TODAY’S BREW: Kristen and I will begin consumption of alllll the Godiva Pumpkin Spice
But really both of us
I’m just the one typing and it’s at my apartment.
Kristen and I became the Undead Duo when we started writing our vampire books together three and a half years ago, though we’ve been friends since we were both frizzy haired pre-teens living in the same apartment complex. We started this blog to document our writing journey as friends, as then unpublished, unagented writers starting from scratch.
Life changed. So we’re going to do a series of blog posts, a Then and Now-er to show you a few things:
- There is no worse mistake than not trying.
- When you don’t like the rules, change them. Scowl at those who protest.
- The Undead Duo is still a duo, baby.
- There’s more than one way to skin a book. You get it. You know what I mean. Stop that.
So, we’re kicking this sucker off with a Duo Interview. A few questions we came up with that we’ll both answer.
How is writing going now that we don’t get together 2 or 3 times a week to beat each other over the head and motivate one another?
(paraphrased, because we’re sitting together on my couch right now discussing this.) We’re both a lot busier than we used to be, and so our writing dates are rare these days. We both miss getting together, having a beer or 4 and writing until the wee hours together, but these days Kristen has two full time jobs between makeup and book writing/marketing. I’ve got two kids on two different school schedules, one of which has OCD and hyperactivity, plus I’ve been doing developmental editing consistently in addition to always writing a book.
The point of all this is WE STILL ALWAYS ARE WRITING BOOKS. Circumstances have changed, but we got each other into routines, and we know that if the other isn’t writing for a period something is wrong. Usually we see that in more ways than one, because if you’ve ever taken writing away from the writer, you’ll see that it gets ugly reeaaallly fast. Writing is a part of our professional lives now, and it’s because we made it that way. While we still hang out together and still have our hands in the other’s work, we have a routine in our own lives now that we created together.
As Kristen said, “I no longer need daily goals, that if I don’t reach I know you’re going to kick my butt, I do it because these characters are kicking the inside of my skull. The words come pretty easily, as long as I can sit down and write them. Where before I would have been really proud of a 200 word day, 2000 words is more the norm now.”
How is your writing approach different now than it was a few years ago?
Kristen: “Before if I hit 1000 words it was an event, something to be congratulated. Now it’s part of my daily life, the words need to come out.”
Julie: “I lived on a 1000 word a day diet for quite some time, getting up at 5 in the morning to get my word count in, or going to Kristen’s to have some quiet. Now my words happen at different times of the day, and there’s no way to have the utter concentration I once did. So I edit, I revise, I commit to getting it on paper throughout the day.”
What’s different and what’s the same?
Kristen: “The delivery method. I’m no longer looking for an agent or a publisher, I’m seeking no one’s approval. Self-publishing is a small business that I’m running. I have a lot more responsibility now that circles around the writing. I commission my editors and designers. I set all release dates and approve all marketing. If something isn’t working, I don’t have to lump it any more. I change it. I can try new things. I’ve always been a bit of a control freak, and this is perfect for me. I’m much happier on my own than I was chasing an ideal that I’m not convinced really exists.”
Julie: “What’s the same is that I write what I want, what’s speaking to me no matter what the trend. What’s different is now I know that I don’t need to kiss agent ass in order to find one. My agent saw spark in my work, and he was into it and into me. It had nothing to do with trying to impress. I also know that there are a lot of ways to get a book out, and every book might require a different way. The Shinigami series is published through Books of the Dead Press. The Harpy is being marketed to larger publishers through my agent. The Animal has a different path and timing. And who knows about the one I’m working on now? What I do know is that my books will come out one way or the other. There is no try, there is only do.”
We began taking every step of the writing journey together, from first draft to querying agents, to posting our books online for critique, but we’ve ended up in very different places. Why do you think that is?
Kristen: “I think different opportunities presented themselves to us at very different times, and we had different needs and goals even if we didn’t realize it. We both wanted our books out but that meant something different for both of us and we didn’t know what we didn’t know. And once we were both published, success looked very different to each of us. And in some ways we were both so grateful to have books out that we never dared to talk about what else we wanted. We both found success to be in different things.”
Julie: “I agree. I think we needed the support and it was hugely helpful to go through publication being able to see the differences between my path through small press at that time and yours through being put on submission with larger publishers through an agent, then self-publishing. It’s helped me learn allllll the options out there and make a more educated decision for each one of my books. Starting together and taking parallel paths made me realize that the rules are always changing in publishing and I can make that work for me.”
Well, that’s it! Our Undead Interview for this week and next week we’ll dive into what our expectations were up until this point and what we actually got. We’ll pick over our choices and mistakes and maybe get a little ugly. See you then.