Thursday, February 28, 2013

Confessions of a Porn Schlock Queen

[This week's a solo post by Kym]

Seems like this quote by Moliere can come full circle: Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love, and then for a few close friends, and then for money.

“A writing whore? Not me!” you cry. “I am an artist surrendering to a passion that forces me to put words on paper.”

Remember your first stab at it in middle school? The angst of adolescence prevailed, and you penned a few poems about love and death. You adored your words. They peeled away social proprieties and exposed the raw you. They expressed how you felt about life! Even though you hadn’t experienced much of it. Sometimes you even showed your work to a few people, close friends who wouldn’t offer much criticism.

For some of us, the writing obsession endured. We excelled in high school English; we earned creative writing degrees. Eventually we marched into the world with our special skills, working as journalists, magazine contributors and press agents. Some of us published books. We love our words and these are honorable careers. Does that still make us prostitutes?

Yep. It does.

Think about it. We are all slaves to the deadline pimp, even if we didn’t initially consider ourselves “soiled literary doves.” No matter who we are or what we end up doing, we have to pay the rent and daycare. We need money for groceries and gas. We keep our computers updated so we have something to write on. If we are lucky enough to work as fulltime writers, money still matters.

A few years ago, I had a job with an Internet search engine. Every week I wrote three hundred one-paragraph descriptions that extolled the virtues of this or that website. My beat even included the porn sites, which no one else on the team would take. It became a miserable occupation. I didn’t care what I wrote, and you wouldn’t want to know what I wrote.

So I had become a mercenary porn schlock queen bent on making a buck. For me, at that time, the ultimate goal was getting that check in the mail. I was a writing prostitute and not very ashamed to admit it. Instead of working on my back, I pushed to meet deadlines with the worst possible prose.

Moliere was right. Almost. I started out loving my words and eventually ended up getting paid for them. Now the full circle part: I hardly rake in any bucks for my words these days, with the exception of a few royalties now and then. But I adore the words that I co-write with my husband, Mark. It comes with a different kind of reimbursement.

Go out there. Make money. Become a literary prostitute. Isn’t that the final destination of every great or would-be-great writer? Just remember to back up a little and appreciate the words you once loved.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

National Wormhole Day Blog Hop

Okay, we've decided to plunge down the rabbit --er, worm -- hole. Join us and many others for this fun blog hop on March 13 & 14.

Are you signed up yet for the National Wormhole Day Bloghop?

This is a quick and easy Blog Hop. Since we are all busy, take a moment to tell the world, in 100 words more or less, what you would do if you had a two-way ticket to traverse a wormhole. Let your imagination go wild and post it to your blog on either March 13th or March 14th.

Be sure to sign up on the Linky list below!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Author Julie Luek talks about platforms

We're delighted to host our first guest blogger,  Julie Luek -- author, magazine writer, regular contributor to She Writes and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Association. She's also a blogger extraordinaire in her own "write" (and why we sit at her feet for tips).

Julie has agreed to share insights on the all-important strategy for authors of building a platform to make writing marketable to agents and publishers.


Thanks to Mark and Kym for allowing me to be their first guest-blogger. They have asked me to talk about building a platform.  And while I openly admit I am no expert and have a long way to go in understanding how this is done, if my steep and continual learning curve can benefit another writer, I’m more than glad to share.

Let It Shine

When I was a little girl we used to sing a simple, little song in Sunday school.  We’d hold up our pointer finger, like a candle, and belt out with all sincerity: This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

For the second verse, the hand motions got a bit trickier. While still holding up our pointer finger on one hand we’d cup the palm of our other hand, imitating a candle snuffer-- even though we didn’t have a clue what that was.  Still, we’d soulfully sing: Hide it under a bushel, no! I’m gonna let it shine. Hide it under a bushel, no! I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Those early lessons in evangelism were probably lost on us as children.

Lighting the Candle

But the lesson of letting your light shine is one we can apply to the concept of building a writer’s platform. Really, the whole point of a platform is taking your writing light out from under the bushel and letting it shine. 

It doesn’t take a lot of internet research to learn the Big Houses of publishing are spending less and less money on marketing and expect that the authors will do the legwork to promote their own books. Long gone are the days of high-profile displays in a big-box bookstore.  Even if you are yet unpublished, or are a freelance writer, like me, you still want to develop a platform—a public exposure, a showing of followers.

As my friend Sunny Frasier from Oak Tree Press has told me, publishers, acquisition editors and even agents may ask you about your platform efforts and plans before they will even consider taking you on as a client. With as many queries as people in the industry receive, they are more likely to work with the writer who is already out there holding up their shining candle.

There are many venues to consider when building a platform, including blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, guest-blogging for other writers or sites, and many others I’m just beginning to learn about. But the end goal is the same: to reach readers, other writers who can help you promote your work, become a recognizable name, and increase your odds of publication when the time comes.

Shine From the Inside

Almost all the platform and writing gurus out there will tell you building a platform is about selling a product and you are the best product. Promoting your writing or books is only effective if people are drawn to you.  Whatever avenue you choose to build your platform, be a personality people can relate to and like.

Hide yourself and your writing under a bushel? No way! Let it shine!

For more information on building a platform vs. selling your book, check out this great article by literary agent, Rachelle Gardner.

A Bit of Bio
Julie Luekenga writes as Julie Luek and is a freelance writer. Her work can be seen in regional and national magazines including Dog World, Vibrant Life, Coaching and Athletic Directors, and others. She is also a bi-weekly contributor to the women’s writing site, She Writes, and a monthly contributor to the blog Chiseled in Rock. She is a member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and is author to two blogs, A Thought Grows and In Fine Company


 Thanks, Julie, for these generous thoughts. Be sure to check out these ways to to contact Julie yourself:





Wednesday, February 13, 2013

(Sharing) Limelight & Insights

Once a month, we're going to invite a guest writer to share insights on our blog.

We're delighted to announce our first guest as Julie Luek --author, magazine writer, regular contributor to "She Writes" and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Assn. Also a blogger extraordinaire (we sit at her feet for tips).

Julie has agreed to share insights on the all-important strategy for authors of building a platform to make writing marketable to agents and publishers.

Watch for her upcoming guest post next Thursday, Feb. 21.