If anyone would’ve asked me where I saw myself heading, I doubt I would’ve said I’d be a published author. I’ve always had this love for piecing words together, almost like one of those dimensional puzzles you can buy on line. It just amazes me what words can create, be it in story, poem, and song.
This new journey is by far the second most rewarding in my life; the first is being a mother. I don’t believe in setting limits for success, but in trying your hand at something new and striving to do your best. I don’t do anything half way; it’s all the way for me or not at all.
I thought when I signed my first contract that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I had no idea what edits were, hell I had no idea if I was even doing things right. I came from writing for fun on a forum with no technique to— jumping in blindly. I found my way to a few great learning places. AWH was the first, and then I invested in some writing classes on line. Through those classes I learned how to focus my voice and tighten up my writing. I do strongly suggest for new writers to take copy editing classes, plotting classes, and crash revisions. Those three classes made it easier for me when I began writing after taking them. I also have two beta readers and belong to a small critique group. Education is never wasted and a second or third set of eyes, or people who know what you’re trying to say are a blessing. They’re also a blessing not to be taken for granted, since most have their own lives and are writers themselves. Promoting is time consuming, but getting out there and meeting people is a great aspect of publishing. I enjoy people almost as I enjoy books, so it’s been good for me. It’s been a little under a year since I began this new venture. My first book released May 11th at Phaze. Seeing my book up and for purchase really hit me, the reality that I’d achieved the first step of many. My advice for new or aspiring writers is to dig in and try, because you’ll never know until you do.
Places to be found
About Mahalia Levey:
Being smart and sassy with a great sense of humor comes easily for Mahalia Levey. An avid reader of books, she found herself enchanted with disappearing completely into the worlds authors created. One day she vowed to herself she’d be one of them. Then family life came, and college right after. Swayed from her childhood course of action, it took many years for her to get back to that place she held dear as a child. Now she is running full steam ahead to keep up with the many ideas flowing freely. She plans on taking her work to higher levels and expanding her genres. Her main focus is giving her readers variety. Her works in progress include paranormal, fantasy and mainstream romance. Taking characters and watching them grow past what she’s imagined is her true passion.
Lessons for New Generation of Authors
I’ve been spending a lot of time talking with my publicist and discussing the work habits of this new generation of romance authors. The astounding thing is that observing this generation of new authors gives me both good feelings and bad.
For starters, with the growing E-book revolution (and it IS a revolution) we’re able to get published faster, but so many authors don’t take a hard look at the houses they’re submitting to. If they did, we’d end up with less crap out on the market. The lesson here is to research not only the house, but other authors who WRITE for that house. This will avoid mistakes. Take a new publisher that has been courting me lately. They don’t have a solid reputation entirely due to mistakes made because the owners didn’t understand the business model of the E-book industry from the outset. They admitted this and this has been confirmed by a friend of mine who is one of the most respected names in Erotica today. And other authors have come forward to share good experiences about this house as well as a few bad ones. That’s fine. Talking to the authors of the house gives you a well rounded view of how they operate.
Total E-bound has a huge and successful stable of happy authors. Before I signed with them, I looked at the website, got some feedback from some of the authors and felt that I had done my due diligence.
Next up, work ethic. Raise your hands if you’re a new generation author and you struggle to make that word count every day while trying to promote your books with all the nonsense. Tell me it’s a pain in the ass.
It is. But I do it and have done it for years. I’ve had to grow and learn to utilize different technologies while still embracing the old ones. Not only do I have to do that, I have to recognize and jump on opportunities that come my way all while writing, doing PR, blogging, doing my Radio Dentata show and attempting to keep a clean house. I threw that last part in because for the sake of argument (and let’s face it, my S. O. is NOT) I am Alpha Homemaker. So I cook dinner, do dishes, clean (somewhat) all while maintaining a successful writing career.
The key is determination and the fact that even as technology improves and makes our lives easier, we need to do the things that make us successful regardless of what they are. Otherwise we’ll get lost in the shuffle.
Work Ethic: I’ve seen too many new writers get by on turning in stories that are basically crap other than the bones. Listen. I had to bust my ass (uphill in the snow both directions) to get a good first draft finished and then sold. This goes back to my earlier point about researching the Houses you write for. A bad house will take a crappy first draft. A good one will reject it with comments.
Piracy Complaints: Saw this one coming didn’t you? How many of us reading this have had our work pirated? I have. I was flattered on one hand and pissed on another. Sure I’ve spent time chasing these jackanapes but it’s useless. Another blogger/author posted a great blog about piracy and she’s right in suggesting that we’re not going to convert pirates to readers or shut down the sites. Let it go. Hell, call it free publicity and don’t forget to write off the loss as a tax deduction.
Writing and Excerpt sharing: The concept of an excerpt is NOT to give me 500 words of your 10,000 word story. That will NOT get a book sold no matter HOW great an author you are. Christ himself would NOT sell the bible on 1,000 words. Give us something of value to entice us. If your story is 5k or less, why? Learn to write longer. Take the shorter pieces and sell them to e-zines, throw them up on Literotica for free marketing or put them together in a short story collection. Then give us a lengthy excerpt from the story. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time and mine.
If you have a 10k story, that excerpt can and should be 2500 words of HOT. And DON’T GIVE US THE ORGASM. If you’ve got more than 10k, that excerpt should be no more than 5k.
I know some of this seems harsh but I’ve been around a long time. And I’ve at least been tactful here compared to my blogs on Midnight Seductions about cross dressing or fellatio!
What say you? Care to share other lessons for this new generation of authors?
Kinky Erotic Romance by Sascha Illyvich
Listen to The UnNamed Romance Show,
Our erotic romance novella Cherry Tune-Up is now being serialized at literotica.com – as a special gift to our readers, you can read a new chapter every two weeks, for free! This book was previously published to rave reviews in 2007, but the publisher closed its doors later that year and all rights have reverted to us.
Two Lips Reviews Four and a half Kisses “The sexual chemistry explodes off the pages and leaves you fanning yourself.” Reviewed by Tara.
Romance Junkies Reviews Four and a half Blue Ribbons “Ms. Kraft has a gift for pleasing the reader with vivid imagery and erotic language. Fasten your seat belts – this story is one hot ride that you don’t want to miss.” Reviewed by Deborah.
Fallen Angel Reviews Four Angels “Adriana Kraft wonderfully creates a rip-rollicking great tale with stunning dialogue that keeps the reader spellbound from the beginning to the end.” Reviewed by Linda L.
Plucky Bobbi Jo Martin, a rising star in the banking industry, is a totally inexperienced virgin. Now she has only two weeks to transform herself into a skilled lover so she won’t disappoint her fiancé’s expectations. Desperate, she turns to her childhood friend.
A successful contractor who harbors NASCAR racing dreams, Jack Day has never forgotten his high school sweetheart. No way can he turn her down—but how is he to protect his heart? In a moment of sheer genius he decides to play the role of master! For ten excruciating days Bobbi Jo revels in Jack’s intoxicating care…
Watch for Chapter 2, coming June 1, 2010!