Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Books I Loved as a Teen and the Heroes I Connected With

I'd love to say I write to appeal to a large audience. I mean, that's what professional writers are supposed to do, right? Write and write and write to get a lot of fans so you can quit your job and write more books? First of all, the whole quitting your job thing...that happens to a very rare few, so it's best we writers toss that goal right out the window. It's not the one that should lead us. And secondly, I've come to firmly believe you can't make a large audience your goal, either. It's often a very delightful outcome, but when setting words to paper, you should have one or maybe just a few people in mind. You should write to yourself, your spouse, your mother or father, your best friend, sister, or brother. And once you've written enough, you'll get past all the obtuseness and self-righteousness about how your art is your ART, and you'll really start connecting with people. That's when the large audience comes. It comes from writing to one person, fully and completely, forgetting about how pretty your sentences are and embracing the language of the soul. And yeah, that sounds heavy, but if you're a human being, you're already more than halfway there to writing to connect to other human beings. And I assume we're all human beings? I don't think there are really any animals out there writing books. ;) So, who do you write to? I write to my teenage self. The girl who was looking for books about broken people who became heroes. It didn't matter if they were weak or confused or too girly or too bad. They saved someone. Maybe it was the world, maybe it was just a friend or a guy down the street. The point was, they were imperfect and they still made a difference. For this reason, I loved anything written by Mark Twain or Jonathan Swift. Tolkien became my own personal hero. I wanted to BE Frodo--the little hobbit who just had the power to say no a little bit longer than anybody else, and even in the end his weakness almost overpowered him. And Spiderman. I became obsessed with Spiderman. Here was a guy who dealt with his own personal demons, the "nobody" living with his aunt, who saved people. He hid who he really was, dealt with severe hatred coming from the very people he attempted to save. Weaknesses. That's what my teenage self craved to see. Weaknesses and failings that worked out to make a person a hero. And I think there are a whole lot of other teens out there who crave to see this, too. I'm positive I wasn't alone. So, who do you write to? And what are you trying to say to that person?

Monday, June 24, 2013

A New Day

I'm pretty excited. I am.

A letter came in the mail right after Friday's blog post from my editor over at SHP. My rights have officially released to me. It's one of those wonderful, terrifying things, and I'm so grateful that I still have a fantastic relationship with them.

'Cuz here's the thing: I was terrified they'd hate me forever. I mean, they had every right even though all my reasons were solely based on my own shortcomings. They had a right. But they don't, and that's how awesome they are over at SHP. It's really a family. And I HIGHLY recommend all you querying writers out there submit to them. They work hard for their authors, and there's real love over there.

But today's Monday for me. Literally and figuratively. It's the first day of my brand new career. I'm starting over.

No more plans for delightful surprises. You're getting it all. No more anxiously anticipating your glee once you find out Elemental is really about space fairies/elementals who can teleport with their wings. And that Ella's worrying more about not killing everyone than she is about a boy. I mean, there's a boy, but she's got priorities.

And Lilly in Almost Night may be a unicorn, but don't expect a sweet tale. She's got scars on her wrists for a reason.

I'd like to write a really sweet tale some day, but that day has not yet come. To Love or Die in a Steamy-reamy World comes closest. Kind of. Maybe. It's dark humor with a Victorian bent. So if you think that might qualify as sweet, there you go.

I guess I'm just not ready for writing sweet yet. I know I come across that way on the internet (and believe me, I do love my exclamation marks and emoticons), but my books are my darker side. I'm like Darth Vader or #10. Yeah...let's go with that. Let's pretend I'm cool. ;)

*waves jedi hand*

This how cool I am

Okay, maybe not...
but when I'm alone and the kids are napping, I *might* pretend to be Darth Vader.

Have a great Monday, everyone!

Friday, June 21, 2013

In which I tell you I'm a freakin' nutcase

I know I've done this before and then I went back to not blogging. And who's to say this is any different? It might not be. It feels different, though.

Crap, this is hard.

There's so much I want to say, but ironically, I don't know how.

Well, I guess I'll start with the truth. I've mentioned this before, but never in any detail. I get depression. Very frequently. Actually, this past year it's been pretty constant. I pushed for something for so long, blogging every day (or at least more frequently than this), making contacts, building a presence, and then I crashed.

I couldn't do it. I just couldn't do it. I didn't want to and no one could make me. I didn't see the point. Because that's kinda what depression does to you. It makes you feel like you're a worthless piece of crap, that you've done everything wrong, and why the hell are you going to bore people with your little "anecdotes?"

I tried to force myself back into it, but it made me sick. Physically and spiritually.

So then I went to the bare minimum, and I did that for a while. But eventually, I couldn't even make myself do that anymore. Because it's hard to pretend when you have to write something in 500 words. When you have to make something interesting.

It's easier to pretend on facebook where all you have to do is like something or post pictures or come up with a witty phrase you might have heard on a movie.

So what made me spiral into this cold, dark place? A lot of things. But basically, I started feeling like everything I'd ever done was wrong. I'd worked so hard for the wrong thing. And it sucked. I was drained.

Elemental came out last year and I was ecstatic. One of the greatest high points of my life. It was a dream come true. I even helped design the cover. It was all completed with my say-so. And I loved it. It was beautiful.

And it was beautiful. But it was a lie. Because the cover is like me. A pretty pink and sparkly exterior, hiding what's going on in the inside. And it got shitty reviews. Because people were expecting paranormal romance and what they got was the inside of me--the dark stuff. And I felt rejected. Like people couldn't like me for me. And I know that's not it at all, but that's what happened. Believe me, I've tried to convince myself that some people just didn't like it because they were expecting something else, but it doesn't work. I kept wondering why they couldn't just like it anyway. I didn't understand at the time that the cover was a lie. But when I did, I started feeling like I was a lie.

I was putting off this image and I started wondering if you guys would like the me on the inside. I didn't know how I could pretend anymore.

So I ran away. I didn't want to pretend, but I didn't want to be rejected either.

Something happened last summer (an epiphany of sorts) and it's taken me this long to start really doing it. I realized I did absolutely make some wrong decisions. Not bad ones. Just wrong ones, for me. They were the absolutely right decisions for someone else. But not me.

I realized that I needed to stop hiding myself. And I realized that I needed to go at it my way. That's why I decided to start self-publishing. But it hasn't worked yet because I'm still hiding. The book I put out last December was 100% me, but my presence online was still the superficial outer layer.

If I was going to do this, I needed to do it all the way. A few months ago, I contacted my editor at Spencer Hill Press. We did a lot of talking and I requested to be released from them. Not because I didn't love working with them (quite the opposite actually), but because I needed to go all in with my plan. I needed to build my new platform and it needed to be all me. She was wonderful and graciously agreed to everything. We worked the details out and soon I'll have all my rights back. Seriously, everyone there has been amazing. She told me I was still part of the family (and I nearly cried because that meant so much to me) and recently made a different offer for a completely different position in the company.

I'll be re-releasing Elemental this Fall with a new cover and some extra content. I'm excited and scared. I feel like I'm getting over the hump of my depression. I'm starting to see some sunshine at the end of this dark tunnel.

And I hope you'll stick with me through it all.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Editing Services

Guess what, readers? I'm branching out! Yes, I now offer editing services to anyone who needs them. Be it an author looking to self-publish, an author wanting to submit a wonderfully polished manuscript (or chapters) to an agent or editor, a newspaper, a business, anyone. 

This is what you'll find on my brand new page up there:

I've been writing for years, professionally for the last two, and decided that it was time I branched out. Writers and readers are some of my favorite people. I love hanging out with them, I love helping them, I love everything about them.

And over the years I've discovered that I have a superpower useful to people in the writing community. Sometimes it's gotten me into trouble (like when I discovered a typo in the menu for a huge event the night before), but most times it's been appreciated.

What can I say? This is why people should hire copy editors before something goes to print. Sadly, it's a profession that's taken a hit over the years, with dire consequences. Just read any newspaper (online or otherwise) and you'll understand.

If you're interested in hiring me for your copy editing needs, here's a list of what I'll do:
  • fix typos
  • tighten sentences (e.g. get rid of the pesky "that" and "of" when you just don't need it--and believe me, it happens much more than you'd think)
  • work within your particular style to fix sentences that don't "mesh."
  • Be a set of fresh eyes authors desperately need before publishing
Me fees are very reasonable. Only $1/page for full-length works (based on word count), $50 flat fee for up to three chapters (like for submissions to an agent or editor). 

If interested, contact me at authoremilywhite(at)gmail(dot)com with the first five pages of your work. I'll submit a sample of my edits to see if you'd like to work with me. If yes, then there's a 50% down payment and we'll schedule a due date.

At this point, I'm focusing on copy edits especially, but am more than capable of doing content edits as well. 
If you're looking for both, I charge $1.50/page. Sorry, but it's more work and more hours spent with your manuscript.
Content AND copy edits are always provided for the first three chapter submissions you're getting ready for an agent or editor. 
I can only take a limited number of clients a month, so contact me today if you're interested. :)

There is a sale going on right now! If you contact me by June 14th and we schedule a due date we both feel comfortable with, I will provide both copy and content edits for your full-length work for the price of copy edits alone.

Yay! So that's my big news! I hope you'll celebrate with me. :)