The Realities of Writing

Like most wanna be authors, I went into this whole idea of writing a book – and getting it published – with a sweet naiveté akin to a toddler approaching a pit bull that was trained by a backwoods psychopath.

Pit Bull with baby 1892

All it takes is a great story, well written, with likeable characters and some good imagery, right?  A wonderfully intelligent and inspired publisher will pick it up and – voila! – I’ll have myself a contract, with plans for publishing the whole series.

Oh, how wrong I was.  There’s so much more to it.  First there’s the editing process, which I am beginning to realize could go on for years.  Every time I reread a passage, I want to write it a little bit differently.  And, as I’ve received reviews from a few friends (which, fortunately, were generally very promising), I recognize still more passages that need improvement.

Then there’s the question: to agent, or not to agent?  I was blithely on the path toward submitting to publishers without an agent, but then a talk with my friend Kyra Jacobs made me doubt the wisdom in this.  So, I’m now in the early stages of researching and querying agents.

Another thing to consider:  Publishers want an author who already has a national platform.  My blog gets an average of 375 hits a day, about 80% of which might actually be people.  Honestly, I can’t imagine who these 300 people are.

Hello? lo…lo….lo…

Hello? lo…lo…lo…

Did you hear the echo?  Try it yourself.  I swear there’s an echo.

Seriously.  Sometimes I don’t think anyone’s really out there.  I’m convinced that I have five friends who read the blog, but perhaps a publisher can be convinced otherwise?

Honestly, though, when I looked at my numbers today and compared them to those from a year ago, I realized that my traffic has actually increased by about 2.5 times.  Do I have the national platform publishers want?  I’m not sure.  But, I’ll celebrate the growth, and thank the readers who are out there for their ongoing support. (Now, would you please, please, pretty please add a comment, so I know you’re really out there?  I swear I hear crickets chirping.)

Regardless, I need to continue to grow this platform, so now I’m researching how to increase blog readership.

Then, there’s the fact that my hubby isn’t a big fan of my “work” that has yet to bring in any real money, so I also need to make a better effort to monetize the site.  How to do that?  (Note the new Google ad.  My old blog was still somehow drawing in a few pennies a month from a Google ad, even though I haven’t posted to it in a year and a half, so I figured I’d better throw one on this site as well.)

Then there’s the fact that I need to get out and network with other writers, to share in the joys and sorrows of this biz, learn from them, and hope that – maybe – they can even learn a little something from me.  I think I’ll enjoy this aspect of author life, but for now I’m just struggling to figure out where, how, when, and with whom I should do it.

So, that’s the reality of writing.  It’s one tenth creative art and nine tenths research, marketing and administration.  The creative art fills me up to overflowing, makes me feel that I am fulfilling my purpose in life, and using my God-given talents for His glory.  The research, marketing, and admin part sucks me dry, uses up what little spare time I possess, and leaves me feeling that I’m peddling and peddling but my tires are bare and I’m going up the road to Mt. Evans.

Don’t worry, I’m keeping the faith.  I believe this is God’s work, and He will provide everything I need.  Nonetheless, I ask for your prayers, encouragement, and any advice you may have to give!

P.S. Thanks to my friend, author Kyra Jacobs, who has very generously shared her time and knowledge with me. If you enjoy a good romantic suspense novel, grab a copy of her book, Armed With Steele!  The cover may seem a little steamy for my readers, but I promise it’s quite tame by romance standards!  🙂  And as an added bonus, it’s set in my hometown of Ft. Wayne, IN!
And, yes, that’s an affiliate link. Monetize, right?






13 comments on “The Realities of Writing
  1. Jenna Vershay says:

    Continued prayers for all your endeavors through the writing/editing/publishing process!

  2. Jen says:

    I’m here…..

    Ps why do I have to do math in order to leave a comment? Thankfully I’m wearing sandals so I can use my toes.

    • stephanie says:

      Lol! And the fact that your toes are well manicured is an added bonus!

      The math is so I don’t have to moderate crazy amounts of spam comments about increasing the size of a man’s eh-hem or improving your experience of… Relations.

  3. Tricia Diagostino says:

    Stephanie, I love reading your blog! Keep the faith…plant seed, God will bring the rain!

    • stephanie says:

      Where’s that bag? Darn it, I know I put the bag with the seeds around here somewhere! HAS ANYONE SEEN THE BAG????
      😉 thanks, Tricia!

  4. Kyra Jacobs says:

    Always glad to help, Stephanie, and always love a good chat about all things writing. I love your story (and of course this blog), and know by His grace it will get to where it needs to go. Fingers crossed that the agent road is short and relatively painless. 😉
    (P.S. thanks for the plug!)

  5. stephanie hanouw says:

    You are a great writer so don’t stop now, God bless.

    • stephanie says:

      Stephanie, I so appreciate your comments on my posts. Thank you soooo much, and please, please, please keep them coming!

  6. Hi Stephanie~
    In the flurry of graduations and major house cleaning (to host graduation parties and not have the health dept called out in haz-mat suits) I have lost your contact info. Anyway, you are likely in the midst of your move here to the Indy area and getting to know the folks at your lovely new parish. I have not forgotten your interest in forming/ joining a writers group. As your schedule settles in, let me know of your availablilty. I do not have a bunch of responsibilities right now, so I’m rather flexible. I can put the word out to some others aspiring writers I know who have expressed a similar interest and could bring some healthy (and fun) eclecticism to such a group. By the way, if you are blogging, you ARE a writer. Blogging is a very difficult form of writing because the content, the style, the editing and the art and layout department are all performed by the same (unpaid) employee…you! Congrats! You Are A Writer! Kassie
    **italicized portion edited for privacy content by the webmaster**

    • stephanie says:

      Thanks, Kassie. Yes, I am up to my eyeballs in “move” with no end in sight, since we’re still getting the old house ready to put on the market. Grrrr. I am hoping to make it to the CWG conference at the end of July, and praying that life will be settled by early fall… which is probably a better time to start a writers’ group, anyways!

      Thank you for your encouragement and support. I am working to become comfortable with saying, “I’m an author” when people ask what I do, but I feel like I ought to cross my fingers behind my back when I do so… and then head to the confessional for fudging the truth.

      Congratulations on the graduation(s) in your family! And to having a clean house. I’m letting cleanliness go while I focus on purging closets, repairing drywall, and painting walls.

      I’ll be in touch soon about that group!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *