There’s a free Valentine’s Day giveaway over at Queertown Abbey today, and an interview with author, TM Smith. I participated and I’m giving away a free copy of my latest tear-jerker in the Glendora Hill series, Cowboy Christmas Miracle. And I’m posting a never before posted free excerpt from that book below in this post.
You can read more here and see a full list of who participated, and to enter the free giveaway.
Gay Kisses for Putin
In a show of support for LGBT people in Russia and around the world, there’s a campaign today with protests, and anti-gay Russian President, Vladimir Putin, is being sent kisses from LGBTI people from all over the world. The point is to show how love…Valentine’s Day…can conquer hatred and fear.
Some will also be wearing mocking the Russian president by wearing Putin masks.
To promote the event, they sent out an image of Putin kissing Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
They (we) want Putin to know that the protests are NOT over because the Olympics are underway and Johnny Weir is still making news (ugh), nor will they ever be over as long as Putin promotes fear and hatred and Weir promotes apathy and idiocy.
You can read more here. The fact that this is such a widespread global effort makes it unique I think. I don’t remember seeing anything like this in the past and I hope it continues.
Advertorials/TV Show Girls
I’m a fan of the TV show, Girls, and I’ve posted about it several times on the blog. I like it for a variety of reasons, but mostly because it talks about books and publishing a lot. Last night I watched a recent episode where they discussed advertorials…and writers balancing a writing career and a full time job…not an easy thing to do.
For those who aren’t familiar with advertorials, here’s a good basic definition.
An advertorial is an advertisement in the form of editorial content. The term “advertorial” is a blend of the words “advertisement” and “editorial.”
Merriam-Webster dates the origin of the word to 1946.
In printed publications, the advertisement is usually written in the form of an objective article and designed to look like a legitimate and independent news story. In television, the advertisement is similar to a short infomercial presentation of products or services. These can either be in the form of a television commercial or as a segment on a talk show or variety show. In radio, these can take the form of a radio commercial or a discussion between the announcer and representative.
If you do a search about advertorials you’ll find a few interesting discussions, one of which had to do with a Scientology Advertorial in Atlantic Magazine, which many called unethical.
But the point of this post is about writers trying to balance writing careers with full time jobs. First, I don’t think it’s possible for any writer outside of a small handful of highly commercial writers like E.L. James or J.K. Rowling to not have some kind of supplemental income. I think the episode on Girls I watched last night handled the topic well. Not perfect, but well. Hannah, the main character, got a full time job at GQ Magazine writing advertorials. She’s thrilled about the money, the free food, and she even proves she’s going to be good at the job. But she’s also haunted by the fact that she might be giving up a career as a serious writer in order to take this job. The people in her department were all just like her and they all have a few reputable publishing credits. But after they took the job they stopped writing. Life happens. Dreams fizzle out. It’s not all that unusual to anyone over thirty years old.
As I said, they handled this well in the storyline, but didn’t go all the way. It’s a given that all writers need to work to make money. It’s also a given that the odds of making a decent living as a full time writer are slim…even today with so much happening in digital publishing. I faced this about twenty years ago and with me it wasn’t about working full time and writing as much as it was about what I did full time while I wrote part time. In other words, I worked for a short time as an associate editor for Playgirl Magazine, and for a publication called Astrology Your Daily Horoscope. I loved the perks and the money. I even loved working in the print magazine business. However, I just couldn’t figure out a way to focus on editing all day long and then going home and writing my own fiction part time at night and on weekends. So I ultimately decided that if I ever wanted to get published with fiction I would have to make a choice. The choice wasn’t about whether or not I wanted to work full time. I had to do something. My choice was more about what I did full time so I could write part time and not get burned out.
So I quit the editing jobs in publishing, and that wasn’t easy to do. I liked the concept of working in print publishing, but knew deep down that if I continued I would never write anything of my own. I just couldn’t separate myself from the editing to focus enough on my own fiction. So instead of working as an editor, I decided to open my own small business. I opened an art gallery in New Hope and focused on selling a wide variety of art that would attract the high end art buyer to the average home owner looking for a nice generic landscape. This gave me the opportunity to make money and at the same time write fiction part time during my off hours. I kept the gallery open seven days a week for ten years and wrote fiction when there weren’t any clients looking for art. It wasn’t always easy. We never took vacations. But it was worth it because I found that in doing something totally unrelated to books and publishing full time I couldn’t wait to get back to my own fiction and start writing part time. I also enjoyed the gallery. I wasn’t miserable.
This may or may not help anyone else out there facing this dilemma right now. But I do think it’s possible to have a writing career and still work full time doing something else you like to support yourself. You just have to do something full time that’s not going to burn you out mentally when it’s time to write. Some writers work in sales, some are real estate agents, and some even work full time in construction. It can be done. It’s just the way you do it that matters.
Free Excerpt from Cowboy Christmas Miracle
Sebastian nodded. “I figured I would get an examination just to be sure there’s nothing seriously wrong. I really do feel fine most of the time.”