook pages, physical book signings, and making sure our presence is known. Throw in conferences and everyday family life? Yeah. Enough said.

4) Say What?: There are several phrases we authors lump into this category. Here’s a few that make us facepalm. “What’s your real job?” “If I had the time, I’d write a book.” “You should write about this…” “That’s so cute.” “Are you any good?” “When are you going to write a real book?” I kid you not. We get these, and many more, all the time. I once had someone say, in front of a room full of people, “I like to read romance books between real books because they’re mindless. Any monkey can read or write one.” No lie. I’m a romance writer. And proud. Watch what you say, people.

5) Feelings: We may be odd, but we have feelings. When you didn’t care for one of our books and then slam it in a review–or in person–it kinda kills us dead inside. I read, too. There are a lot of books I didn’t care for, but I would never say some of the things I’ve read or heard. Be honest, sure. Of course. But, tact, people. Tact. There’s a living, breathing person behind those stories. You can still hate the book with the fire of a thousand suns, but please use discretion when leaving those stars on sites.

6) Grammar: We silently correct it in your posts, tweets, and in person. Always. Always! We also text in full sentences. Sorry. Get used to it.

7) Engage: A little secret. We like author stalkers. Not the dead roses on the doorstep kind, but those that follow us on Facebook or Twitter, leave emails, attend events, and comment where appropriate. Even on non-writing things. The more like/comments/retweets a post gets, the more people see it, too. Just so you know, we do this for you. We like connecting with people through our words and like knowing that we touched you in some way. Not inappropriately, of course. Clothing optional.

8) Freebies: We get asked a lot for a signed copy of our book to “try” out. We often hear, “I gave your book to a friend.” Okay, thanks. Very cool. But, um…it would benefit us more for you to spread the good word so they can buy their own. Also, we tend to host a lot of giveaways, donate books, and pass out swag at events. Please be grateful. Understand that money and effort goes into these things. If you can’t use swag that was gifted to you, pass it on to someone else instead of throwing it out. If a book’s not your style, consider re-gifting or dropping it off at a resale shop. Libraries and book clubs are a good place also.

9) Reviews: I cannot stress enough how important they are. Leave. A. Review. Pretty please. The more reviews, the more exposure. Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and iTunes are the ones coming to mind. Blogs, too, if you have one. It takes a few minutes of your time and means the world to us. The biggest way to support an author or book is to leave a review.

10) Pirates: And not the sexy “arg” kind. There’s been a lot of talk lately about Amazon’s return policy. (If you don’t know, you can buy an eBook and have 7 days to return it.) People are one-clicking, reading, and returning it within the grace period. Here’s the thing…Amazon is not a library. By doing this, you are physically taking money out of an author’s pocket. The editor, cover artist, formatter, and agent’s, too. In addition, there are a number of pirate sites that have our books listed for free. If it’s not the publisher, Retail Daily Deal, a bonafide library, or an author-posted giveaway, it’s stealing. Plain and simple. You may as well walk into a Starbucks with a loaded water pistol and demand all the frappes. At a get-together not long ago, this discussion came up. Someone said, “Is it wrong? Yes. Will I keep doing it? Yes. It is what it is.” *Grinds teeth* It is the equivalent of someone taking one hour off your paycheck every time someone downloads a copy “just because,” that’s what it is.

Anyway, there you have it. Please take these things into consideration and use this newfound information for good. Go forth into the world and be happy, well educated readers, for you now know the inside scoop on authors. Godspeed, and thanks for reading! xo

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