If You Find Time To Tweet…You Can Find Time to Write
By Liz Crowe
Thanks for having me back to your blog Drue! You have asked me a difficult question I’ll tell you. The whole “how DOES she DO it?” thing is something that many times is easy for me answer with a quip about “who needs sleep?” or “alcohol is a writer’s best friend” or something equally meaningless and benign.
But you have phrased your question in a way that does flatter me. Yeah, I’m pretty prolific but cranking out product does not necessarily equal quality work. I can think of several of the New York Times Best Selling Authors you mention who churn books and whose quality is suspect. I’m not saying that they are lazy or sloppy. No one who writes more than 1 novel per year could ever be labeled that way, trust me.
Nor will I pretend not to be sick with jealousy at the way the reading public snaps up these churned out, rewritten plots from the same author. (not to mention the copy cat novels that inevitably follow).
I puzzle over it, as I will give nearly every “OMG you gotta read this author!” recommendation I get a shot, typically through 2 novels so as to have a sense of their growth (with a few notable and famous exceptions whose books I literally discarded after 5 chapters). Because lately, the ones I’ve been told to “read because they are sooooo amazing” disappoint me by the middle of book 2. This is not the case of all, but of many, including many made newly popular to E.L. James and her erotic romance trilogy’s savvy marketing team.
That said, I respect anyone who has the willpower and self-motivation to sit and write a book.
I caught the writing bug late in my life, just 5 years ago as a matter of fact when my spouse decided I needed to spice up my reading life and bought a bunch of “best selling” erotic novels. Dang. Those were some eye opening afternoons and evenings I spent, once I got past the “oh, wow it’s going there is it?” moments. I am a voracious reader and do remember my own pleasure at the “Pleasure” of the Jean Auel cave man erotica and the brogue I heard in my had after the one Gabaldon book I managed to read. I’m a more mainstream reader. Books that don’t elaborate beyond the odd mention of a “bulge” or a “flutter” or a “and she knew what that stare meant.”
Of course, these were ….whew. And many of them were pretty bad, but I latched onto a few and started having a “hey now, what about if I pulled out a story about a couple of high powered real estate agents and left in the (whispers) hot sex?” So I did.
That was 2008. About the time I had agreed to start phasing out of my own realtor life and into the life of a “beer wench”—a part owner and marketing director of a brand new craft microbrewery in Ann Arbor. Once I popped the lid off that particular can of creative worms, I had a hard time shoving those suckers back in. They kept wriggling out, entwining me with their (pretty naughty) plot lines and characters.
So I kept writing. And finding my voice. And figuring out through trial and error, tears and frustration with varying levels of editors, publishers and others that I really ought not to consider myself in the “romance” category. I don’t fit. I don’t know the players (I still don’t really.) I don’t play by the rules. I started branching out, making my books even less formula than they were.
I fit the writing in early mornings, late at night, during lunch, whenever I can. My advantage (as I’ve been told by many) is that I do NOT have a 9-5 day job. It’s more like “evenings, weekends and whenever,” now that I’ve pawned management of the bar off to a very capable team. I find the hours. Because I want it. (see below)
Here is the funny (strange) thing about this though. Between the years of 2008 and the end of 2013, I have written, revised, re-written, had edited (some of them 4-5 rounds of editing), approved cover art, promoted and released 26 works of fiction.
The shortest (the original Decadent Publishing OneNight Stand Turkish Delight that became a series) at 9,000 words. The longest, the recently released final novel of the Stewart Realty series GOOD FAITH at 220,000 words. Some I have taken back from their original publisher and have either re-released (Vegas Miracle) or am holding in reserve for a major rewrite later this year (the former “brewing passion” series that will reemerge as a mainstream novel set in the brewing world about a lady brewery owner)
I did all of that while in my busiest possible years, finishing up my real estate career and seguing into brewery ownership and marketing. Now that I’ve reached the “step back and take a breath” stage with the brewery, I feel like I’m slowing down on the writing side as well. But really, it’s more about letting concepts age a little before I grab my laptop and start cranking. I do more note taking. I do a lot more planning and outlining –- which is to say I “started” outlining thanks to orders from a new writing mentor I found late last year.
But to your question, “How Does Liz Do It?” I want it That’s how. I want my brewery to grow beyond all expectations so I drag that beer in front of every possible group of potential new drinkers. I send out press releases and samples for judging. I never stop talking about it. We got a VERY nice national bit of press this year for a ground breaking brew as a result.
I want to be one of the NYT Best Selling authors who makes money. One with a cable tv deal. I think I can get there. I know I’m not gonna get there by accident or fluke of fate or readership. I won’t get there by doing nothing BUT promoting either. So, I write. I learn. I take criticism of my work from people I respect (and sometimes pay) and absorb it. I read books (no author who claims “I’m way too busy writing to read” should be considered serious or to have any staying power). I shift and adjust to the market when I can, with the help of my primary publisher Tri Destiny. But I write books I want to read. The one time I deviated and let an editor bully me into completely changing a book I also learned—I learned I would never do THAT again.
I keep an image in my mind: the one of my writing hero (as he is to zillions of other), Stephen King. I started reading his books when I was about 12 and while I am still not a huge fan of his more overtly horror novels I have yet to read a book as complex and amazing as The Stand. He tells the story of his first publishing contract (For Carrie) after years and years and years of submitting and writing articles and submitting and being ignored. While it was a totally differently world in that day (sans the “publish it yourself and be damned” route that I am not discounting, trust me) he still personifies, to me, what it takes.
That cat deserves every damn dollar in his giant bank account. I am a rabid fan and if I ever met him or (my dream) get to collaborate with him (I already have the concept Steve…have your people call my people it has Oscar Winning Movie written all over it) I might just swoon like a Regency romance heroine (whatever that is). Many authors who are finding a quick way to the top don’t even have enough talent in their entire bodies that King has in his throw away fiction moments. So I picture him, sitting leaning against the garbage cans clutching the letter of acceptance for Carrie and yelling, loud. And I keep writing. It’s the only way.
Work. More work. Dedication to your craft and your goal. Being willing to learn from honest criticism. And never giving up no matter how much you wish this was a spring, and not a marathon. Don’t let the flash in the pan sprinters who are successful over night fool you. And, in the brave new world of social networking and self-promotion, I allow myself 4 hours of that daily, but at key points when I know people are paying attention (early morning around 6, at noon and again after 8 p.m.) but never ever neglect the power of “real networking.” I’m no writing cave troll. I gotta be around people. And when I am they like to talk about beer and books. So… I talk. A lot.
Best of luck to you and your writing goals, everyone. Make it work for you. That is what’s really important. And forget sleep…oh, and find your favorite alcohol and buy it in bulk.
Amazon best-selling author, beer blogger and beer marketing expert, mom of three, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great Midwest, in a major college town. She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse. While working as a successful Realtor, Liz made the leap into writing novels about the same time she agreed to take on marketing and sales for the Wolverine State Brewing Company.
Most days find her sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, unless she’s writing, editing or sweating promotional efforts for her latest publications.
Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”). More recently she is garnering even more fans across genres with her latest novels, which are more character-driven fiction, while remaining very much “real life.”
With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and many times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate, and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.
If you are in the Ann Arbor area, be sure and stop into the Wolverine State Brewing Co. Tap Room—but don’t ask her for anything “like” a Bud Light, or risk serious injury.
Find Liz online at the following places:
Stewart Realty Anthology: The Jack and Sara Trilogy
Stewart Realty: Life in the House Lane
Love is an easy word to use, a hard one to demonstrate, and sometimes impossible to trust.
The Stewart Realty series is a sweeping epic, encompassing many years in the lives of two people who know how to love with their bodies, how to please and get pleasure, to control and be controlled. When it comes to the deeper meaning of the one word they both need, backgrounds and personalities get in the way. While their physical connection sizzles they somehow manage to continuously disappoint one another on an emotional level.
Jack Gordon has it all—money, success, a string of women—but also a deep longing for something more. When he thinks he finds it with Sara Jane Thornton, his world is never the same again. Sara releases a side of himself he considered buried out of frustration and unhappiness. Sara soon learns that she must trust him implicitly, something she cannot do, no matter how many times she tries…and he fails.
With a rich cast of secondary characters, including a young man who presents a near-perfect foil to Jack’s intensity, and who falls hard for Sara, The Stewart Realty series is a saga with an emphasis on contemporary life with a healthy dose of realistic eroticism. A tale of modern, busy, driven people seeking the ever-elusive and highly coveted combination—a friend, lover and trusted companion who will be there for the long haul.
Start at the beginning, with the Jack and Sara Trilogy, now for the first time ever in a print anthology. The Stewart Realty series is a best seller in family saga and urban fiction categories. See for yourself what the buzz is all about.
AND THERE’S MORE:
GOOD FAITH, Liz’s final, epic, mainstream fiction novel of the Stewart Realty series continues to enthrall readers and reviewers. As part of the re-release of the first 3 books of the series that focus on Jack and Sara’s early years, her publisher is offering GOOD FAITH for just $0.99 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble for the month-long duration the tour. You do not have to “know” these characters to appreciate Good Faith. But a great way to get to know them is to start with re-released anthology and then read Good Faith. It’s not every day you can get a long, juicy, well-crafted novel for just a buck. But thanks to this tour, you can, for just 4 weeks.
You couldn’t possibly think that was ALL could you?
Of course there is a giveaway!
LIZ WILL CHOOSE FROM AMONG COMMENTERS ACROSS THE ENTIRE TOUR AND AWARD THE FOLLOWING PRIZES IN MID-MARCH:
2 signed copies of the new Stewart Realty “Jack & Sara Trilogy” print anthology (U.S. ONLY)
1 signed print copy OR 1 eBook copy of GOOD FAITH, the critically acclaimed final novel of the Stewart Realty series (e-book available internationally, print is U.S. only)
1 Stewart Realty SWAG PACK complete with “I heart Ann Arbor mug” (U.S. only) and more!