Author Archives: Andi Marquette
Hi, peeps –
Today, I thought I’d give you an overview of my self-publishing journey. For those not in the know, I am a hybrid author, meaning I publish some of my stuff through traditional houses and I self-publish some of my other stuff. This model works well for me, because I have a full-time day job and I just don’t have the time to really devote to self-publishing all of my work.
Now, before I go any further, I am not at all saying that any one approach is better than another, though you will find people in all camps who wave that banner pretty high. That’s fine. The important thing for you if you’re an author is that there are pros and cons to all approaches. Do your homework and choose the model that best works for you. Some people may be best served through a traditional house. Others may be better off completely self-publishing. And others may choose a hybrid model. The point is, pick the one that best fits you (author, know thyself!) and the time and resources you have.
If you’d like an overview of self-publishing in general, see this post from Writer Beware, posted at the Science Fiction Writers of America.
And here’s hybrid author Chuck Wendig on some pros and cons to traditional publishing versus self-publishing.
So here’s an overview of steps that are involved in self-publishing. That is, the steps I go through. Please add your tips and links to the comments! Share your knowledge and experiences! Share the luv!
Been cray-zee bizzy. You may have noticed. Heh.
I’m currently in that awkward place between projects. Kind of. I’ve published a novel this year, just released an anthology I co-edited (in which I have a story), and had 2 other stories selected for publication in 2 other anthologies. I’m also waiting to hear on whether another story I wrote is selected for a different anthology.
I am working on the fourth installment of my space opera series (I’m about halfway through) and I’m doing a bit of research on the fifth in my mystery series, so I am working on some long-term things, but I’ve just about finished up a whole bunch of things that I wanted to this year. And that feels pretty good.
Having said that, I am trying to hammer out another story this month for yet another anthology, but I’m not sure I’m going to make the deadline. If not, I’m not going to freak out about it because it’s not like I haven’t done any other writing this year.
In terms of my writing life, it generally cycles between completely slammed and these stretches where I’m not pressed to do a whole lot. I like these lulls. I still write during them, but I don’t feel the frantic OMG I HAVE TO GET THIS DONE HOLY SHIT SOMEBODY HOOK ME UP TO A RED BULL IV that can accompany my slammed periods. I also use the lulls to ponder writing projects that aren’t related to what I’m currently working on, and that’s always fun, to think about all different characters. I think that might be why I’ve written a lot more shorter stories this year than in years past. I wanted to hang out with some different characters and see what sorts of things could unspool in the narratives.
I do that, too, if one of my long-term projects is giving me some issues and I haven’t figured out how to write/re-write it to fix it. I’ll write something else — usually a short story or novella-length thing — and that helps loosen the logjam in the other project. There are times, too, that I’ve completely scrapped a project and started over from scratch. I don’t know any author who hasn’t had to do that, so if you’re in the middle of that, don’t freak. It’s normal.
So here. 5 things I do that help with the writing cray-zee.
1. Don’t force it. If a project you’re working on is just not working out, stop working on that one. Work on something else. If even that isn’t working, it’s a sign that you may need to take a couple days off (or more) from writing. In which case…
2. Read. Yeah, you heard me. Go read somebody else’s book. When I’m not feeling it, I read. And I generally read a genre that is different than the one that’s got me hung up. For whatever reasons, that gets me out of my headspace and gets me excited and interested in different kinds of plotlines. That feeds the creative stuff, and helps with logjams. If you don’t want to read…
3. Watch a movie. Or stream something. Some cool series you’ve been wanting to watch. Watch a couple episodes. Or, hell, go ahead and binge-watch. Just be careful with that. You don’t want to get into the habit of binge-watching all the time. But every once in a while, it can help get you out of a writing rut.
4. Get out of your house. Or office. Or wherever you write. Take a walk. Go exercise (which you should be doing regularly anyway, because that, too, helps the creative juices). Go do something in your community like visit a museum that’s having a cool temporary exhibit. Go catch a live music show. Call up some friends (or text or however you do it these days) and meet them for dinner or coffee. Have a barbecue with friends/family. Point being? Remove yourself from writing for a bit. Writers live in their heads. It’s important to get out of your head and, as they say, smell the roses. Besides, if you don’t, you might be missing out on good writing fodder.
5. Take a couple of days and go out of town. No, really. Leave. Even if it’s something goofy like driving a hundred miles to a neighboring town and spending the night at a B&B there. Do it. Go hiking or mountain biking. Rent a canoe and do a day-long tourist-y river float. Being outside in natural surroundings is a cure-all for just about anything that ails you. Don’t believe me? Here. And here. Oh, and definitely here.
Find whatever combo works for you. And don’t beat yourself up if you’re in a writing rut or stuck. What that means is you need to recharge the ol’ creative batteries. It’s a normal part of a writing life, to hit ruts. So make it part of your normal writing life to develop healthy strategies to recharge.
Speaking of, what are some of yours? Leave ‘em in the comments and happy Wednesday.
Well, WOOO HOOOOOO! The anthology that I co-edited with fellow author and editor R.G. Emanuelle is officially available as an ebook at Kindle. Other ebook types are busily populating across the interwebz and there will be a print version available in the next couple of weeks or so.
Here’s the Table of Contents for your viewing pleasure:
“Fresh Fruit” by Ashley Bartlett
“The Luscious Tarte Aux Fraises” by Historia
“Whining and Dining” by Jae
“Burn” by Rebekah Weatherspoon
“Tomato Lady” by Cheyenne Blue
“East Meets West” by Karis Walsh
“Dessert Platter” by Victoria Oldham
“Appetizing” by Cheri Crystal
“Sugar and ’Shine” by Andi Marquette
“Vanilla Extract” by Jove Belle
“Smorgasbord” by R.G. Emanuelle
“Crème Brûlée” by Sacchi Green
“Turn the Tables” by Yvonne Heidt
Whew. I’m pretty excited about this one. Really glad it’s making its debut. We’ll let you know as other formats become available and when the print’s ready to go.
I just posted another playlist at Spotify for the second book in my Far Seek Chronicles, A Matter of Blood. 25 songs. Scroll on the embedded-ness to check it out or just start listening.
I really dig making playlists, especially when they coincide with the projects I’ve written. I write to music, and depending on the genre, I listen to certain kinds of music. As some of you may have noticed with the playlist to the first Far Seek book, Friends in High Places, I listen to a lot of ambient, world, trance, and chill when I’m working on this series.
I’ve almost finished the playlist for the third, The Edge of Rebellion, so stay tuned for that.
And yes, I am working on a fourth installment to this series, and I’ve already mapped out a playlist for it. The fourth is a bit different than the first three, and the soundtrack I’ve been using for it really demonstrates that, even to me. But the music that I had been listening to for the other two didn’t quite fit the mood or character arcs, so I was kind of surprised to see that some other music made its way into my listening habits for this series as I’ve been working on this.
As an aside, the playlists I construct are generally songs I listened to while I was working on the projects, and/or songs that evoke particular scenes in the books. Some of you may have noticed that my playlists correlate loosely to the overarching plot arc of the corresponding work. I tend to put playlists together like that, so that you take a trip through the music while you’re thinking about/reading the book. If you’re not familiar with my written work, that’s fine! Have fun with the tunes.
And if you’re a newbie here, and you’d like to know more about my work, I have excerpts here on my website for my Far Seek Chronicles, my New Mexico mystery series, my novella From the Boots Up and my novel (the follow-up to Boots), From the Hat Down. And I have a bunch of freebie short stories posted here, too.
Should be enough music up in there to keep you busy for a bit…heh.
Happy Monday and happy listening!
A colleague of mine and I were talking recently about things like contracts (woo. We’re wild, I know) and it occurred to me that maybe I’d do some tips for you regarding those.
Before I do a brief checklist, Women and Words has a post from a few years back on contracts, done by writer Fran Walker. Check that out HERE. A lot of that still stands, if you’re an author who is considering working with a traditional house. To be clear, I’m not weighting trad over indie here. Not at all. I myself am a hybrid (I do both trad and indie). I’m just offering some tips if you’re considering working with a traditional house.
Also, see my previous link HERE regarding things to watch out for in contracts. This post here is geared more toward the first-time author, but hey. It’s always a good thing to revisit stuff like this.
Okay, so let’s say you approached a trad house and they read your submission and they dug it, so they’re going to offer you a contract. You get that contract via email and you’re all stoked. What should you do?
Greetings, peeps! August is Read-a-Romance month, and I’m participating in a blog-o-rama held by the website readaromancemonth.com. Thanks to Bobbi Dumas for the invite! The theme this year is “Celebrate Romance,” and many of you readers out there, I’m sure, do just that.
But what if you couldn’t celebrate romance? What if you had to keep your mouth shut about your attraction to someone to protect yourself from rejection by your families and peers, emotional abuse, or possibly physical abuse? What if you had to hide who you really are in plain sight? That if you were brave enough to meet with the person you love most, you could never do that openly, and you could never, ever tell anyone about it?
That’s what it’s like for thousands of LGBTQ people all over the world. Imagine, those of you who do not identify as LGBTQ, what it would be like for you to have to change the pronouns of your life partner to keep your job (currently, it’s legal to be fired in 29 states for being LGBTQ). Imagine what it would be like to hide the love of your life from your family for fear that you will be rejected. Imagine what it would be like to never participate in work functions with your spouse or partner because you can’t risk anyone finding out that you’re not heterosexual.
And imagine what it would be like to be denied access to your partner’s hospital bed in their greatest time of need, and that you’re denied recognition in family gatherings as someone who is happily settled. Or even legally married.
Imagine that the greatest romance you’ve ever had and the most amazing person you’ve ever met will always be unspoken, unrecognized, and unrevealed.
And imagine what it’s like to never be seen as a full human being, but rather reduced to an act of sex — reduced to simply someone who has sex with someone else of the same sex. Imagine that the richness and deepness of your life and the many things you do and think and your career and interests and the myriad connections you have and the family ties you have — whether through blood or bond — is all reduced to one thing: who you have sex with. “Behavior.”
That’s why I write books with lesbian characters, who experience a range of relationships, who work to balance work, family, friends, and all the things that make up a day-to-day getting by. I write them them because their lives, like mine, are not merely a “behavior.”
My life, like my characters’, is a giant, glorious clusterf*ck of crazy and fun and amazing and hard and scary and painful. It’s the sum of all my parts — my past, my now, my future. It’s everything I’ve ever done and said, and all the people I’ve known and currently know. It’s the friends I keep and those I’ve lost. It’s the family I choose and the family I have. It’s the unglamorous day-to-day as well as the great highs and terrible lows. It’s a life, like anybody else’s. Not a behavior. Not a lifestyle.
And romance is a wonderful vehicle to express the messy and great things about being human. That’s why I write and celebrate romance. Because I can. Because I’m very fortunate to be writing in a time when there’s a vibrant LGBTQ publishing world out there, when romance and erotica that feature LGBTQ characters can be written and celebrated and rewarded.
So I write stories about people. People living their lives the best they know how. Yes, they sometimes stumble. And sometimes they’re scared. They carry the weight of old issues and old wounds. They have friends and families and work colleagues and they try to find some kind of balance in all of that. And then something really amazing happens to those people. They cross paths with other people, and in those chance meetings are hints of possibility. Sparks. Maybe frustration. Attraction. Flirting. Romance.
It’s an adventure, meeting someone who sets fireworks off in your stomach with a smile or the way she laughs. And you notice how she wears her hair and how she sometimes fiddles with the ring on her right hand. And maybe you notice the way she frowns when she’s trying to pick just the right item off the menu. You find out she reads a particular author (you approve), and she likes certain movies and music. You hold on to all these details because maybe, just maybe, you’ll get up the guts to ask her to coffee.
Or maybe she’ll ask first. Because maybe she’s got her eye on you, too.
And maybe this is the start of a whole new adventure.
That’s why I celebrate romance. Because ultimately, it’s about people and connection and attraction and maybe even love. And the world needs a hell of a lot more of that.
Fun and groovy questions
Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.
Oh, wow. Y’know, every day can be an adventure, and I try to find inspiration everywhere I go. I’ve done a lot of backpacking. In one trip, I ended up living on a beach on the island of Lesvos for a week. Of course, I had inadvertently picked the nude beach. In another instance I had to maneuver five drunk friends across the border from Tijuana into San Diego and we ended up in the middle of a brawl between American frat guys and Mexican guys. We made it with only a couple of scratches. And then there was the summer I lived out of my truck and a tent while helping conduct an archaeological dig in western New Mexico.
There’s adventure and inspiration all around us all the time. You just have to be open to it.
Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)
I’ve always been writing. I wrote [really bad] poems as a child and some paranormal short stories. I discovered speculative fiction as a child, and so most of what I wrote in junior high and high school was post-apocalyptic and/or fantasy. I wrote my first two (atrociously bad) novels in high school, then wrote a couple more in college and spec fic short stories while working on my master’s degree. I stopped writing fiction while I worked on my doctorate, but then started again in 2007. That was the year I started taking it seriously.
Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)
This is one of those questions that is really difficult for me to answer because there are so many books from which I have derived inspiration. I will say that when I was around 10, I started reading the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Yes, he was sexist and racist and wrote some really androcentric series, but the man could world-build and even then, I crushed out on his female protagonists (often arm candy for the dudes) and always wondered why those women couldn’t just go and kick ass on their own. Ha, I decided. I’ll write them at some point so they do (and yes, I did). And I guess the novel Thendara House by Marion Zimmer Bradley was the first time I read about two women who were attracted to each other and acted on it and it was an accepted part of the culture she was writing about. Books like Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness, and the fabulous lesbian pulp fiction of the 50s and 60s generally ended unhappily for one or both of the lesbians. Thendara House opened a whole world of possibility and that’s when I started really writing lesbian-identified protagonists. I was around 17 or so.
There are myriad writers of LGBTQ romance (among many other genres). I co-admin a blog called Women and Words, and a lot of what we do is feature guest posts by many writers who write lesbian-themed romance. Start there to see who some of them are. And feel free to drop me a line at my contact page with the type of romance/theme you’re looking for and I’ll match you with some authors.
Andi Marquette is a native of New Mexico and Colorado and an award-winning mystery, science fiction, and romance writer. She also has the dubious good fortune to be an editor who spent 15 years working in publishing, a career track that sucked her in while she was completing a doctorate in history. She is co-editor of Skulls and Crossbones: Tales of Women Pirates and the forthcoming All You Can Eat: A Buffet of Lesbian Erotica and Romance. Her most recent novels are Day of the Dead, the Goldie-nominated finalist The Edge of Rebellion, and the romance From the Hat Down, a follow-up to the Rainbow Award-winning novella, From the Boots Up.
Check Andi’s website for excerpts and info about where to buy her work. You can also read some free romantic short stories there.
Happy Friday, everybody!
I saw this commercial for Mr. Sketch Markers and I laughed so hard I practically cried. You know Mr. Sketch, right? The markers that allegedly smell like fruit? They’ve been around in this country since I was a kid. Anyway, this ad shows you how they put the smell in Mr. Sketch. It’s total Beavis and Butthead humor, but OMG sometimes that just makes me laugh.
Oh, and how about this weird but strangely cool video from Basement Jaxx for their song “Never Say Never”? It might not be entirely safe for some workplaces, so be careful. The premise is that in the future, people lose the ability to dance. So a Japanese company’s scientists develop a device to help people re-discover dancing.
In other, more serious matters, check out this blog by author Bridget Essex about how book piracy not only affects her, but can have ramifications in the lesfic community.
Y’know, I get why file-sharing sites exist. For the record, though, any copies of my books that you find out there that are not affiliated with a legitimate bookselling site and are available for free are illegal. I have not given and do not give permission to anyone to upload or download my copyrighted work for free on any site, anywhere. My publishers have not given and do not give permission for that, either. So if the site you’re on is telling you that oh, everything is copacetic and legal, that’s not true.
So if you are a fan of my work and you can’t afford it, drop me a line. Let’s chat. As my colleague Jove Belle says, maybe we can arrange an alternative to you downloading from a site that could eventually infect your device or computer with some kind of evil spyware.
So share some luv, and support this awesome community of lesfickers (writers, readers, publisher, editors, designers, typesetters) and booksellers by legally purchasing or legally acquiring (i.e. through giveaways or if you’re a book reviewer with a site) their work. Help ‘em keep writing. :D
And let’s hope that the world never forgets how to dance.
I kept thinking that I was going to do a giant “here’s what happened at GCLS,” but ultimately, I decided not to. The conference schedule is still available so you can see what panels were offered and who was on them (click HERE). The vendor layout is also available, so you can see where everybody was in the Grand Ballroom, which was the vendor room. I even took photos. You can see those HERE. And you can check out the list of Goldie finalists HERE and then the list of winners HERE.
I will say that the panels I was on included absolutely fab fellow panelists and moderators and I was extremely excited to be on them. I was also one of the awards presenters this year, along with fellow author R.G. Emanuelle. That was a new experience, but I enjoyed it immensely and considered it an honor.
So here, I’ll do a round-up of the crazy that goes into attending a conference. Some of you may remember that I did an earlier post on prepping for one. Well, here’s the bag of controlled chaos that goes into attending a con.
So I’ll be scarce the next 10 days or so because I’m scheduled to be on-hand at the GGLS conference. What that means is that I’ll be traveling for a couple of days and then I’ll be on-site at the con running around like a freak because I’ve got lots of things going on there this year, including panel appearances and an author chat. I’m also going to be available for chatting outside the formal panels should any readers who are in attendance see me bouncing around the halls.
Oh, and yeah. My third installment in my sci fi series, The Edge of Rebellion, made the finalist list for an award. I’m very pleased about that, and congrats to all my fellow nominees!
I was going to do a long-ass post on the process a manuscript goes through in terms of self-publishing (at least my process), but decided that was too long-ass for today. Instead, I’ll get you updated on a few things.
What does this mean? Well, it means that it’s about to go to the typesetter where it’ll be made all sexy-time. JUST IN TIME for its August debut. Yes, indeedie, friends, this dish is just about ready for the table. Y’all be sure to dig in, now.
In other news, I’m waiting for the final proof from CreateSpace for the print version of From the Hat Down. Jeeziz freaking Christ on a jet ski, but this damn project has been crazy-making. Getting the print version ready has been so amazingly WTF that I can’t even begin to describe it to you. About the only good thing that has come out of this process is that I now know a lot about what to look for and what to do when really weird unheard-of tech glitches pop up in a file and you’re trying to figure out what mystical sorcery powers you can draw on to attempt to fix it.
On the other plus side, I’ll be ordering them to start printing it today. LORD WILLIN’ AND THE CREEK DON’T RISE!
I’m also working on some short stories for some upcoming anthologies. AND I’m almost halfway through the fourth installment of my sci fi series, the Far Seek Chronicles. Always something going on up in here, fer sure.
All right. I might post a couple of quick things at the con, but I can’t make any promises. In the meantime, y’all have a nice break (from me) and y’all come back now, hear?
I’m thinking a bit about reviews. I know a lot of authors think about reviews. Sometimes incessantly. And yes, reviews can be helpful in terms of sales, both long-term and short-term. They can also be really harmful, but if you engage in this writing pursuit, guess what? That’s part of the territory.
In the world of books, reviews have a long and tortured history, as this 2012 Atlantic Monthly piece points out. Yes, friends, no matter the era, there are invariably complaints about reviews, reviewers, and what they ultimately accomplish. There are also always complaints about whether someone has the expertise in a particular genre or subject to do a review, and whether someone has a background in writing.
And yes, reviews can also be political/false in the sense that someone is trying to deliberately sabotage a writer or a writer is actually posting glowing reviews of his or her own work (that’s called a sock puppet review).
None of this is really new, friends. Certainly technology gives us the ability to post things quickly and create “buzz” (whether negative or positive). It also allows people to mask their identities and post whatever they want about a writer’s work. Which, again, isn’t necessarily new. It’s just a lot easier now than it was a couple decades ago to do it. The Interwebz have created an arena in which anyone can voice an opinion about a book (or any other product) and even develop reputations for reviews, and become kind of a reliable source for others about particular genres. You might, for example, find that you seem to like the same types of genres that, say, “pinklady998″ likes, and you start following that user and find that you trust her/his reviews about certain things, which might in turn guide some of your own purchasing habits.
So reviews can also be tools. They’re a “word-of-mouth” kind of thing, in this crazy Internet age. So rather than hanging out with your friends on Friday night talking about the latest reads you got at the library (or at the bookstore), you post a review of a book online and that then becomes part of a larger conversation about the book/story that anyone else can engage in. Which is kind of neat, actually, that you can engage with other people from all over the world about a particular work.
As an author, though, you might consider the following guidelines regarding reviews. And I’ve said some of this elsewhere, but I’ll reiterate it here: