Congratulations to E, Marie Foose, and OnaMarae! They all won an ebook copy of The Beast that Never Was! Woo!
Check it out! Today we have a special guest blogger! Caren J Werlinger is here to talk about her latest release, The Beast that Never Was.
She’s also giving away THREE e-book copies! Drop a comment into the space below. It’s that simple to enter the giveaway.
Is Writing a Faustian Pact?
by Caren J. Werlinger
Like a lot of writers, I spent years penning my first novel, hiding it away, too embarrassed to admit to anyone I was actually writing a book. I wrote it privately, dreaming of someday being published, but not really daring to think it could happen.
After I finally finished it and let a few people read it, I took the plunge of trying to submit to publishers. Back then, that meant querying agents to get an acquiring editor interested enough to request the manuscript. Nada. Somewhere, I still have all of those rejection letters, and the manuscript slunk back into the darkness to languish for a long time.
Eventually, I dug it back out and looked at it with fresh eyes. I tore it apart and rewrote much of it, and this time found a small publisher willing to publish it!
Ah… being published. It was the pinnacle. I thought there couldn’t be a better feeling. But you know what? That feeling of satisfaction didn’t last very long. Soon after getting that first book published, I wanted people to actually read it. I wanted them to review it. I wanted it to do well in awards.
That’s the nature of this thing we do, and I’ve come to wonder if it isn’t a bit like a deal with the devil. At first, we write for some internal reason, but once a book is released, once we dare to put a piece of our soul out there, we want more. We crave external validation that what we put out there is good, and if we don’t get it, it makes us question why we do what we do. It makes us grumpy.
Maybe that external validation part doesn’t apply to everyone, but I know it does to me (and my partner would vouch for the grumpy part).
R.G. Emanuelle recently wrote a blog HERE, talking about self-love for authors – how to keep your head on straight when the public accolades aren’t coming and no one visits your Facebook page and your Tweets get lost in the Tweet-o-sphere (I’m not sure what tweeting actually is, so…).
I’ve been in a similar place lately. It hasn’t stopped me from writing, but it has made me question how long I want to keep banging my head against this proverbial wall – a wall made of gazillions of other books and authors and readers. It’s daunting. But I keep writing. Why?
Because my head is full of stories that want telling. As a good friend reminded me recently, my stories are kind of different. Most of them are not romances and even the ones that are, are more complicated than most of the light-hearted fare out there.
But I also write because I can. I have another job that pays the bills, so I can write what my heart tells me to write. I don’t have to write to a formula that sells. I’m a hybrid author – my two 2015 releases were published by Ylva Publishing, but I have published my other books under my own imprint, Corgyn Publishing.
My newest release is a book I really wanted to do myself. The Beast That Never Was is based on a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke that I translated years ago. The story that came from it is loosely based on Beauty and the Beast. I didn’t intend for it to turn out that way. It just did. But I am really happy with how it came together, and I can publish it just as it is, even if only twenty people read it.
Another reason I write is because it allows me the freedom to give back.
Caveat: This blog post is now going to go off on a little tangent.
I was pondering this blog entry earlier this week when I came across an old copy of “National Geographic” from August 2014 which featured a story called “Hunger In America.” In the editor’s note at the beginning of that issue, Susan Goldberg tells an anecdote in which she was joking with Cleveland educators about how much kids must love snow days up there with all the lake effect snow. Their response: “We try never to close the schools. When we do, a lot of kids won’t eat.”
Some of you reading this may know that every spring and fall since I started Corgyn Publishing in 2012, I’ve held a fundraiser for my local food bank.
People who have never been hungry (me included) don’t realize how many free breakfasts and lunches public schools give out each and every day. This time of year, as schools start to close for the summer, food banks and soup kitchens will be overwhelmed with increased demand. Poor families struggle even more when school is not in session.
The timing of this guest blog couldn’t be better!
I’ve pledged 50% of my May and June royalties to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. What a great opportunity to get word out to all of you that you can do two great things at once – you can read some really (really!) good books AND you can help a very worthy charity.
If you’ve read all of my books, THANK YOU! Really. Thank you. Maybe you’re in a position to be able to donate to your own local food bank.
To express my thanks in a more material way, I’m giving away 3 e-books of my brand-spankin’-new release, The Beast That Never Was to commenters on this blog!
So, back to my original theme, this Faustian thing we do – yes in some ways, it does feel like a deal with the devil. And when I start to question why I do it, all I have to do is step back and remind myself of the real reasons I write.
I was raised in Ohio, the oldest of four children. Much of my childhood was spent reading everything I could get my hands on, and writing my own variations on many of those stories where I could play the hero, rescuing the girl and winning her love. Then I grew up and went to college where I completed a degree in foreign languages and later another in physical therapy where for many years, my only writing was research-based, including a very dry therapeutic exercise textbook. In the mid-nineties, I began writing creatively again and re-discovered how much fun it is. My first novel, Looking Through Windows, was published in 2008 and won a GCLS award for Debut Author. In 2012, I decided to begin publishing my own books under my imprint, Corgyn Publishing. Corgyn’s first release, Miserere, followed in late 2012 to excellent reviews. 2013 saw the release of two new novels, In This Small Spot and Neither Present Time as well as the re-release of Looking Through Windows.
I live in Virginia with my partner, Beth, and our canine fur-children. That’s Hermione (the cute, furry one) in the photo above.