This is my very first guest post on this blog. I don’t usually go guest posts or have guests because I’m actually rather shy, even online, but when I heard that this particular writer was releasing a new book and needed volunteers to help her spread the word, I jumped at the chance. I’ve read her previous release, a compilation of very unique stories centered around zombies and love called, Hungry For You. If your haven’t read it, I honestly recommend checking it out.
Without further ado, I present A.M. Harte.
Choosing what to write isn’t always easy.
Whether for a guest post, a short story, or a novel, indecision can sometimes paralyse you as you wonder what you should be writing.
What will sell? What are the current market trends? How can we ever know what people truly want to read?
I hesitated when I sat down to write today’s guest post. I scratched my head and tried to figure out what people might want to hear. Eventually, fed up, I clicked onto this very blog in search for inspiration… and found the answer in the website header.
Write your own story.
Many of us have heard this advice before, but it’s often difficult to remember. Nothing makes my day more than an excited email from a reader, or a positive review, or even a nice royalty check. How can I not think about what people might like to read — specifically, what might make them like me (and my work) more?
It was N.M. Martinez’s website header that knocked the sense back into me. Who cares what people might want to read, if such a thing is even possible to identify?
I could write a novel based off of current best sellers in the hopes of vast commercial success, following the advice of every single writing guide in existence. But is that what I want to write, or what would fulfil me?
Write your own story.
Don’t think about anyone else. Write whatever you feel comfortable with, whatever makes you happy. It’s what I did with Above Ground. I knew the novel was never going to be picked up by a traditional publisher, but I wrote it anyway — and as a result I’ve met some amazing readers and fellow writers.
If you don’t believe in the story you’re writing, no one else will, either. But when you write your own story, your conviction shines through your work… and that is what lures readers in more than anything else.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying to ignore what everyone says. Get honest feedback from readers and writing buddies, and by all means ensure to have an editor look over your work prior to publication. I know that Above Ground wouldn’t be half the story it is today without the help and encouragement of so many people.
But the point is that editors and writing buddies are helping you make your story the best it can possibly be, instead of turning it into some generic mass-market template.
So what if Above Ground is a cross-genre dystopian novel with werewolves, reptilian humanoids, magic and technology? So what if even I sometimes stumble over Lilith’s name? So what if I’ve created a race of beings based off of newts? It was my story to tell, and I am proud to have written it.
And between you and me, there is nothing more rewarding than writing a story you love and finding that other people love it, too.
N.M. Martinez’s philosophy, on her about page, is that everyone has their own path to take.
I couldn’t agree more.
Thank you for such an interesting and flattering guest post. I truly believe in the message. Just like Hungry for You, Above Ground also sounds like a very unique story that you won’t find on just any book shelf. I can’t wait to read it!
As with any good book release, there is a giveaway! Eleven mystery prizes, each based off one of the letters in Above Ground. Please go here to sign up.
And go here to see the tour schedule. A new post every day this month!
A.M. Harte writes twisted speculative fiction, such as the post-apocalyptic Above Ground and the zombie love anthology Hungry For You. She is excellent at missing deadlines, has long forgotten what ‘free time’ means, and is utterly addicted to chocolate. She lives in London, a city not half as foggy as some seem to think.
One of the assumptions I run across very often about self-publishing is that you do it on your own. That is SO not true. I will fully admit that I have done nothing on my own. My friends have been with me every step of the way. It’s difficult to list all of the things they have done for me since I decided to publish and the things they’ve done for me over the years by just being there, sharing their stories and playing a game with me. They’re like a support group for people who hear voices and have wacky ideas, and I’m very blessed to have them in my life.
Especially because if I didn’t, I don’t think this blurb would have gotten done and this cover wouldn’t look nearly as good!
I’d like to announce the next release, The Two Brothers, the first companion novella to Ruin.
Cover art by c.r. Favre.
Thirty years ago, there was a Revolution. Born in the aftermath, Jimmy was the first child from a human experiment to demonstrate unnatural abilities at a very young age. In the same incident that tore his family apart, he found his salvation and surrogate father in the tribe’s leader, Henri Smith.
Now Henri’s daughter from the Neutral Territory has arrived in the Southlands, stirring up memories of a girl Jimmy once worked to protect– memories tied to another child of Henri’s whose arrival precipitated an event that would define his adult life.
The Two Brothers is the second story released in the Ruin series, a web of interconnected stories where the lives of the people are as important as the world they live in.
This book will sell for 99 cents starting December 20th and will only be available as an ebook– for now.
The Goodreads giveaway has gone even better than I expected. MUCH better than expected. Almost too much better. In fact, it’s freaking me out a little. *bites nails on one hand and covers eyes with the other*
So this is a good time to mention there isn’t much time left, right? It ends on the tenth. If you’re signed up on Goodreads, hit me up. 🙂
Goodreads is a great site, but it’s hard to get into. First off, what the heck do you do there? And secondly, it takes time from writerly duties like writing and, uh, twitter.
There are plenty of blogs I’ve read on the awesomeness that is Goodreads. Most talk about it and people are still lost on what to do, so I’m just going to link you directly for anyone curious.
First off, there are groups. For just about anything you can think of, there might be a group for it. Groups are basically meant to be book groups, but the cool part is they can have themes. Some are local groups that meet in real life even! Do a search with your city’s name and see if something comes up. Or do a search for your preferred genre and see all the groups centered around it. It’s a great way to meet people and interact on the site.
One of the groups I love? The Next Best Book Club. I wish I was more active, but I’m still learning how to strike a balance between the business work and my extreme need for isolation.
Next we have giveaways. A lot of giveaways too! You can sort them by genre and all sorts of other ways. I discovered this and it was a mistake because next thing I knew I was adding things to my to-read pile which is so unnecessary.
Another cool thing is the events. You can search by area and find things happening near you. If you’re an author, you can list your events, like appearances, signings, launch parties.
It’s important to join a site like this because you want to, of course. A lot of people confess they don’t like it, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I joined it a while ago, and I haven’t regretted it. I like how easy it is to communicate with others, to comment on reviews, to join groups, and I especially love when a friend sends along a book recommendation or reads a book that I’m interested in. I try to always put my thoughts down about a book if I have any, so all my friends can see.
Anyone else on Goodreads? Have any tips?
Did I put enough action in the story? Could I have put more action and more romance in it?
These are things I ask myself when I’m away from my book. For a while, I was almost scared to look at the story again, fearful that I would see issues with it that my beta readers/editor missed somehow. (Or maybe hadn’t wanted to tell me?)
So I almost avoided looking at the book, but that only lasted so long. With the way all my stories interlink, I HAVE to go back and I have to look at events and re-read how they unfold, who does what, when things happen.
Then I got the print proof in the mail. I had to sit down and read it from cover to cover to look for typos, formatting issues, and anything else I decided that I didn’t want in print.
Let’s put it this way: A second proof was ordered. I hear that’s not uncommon. I mean, after you correct some errors, you want to see the second proof to make sure you didn’t make more errors correcting the first, right?
But even though I had to fix things and order a second proof, you know, I liked reading through the story again. I sat down and read it at work, making corrections and notes with a hot pink sharpie pen I found in my desk. Saturday or Sunday morning, I spent time in bed, finishing the book, reading over that last epilogue again, fearful that I’d messed things up. That epilogue was a risky move on my part. Something I’d thought about for a while, but had not given to my beta readers. (Oooh, confession.)
Once I got to the end, I came away satisfied. It’s strange to ask for money for my stories– no my book. It’s something I’ve put a lot of work into, something that is now also a real, physically solid thing, and I’d like to ask people to support me in my creative endeavors.
In the end, I decided that this book is exactly what I needed it to be. It’s exactly what it should be. No regrets.