Recently my motivation had been lower than before. It isn’t that I planned on stopping. I have the rough draft for the fourth book, and I’m well into working on several others books. But I’ve always believed in publishing the best quality I’m capable of, which means hiring editors. I’m not a wealthy person, so continuously putting out money for editing isn’t easy and I’m rarely satisfied. I would like to go back to having multiple editors, but that’s even more expensive and I don’t have the sales to cover it.
This makes it difficult when you’re finishing up a book and staring at the next set of expenses you’ll have to incur if you want to elevate that book to a quality you want it to be. This isn’t even bringing in the costs of art. It can feel like going up against a tidal wave, with a constant slew of “things I need” hovering over my head. So, it was becoming stressful for me.
Anyone who has read the acknowledgments in my first book knows that I dedicated my first book to my niece. I started the Outlander Leander series for her because I wasn’t satisfied with the options she had at a book fair I attended with her. There were various reasons, from the fact that none of the characters on any book cover looked anything like her to not feeling like any of them were challenging enough for her. She’s always been very smart, and I’m of the mind that kids aren’t given enough credit in the intelligence department these days.
I’ll also readily admit that I’ve been appalled by how romance is portrayed in all too many books. It’s not that I don’t think you can write an abusive boyfriend. It’s that I don’t think you should write an abusive, obsessive, possessive, jealous, angry stalker and sell it to me as an ideal romance.
(If you want some examples of romances I thought were done well, in The Book of Deacon, Myranda doesn’t even meet Deacon until halfway through the book, and they actually spend time together and get to know each other. He’s supportive through her trials. They listen to each other’s troubles.
Another is in Draykon. Eva essentially married Vale for political reasons, doing it because it made the most sense logically rather than because they had any romantic interest in each other. She doesn’t complain and they don’t hate each other. They actually form a comradery, and I’d say that it looks like Vale has fallen in love with her over the years.
What makes these romances different from the usual I see is that I can picture the couple sitting down in a room together and having a in-depth conversation about hundreds of subjects. They don’t just stare longingly at each other or ‘love’ each other for their looks.)
When I started writing I aimed for a Young Adult audience my niece was still a bit young to be reading the books. She’s a pre-teen now, and this year she finally picked up my first book and started reading it for her class. She’s already read the first book, and the second book, and she picked up the third book the other day. It seems like she liked them, and the other day she was asking me questions about different things that happened in the book.
Maybe it sounds a little strange. She’s not exactly going to leave a positive review for it on a website, nor is she going to boost booksales in any way. This doesn’t negate money problems or any of the others issues I’ve been running into in publishing. But my motivation is higher now than it has been in a while. I originally wrote these books for her and she’s reading and enjoying them. I also now have a bridge to broach different subjects with her, and I look forward to talking to her about things like homosexuality and transsexuality, as well as discussing some of the mistakes Leander makes because of his youth (and he does make many, even when he is well-meaning).
So, if you’re writing or thinking of writing, I would recommend having a purpose beyond getting famous or rich. As independent authors in an inundated market it’s unlikely the majority of us will ever make much. There’s a lot of work that goes into making a book and most don’t even have the means to hire an editor. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. We need something else to keep us motivated, to feel rewarded for years of work. I don’t know what reasons other authors use, but right now I need to finish the fourth book for my niece.