Sunday, July 28, 2013

Writers of a certain age.

First, a really big THANK YOU to everybody who downloaded Tapped last week and Gravid this week during their free days on Amazon.  I hope y'all enjoy the books! There's one more Pipe Woman Chronicles book that hasn't had a free run yet, but it's coming.  Look for Annealed's free days at the end of next week, August 8-10.  If you already have your copy, may the gods bless you, and please spread the word.

Also, Seized is free at Story Cartel through August 20th, in exchange for a review and a chance at a $10 Amazon gift card.  Thanks again, as always, for your support for my writing.

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Is it just me, or does it seem like every third indie author I meet is a woman of a certain age?

I'm not going to get much more specific than that.  But it seems like a lot of us have been around for a few decades.  Life has knocked us around a little -- or, in some cases, a lot -- and we're figuring out that a good way to cope with it, and maybe share some of the lessons we've learned, is to launch a writing career.

For many of us, I suspect, writing was something we always wanted to do, but were prevented for some reason. Either we had kids (and husbands) to raise, or families to support, or both -- and we didn't have the luxury of either time or financial solvency to try to take the time to make a living at our writing.

Maybe our families were unsupportive of frivolous pursuits.  When I was in high school, I was determined to major in music in college.  My mother was okay with me giving it a try, but she always told me to have "something to fall back on" -- another skill that I could make a living with.  On one hand, it's not bad advice to tell somebody to have a Plan B in case her dream career falls through. On the other hand, highly competitive careers almost require a person to be so passionate about succeeding that failure is not an option; if you go into it with a Plan B in the back of your head, you're almost setting yourself up to fail.  And if it's Mom, your biggest cheerleader, telling you to have a Plan B...well, you see where I'm going with this.

Anyway.  The other possibility is that life threw us a curveball, so that we can no longer do the thing we intended to spend our life doing. Health issues, changes in family circumstances -- whatever the reason, we've found ourselves with time to write and a cause to write about.

Still another possibility is that we women of a certain age have been trying to get published for decades, but we got caught by the changes in the publishing business.  And I'm not just talking about the most recent trend to sign celebrities at the expense of midlist authors, either.  In decades past, you could make a name for yourself in publishing circles by getting your short stories published in some of the magazines that published fiction -- and in those days, lots of magazines did.  That market started to dry up sometime in the '80s; today, the short-story market has dwindled to a couple of handfuls of literary magazines.

That was the state of affairs until Smashwords and KDP came along.  Then we women of a certain age found ourselves amidst a perfect storm: we had a lot to say, we had the luxury of time (after kids were grown and careers had perhaps dialed back) to say it in, and we finally had a vehicle for putting it out into the world without someone telling us it wouldn't sell enough copies to make it worth their while to publish.

For all the women of a certain age who have thought about publishing a book someday, or any other creative or personal goal, I refer you to the quote above.  Particularly in publishing, now is the time for you to do it.

And if you think you're too old, well, I refer you to this heartwarming story about a 63-year-old woman who kills it on the drums.  After you've watched the video, then come back and tell me you're too old to be good at something the kids do.

So. You know all those things you always wanted to do?  You should go do them.

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