Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Power of a Fandom

My husband and I recently started watching Arrested Development, and we are finally up to season 4. For those who don't know the history of the show, let me give you a brief rundown. The show aired on the Fox network for three seasons (2003-2006), won several awards and lots of critical acclaim, and developed quite the cult following as what IGN referred to as the funniest show of all time (according to the show's Wiki--give me some credit, I am a new fan so I didn't know any of this stuff until now).

And, as is the tradition with Fox and good television shows, they decided to cancel it due to low ratings.
RIP Dollhouse, Firefly, FreakyLinks, Dark Angel, Blood Ties, Alphas, Veronica Mars, Legend of the Seeker, Dead Like Me, Stargate Atlantis, Moonlight, Jericho, Farscape, The Gates, Freaks and Geeks, Don't Trust the Bitch in Apt 23, Daria, and so many more I am probably forgetting.
I'll never understand the ratings system. Anyhoo! There's always a risk with any show on television that it will be cancelled, I suppose. Unless it is reality TV, but that's a whole different soapbox that I will jump on down the road. Having one of your favorite television shows cancelled is depressing and disheartening. I used to get really involved in fandoms, even going so far as to help head efforts to get movies made or organize a fandom-written second season (here's glaring at you, Lifetime). Those efforts never paid off, which was even more upsetting. The passion would dwindle and the old adage "Out of sight, out of mind" (or in this case, "Off our TV screens, off our minds" might be more accurate) would come into play. And soon, I would give up and move on as well.

But something has happened in the age of the internet. People, distracted by shiny new things as they might be at times, remembered. And fans stood up and said "We want more." We've seen this happen a few times over the years, as with the Firefly and Farscape movies, and with fans of Jericho able to convince the network to bring it back (seven episodes is better than nothing!).

It seems this is happening more and more. Now fans have managed to bring back Arrested Development for another season seven years after it was cancelled. Veronica Mars fans have now financially backed the movie they have been begging for since 2004, raising over 5 million dollars to make it happen. And recently I have seen that Legend of the Seeker fans are trying to get their show back. Terry Goodkind's Facebook had a nice status about it, which surprised me since I had always heard he didn't like the show (In his defense, it does stray REALLY far from the books).

So what does all of this tell us? That there is a power in fandom unlike any other. Power enough to bring about financial miracles and resurrections despite how long ago the death might have occurred. It's humbling and empowering and encouraging. And not just that the fandoms have managed to move mountains, but that the actors and producers and writers are all on board. From what I've seen so far, the full casts of Veronica Mars and Arrested Development have all returned. If you ask just about any actor from SG1 if they would come back for a movie, the answer is always a resounding "Hell yes!" Terry Goodkind is supporting efforts to resurrect a show he has the right to hate. And why? Because they are all appreciative, if not fans themselves. They understand the power of a fandom, and they respect it. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if they were in as much awe of it as I am right now.

There's a lesson to be learned from this as writers who hope to one day gain a fandom, or who might already be building one. It doesn't matter how many books you sell. It doesn't matter how many best seller lists you make. What matters is the fans. Honor them because they are honoring you by dedicating such passion to your work.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cover Reveal for Rachel O'Laughlin's Coldness of Marek

Hey, you! Take a break! It's time for me to flaunt a shiny new book that you are gonna want to get your hands on. Today is the cover reveal for Rachel O'Laughlin's The Coldness of Marek, book one in the Serengard series, which comes out in August. Rachel is a writing buddy of mine, so there will be plenty more to come on the release. For now, check out the cover and the blurb, get to know Rachel on Twitter and Facebook, preorder the book through her website, and start counting down the days until the release! I know I will be!

Serengard has been under Orion rule for centuries. Centuries of insufferable adherence to laws and traditions that none of its people ever asked for or agreed to. Raised by her scholarly grandfather in the fiery southern city of Neroi, Trzl is out to turn the monarchy into a free society where knowledge is king and no one has to be subject to the whims of an Orion.
As the rebellion escalates, her choices have an eerie impact on the revolution at large, elevating her to a position of influence she has only dreamed of attaining. But there are downsides to her power: appearances and alliances that must be upheld. One of them is Hodran, a rich rebel who wants to aid her cause, and another is Mikel, a loyalist farmer who wants to destroy it… and who just might be winning her heart at the same time.

By the time Trzl realizes she is in too deep, she has an infant son and a dark mess of betrayal and lies. She runs, to the farthest corner of the kingdom, in hopes she will be left alone with her child. But she has a few too many demons. Someone she once trusted takes her captive among the chilling Cliffs of Marek. She is thrown back into the political mess she helped create… at the mercy of a man she never wanted for an enemy.

About Rachel O'Laughlin:
Obsessed with all things history, Rachel grew up reading adventure stories the caliber of Rafael Sabatini and only recently fell in love with fantasy as a genre. She lives in Maine with her husband and children, grows roses and tweets often. In addition to reading and writing, she loves coffee, spy series, and alternative rock.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Paranoia That Accompanies Posting Your Work Online

As I talked about in my last blog, I decided to post Heirs of War on Wattpad as I edit. I've posted all the way up to chapter 16 and am currently banging my head against the brick wall that is chapter 17 and the changes that need to be made.

But I digress. So, I've been trying to become active in the Wattpad community because, well, that's what you do. I tried to do the same with Figment, but in getting so overwhelmed by spam, I just deleted my account. Which I feel bad about because I promised some people I would read their story. One thing I have learned to be annoyed by is the people in the writing community who want something for nothing. Don't expect people to read your work or comment on your work in a contest if you aren't willing to do the same. Make a commitment to the community and you will reap the rewards.

That's a soapbox for another day, I suppose. Because the point of this blog is all about writerly insecurity. Yup, I has it. I didn't think I did. Well, not that bad anyway. But man does this whole read counts and voting system really screw with a novice writer's head. I might even blame it for my current dilemma with chapter 17. You see, I have (currently) 155 reads according to my title page with the blurb. Does that mean 155 people have read that page, or total for the story? No clue. I explored the site but didn't find an answer, got frustrated, and went back to writing.

Moving on. Chapter 1 has 61 reads, and chapters 2 and 16 have 9. But! Some of the in between chapters have as little as 2 reads. Does that mean people are skipping around? Or the reads count is inaccurate? No clue.

Moving on. Out of 61 reads, I only have 2 votes (both by people I know). Does this mean it sucks? Or do people wait until the story is complete to vote for it? No clue.

And not sure if I should move on. I'm wondering if maybe this whole Wattpad thing is creating more of a fuss in my head than it has the potential to give me reassurance that all my effort is worth it. I'm not willing to do the whole "Read/vote for my story, and I'll read/vote for yours" thing that annoyed me so much on Figment. I've got a list of stories I am going to critique, but I made it clear they owed me nothing but patience in return. If someone is going to read my story, I want it to be because they like it, not because of some deal.

Maybe that means I am the wrong kinda author for sites like that. I'm going to give Fictionpress a shot since they don't appear to have anything like the systems used on Wattpad and Figment. And I suppose I will keep posting on Wattpad until the story is done...but not with much confidence I will gain anything at this point.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Why I've Decided to Post on Wattpad

Now, I know this doesn't sound like a big deal. But it is, I swear.

The thing is, I have edited the crap out of Heirs of War. I've also queried the crap out of it. There are a few critique partners who still have it, and a few have offered their insights already. Of course, I know that you can't make everyone happy, so I've been working on incorporating some of those suggestions while I mull over a few others. I'm still working on that. I've also sent a sample to my editor friend to see what kind of editing she thinks it would need before self-publishing.
Where do I start??

Because that's what I've decided to do. Honestly, I think I decided it a while ago and was just querying out of habit. I mean, why else would I go ahead and hire a cover artist if I hadn't, somewhere in the back of my mind, decided self-publishing was the way to go? Gretchen is still working on the cover, but I'm using the last mockup she sent me in the meantime. Why? Because I can't help but show off all her awesome work.

I digress. You might be asking yourself why I would decide to post my MS on Wattpad since I am A) still editing, B) still waiting on my editor friend to get back to me along with CPs, and C) intending to self-publish anyway. The answer is simple, really.

To find out if it is worth it.

I know, I know. It sounds silly. I should have said something like "To help build an audience before I publish", which is part of the reason. But the real reason is simply validation. I've been trying to decide what to do with Heirs of War for months now, shying away from even looking at it because that question is so complicated. Do I self-publish and possibly shoot myself in the foot for future endeavors I might want to get published the traditional way? Do I rewrite the entire series to cater to the requests of the publishing world, telling the story of only one character instead of five? (Had multiple professionals advise this) Or do I shelve it completely, hoping something else I write works out better and opens the door for this to get published down the road?

Is your head spinning? I know mine has been. But then something funny happened when I watched the season finale of Doctor Who.
Who am I to argue with the Doctor?
I decided to write a one-shot fanfiction because this nagging little epilogue scene wouldn't leave me alone. I loved sharing that one moment of my fanfiction. I got reviews, the story gained followers, people favorited the story...And I was exhilarated. I wanted to write more. And believe it or not, that fanfiction helped me remember why I got into this gig to begin with.

I want to share my story, the story of these five girls embarking on five different epic journeys that will ultimately lead them all to the same path. Every trial, every romantic moment, every heartbreak, every loss--I am chomping at the bit to share these moments with all of you.

So I am going to do just that. And I am going to keep editing, keep incorporating my CPs' notes, chat with my editor friend, and gush over the new cover. When I get the finished product, I'll start the process of self-publishing. Or I'll just leave it there as I move on to book 2. Who knows? But for now, I'm just enjoying the ride.

You can find Heirs of War on Wattpad. Chapters will be posted as I finish editing them (this go round, anyway).