Tag Archive | writing

Back From Hiatus: What I’ve Learned

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I can’t believe 2017 is already nearing the finish line. Soon, bubbly-fueled, pitchy renditions of Auld Lang Syne will fill the air, and I’ll feign familiarity with the lyrics by humming and grunting the melody with my family and friends, poised to hit the ground running in 2018.

Actually, I’m already itching to get this show on the road. After taking a multi-month respite from social media, I feel refreshed and focused with a close-to-crystal vision of where I’m headed and how I’m aiming to get there.

Going off-grid wasn’t something I initially had any intention of sticking out for more than a spell. I simply wanted to spend a bit of concentrated time in manuscript-immersion mode as opposed to perpetually stuck in the eyes-to-the-phone-screen position.

One day unplugged would be doable, I thought. Two, tops.

But one day became one week, which had somehow morphed into three months. Three months fully present and finally—yes, finally—hitting my authorly stride. I wrote books…plural. And outlined others. And tweaked my business plan. And established a second brand for my mature adult fiction. It was like a whole new me had surfaced and taken over— the frantic, urgent, impassioned writer I always knew was buried inside.

I’d have been crazy to fight it.

The words kept coming and I wasn’t about to disinvite them by answering my phone’s seduction call and becoming lost in an abyss of selfies, subtweets, and hashtagery.

Of course, that’s not to say I didn’t miss those things. Because I did. A lot. Nor am I condemning social media, smartphones, or the internet at large. Because I love ’em! I do! Heck, if it weren’t for a little platform called Wattpad.com and the encouragement and support I’d received there when I was starting out, I would never have published my first book.

However, the lessons learned during my time offline have been invaluable, leaving me indelibly prepared for a more fulfilling and productive New Year and beyond. Especially this golden nugget of wisdom…

Writing comes first—always.

(Side note: We all know that family in fact comes first, but within the context of this blogspace I’m strictly talking from a career-longevity standpoint. Okay, I’m glad I got that off my chest.)

So, writing, eh? What a revelation! Not.

I mean, really—it couldn’t be more obvious. Yet we still tend to forget, don’t we? How many of us have poured our blood, sweat and tears into writing and publishing that one book only to become consumed immediately thereafter with things like algorithms, sales rankings, sponsored ads, page likes, social media shares, and wondering if one needs to sacrifice their first born in order to get reviews?

Just me? Well, never mind then. 😉

In all seriousness, though, nothing is more vital—more necessary—than putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and churning out those stories. Its importance is paramount. It has to be. Otherwise, word counts remain stagnant, which is a real mood killer. Trust me.

Try to think of it this way: The more time you spend online, the less time you spend writing, and the longer it takes to build a loyal readership. You want followers? Great! Retweets? Fantastic! Shares? Who wouldn’t!?

But if you want to experience steady career growth, touch the lives of others with your stories, and find readers in increasing numbers who’ll stick with you for the long haul…

Then write more books.

Speaking from my own experience, I knew the only way I was ever going to get my groove back was to forget trying to be everywhere all at once. To stop obsessing over rankings. To reunite with my phone only after I’d met my daily word count goal and not a moment before.

It was challenging at first. We are, after all, creatures of habit. But gradually, the more I left the phone aside, the more it freed up my imagination, and the more words filled my pages. The result is three books I’ll be bringing to you in 2018.

Who woulda thunk it? Certainly not me!

Maintaining a social media presence while keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the publishing industry should be a part of every writer’s platform-building and marketing strategy. Not to mention that it’s also a wonderful way to engage with readers and show support for other writers whose work you enjoy.

But if you’re a writer who spends more than a fair amount of time online (don’t we all?) while consistently drifting in and out of states of creative inertia, then scaling back on scrolling-n-posting, even just a little, could make all the difference in your bookish output.

So that might mean updating your Facebook status 2-3 times a week instead of daily. Or scheduling your tweets ahead of time so that they’ll automatically post at chosen intervals (there are many useful apps for this purpose). This is perfectly acceptable and more than sufficient. Because honestly, when it comes right down to it, your posting frequency won’t translate to much if you’re not actively expanding your catalog of work by…

Say it with me…

Writing.

And if you need to go off-grid like I did to get those creative juices flowing, then that’s okay too. Just keep in mind that when you lay low for a stretch of time, people will unfollow you. That’s to be expected. But don’t worry. Your genuine internet friends and supporters will not only have your back, they’ll be right there waiting upon your return.

So write first, scroll-n-post later. Your career (and your readers!) will thank you for it.

Oh, and Happy Holidays to you and yours! 🙂

 

Copyright © S. A. Healey

 

Image source: pixabay.com

 

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Just a Little Bit Longer

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I’ve got some good news and some not-so-ideal news.

I’ll get the not-so-ideal news out of the way first…

FILL ME IN’s book release, which was originally slated for May 25, has been slightly delayed. I know this is disappointing, and I am so sorry about that.

I will post an announcement the moment it goes live on Amazon and all other eBook retailers.

In the meantime, Empty Me Out (The Liquid Series Book 1) will remain priced at a discounted 0.99 cents at U.S. eBook retailers, and my Amazon/iTunes/eNovella giveaway winners will be announced upon Fill Me In’s release. I will now be choosing four winners instead of two {please note: eligibility for participation in all giveaways is contingent on being a newsletter subscriber. If interested, you can sign up (or opt out) at any time}.

And…the good news?

Shortly after Fill Me In’s digital release, both books in The Liquid Series will also be made available in paperback format. For those of you who prefer physical books, you’ll have the option to order print copies directly from Amazon.

It had always been my intention to eventually offer print books in addition to eBooks, so now it will simply happen sooner. Much sooner.

Which brings me to other news…

Some of you have reached out to me wondering if I had plans to do any book events in the near future. I am happy to say that I’ve recently been invited to participate in events that will take place this year as well as next year, and most will include author/reader meet-n-greets and book signings — both of which I am SUPER pumped about! As each date and event timeline is confirmed, I’ll post the details on my website www.sahealey.com.

(Pssst…for any fellow New Englanders out there, I’ll be in Manchester, New Hampshire this coming October. Stay tuned for more info!)

There is so much more coming down the pike that I’m itching to share with you. Until then, I hope you have a wonderful weekend and thank you so very much for all your support.

With warmth and gratitude,
Sue

 

Copyright © S. A. Healey

 

Image source: flickr.com

 

 

Release Deets, A New Giveaway, & Something To Think About

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I’m sitting in Starbucks, where lately I’ve been spending inordinate amounts of time fueling up on assorted coffee concoctions while simultaneously reaping the benefits of free wifi, electrical outlet privileges, and eclectic people-watching.

Leaving the quiet (albeit messy) solitude of my home office to write in a bustling public establishment wasn’t something I’d ever considered doing until a fellow writer friend suggested it as a way to shake things up and combat writers block.

And, guess what? It worked like a charm! Yippee!

But before I pickup the pace with my latest WIP (work in progress), there are some things I’d like to share with you, starting with…

A Book Release Announcement!

I am SOOOOO excited to relay the news that my second novel, FILL ME IN (The Liquid Series Book 2), will be available at all major eBook retailers–including Amazon, Apple iBooks, and Barnes & Noble–beginning Thursday, May 25, 2017! Yikes, that’s in less than a month!

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE BOOK TRAILER

Is it acceptable to confess that I’m also nervous? Maybe even scared out of my wits? Okay, good. 🙂

So, in honor of all the nail biting I’ll be doing over the next four weeks, Empty Me Out (The Liquid Series Book 1) is currently on sale for just 0.99 cents at U.S. eBook retailers (including Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, etc.), so if you haven’t had a chance to grab a copy, this is an opportunity to get it at a significant discount before it reverts to its regular price upon Fill Me In’s release on May 25.

And, moving right along…

I’ve got another newsletter subscriber GIVEAWAY to tell you about!

This time, I will award TWO WINNERS the following:

1.) An eBook copy of my contemporary romance novella, The High Road (not available in stores)

AND

2.) A $25.00 gift card to Amazon or iTunes/iBooks (your choice)

If you’re not a newsletter subscriber and would like to sign up to get in on this giveaway, you can do so below:

SIGN UP FOR BOOKISH BUZZ

Good luck!

Oh, and something to think about…

Last week I received an email from a lovely reader who shared her regret over giving up her dream of becoming a novelist. I was saddened by her belief that it was too late to chase her passions and incorporate them into her life. Over the course of several exchanged emails, I hoped to make some headway in convincing her otherwise.

Speaking from experience, I can tell you that it’s never too late. Despite dreaming of becoming a professional writer pretty much my entire life, it wasn’t until I found myself in the thick of middle age that I finally uncovered the wherewithal to do something about it.

Has it been easy? Hell to the no.

Have I contemplated throwing in the towel? Yup. More often than I care to admit.

But I stuck it out, and I am so glad I did.

If you have a dream that you’ve put on the back burner, now is the perfect time to bring it front and center.

I truly believe that dreams can alter destinies. So, I hope you keep dreaming, and I wish you every success and happiness.

With warmth and gratitude,

Sue

 

Copyright © S. A. Healey

 

 

Why Romance? Why not?

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There are dayslike todaywhen I find myself on the receiving end of…

The look.

It’s the one people lay on me after learning what I do for a livingmore specifically, the fact that I write…

Wait for it…

ROMANCE.

It’s a look that evolves from…

Are you serious?

To…

No, you can’t be serious.

To…

Holy @#%&, you ARE serious.

To…

Oh, how cute. You actually think you’re a REAL writer.

And, to further drive the spike into my already fragile ego, a saccharine-laced response usually piggybacks “the look,” something along the lines of…

“Those books are okay to read if you don’t want to think too much.”

Ouch.

Unfortunately, this perplexing (and rather unwarranted) romance-is-a-subpar-genre attitude is something I’ve been running into for as long as I can remember.

There’s an assumption shared by many that neither effort nor intelligence is required to write romance novels and that their pages contain nothing but embarrassingly sappy drivel. And if you actually read them, then God help you, because you’d better be armed with one mother of a justifiable reasonnamely, your brain needing a sabbatical.

Pffft.

Personally speaking, I can tell you that reading and writing romance has nothing to do with a lack of creative depth or an unhealthy penchant for heaving bosoms and quivering loins.

By the way, 99.999% of romance imprints did away with those terms eons ago.

Fact: Romance consistently wins out as the best-selling literary genre…by a landslide.

Yet, ironically, it comes up the rear in terms of respect and credibility…which, if I’m being frank, kind of steams my clams.

Whether or not people admit it, they’re reading romance and lots of it. So, you know what I say?

Be proud!

When you’re engaged in bookish chit-chat with someone who asks you, “Why romance?” you can fire back with a simple, but effective…

“Why not?”

Then point them in the direction of a book like Pride and Prejudice and I’ll bet they never ask you that question again.

The one thing I love most about voracious romance readers is that they…just…get it. If you’re reading this right now, then chances are, you do too.

And I am so grateful to have you along!

Of course, I’m not suggesting that everyone should go gaga over romance novels, because as we all know, art in its various forms is subjective. What one gets off on the other may yawn over. It’s a matter of personal preference.

Even as a self-proclaimed sucker for all things swoon-worthy, I still enjoy dipping my eyeballs into horror, mystery, suspense, and fantasy.

Stephen King, if you’re reading this, I love you!

(Who am I kidding? There’s no chance in hell he’s reading this.)

What I’m saying is that romance deserves equal inclusion as a legitimized, stigma-free genre among its industry counterparts.

Does that mean all romance novels are worth critical acclaim? Heck no. There are some sucky ones out there for sure. But do other genres have their own share of craptastic representation? You betcha.

Again, if you follow this blog, then I’m probably preaching to the choir. Maybe you’re actually a romance writer yourself. If so, then you’re also familiar with “the look.”

There will always be people who don’t understand, or even want to, and that’s okay. Because the rest of us know that with the romance genre, there is so much more than meets the eye upon that curious first glance. It’s the type of fiction that gets into your mind and stays there, the type that explores love and intimacy from within the intricate tapestry of the human condition. It inspires hopeand yes, even change. So…

Whether you read it…or create it…

I hope it inspires you too.

If you’re proud to be a romance fan, let me know by leaving a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Copyright © S. A. Healey

 

Image source: flickr.com – Tsahi Levent-Levi, artist

 

 

Throw The Book At Me

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Miracles really do happen. Case in point:

This is the second time I’ve blogged this month.

Shocking, right?

Wait. There’s more…

I have written more words in the first few weeks of 2017 than I had during the entire second half of 2016.

Unfathomable!

Seriously, no one is more surprised than I. Divine intervention must be to blame. Either that, or something’s “up” with these new Starbucks Cascara Lattes I’ve been sucking down like it’s my job.

Whatever the reason, I feel like raising the roof in grateful praise of this seemingly new lease on creativity.

Hallelujah!

Of course, it’s entirely possible that tomorrow could put me in a staring contest with a blank screen. Or have me fretting over a single sentence for ten hours straight. Or encourage me to repeatedly bang my head against the keyboard just for kicks.

But I’d rather not think about that right now.

What I have been giving substantial thought to, however, is the type of content I’d like to feature on this blog going forward. After plugging away on WordPress (albeit sporadically) for nearly four years, I’m eager to steer this site in more a definitive, yet expansive direction. Hence, its new name:

THROW THE BOOK AT ME

I’m not doing away with the stuff I usually post here—but rather, building upon it—resulting (hopefully) in a more interesting and varied pit stop for those who share my affinity for The Three Rs…

Reading, (w)Riting, and Romance.

Future posts will include anything and everything bookish and love inspired, such as one-shots (flash fiction), poems, editorials, book reviews, book release announcements, and author spotlights.

Reviews and spotlights will, in large part, showcase independently published authors and their literary offerings in the romance genre.

I also plan to share my own experiences as an indie author—the good, the bad, and the downright awkward. Not that I consider myself a self-publishing expert by any stretch of the imagination. But if I can spare any writer contemplating the indie route even a fraction of my rookie mistakes, I’ll be a happy camper.

Who knows? Maybe by the time my tenth book comes out (if I’m lucky enough to get that far), I’ll actually know what the heck I’m doing. 😉

Thanks for reading! Oh, and if there’s anything authorly/bookish/romantic you’d like to see covered on this blog, feel free to make a suggestion in the comments. x

~ Sue

 

Copyright © S. A. Healey

 

Image source: flickr.com – Nathan O’Nions, photographer