I have decided to take the plunge. I’m going to swim with some big wigs. Guys, I’m going to do NaNoWriMo this year. One of the hardest things about deciding to do NaNo was (and is) figuring out the balance between my writing and my relationships. Most writers I know have the luxury of being single, or their friends and family accept their weird and quirky habits of being shut away in a humid room with a glass of milk and nachos for hours on end just to spend time in a fictional world with people that don’t really exist. Not in my life. My life is an ever changing balancing act between making sure that everyone from my husband to my cats gets the attention they need, and that includes my fictional friends as well.

So, this year, I have decided that if I can write 50,000 words by the end of November, I’ll be ahead of schedule for publishing the sequel to Prophecy – thus giving me more time to focus on getting things like new cover art, chapter art, and a book trailer done by March.

This is also why I have decided to find other, more experienced authors than myself to take over my blog this month. I have too much riding on NaNo being a success, and I need every little bit of time I can get to plan out my novel. Lucky for you, I have bothered – I mean FOUND – Ericka Kahler to give you all a little lesson today. I think it’s something we all can learn from, not just writers.

An image posted by the author.

Ericka Kahler has lived in eight states, all of them progressively further north. At this rate her nursing home will be above the Arctic Circle, even though she really HATES snow. She graduated from the University of West Florida with a BA in History. She worked in fields ranging from radio to construction to law, finally landing at programming. Once she escaped the cult she began writing. Her short fiction has been published at InfectiveInk and in various anthologies. Her creative non-fiction has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul and Zest Literary Journal.

To learn more about Ericka and her amazing works, please check out her website here.

One of the hardest transitions I went through as a writer was learning to say no.

The first time I said no I’d gotten an acceptance letter from a publisher. I was so excited; I desperately wanted that story to get published. So I hurried to open the contract. I needed to get it back right away, right? But the habits inspired by years of working with attorneys die hard, so I had to actually read it first. And – I didn’t like what I saw.

I didn’t get anything for my story, not even a contributor copy. No e-book version. No payment. Nada. Aside from publishing the book with my story in it, the publisher had absolutely no obligations to me as an author. But, I still kinda wanted to get published. So I hailed the almighty Google and asked about the publishing company.

I found complaints. Lots of complaints. Even worse, the publisher responded to the complaints by whining about publication costs and low sales. His first book was ranked so low on Amazon I wondered if he’d sold any copies at all. And never once did he mention doing any kind of marketing or publicity for his books.

I struggled. But he LIKED it! It would be in print! I would be a real author with my story in a real book! The desire for validation urged me to go ahead. I could market the book myself, right? Drive up sales for my story? I read my story again looking for ideas. I got caught up in it. And I thought: do I really want to give this away?

Because it was good, and here I was contemplating giving it away to someone who wouldn’t treat it well. That publisher would slap together a crappy book and never bother to let anyone know it existed. He’d bury my hard work far away from readers. Worse, any work I put into marketing would make him richer and do nothing for me.

I didn’t know it but that moment marked a transition in my writing life. I trusted my story; I trusted it was good enough – I was good enough – to find another publisher. I finally believed my writing was worth something. I didn’t need his acceptance to make me a real author. I already was a real author. What I needed a publisher who would respect that.

So I took a deep breath and did something I never dreamed I’d do. I told him no. My heart quivered a little as I hit the send button on the e-mail. Then I laughed. I’d turned the tables. This time it was me rejecting a publisher. And suddenly I felt a whole lot better about saying no.