Author Archives: claire evans
Well holy gee and what an eye-opening experience.
I decided to make myself feel authorial the other day and opened up an Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) account and had a lovely time of it until I came across the payment section. Thinking that electronic transfer (EFT) for any payments I may or may not receive as I try to sell my book would be the automatic choice. Turns out, because I’m Australian (surprise!), and am ineligible to hold an American bank account, this choice is not available, and it means there are many loops I need to acrobatically dive through to make the most of my royalties (if I ever make any … but that’s something to worry about another day).
First obstacle…taxes. Unless you’re willing to lose 30% of your earnings straight up to taxes, then my advice is to apply immediately for an EIN (Employee Identification Number) from the US tax office. Once done, find form W-8BEN, fill it out and send it to Amazon. This will drop the 30% tax rate down to 5%. This is the best rate you can get from Australia.
Second obstacle. Payment by cheque. While not really an obstacle, because hey, you’re getting paid and that in itself is a bonus, getting paid by cheque has its own little quirks. After reading experiences from other Australian authors, I’ve discovered the following: first off, it takes a LONG time. Second, it costs you money each time you bank a cheque at your local bank branch. Next, that cheque takes another month to process, and then finally, you get paid. Hopefully you’re not relying on this particular income, because I suspect you may have starved to death by this point.
On a brighter note, I’m done with my rewrites for my first novel and am finalising the editing, front pages and front cover. Exciting stuff!
Today’s little rave, in my opinion, is about critique partners. These are people, or a person, that reads your work and provides feedback. These people can be dangerous to your ego. I have a wonderful group of people that read my work and go WOW! They’re nice to have as part of my team as they make me smile and feel like I’m achieving something. Several of them have an excellent grasp of the way story-telling works within the rules of grammar, and they are irreplaceable! Among my critique helpers, is a woman that provides bare and critical truths in a thinly disguised attempt at diplomacy. At this woman, I usually swear under my breath…a lot.
Like I said, I have a few people that read my work and the one I get the most out of professionally, is the one that tells me I can do better. I don’t think there’s been a piece of work I’ve sent her that hasn’t come back as “It’s not complete crap…but…” (see…thinly disguised!)
I have to admit, it’s NOT a nice feeling. Nope. Horrible. Yuck. But it gets me thinking. And reviewing. And soon, I make what I initially thought was Hemingway, into something passable by today’s literary standards.
So which is the better critique partner? The type that deflates your balloon, or the type that inflates it? I like the mix, and I have the mix, but if given a choice, go for the deflating one, but only if by working off their feedback that they begin to appreciate your work and thereby, you inflate the balloon together. No point having someone that constantly thinks your work should adorn the toilet roll.
If you’re going to be a serious author, then you’re going to have to learn how to deal with criticism. Not everyone is going to like your writing, and because one of my greatest critics is a friend, I’ve learned to cope with hearing what I don’t want to hear…and learned from it.
My point? Write for those that love your work. Listen to those that criticise it. Improve because of it.
If you Google critiquing, you’ll find a wealth of information, protocols, lists and how-to’s. What works for me is something very casual; a pact between friends almost. Find what suits you, find someone that gets what you’re trying to write, and find someone that’s going to help you think and thus, learn.
One final thought…if you can find someone to review your work who lives in the country you’re setting your story in, then grab them with two hands and hold on tight! I can’t stress how important one of my critique partners has been because she lives where my characters do. Local knowledge is like gold. If you can’t get a person like that, research, research, research, research…you get my point.
So, are critique partners essential? Probably not, but I wouldn’t trade mine in for anything. In my humble opinion, they’re the icing on the top of the cake. Edible without it, but far better with it.
I’m Claire Evans and I’m a writer. You’ll know me from…well…nowhere. For now. This year has been my year to take myself seriously and see what I can do about getting published. I write a variety of genres with romance and my new love, fantasy, as the forerunners.
My fantasy novels are based for a Young Adult age group, but are pretty ‘audience general’ and can be enjoyed by all. That’s the theory, anyway. But that’s for another time, another pseudonym.
As for romance, well, they’re quirky. I like to write satirical, first-person romances; however, this isn’t a golden rule…just one I enjoy. And to mix things up in this genre – because really, who doesn’t like mixing things up? – I write both mainstream (hetero) and lesbian romance. Claire Evans is my lesbian romance hat, and is currently my preferred genre to write (and read…and edit). I mean, really, who doesn’t love reading a beautiful romance tale between two women? For those who don’t, well, I feel quite saddened for them as they’re missing out on a whole realm of wonderful stories and story tellers.
So, the story so far: I’m unpublished, I want to be published, so what happens next? First things first, finish and polish a manuscript. I’ve been writing seriously for several years now, though the love of it has been with me since I can remember. I spent a lot of time writing fan fiction in the past two years, which proved to be an excellent learning tool for the craft! My current manuscript is my 2013 brainchild and (hopefully) the beginning of a career.
Last year I completed an editing degree, so technically, I’m an editor and I co-edit for a good friend of mine, Lyn Gardner. She’s currently published two ebooks that are doing very well, and another in the works. She’s a self-publisher and she’s my hero! I hope to follow in her success. Or at least tag along in the wake. Here’s a link to her most successful lesbian romance novel so far ->
All in all, 2013 is VERY busy on the writing scene and I hope I can keep up! This blog will no doubt alternate between me ranting about having so much to do, or me raving about mini successes I’ve had along the way. Hopefully, the journey is enjoyable to read. If not…well…oops.
Let’s start the blog off with a rave:
My first manuscript is complete and has been edited!
Okay…time for a rant.
I’m now rewriting a sizable amount of the plot as it all got a little too melodramatic. What was intended to be lighthearted and face-paced got a little deep and dark. This delays my publishing date goal a touch, but the end product will be all the better for it. I promise you’ll thank me for it!