You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
While I agree with it in fact, I don’t feel it is truly factual, or wholly factual? I should say. I have broken this rule myself, and let’s face it, an up and coming writer has to bank on it being broken.
While I agree this saying holds true for say, a 32 year old interviewing for the CFO of a muti-billion dollar company, I think (and pray) there are cases where this is, well, not the case.
As much as I agree with the once-a-dick-always-a-dick kind of thing, there are circumstances where I think; no, not really.
Like the dick I dated at 17 with a black Trans Am, Member’s Only jacket, and bad boy attitude in full bloom. He was a HUGE DICK back then, and if you would’ve ask me at 17, or even at 25, I would’ve said he was a pox riddled dick that needed to masturbate with a chainsaw. However, he turned out to be a really great guy later in life. Faithful husband (as far as I know), devoted dad and not the party favor prison bitch I killed a chicken and danced naked in the moonlight, while praying to unseen forces he’d become.
Same with actors, writers and other artists. I hated some of their early work. There were times I wanted to jump through the movie screen and strangle the fuck out of an overacting, wooden bastard, whom I now go all gooey eyed and wet Victorias over. No, I will not mention specifics, but I said more than once that they would never become anyone and I would never spend a dime on their work. WRONGO – Same with some of my absolute FAVORITE authors, again, I will not name names. I will say that one book was so bad, (IN MY OPINION), some passages are still a running joke in my house, but I read every word they’ve written since then faithfully, and stalk them creepily on social media.
Because like Trans Am dick, they grew. And as they did, they changed. In the case of artists, got better in their craft. So while that first impression is there, and it’s true that it will never go away, I do not believe that is always all she wrote, fat lady singing, and curtain closing type final.
When it’s an arena where you can grow, whether literally or metaphorically, I think this saying shouldn’t apply.
While I like to think I am the greatest author in the world, the truth of the matter is, I’m not even close. BUT, what I am, is growing. Growing with every sentence and I hope I never stop doing so. Just reading the 2 books I’ve published, I see tremendous growth. And that’s saying something considering I think I’m the Muhammad Ali of authors. LOL (actually I don’t, I’m very insecure in that arena)
The problem I face as a just starting out, independent author, is getting people to know when to apply the first impression thing and when to fucking throw it out the window.
I’ve heard that many authors (even some big ones) go back and entirely re-write their first books because they personally think they are awful. Now, if authors themselves find them horrid, then why should little ole me expect all the readers in the world to find my first book brilliant?
The truth is I never did. I was so blown away by the people who enjoyed it, I cried, yes, me who only cries over fictional characters and my kids, cried over real people. While the bad reviews stung, still do. (I’m being nice by saying sting, they fucking burn like a bitch.) I expected them, prepared for them, the best I could anyway, but I never prepared for people to say nice things, so when they did, my soul ate that shit up like warm Krispy Kremes at 3am. And in doing so, it made the bad so much worse. I got a taste of something sweet that I never anticipated, making the expected more bitter.
But even worse than the taste in my mouth, is the fact that some people will never know that I can do better, am doing better.
So, I have a proposal for anyone with who (whom? I never know which) I made a bad first impression.
Well, I’m off to work on book 3 (which by the way will be better than 1 & 2) and maybe save the citizens of Solstheim from the evil Miraak.
Where to start, where to start. I guess somewhere in the middle, that’s logical.
NOTE: People said similar, yet story appropriate things about Indelible You, but since no one but me knew it was intentional, and there was only one book out, I didn’t even address it. Now that I have 2 of the 4 books out and more people are reading and reviewing and sharing their thoughts, I decided it is a good time to share some things running through my head while writing this series, and maybe give you a bit of an insight into the people of Imagine Ink.
I hate that I may lose readers because of my approach, but I am still committed to the continuity of this series. (Not all my work will follow this track.) I am learning from my readers though, and the things being mentioned that were not intentional on my part, are noted and will make the next book better. So please, keep commenting and reviewing, it matter so much, especially to me, as I am learning as I go, so to speak.
I wrote/am writing this series to be 4 books that you can read in any order or just 1 and still be able to enjoy it and not feel completely lost in a story that makes little sense without the previous one. However, I am also writing it to have a richer texture if you chose to read them in order. Rather than make them dependent on each other, or on the other side, treat the main characters of previous books as simply window dressing for the rest of the series, I took a different route.
As with Walker and Erika’s story (Book 1), I tried to tell it in a unique way, as unique as one can be in romance anyway. But, just because six letters appeared on the last page of the book, their stories didn’t end. I promise I will not take anyone’s HEA away down the line, but I will shake it up a bit from time to time. Why? Because one person’s story doesn’t end just because they find their soul mate or simply because someone else’s story begins. Not to mention, we are a part of the story of those we are close to, so it seems natural to me.
With Book 1 the main characters weren’t together for the majority of the book. Some people hated it, some loved it. I took the risk. I didn’t address Walker’s past in detail, again, there was love and hate for that. I also included a touch of everyone’s point of view. This was a cardinal sin apparently. Some people have expressed how much they love it, but the majority were not impressed. (FYI – I am working on a different version of book 1 that eliminates the additional POVs, but I will add it as a point-something maybe, rather than replace the original. See, your reviews can impact a book.)
Book 1 took place over a 5 – 6 month span with the mains having a history. Book 2 is condensed to 3 – 4 months and overlaps Book 1, and the mains had not met prior. So I did tend to put them (Tori & Michael) into sexual situations a bit quickly, for more than one reason. Love me or hate me, I did that on purpose, and you will see some effects of that play out in the future. Some already have on my Scrivener document.
If you read Book 1 you will notice that there were things seemingly omitted from that book, like Walker’s history for example. I hate to tell you, but I did that intentionally too. I wanted to add to people we think we know as we go. Because, let’s face it, no one peels back their layers all at once and exposes themselves completely. It happens gradually. People do not grow in a one season like tomatoes or peas, but over time and continually. So while you do not need to read the rest of the series to enjoy any one book and understand the general bent of the characters, it will give you a few ah-ha moments if you do, and hopefully bond you with them a bit. Some of you were left wondering at the end of Indelible You how Tori would feel about her mom making the executive decision not to bring her home during the shit storm, why is Walker so black and white on marriage, etc., however, it didn’t detract from the Book 1 story line for every reader, or so I’ve been told. Hopefully though, it added to Book 2, and even down the line as people continue to work through their issues and grow as individuals.
Wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, the thought that prompted this long winded blog post. It is one of those things, like Walker’s history, that had already been addressed in my head and Books 2, 3 & 4, just not that a reader would know yet. While some of these things, and others, are starting to be noticed by observant readers, if what they say is taken at face value, it isn’t a huge detractor from their enjoyment of the story, and that’s a good thing. But I do hope as the series moves along, readers will feel a bit more connected because of the way I did things along the way.
I knew the risk involved in doing some of the things I did. I know that some readers will give up after not finishing Book 1 or 2. But if I’m lucky, some readers out there will embrace the oddity and stick with Imagine Ink through it all. While some might not even notice what I’ve done, some may hate it. Others, like analytical readers, note it and either accept it at face value or wait with bated breath to see if it is addressed or not. And others still may feel a bit of a kinship with a character because that’s exactly what they would’ve done in that situation, even if it’s not typical. People deal with trauma in different ways. People deal with relationships in different ways. People deal with parents in different ways. People deal with death or near death in different ways. Not all of them healthy, mature, or socially acceptable. But, they all must live with the butterfly effect those choices create, just like us mere mortals. It is my hope that by the end of Book 4, every reader closes the covers (or powers down), holds it to his or her chest and just sits there for twenty minutes realizing all the little things that have come to light through out this journey, and enjoy the depth it added to their experience and relationship with the people in a little tattoo parlor on the Florida-Alabama line.
And of course if they think I’m fucking brilliant, that would be excellent.
NOTE TO READERS: MY BLOG HAS MOVED. You can now find it on my website at verlenelandon.com – I will slowly stop posting here.
Also, there is a GIVEAWAY on my site too. Check it out!
I have listened to the readers, and am working on a complete overhaul of Indelible You.
I am doing away with the extra POV’s and hopefully delving deeper into the H & h.
The bones of the story will be the same. (If that was your biggest yuck, well, it still will be unfortunately.)
But if you were one of the people that liked to story idea, but hated the constant POV switching, then I hope you will be pleasantly surprised.
Brand Me – Imagine Ink 2 is almost ready to hit the shelves, and it is much smoother with just the 2 POVs.
Live and learn. It took me a bit to swallow my pride and realize that my baby wasn’t as pretty as it could be in this self publishing pageant.
I hope to have that completed before April.
If you left a review of Indelible You, (retailer or Goodreads) and would be willing to give me another chance, I would love to get a revamped copy to you when it’s available. Email me at Verlene.Landon@gmail.com – add your email address (the one you use for Kindle books) and point me to your review.
Readers can, and in this case, did, make a difference.
When you review a book, you change things.
Reviews can be powerful. They not only let other readers know what to expect, but help authors improve. I am new to this and what I like may not be what you like. Without a review how am I to know if there are changes that could make my book better for you – the reader?
So, if you like a book, let the author know what you liked about it. If you didn’t, let them know that too. But please always remember, just as every reader is a person, so is every author. We may kill characters you love, put some through some heavy shit and even make you cry, but as hard as it may be to believe, we do have feelings.
Super excited to say…
Erika & Walker are heading back to the editor for their final meeting with a professional red pen later today.
It won’t be long now before I can introduce them. I’ve ordered some gifts for their debut, and hope you will love them as much as I do. (Erika & Walker that is…but the gifts too.)
On the writer front in general, I have kickass web graphics (as seen at VerleneLandon.com and my header/profile on most social media) and a logo (above) that rocks. (Designed by Blue Sky if you’re interested.) Time to learn to self promote. It’s not my thing, but if I want to be a published author and continue to write and release books, I need to learn, and fast.
SONG OF THE WEEK
The song I can’t get out of my head this week.
Have a great day/week/month/year/decade/life.