Staying physically fit and healthy as a writer isn’t always easy. All that time sitting in a chair can be bad for your health, so I share my tips with Colleen Story’s readers over at her wonderful website, Writing and Wellness. Check it out:
I’ve been working my way through my to-read list and am happy to say I’m making progress. I’ve had to be very purposeful about it, reminding myself that reading will only make me a better writer. One would think that a published author would read every free chance they got, right? That’s what I used to think, but the more books I write, the busier I seem to get and it’s so easy to lose track of reading stories for simple enjoyment. There’s nothing better than when I open a book written by someone else, and fall into it. That’s how I feel about the latest novel I read called The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster, by Scott Wilbanks.
I loved The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster. It was such a breath of fresh air, which I’ve really needed lately. The book’s intriguing title, gorgeous cover, and all the good things I’d heard about the author made me excited to read this novel, but it was even better than I expected.
Have you ever just wanted to read a book you can get lost in, but everything you pick up causes you to lose interest? The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster has everything you want in a novel, including magic, mystery, love, and friendship.
The characters were the best part of the story. Annie and Christian were altogether adorable, quirky, and refreshingly honest. The rest of the characters were just as intriguing.
I most liked the twists and turns. Just when I thought I had it figured out, something else would happen that kept me turning the pages. This would be a great novel for your bookclub.
This beautiful first novel is highly recommended for its interesting plot, compelling characters, and excellent writing.
In the tradition of Marisa De Los Santos and Jennifer Weiner, author Amy Sue Nathan has penned a debut novel that will challenge readers’ preconceived ideas of what family and friendship should be, while at the same time renewing their hope in timeless traditions of love and faith.
Expertly penned, The Glass Wives, by Amy Sue Nathan, creator of the incredibly popular Women’s Fiction Writers blog, is a fascinating story about how we as humans crave family connections even when, or perhaps especially when, our own family ties have been unraveled. In this case, the lives of Evie and Nicole glass have come apart through tragedy and are being woven together with each other, much to Evie’s dismay, after Evie’s ex-husband, who happens to be Nicole’s husband, dies in an accident. Sound complex? Well it is, and that’s what keeps the tension so tight in this book that readers might not be able to put it down.
Sometimes comical, always heartfelt, Evie’s responses to her predicament make us laugh and cry right along with her. A single mom who just wants her children to be happy, Evie is in a rut and it is obvious from the beginning that she has left herself far behind, even before the death of her ex-husband. Holding to her Jewish traditions, family, and friendships, she thinks she’s doing it all pretty well, but that was before Nicole, her dead ex-husband’s mistress, now a widow, shows up on Evie’s doorstep with her baby. As the story progresses, the situations Evie gets caught up in with Nicole, all for the sake of her kids’ happiness, almost bring out the worst in her, especially when she discovers something about her ex-husband’s widow that might prove Nicole’s intentions aren’t all good.
Above all, Evie must protect her kids, but whether that means with Nicole and their baby brother still in their lives or out of their family completely seems impossible for Evie to know. As sparks fly and complex events unfold that open old wounds for Evie challenging life-long friendships and deeply felt ideas of what is right and wrong, and more importantly threatening the happiness of her family, the author deftly reveals a deeper and more emotionally mature quality in Evie’s character than readers expect.
As Evie strives to make the right choice for her children, she will no doubt inspire readers and perhaps even affirm their faith in the importance of family however seemingly fragile, and even in faith itself. I loved reading about the Jewish faith in this novel and for me, it didn’t overtake the story at all, but contributed to the depth of the story.
Nathan puts real characters, real faith, and real personalities in a surprising and seemingly impossible situation that kept me turning the pages. With this fantastic debut novel, Amy Sue Nathan is an author to watch.
When I was a kid, my parents taught me manners. I was always required to say please and thank you and was never allowed to boast about myself. On the flip side, they bragged about all of their children unceasingly. You know that mom or dad at your office who has their desk covered with pictures of their kids and has to update you on their latest accomplishments before you can discuss anything work related? Yep, that’s how my parents were.
I’m not complaining, of course. I was one lucky kid to have parents who taught me how to be humble, but weren’t afraid to let the whole world know they were proud of me. Their ability to brag about me helped me to have confidence while the manners they taught kept me from turning into a conceited adult. The only problem is that somehow over the years I mistakenly believed that doing things like seeking a promotion at work or selling myself in a job interview was also a form of conceit. For years I didn’t understand why people less experienced and less skilled were given the best positions at work while I was usually considered trusty Tina who was doing a good job right where she was at. I haven’t had that kind of job in years, but that mixed up humility has shown its ugly head since I’ve become a published author.
Readers who chat with me at a book signing or read my book and visit my website or Facebook page probably don’t know how hard it is for me to sell myself as an author. Yet, that is part of my publishing career. There is no way around it in today’s book market unless you have achieved the acclaim of Amy Tan (one of my favorite authors ever).
I do not have the status of my author idol Amy Tan. The truth is, if I don’t tell readers about my book, nobody will hear about it. I don’t know how many other authors struggle with this, but I struggle with it every day. I love communicating with people. I just don’t like the part where I have to say, “Hey, would you buy my book?”
When I was first published in 2008 by Waterbrook Press, a subsidiary of Random House, I had a lot more power behind me. I still had to promote, but it was much different back then. Times have changed in the past seven years and authors now have to play a much larger part in promoting themselves and their books. On one hand, I love it because I enjoy getting to know my readers, but there’s always a worry that I’m going to sound like a pushy salesman.
“Buy this book!”
“Will you please buy my book?”
“Have you heard about my new book?”
Pondering all this reminds me of when I signed my first Random House contract and attended a publisher’s retreat with other Random House writers from Waterbrook. One of the male authors drew us all into an intriguing conversation about how men make more money at writing because they see it as a career, not a hobby. That is not true, the feminist inside of me wanted to exclaim, but I was mostly just listening in since my book had not even been released yet. The author said that unlike some female authors, male authors strongly expected to be paid for any service related to their writing. While there are several well-paid female authors in the business, I’ve realized over the years that the author who drew us into that conversation was partly right.
When I think about what that author was saying, I get it now! Just by a sheer non-scientific poll of author friends, many of the women – more than men – speak for free, give away their articles for free, look over a manuscript for free, accept smaller contracts, etc. The only woman I know who didn’t do some of this ended up retiring from the business all together, even though she was possibly the most talented among us.
So why do many of us do it? Why do we women hate asking someone to buy our stuff? Are our books somehow less important because they are by women? Of course not! My fellow male writer wasn’t suggesting we should be paid less, he was saying that we should expect to sell our books and that it’s okay to make a living from it.
I am watching many astute women authors who are business savvy. I hope I can learn from them and stop being so reticent about my books when I need to be spreading the word. So, if you see and hear me talking more about my books, you’ll know what I’m up to. I don’t want to be that little girl with good manners anymore.
When my parents taught me not to brag about myself, I don’t think they meant not to promote my stories when I become a published author. Manners and humility are pretty good attributes to have, but when it comes to selling our books, we need to talk about our books.
We need to believe it is okay, and not conceited, to let potential readers know about our stories. How else will they know to read them? And if it’s in our jobs or elsewhere, we need to believe it is okay to seek a promotion or a better-paying position.
Thoughts? Can you relate? I would love to hear what you have to say in the comments.
Every little step in the process of getting a new novel published is exciting. Earlier this week, my latest novel went up on NetGalley, a site for book reviewers to choose books they want to review. I’m so excited about this! Book reviews are a source of worry and excitement for authors, but we want it to happen. All in all, they are great for book sales and every author hopes their book will be reviewed.
And if that didn’t make the forthcoming publication of Waking Up Joy real, then seeing the ebook version up online where it can be pre-ordered did. I’m so excited! I hope you are too. Here are the links where you can pre-order the ebook now and have it delivered instantly on October 8th!