AF Henley Monthly Spotlight! #mm #guestpost @AFHenley 8


AF HenleyTS

It’s been four months and you’re dead to me now

When I first started writing in this genre I read one of those “how to succeed as” posts. Okay, truth be told there af 1might have been more than one – there might have been fifteen-hundred. Or five thousand.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that knows me that I spent some time doing research, as I can go off on a two-hour Internet journey for details on something I’m only going to use in one line of a novel, see: peanut oil. And, I admit, at the same time I can completely forget to redo my research when I change something important in the story, like a make of the MC’s car, see: Road Trip (whoops).

Regardless, it’s something that we all do if we’re serious—the “how to succeed as” research, I mean—and I’m not knocking it. It’s smart, it’s reasonable, and I’m grateful that people other than myself do it or, well… what would the point of these posts be, right?

This particular post to which I referred to in my first line (and then went completely off course for the next three paragraphs) stuck with me, though. It said something that made me panic a bit. Without digging it up because I can’t remember who wrote it or where I saw it, the gist of the message was that if you don’t release a novel every quarter, you will lose your audience. There are so many new releases, it went on to say, that if your readers aren’t seeing your name on a new cover once every three months they, (being the fickle critters this author believed them to be) will simply forget you exist.

I took this as truth.

Now, I can’t say why I believed it. My readers are not fickle, they are certainly not simple, and very few of the “big guys” in mainstream-writing release a new novel every quarter. Once a year is far more likely, as anyone of us who have waited for that next new book from Mr., Ms., or Mx. Very Favourite Author can attest to.

Yet, there I was, diligently tapping out story after story, novel after novel, desperately trying to maintain a self-imposed quota. I was lucky: I had a lot of time to kill once the eight-to-five was done, I had no outside influences to slow me down, and I had a 2′ x 3′ patchwork of story ideas on Post-Its on the wall beside my desk. It helped, of course, that my novels and stories ran between 40,000 and 65,000 words. They weren’t tomes, by any means. Still, it kept me busy.

Then something happened. Two things actually.af 2

One: I gave myself an ulcer. (Stress? What stress?) That was not entirely unsurmountable because let’s face it, I could ignore or at least temporarily quell the burning, bleeding hole in my guts. But the thing that truly screwed up all my plans, was Wolf, WY.

Suddenly the story got bigger than I was used to, and not just in word count, although that definitely played a part. There were notes to keep in order, and world rules to keep in mind, and characters ages to remember, and personalities to wind through multiple ideas, and… well, the short of the long is: the writing got harder. Harder to do, harder to imagine, and more than once I found myself having to go back and “fix” things that I’d forgotten about (thank the gods for my awesome beta reader that remembers way more details than I do).

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it. I love it, in fact; the three-book series that I realised Wolf, WY would be by the time I got done with the first novel is now expected to have a second three-book series that will take place after this current time line, along with a sequel series to Thicker Than Water that takes place even after that time line which has the potential to be its own who-knows-how-long-book series.

The problem is, they took/are taking longer to write than my previous one shot novels.

You can imagine my panic when I found out that the second novel in the Wolf series was going to come out a full seven months after the first one. I’d missed an entire quarter, you see. Not by days or weeks, but by months. All my hard work was going to be thwarted by my own lack of ability to write faster!

Then something else happened. Something weird. The readers I occasionally shared an email or a DM with kept emailing and DMing. The people that commented on my blog posts kept commenting. The reviews kept being posted (I woke up to a beautiful one just this morning) and as I began the process of setting up a blog tour for the second Wolf novel, Wolf en Garde, not a single review site that I’d worked with in the past sent back a message that read, “Who IS this?!”

How could that be? How have they not forgotten me?

That’s when it hit me… these “how to succeed as” posts are just one person’s opinion on what it was that made them successful in their field. They are guides, not holy grails, and in all truth, the writer has no idea if what they’re saying is even accurate. They just *think* it is.

Would the author that wrote the blog post about releasing every quarter still have been successful if they’d released a new novel twice a year? Or once a year? If they had waited, and still been as successful as they are, would their post have read that their secret to success was taking the time to reach out to their audience instead? Or that they succeeded because they made sure to take an hour every afternoon to take a spiritual journey through the Forest of Fantastic Plotlines?

No one knows. Not for sure. The only look that is truly 20-20 is hindsight, and even that look is fogged over in speculation. All we can really do is continue to share our insights, our beliefs, and our failures in the hopes that we are somehow helping and not hindering.

But at the end of the day we must remember that we do what we do because we love doing it, and it has to work for *YOU* the writer. Always keep in mind that my blog posts about “how to write” and “what to do” are just my ways of wishing you all the luck in the world and reminding my readers that I want them to be happy and successful.

And if you find something that does work for you, please share. Share with everyone that you can, because it just might work for someone else as well.

Before I leave, a question for you: How often do you, as a reader, like to see a new release from a specific writer; do you feel that several new releases get overwhelming, or can you just not get enough? I’d love to hear from you.

 

Until next time,

AF Henley <3

 

Henley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words descriptive, and af 3the endearing tendency to overuse punctuation. Since the early years Henley has been an enthusiastic writer, from the first few I-love-my-dog stories to the current leap into erotica. A self-professed Google genius, Henley lives for the hours spent digging through the Internet for ‘research purposes’ which, more often than not, lead seven thousand miles away from first intentions but bring Henley to new discoveries and ideas that, once seeded, tend to flourish.

Henley has been proudly publishing with Less Than Three Press since 2012, and has been writing like mad ever since—an indentured servant to the belief that romance and true love can mend the most broken soul. Even when presented in prose.

Henley’s newest release, Wolf, WY hit the market on October 21st and is now available for pre-order at your favourite online book retailer. Check it out on Amazon, or directly through LT3 Press. Wolf, en Garde, the second novel in the Wolf series will be released on May 18, 2016.

For more information, please stop by for a visit at afhenley.com.


8 thoughts on “AF Henley Monthly Spotlight! #mm #guestpost @AFHenley

  • Lavender Wynter

    If you haven’t heard me say this by now, here it is: I’m a die-hard serial lover. It’s easier catching my attention with multiple books – whether it’s stand alone novels sharing a unique world or a number of “tomes” that tell a whole story. My favorite fantasy authors are all the latter. Case in point, Jennifer Fallon is returning once more to her Hythrun Chronicles where there are already 2 sets of trilogies for that world, this time with the next being War of the Gods. *drools* Considering I discovered her in 2004 when she already had the first trilogy published in full, it’s been a decade since and I’m *so* there. (Of course, this isn’t to say she didn’t get other books published. She did. She’s a master creator of different worlds.) Her books are usually 100k words each. Yes, tomes.

    I’ve loved most of your stand-alone novels, but when you came out and shared that “Wolf” was going to be a series… I kissed the damn screen. Consequently, that meant I had to go grab a bottle of cleaner and some paper towels to clean said kiss smudge off it so I can keep reading the rest of the announcement. I know I made it a little bit of a deal that I had to wait for May for Book 2, but that’s just my way of saying “I’m looking forward to it. <3" I do have a lot of patience when it comes to waiting for books. If I believe in it, I'll wait. Quarter, Half-Year… heck, I'll wait YEARS. That's just a fact. I make no claims on being graceful about it, though. XD

    So, in light of what it is I just shared, I think every author should take his/her time as he/she sees fit for every work they create. Amy Tan wrote in her novel "The Valley of Amazement" that it took her 8 years to complete it. 8 years. I don't think her fans forgot about her in those 8 years.

    In all honesty, I do believe that some authors could use a little bit of extra time instead of publishing as much as they can. I find that giving myself time to reflect on words already written tends to make them better, but only after I've shelved it for a month or two and can think about it with fresh eyes and brain.

    Thank you so much for post and the reminder that "one mold doesn't fit us all." <3

    • AF Henley

      You’re very welcome, thank YOU for the comment! And also the mental imagery of you abusing your monitor. 😀

      Also, being graceful is over-rated. I appreciate the fact that you’re excited for the upcoming release. Thank you for that. <3

  • Jack Frost

    I have nothing that works for me. xD At least not yet. 😉

    Dude, I wondered why you managed to bash out book after book. It always seemed like shortly after you first release that year you had another right around the corner. It freaked me out that you were so good. And here I find you made yourself sick doing this. Good to know you’re human, though I’m still sorry to hear about the ulcer. I’m glad you got it taken care of sir.

    I’m definitely impatient but luckily I can’t tell that time passes so by the time your next book is out I’ll think to myself “Didn’t he just release the last one?” All over again. Who knew getting old had its advantages?

    I’m glad you’ve learned your lesson. Take better care of yourself sir. I want to read many more things from you over the next fifty years.

    • AF Henley

      Hey, no accusing me of being human!

      Thank you for the kind words, my friend. I will promise to do my best to keep at it, but I make no promises on managing that for another fifty years. No one wants to read erotic romance written by a ninety-some, I’m sure. Although, I could be wrong. I’ve been known to be on the rare (not rare) occasion. XD

      <3

  • Raphael

    You know, my friend, I think we all agree that writing is art. A beautiful, mesmerizing one. 🙂

    And every artist out there will agree (at least I think so) that it can not be forced, calculated, scheduled. It can be a chaotic process, a very happy and sometimes daunting process.

    A process that can completely take over an artist’s mind, day and night. Occupying every waking minute and slips at nights into one’s dreams. It can be so demanding of it’s creator.

    In my personal opinion that requires the artist to allow his mind to wander. To lean back and look at hers/his creation from a distant point of view. To sculpt ideas or to re-model them. To let go of ideas and catch up on them again later.

    An artist needs time to let the spirit dream and fantasize.

    To an outsider that may look like the artist doing nothing but nothing could be further from the truth. 😀 These times are so essential to the success of creating beautiful art. At least in my opinion. 🙂

    If we do not allow for this time it could hurt our creation. Again, in my opinion, quality is always more important than quantity.

    I would rather have one novel or two a year that are marvelous than one each month that comes over being constructed and without soul.

    Your wonderful work is too precious to allow that to happen. Waiting a dozen eternities for a new novel would always be worth the waiting. 🙂

    *hugs you and whispers* Thank you, buddy.

    <3

    • AF Henley

      Have I ever mentioned that you are far too kind to me? Thank you for that, though. 😀

      Although now I have all these mental images of you with your head blissfully in the clouds as you plot out a new piece of art. It’s a nice picture. 😉

      You’re welcome, buddy. Thank you. <3

  • Witchy

    Considering all these other people who commented wrote whole volumes on the subject, I’ll just say a few words lol

    I think if an author puts out a truly amazing quality work, it doesn’t matter how long it takes between books. Though I suppose waiting 20 years for a sequel would be pushing it lol
    My point is that once an author/writer catches my attention, I’ll look forward to all and any books he/she will write in the future. If a book takes a year or two, or five to write and polish, then so be it, because I know I’ll enjoy it that much more when it finally comes out.

    • AF Henley

      There’s definitely something to be said for delayed gratification, and I tend to think along the same lines as you with my favourite authors. Although I will admit to getting a little annoyed waiting for the Dark Tower series to get wrapped up. But again you’re right, as the wait made each new installment that much better.

      Thank you for commenting! <3

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