Anne B. Walsh - Do you believe in magic?

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Anne's Randomness

Five minutes

So it seems a few things from yesterday's post require clarification. (This is me, after all. Nothing's ever clear the first time through.) I'm working on keeping my temper better, and I do apologize for being whiny on the subject... but can you tell me truthfully, looking at the numbers I quoted, you wouldn't be a trifle annoyed yourself?
Also, the monetary aspects of the post were not meant, and are never meant, to apply to the people who truly can't afford it. Trust me, I've been there. Never quite at the stage where I had to dig through the couch to pay the bills, but watching every dollar? Absolutely been there. It's one of the reasons I keep writing the free stuff.
What I didn't make clear enough, yesterday, is that the greatest killer of authorial confidence, happiness, and ability to keep writing, at least for me, is not nasty criticisms (though they're certainly no fun). It's not even lack of sales (though that's also no fun). It is something related to, but not identical with, those. It is silence.
If you can't afford the originals right now, tell me so. Tell me that you're interested in them but can't buy them yet, or that you're saving up for a special occasion, or that you've asked for them as a gift. I've been known to send coupon codes for discounted books, or even free ones, to people who have "paid" me in other currencies.
What other currencies do I mean? That's simple. Time. Attention. Which, yes, I know, a lot of us don't have much of those free either! But put yourself in my place. You've worked hard on these [stories, songs, artworks, crafts, projects of any kind] and you're proud of them. You send them off into the world. And in response you get...
Well, the response varies a lot, and I work hard to appreciate what I do get. Which can be, and often is, quite substantial. Thanks to those who stick with me through the Amazing Fluctuating Temperament. But when I can see my readership for the fan writing rising, but only my old faithfuls take the time to respond, it frustrates me.
Again, put yourself in my shoes. Imagine that you can see the number of people who have specifically requested to be told that you're producing new work, and it's going up. Now imagine that at the same time, the tangible response you receive for that work is going down. If that wouldn't bug you, you're a much better person than I am.
One of my commenters, yesterday, mentioned that posts like these are one reason she might hesitate to purchase an original, because she's worried that I might react angrily. For that, I do apologize, because I don't want to scare people away. But I try very hard to always respond in a similar tone to that in which I was addressed.
What does that mean? If you yell at me, condescend to me, be rude to me, I will return the favor. If you have criticisms, and heaven knows my work's not perfect, phrase them politely and I will try and accept them the same way. I can't guarantee I'll always succeed, but I do my best not to scream at people who want to help me.
As for being a public figure, and looking good... I'd love to be able to be the noble statue of an angel, always taking the high road, always suffering slings and arrows in silence. Unfortunately my mother gave birth to a human being. Prick me, I bleed, and probably I also cuss at you, because what are you doing with that needle, anyway?
I'm working very hard on finding appropriate responses to the various forms of communication that my readers use to tell me what they think of my work. I'm not always going to get it right the first time, or the second, or the fifteenth. But as I said above, silence is one of the least helpful responses anybody can receive.
In many contexts, silence means consent. If you don't protest something, most people will assume you're okay with it. With the current state of my writing, I'm more okay than it sometimes sounds like I am, but please, people. Take five minutes. Talk to me. Because from where I sit, silence doesn't mean consent. It means emptiness.
If my originals don't sound interesting to you, you know what? I'm okay with that. (I may do a little grumping to my cats but they're used to it.) But give me something. Review the fan fiction, like a status on the Facebook page, retweet one of my goofy everyday adventures. Silence leaves me feeling like I'm shouting into a void.
Also, do consider the number of comments on my originals I get that start out with some variation of the phrase "I normally don't like [genre] but..." I'm not very good at writing back-cover text, so it's possible I'm doing my originals a disservice there. Samples are available at Amazon and Smashwords... at least have a look? Please?
I hope this makes things clearer, and somewhat less scary. Props to everyone who puts up with me -- I know it can't be easy. Now, for pretzels and tea, and then off to write wrestling puppies and magical swords. (Yes, that does mean you get a chapter of Surpassing Danger by the end of the week. Sometimes I gripe to a purpose.)
Thanks for spending five minutes with me today!

10 Comments to Five minutes:

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Haminac on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 5:39 PM
Ok, the time gap freaks me out xD I just reviewed the new post and now there's already something new and nobody answered it, yet... Anyway: i AM looking forward to the new chapter DV but I also greatly enjoy the R&WD. R&WD makes me feel like, everything turns out nicely. It's like fluffy chocolaty warmy... something. I like it. Related to the current blog post: I think you are not a person of public interest. Yet. So you have some time to learn how to react and better not react. You are willing to learn as far as I can observe, so I am seeing no problems there. Sure, some things you might never get over easily, but as you said you are a human being and thus object to failure sometimes. Also I cannot understand people who are scared away by an authors behaviour, because I tend to focus on their work, but I understand that not everybody shares that opinion. Again I refer to the learning curve that seems to be there :] So this was my other five optimistic minutes for you today. Wishing you joy of it :D
Reply to comment
Anne on Thursday, December 12, 2013 10:14 AM
Yep, it's a pretty fluffy story. I thought that would be best for what it was originally designed for (the raise-money-for-cancer anthology). Thanks for the encouragement!

Ashley on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 7:08 PM
I'm being lazy here and not looking it up myself (don't judge!) but how much would it cost to buy all the originals you currently have out (in book form, not kindle)? I don't have an interest in the genre myself, but I think my MIL & SIL might enjoy them. :) Although, I might end up enjoying them too...if so I will definitely buy my own set! I've been reading your HP series since right after you started LwD (maybe 10 chapters in?) and used to be active in the group and I would love to support your work! Very happy to see that you're publishing, even if it's currently on a small scale (for now). :P
Reply to comment
Anne on Thursday, December 12, 2013 10:19 AM
As the roommate could tell you, I am the last person in the world who should be judging others for laziness! Let's see here... if you are a US resident, then my Etsy site is your best bet for paper books, and one copy of everything, including shipping, would run you just over $50. If you want them for this holiday, though, contact me to find out which ones you'll need to order directly. If you live somewhere else, let me know where and we'll go over options. Thanks!

Julia on Thursday, December 12, 2013 1:24 AM
I'm one of those people who very rarely comments, so sorry about that. I have bought all of your originals (I'm haven't read Kildeer yet, but I'm looking forward to it)and I'm working on recommending them to other people. The only problem is that if I loan them my books, they won't buy their own copy, and I have enough money to buy things that I want or support within reason, but not enough to buy them for everyone else. I kinda understand what some people have said about certain originals not being a genre they are interested in, but that doesn't really make sense to me. What makes a book good is the writing, the character development, the flow and the storytelling, not whether it is set in the past, on Mars or in Harry Potter land. If the DV readers just wanted Harry Potter fanfic, they have tons and tons of stuff to chose from, but they specifically want DV. And yes DV is set in Harry Potter world, but you developed her DV characters and settings in a way that is only tangentially related to JK Rowling's Harry Potter. Of course it uses enough of JK Rowling's stuff that you can't sell your DV stuff, but it also has lots of it's own plots, characters, etc. If the storytelling in DV wasn't there, it wouldn't matter what world it was set in. So if the storytelling is there, it still doesn't really matter what world it is set in, it will still be good. If you wrote a book on algebra, I would be confused, because I didn't see how good storytelling and character development would help in making algebra any more interesting, but with historical fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, pretty much anything fiction and some non-fiction, these things count, and if you like the writer, I don't know why you wouldn't like the book. When other authors I read jump genres, I'm willing to check them out in their new genre and I'm usually pretty pleased, so I'd suggest DV readers give you that chance. Also it is fun to look for the pairings and match the original characters to their possible DV counterparts, at least in Homecoming and Widow (if I'm remembering correctly.) Hopefully my really long comment will make up for at least a couple of the many times I didn't comment.
Reply to comment
Anne on Thursday, December 12, 2013 10:21 AM
Thank you so very much, first off. There is much happy author purring coming from this direction. Widow was actually not consciously based on the DV, though I'm sure there are shades of it in there... I can't write in a universe for 8-9 years without it leaving SOME traces! In Homecoming, on the other hand, the parallels are intentional. So glad to hear from you!

buffarama on Thursday, December 12, 2013 2:07 AM
*passes panther brownies* I don't respond much, and i'm rotten at reviews, but i try to wait til i get home to read your stuff, just so i can review. sometimes i forget.
Reply to comment
Anne on Thursday, December 12, 2013 10:22 AM
Brownies. *takes big old bite* They make up for so much.

Scott M on Thursday, December 12, 2013 12:54 PM
In my case, all of the books I don't already have are on my Christmas list, so I'm holding off to see what I get. Then I can pick up the missing ones in the new year. :-)
Reply to comment
Anne on Thursday, December 12, 2013 1:20 PM
I approve of this plan.

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