Monday, June 03, 2013

Have you failed your readers?

Hey beautiful people!

Lol - strange to find me posting on a Monday, eh? I'm asking myself the same question...and I'll give you the answer in a few paragraphs (bear with me).

I remember I used to post every Monday, and every day of the work week, for that matter. When did this stop? Sometime about a year or a little more ago (I recall my last Random Thoughts Monday posting because I upped the post late. We'd needed to take kiddo to the dentist, and on the way there, we blew a tyre on the car. While we'd brought it to the garage to get a new tyre, super thunderstorms unleashed on the town. And it was our old car, the Suzuki Alto, which we sold last year in April for the Chevrolet Aveo we now own).

And what happened that April? I was about to have two releases coming out in May, so was in the throes of edits. Once edits were done, promo started. Somewhere in June, Heather Bennett of Decadent Publishing roped me into an 'innocuous' email discussion about the African market and the potential for niche romance in the black continent. Little did I know her offhand prodding hid something else - the establishment of a line geared towards African romance at Decadent. Within weeks, she had me on board, and the Ubuntu line was born.

So now we need books for this line, and Heather and Lisa (the other co-owner of Decadent) ask for my own trilogy (Island Girls) to kickstart this line in March 2013. Now this trilogy is my first ever work, and in the 5+ years since I wrote them, my style had changed by leaps and bounds and these stories looked totally amateurish. Skeletons, when I needed flesh and bones.
Off to the writing board, where I work at fleshing these books into something resembling my voice now. 3 full-length novels, in the ballpark of 90K words each. Almost re-written from scratch. Not an easy feat...

Not to mention that ideas are striking home for other books (wrote and subbed a 1NightStand, as well as 60K Western Escape romance). My bestie, Natalie G. Owens, chimes in with the idea that we should try to write something together. The idea for Eternelles is born, and we start going back and forth to create this series up from scratch.

Around September, I land a submission on the Ubuntu desk. Crisis - it's a Christmas romance! After deliberating with Heather and Lisa, we decide to publish this book, for Christmas...bringing the Ubuntu launch closer to us by 3 months! Can you say tons of work to establish a new line on a tight deadline?

In the middle of all this, I sub the Island Girls trilogy. Natalie and I have also finished outlining Eternelles, and we start writing Book 1, Inescapable. Ubuntu launches, and we start getting submissions for the line. I actively begin working as an editor; the author in me going somewhat on the backburner, but still there and struggling against her gag.

Then I blink, and we're in May again. My Twitter presence has grown. I'm no longer so out of my depths on Facebook. I've even started Google+. My blog is getting lots of visits, and I have 1-2 guests almost every week. If I'm not getting a chance to post, I know I have guests so readers won't be facing a blank screen that week.

But where am I in all this? Where's the woman who started this journey? The author, the one who loved getting on this blog every Monday to write about some silly mishap or another random thought churning in her head? The one who shared tidbits of her tastes in music and fashion on Tuesdays, some writing nonsense on Wednesdays, links shee'd found interesting and wanted to share with ye all on Thursdays, and that definite Progress Report every Friday where she'd have to face up to what she'd been up to thus far?

Sadly, she was gone... Roped into work, deadlines, looking at the forest for the trees.... The spirit of what made my blog my little author's corner on the Net no longer existed. Along the way, I'd lost touch with my 'roots'....

So how could I hope for people to tag along? For my readers to remain faithful to me...when I couldn't even be faithful to them, or to myself? Because I started this blog as a place to be my gateway to reach the world, my readers, my fans, regular people who might not be into books but find a resonance with my quirky views of the world.

In short, I failed my readers. For this, I apologize... It also got me thinking that in order to be who I want to be online, I need to be true to myself here, be true to this blog, my main platform. Who cares if no one reads this, or they find my ramblings tedious? Someone might enjoy the posts, might get a laugh out of my misadventures, might find a glimmer of light and hope because my life is not an easy-peasy walk in the park and I am as human as you. It's for this someone I blog.

Ask yourself - have you failed your readers?

As a reader myself, I love reading about the little happenings in the lives of my fave authors. I get a warm fuzzy feeling when they share something personal but are sharing it with their readers and fans, aka people they believe matter. Yes, there is such a thing as 'too much', but there's also something called 'too little', and that is the death of any author. I write books, and am actively extending my backlist every year. But readers read my books for what I bring, and they might wish to find out more about the person behind the book, and what makes her the way she is; how she is, and why she writes the way she does.

I thus pledge, to update this blog every day like I used to. You'll be seeing a lot more of me on here from now on (yes, run for cover!). Industry news, career news, life mishaps, my kids' madness, my struggles as an author, the love-hate relationship I have with my own edits, my love for mentoring other authors. In short - everything that makes me into me.

Join me? I'm striving for a new beggining, peeps. Will you allow me that?

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

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