How to find a mentor in the kink-vanilla swirl

Wow.  Things have sure been a whirlwind around here!  I am struggling to keep up with emails, conversations, phone calls, messages, comments, etc.  If I don’t reply to you, please forgive me and write again.  I appreciate each and every one, truly.  This is *not* an “I’m too busy for you!” diva moment.  Please don’t stop writing to me.  But since going on Twitter and now trying to set up a Facebook page/account as well as Google+, I have been a bit overwhelmed.  Facebook is being horrible (more on that in a later post), and Google+ is confusing the heck out of me.  I have vaguely heard of Goodreads and tried Shelfari once long ago (didn’t like it), but I am doing my best to get my name out so that when Kat hits the virtual bookstores in March people will at least have some idea who I am.  My fear is that Kat will be a colossal flop and that the publisher will decide that means non-sexual F/F domestic discipline is a no-go for any future commercial ventures.  Sales really do matter.  I don’t mean just for the possibility of publishing a Kat sequel (though I am of course hoping for that chance) but also the possibility for any other F/F writer who wants to explore beyond the usual erotica genre.  I respect and like my many DD/erotica author colleagues, but from the very beginning I have wanted non-erotic DD fiction to have its day.  Now that Kat is being given her day, I’m afraid she will disappoint.  That people will find the whole spanking-without-sex thing weird.  Kinksters will find her too vanilla and vanillasters will find her too kinky.  Not sexy enough to be erotica, not innocent enough to be vanilla, not romantic enough to be romance, not “out” enough to be lgbt, not “in” enough to be Christian family values…

My first-born got her chance for the limelight, and I am clucking and fussing over her wondering if she is really ready.  Straightening her dress and tucking her hair behind her ears trying to help her make the best impression.  Maybe it is good that March is six whole months away.

The jitters are compounded by a self-imposed (but externally enforced) vanilla writing deadline in just over two weeks.  Yeah, that.  Yikes!  First draft of my prospectus due.  Eek!  I have written 15K words in the past three days (kink, not vanilla), and I am resolutely sticking to Anne Lamott’s tried-and-true writing rule of “keep butt in chair”.  Now if only I could keep butt in chair and clicking finger off all the fun internet sites!  It is hard to know the difference between sound relationship building vs. just having fun at the expense of work.

On the other hand, all of this focused writing has given me confidence that I *can* keep on even if I don’t get the response I want initially.  It’s also helped to give my passion an outlet.  It is very hard to sit on my hands for days and weeks waiting for A’s approval to go ahead with what I want to do (and need her permission for).  Taking control of my kink writing and finding other outlets for it has helped me to feel more capable in my vanilla writing and interactions.  I have a book contract, I think to myself, and I smile.  I no longer have to prove myself.  I have to work hard and persevere, but someone has already said that my work is worthwhile.  Kink or vanilla, it’s still the same writer.  I have options now.

In the week since I signed my book contract, I’ve nearly finished a new manuscript (a Christmas story–will share a sneak peek on Sunday).  Came up with ideas for a third manuscript to write after submitting this one, too.  Part of me fears that I have used up all of my best writing on Kat, but then I realize there is a lot that I want to write that has nothing to do with suicide attempts or shyness or the aftermath of rape.  Kat is my first-born, but I want a large family.  I hope my next children are better adjusted emotionally.  :D

I have also been aware that very few other authors share as much personal information as I do on my blog.  I  have been thinking hard about this and wondering if I need to modulate what I share.  Do I need to make my blog more professional and less chatty?  (Says the woman who just inserted a bunch of silly sassy comments into the sidebar…)  That sounds, honestly, boring.  If I’d be bored writing it, wouldn’t everyone be bored reading it?  Besides, you would all need to find someone new to tease and scold.  :)  I like being silly and having fun.  The publisher doesn’t have any policies for authors online except for the usual common-sense play nice suggestions, so it is up to me.

Wouldn’t you all be bored if I started posting 10 Tips to Getting Published and so on?  I know I didn’t start out as an author blog, and to be perfectly frank there are already a lot of really good writing-help blogs that have a lot more money and resources and experience than I do.

A person I respect very much once told me, “Everyone wants to find someone to be a mentor, and then they find out that there is no one else.”  He meant that we have to become the kind of person we wish could mentor us.

I may never find my holy grail of non-sexual F/F DD fiction author who yet still understands my Christian and prudish under-layers.  (If you find her, please send her to me!!)  I may never find anyone in the kink or vanilla world who can understand me and help me with my path-blazing.  I have found, however, an amazing assortment of readers and authors and supporters who welcome me with open arms despite all of my craziness.  This patchwork quilt of support, I need to keep reminding myself, is neither small nor insignificant.

I will struggle, and keep struggling, to be the kind of mentor to myself and others that I always wished I could have.

If you don’t like it?

I’m sure there’s a good blog for you out there somewhere.  We’ll all find our places eventually.

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20 thoughts on “How to find a mentor in the kink-vanilla swirl

  1. Bas October 3, 2012 at 8:34 am Reply

    Eh, Ana, have you considered just staying Ana?
    Then you can start mentoring Ana directly as of today.
    If you need any help with the mentoring stuff, I’m sure that you’ll find enough support in that amazing assortment of readers, authors and supporters.

    • Ana October 3, 2012 at 8:37 am Reply

      That is a really good point, Bas. The only problem is that Ana seems to magically attract trouble. ;) It’s not that I want to change anything about who I am, more that I worry about unintentionally making a really big goof that will now be public.

      Love and hugs to my very favorite Dutch supporter and garbage can. :)

  2. joeyred51 October 3, 2012 at 9:25 am Reply

    Ana,

    I really enjoy your posts. I see not need for you to change, but I do suggest you be careful about providing too much personal information about yourself. You do not want to be outed.

    I have mentored people in both a vanilla and kink setting. I do not want them to be like me. I want them to be themselves and explore possibilities that they may not think of without my help. A good mentor will open doors and provide encouragement.

    So, be yourself, your readers like you for who you are. And, keep on writing magnificent prose.

    Hug,
    joey

    • Ana October 3, 2012 at 10:35 am Reply

      All good points. I think for some people mentoring gets involved with their ego, and they want to create mini-mes.

      I think people are lucky to find a mentor like you. Even if you do wield a nasty cane. :)

      Hugs and thanks.

  3. reneeroseauthor October 3, 2012 at 10:33 am Reply

    I can keep my butt in the chair, but n ot my finger off the twitter and email windows. ugh.

    I also share too much personal, but it’s those posts that get the page views and comments, not the book related ones…

    • Ana October 3, 2012 at 10:37 am Reply

      You are actually better at not sharing as much personally as I do…then again I never started this blog thinking it would become a professional one.

      The thing is, *I* am bored going to author sites that are all books promos and nothing personal. Maybe if you have really witty posts and helpful tips etc., but so many other people do that well and I don’t think I can do that. At least not any better. I’m good at telling stories. :)

      Email and Twitter are a lot more fun…

  4. pao October 3, 2012 at 11:56 am Reply

    I think when the time comes and when the family expands then maybe a promo only blog would be necessary. But it seems you’re happy with what it is now and as a reader, this blog is great. A lot of twitter personalities try following everyone that follows them at the beginning but once things grow it just isn’t possible. And about Goodreads..maybe ehow.com? :)

    • Ana October 3, 2012 at 12:08 pm Reply

      True enough. I just don’t want my existing readers to feel bait-and-switched into reading a sales pitch…and I don’t want new readers to think they’ve come to an unprofessional site. I guess I will just keep doing what I am doing and reconsider once the publishing actually happens. :)

      Thanks!

  5. Cowgirl October 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm Reply

    I think you should just keep doing what you have been doing! Just be Ana. We know her and we love her! Also, just remember, there’s no way you would have ever got a book contract if you didn’t have the talent.
    Some smart people who know what they’re doing, recognized that you have talent. Enough talent that they are backing you. So…believe them!

    • Ana October 3, 2012 at 3:32 pm Reply

      Aw. I’m not at all sure how I got this wonderful community, but I am grateful for it every single day. Thank you for being part of it. *hugs*

  6. Emen October 3, 2012 at 12:59 pm Reply

    Thank you for this insomuch as it’s sort of a recap, which I really needed. I can’t keep up with you, sweet. I have limited time online and so many great bloggers I love and want to follow.

    First, congratulations, belated but heartfelt.

    Second, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You’ve achieved a substantial following and great popularity. You only need to keep doing what you do. The Kat saga has tremendous charm and depth. It makes its own category. (I resisted Kategory. You’re welcome.)

    I also don’t like blogs that are just advertising for peoples’ books. But I can’t see you falling into that. Trust your inner mentor and just write.

    I await. I delight.

    • Ana October 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm Reply

      Kategory!!! I love it! Oh, that is wonderful! Kat is in a Kategory of her own. How I love your wordplay, my dear. :)

      Thank you for the congratulations. :) *I* have trouble keeping up with myself, so I can only imagine how others react.

      Remember when you told me that 50 shades got published and not Kat? I guess the universe had the last laugh on that on.

      I will stop trying to fix what isn’t broken…that is a great point.

      I delight in having your visits whenever your time allows, dear Emen. And I send prayers for you and think of you daily. Hugs.

  7. Cara Bristol October 3, 2012 at 1:39 pm Reply

    You are smart to start getting connected now, in advance of your book coming out.

    The personal information is definitely more interesting than nonstop promo, but you do need to be careful how much personal information you put out there. The internet is forever.

    If you provide too much personal information at the expense of promo, no one buys your book because they don’t know about it. If you do too much promo, no one buys your book because they’re tired of hearing about it.

    Striking a balance is requires ongoing effort, but it does get easier with experience.

    • Ana October 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm Reply

      Hi Cara! Did you start early, or did you wait until you were published? On the one hand it is awkward to do it now because people keep asking to see my book. I sort of feel like a junior at the senior prom. ;)

      I am reading your blog and others’ blogs to see how everyone does it. There are so many different styles and approaches! Maybe it will get easier once I have more than one book to promote and once I actually have a book to promote. :)

  8. Lillie October 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm Reply

    Hi Sweetie
    I guess this is a difficult question, and I really have no idea what the nuances of promotion etc…..might be.
    I am going to echo Bas, be yourself. You may be guilty of sharing details with your blog readers, but not especially revealing ones, I don’t think.
    You are certainly breaking new trail, can anyone really mentor you through this virtually unbeaten path? Or as Bas, says should you continue to intuitively finding your way as an individual.
    That is what makes your stories special. I am not so sure I would be quick to hitch my horse to another’s wagon and follow along, you can’t see as much from there- go where your spirit takes you and breath deeply – it is a wonderful journey, isn’t it?
    Hugs

    • Ana October 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm Reply

      Hi Lillie! It is true that trying to follow in someone else’s footsteps can be a problem. I am struggling with that in vanilla writing very much. I need the guidance of a mentor, but I need to be myself (even more so in my case because Kat and I are in a Kategory of our own…thank you, Emen!). Maybe you are right that intuition is the way to go. Intuition is how I started this blog and picked up the stories again…it is underrated! :)

  9. Minelle October 3, 2012 at 2:07 pm Reply

    I hope you stay “perfectly Ana” There is such a warm, welcoming, intelligent charm to you that it would be such a loss for us were you to alter your blog, and writing. Certainly make sure you modulate certain aspects of who you are for privacy.
    I wouldn’t worry so much about how your books are received. The same type of person will still find you. People who are open minded and non judgmental regarding intelligent writing. You have already begun the process of networking, and many published authors are giving you good advice.

    • Ana October 3, 2012 at 3:30 pm Reply

      *blush*

      Gosh. I really wasn’t fishing for compliments. I swear. After reading all the comments I think it kind of looks as if I were. I honestly didn’t mean it that way. I appreciate, though, your loving words. You are right about who I am marketing toward, and it is not necessarily the F/F community. Or not just the F/F community. Thank you for reminding me of that.

      *hugs*

  10. Kaelah October 4, 2012 at 5:45 pm Reply

    I cross my fingers, Ana, that all the different tasks won’t become too much! You are doing a great job and I don’t think there is a reason for any change. Just be kind to yourself and enjoy your journey. :-)

    • Ana October 4, 2012 at 6:21 pm Reply

      You and me both, Kaelah. I am staring at a huge deadline in two weeks. Er, 13 days.

      Thank you for the encouragement. :) Please be kind to yourself and enjoy your journey, too. Carrots and all.

Thank you so much for joining the discussion! Please play nicely or you may be asked to stand in the corner. ;)

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