Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Imposter syndrome


 "Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a "fraud"."


The feeling of, “I’m a fake, and when people find out they will yell at me, mock me, tar & feather me, etc” can hit anyone in any field. It does however seem to be extremely common with writers.

Let’s start in the beginning. All writers start as readers. As readers we look up to those magic and amazing folks who create entire worlds out of thin air—worlds and people that can be as important as the real world to a fan.

Somewhere along the way, we get this idea that maybe WE could write a story. It doesn’t have to be big, or grand. Heck we won’t even tell anyone we’re doing it—what harm can it do? We’re not like REAL writers, right?

Then we start getting feedback, we’re showing our baby around—some folks love it and some folks hate it. But we’re just showing folks—no harm—and we’re still not a real writer after all.

That’s where this insidious imposter feeling starts. Those magic people who write the stories we love have some secret mojo that mere mortals like us could never have. Then the feeling of being “not a real writer” grows when we’re told we’re not real because we write in “XYZ genre”, and no “REAL writers write that drivel”. Or we’re not a real writer because we chose an alternative path to publication, “Well, you know self-published people are not real authors, right?”

We’re like Pinocchio—we look like a writer, but we obviously aren’t one.

I call bullshit.

If you write- you are a writer. You have every right to call yourself one and keep your head high. Not published yet? Still a writer- you’re working on publication. Indie? Still a freaking writer. Yes, some writers throw stuff up without even a second read, let alone beta readers and editors, but you’re not like that. Keep your head high.

Now I may sound all fierce about it now, but I did have Imposter Syndrome. Then one day I realized that I am a writer. I am not trying to be anyone else—I am Marie Andreas. I write Marie Andreas books. I publish Marie Andreas books. I write more BOOKS. I am the ONLY Marie Andreas around- therefore I am NOT impersonating anyone. I am genuine. I am a writer. I am Groot ;).

Folks don’t like it, they can go rot.

Now dig deep, focus your fierceness, and remind yourself you are YOU. There’s no impersonating going on.



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Planning on going to a convention?

Ahhh-fall. The time when many writer/reader conventions come into bloom!

These events are wonderful for authors to gain insight to their craft, meet cohorts in the writing journey, and meet fans (or future fans ;)).

Just doing a Google search will bring up tons of these events and which one you go to depends on many variables--so you all go check them out on your own ;).


But here are some ideas for what to look for when picking one out:

Distance: how far are you willing to go? Does the city have other things you'd like to tag on as a vacation? Is it easy to get into? (I had a 45 minute cab ride to and from the airport for an event earlier this year--NOT fun, nor cheap). Look for travel deals​ for Las Vegas, or whatever city you're going to. Most cities will have many sites and options.

What is the make up?: If you're a writer, are you looking to mingle with readers? Want some craft and business workshops? Network with the high and mighty in the publishing world? If you're going as a reader--do they have parties with lots of authors? Panels discussing aspect of books you love? Plenty of wonderful authors to mingle with?

Cost: This is where it gets messy kids. Most of these events aren't cheap. But they have some amazing experiences for attendees, so plan for the cost. Share rooms, drive it you can, whatever.


How to prepare once you've picked one:

Plan to wear comfortable shoes! You might think you'll be inside all day--which could be true, but might not be the case. Even if you are inside, some hotels are HUGE! I've done two events at the Rio in Las Vegas--mega walking and you never go outside!

Pack pens, notebooks, your cards. Writers- you need to be ready to hand out cards, bookmarks, whatever from the time you get there. Even readers--if you have personal cards and want to give your favorite writer something, drop your card in with what you're bringing. Plus, some events do giveaways, so little things with your name and email are dang handy. 

Plan who you'll see: If you've got some favorite authors attending, bring things for them to sign (and buy a book or two ;)). Read everything in ebook? No worries- make a scrap book of print outs of the authors' covers you want to see. Have them sign their page. You end up with an awesome keepsake.

Be social! Okay, this one can be hard for everyone. But writers can be very reclusive. So, if you're an author, practice smiling at folks. Nothing more--just smile. And readers, if your favorite author is looking lost--share a smile with them--they are more scared of you than you are of them!

There's an event coming up in Las Vegas, Love N. Vegas (no, I'm not going to be there- but a heck of a lot of authors are!) and the fine folks at www.vegas.com would love to help you get ready to go.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

#IWSG Surprise! You're a (published) writer!!

Welcome to another chapter of how the pages turn....oops. Another chapter of the famous, Insecure Writers Support Group! (let ya in on a secret--most all writers are insecure, so if you are one, and you haven't joined us--do so now!)

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

The wonderful folks behind this global event, offer a question that can be addressed each month in our blogs--today's was if we had surprised ourselves with our writing at any time.

IF? Every single time I write I am surprised by something. Now granted, sometimes it's a "who wrote this crap?!" thought. But many times it's more of a shock at what I have created.

I have a mini book empire!

Now the fact that I write isn't a shock. I've done it off and on for as long as I can recall. But the fact that I went forward when editors and agents were finally saying, "love this" but it was followed by the, "But I have too many of this sub-genre", or "Humorous fantasy isn't selling to NY right now".  I went forward and shoved my babies out into the wild anyway.

Now self-publishing isn't for the weak at heart. You have to know what you can do, and what you can't. I hire professional editors, an amazing cover artist, and a formatter. 

But my books are out there.

Two have won awards recently.

Three have been "Top Picks" from RT Book Reviews.

I've had all four of the fantasy books in the top twenty for their category at the same time.

Can I quit my day job? No. Am I a household name and auto buy for millions of readers? No.

But I am a published writer. I did what I had to do to get my worlds (two so far, more on the way ;)) out there. And folks like them (some do, some don't--it's the way of life ;)).

So, my biggest surprise about writing, is just that, writing. The stories are a surprise, my path as a published author is a surprise. Everything.

Happy IWSG day and may all your surprises be good ones!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Down time and why we create

Summer is a very busy time for me. Not sure about other writers, but last summer got hectic (in a good way) and this summer even more so. Summer might be my books' time of year ;).

This is good. Books need notice and hectic means noticed books.

But it still takes a lot out of a person. Positive stressors are still stressors. So down time is important. This year I fell upon the Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas. This is their big event and so many awesome actors were there it was a joy.

I went by myself, drawn by the 30th Anniversary of Star Trek Next Gen (yes, gasp and feel old--I do ;)). But they had actors from all of the series, and even one or two from the movies. I made a shocking realization that the last "Big" Trek even I went to was the original series 20th...as in it was 31 years ago-LOL.

I had a lot of fun and running solo meant I could do what I wanted when I wanted. Once I got into the swing of it, it was good to be on my own (okay, not completely alone, I posted everything on Facebook ;)).

I needed that escape, that time just to do what I wanted. To recharge. 

Which leads to the second half of this post--why we create.

Creating art (books, paintings, drawings, movies, acting, music, whatever) is hard. There are times it's a joy, but alot of time it is work. And stress. So why do we do it?

Aside from being deranged people who can't NOT do it?

We create to bring something to other people. Life is scary, even more so these days. Creating something that makes folks laugh, dream, move beyond the scary for just a while makes a difference. The other night I was upset and channel surfing. I hit the last part of Shrek. I've seen it many times, but just getting lost in the silliness and charm did wonders for my spirit.

That's why I create. I hope that my books bring some joy, laughter, and escapism to people out there.

Take care of each other (and yourselves ;)).

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

#IWSG Peeves and life

Welcome, yet again to another episode of how the neurotic writer turns! This is a monthly blog list where writers from all around the globe join forces and yell at the Universe :). Join us!





With this group, we have the option to run wild on our own, or answer a monthly question. Today I decided to do both!

 Mwhahaaaaa!

First, my own little bits of madness. Writing life. When something bad happens to a writer: rejection, bad reviews, more rejection, etc, we often go global on it.  The "Oh my GAWD! A reader hated my book! An agent rejected me! I MUST SUCK!" This is true for all aspects of life but I'm just focusing on the writing part ;). One apple is bad, therefore we must burn down the entire orchard in our woe.

Yet when something great happens--good reviews, nice agents, winning awards, we get excited immediately, then it fades. Part of our tiny lizard brain is certain it was a fluke or mistake. We don't go there with the bad stuff, oh no. That is clearly an indication that we are awful writers.

But the good? "Gotta be a mistake."  I very recently (like last Friday) won an award through the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal chapter of the RWA--a Prism. I had my moments of doubt when I was named a finalist for Warrior Wench. Then extreme happiness when the book won. Then back to doubts. Seriously? Why is it we are conditioned to make the bad global and the good a "fluke"? (I'm asking- if any of you know why ;)).

I realized that was pretty dumb (and yes, I have a Master's in Psychology and it took all these years to realize that was a dumb way to operate ;)).  

Did the win change my life? I now get to call myself a "multiple award winning author" so that's cool. But aside from that-no changes in sales, or life in general. But guess what? The bad things didn't destroy me either.  So to all of my fellow neurotic writers out there- let's treat our successes at least as focused as we do our failures!

Onto the IWSG question of the month--Peeves.

My biggest as a reader is when an author focuses on something, extremely focuses on it...then doesn't do anything with it. I read a lot of series, so I know sometimes a focus on one book doesn't pay off until a future book. But when it never does? GRRRRRRR.

What's your biggest peeve?

Happy IWSG Day!




Wednesday, July 19, 2017

In which I pontificate about Comic-Con International

Yes, it's that time again kids--momma's going to Comic-Con International, San Diego!

Way back in the day, I wouldn't have needed the full name. Just Comic-Con worked as this was really the only one of it's kind. Also, back in the day, even telling local "mundane" people where I was going would bring a, "what?". Then I'd explain until their eyes glazed over or they ran away in terror.

Now when I say where I'm going there is envy there. Sometimes even a bit of drool. This is in part because of the rise and acceptance of nerdom. I think that back in the day there were a lot of closet nerds who refused to let their inner geek flag fly.

It's now okay to be geeky ;).

Plus, there is the cred. Folks want to be able to say, "I went to Comic-Con!" (ergo- cool by association whereas in the past it was un-cool by association ;)).

But we are here! It is time! This my 25th year (started in 1991, but missed a year early on). I have seen some changes.

 I remember when one of the registration folks was going up the escalator and yelled to another, "we hit 50,000 people!"

I remember getting a text from a friend in the "big" room saying, "IT's ARNOLD!!!" The first REALLY big star to show up. Prior to that there would always be rumors, "Johnny Depp & Tim Burton will be at the Sleepy Hollow panel!" Then there would be the, "they are unable to attend--due to traffic" (they couldn't get out of LA-LOL- right ;)).  Casper Van Dien held that panel all by himself and did an awesome job.

I remember walking by the reg booth for the next year, and the folks working it becoming very excited when we stopped to actually by our tickets.

I remember preview night being mostly empty and finding all sorts of deals (and prior to that when it was for the vendors).

We would have huge groups of friends meet for breakfast downtown. Ya had to get there early to fight for parking, and back then you didn't have lines, so we'd go have a nice, obnoxious meal together. The buffet at the Marriott (sadly, now long gone) was the usual place.

I remember joining with friends under the sails to dance, drink, and snark during the Masquerade. The line for that is not doable anymore. 

Up until a few years ago you could still get into Ballroom 20 (the second largest room at 4600 seats) with a few hours of line waiting. Now the line loops a mile or more away from the convention center.

The ol' con is not what it was. But it is still an amazing tribute to popular culture--comics, books, movies, games, groups, fandoms, you name it, it's there.

I still love it. In part for all the amazing memories of hanging out with long lost friends there. In part because the creative energy there is something that rolls off your skin. It hits you like a wave when you go to the exhibit floor, then just buffets you the entire time you're there. It's an amazing thing.

* almost forgot my shameless plug- if you're going to be there, I will be signing at booth 1119 (Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore) on Thursday from 12-12:45. Come say hi!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Maybe I'm getting the hang of this

I've got a confession, I'm a worrier. If something can go wrong I have already thought of ten other ways it can go even worse.

But, I'm trying to take my own words to heart (see prior post about pivoting ;)) and be more adaptable and not as freaked out.

I just released the Victorious Dead. Now, book releases are stressful and scare the crap out of me. This was book 6, so I doubt that is going to change. (Note: I need to build a reward into the process, to reinforce the good and change my reactions to these ;)--hmmmmm).

Anyway- so this one was extra stressful because I had it on pre-order (if you don't make your deadline, Amazon locks you in their jail for a year and your books are only fed food and water. It happened last year ;)). And I'm signing at Comic-Con International, San Diego NEXT THURSDAY.

I always underestimate the time it takes after the drafts are finished, but this was the closest I've ever cut it.

You don't have to order a print proof, but I'm old school and so I did from Createspace and Ingramspark (my two distributors for print). They both should have arrived yesterday.

Nothing.

Createspace couldn't track it and finally came back this morning saying, "Ooops- there was an error, you'll get the proof Friday." *buzz!* too late.

Ingramspark probably won't even respond until a few weeks from now and I can't track on their website.

Me: "OMG!! It's the end of the world! ARGH!!!"

Me pivoting: "Okay, worse case scenario- I order without print proofs. I really want to do the Comic-Con signing, but the world won't end if I can't."

Now, I know many authors do order without print. The online proofs are very good. But again, champion worrier here folks! However, I have just ordered some print copies. Without a print proof.

After six books, maybe I'm getting the hang of this thing (doubtful, but I remain optimistic ;)).