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      • Maryann Miller Maryann Miller 1 month ago
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      • When my first major publishing deal came for the hardback version of One Small Victory, I really felt validated as an author. I'd had a number of nonfiction books published prior to that, as well as a couple of fiction titles that were published by a small press, but hardback publication was big time. The publisher was Five Star Cengage, and they sold primarily to libraries, but sales were strong. Which didn't mean that the doubts and insecurities went away entirely. Recently on Twitter an author posted something about that little devil on her shoulder that keeps telling her she's no good as a writer. I think most writers deal with that same kind of devil. I know I have on and off in my career.

        Back to the question. That first major release gave me the confidence to chase that devil away for a long time. I looked at myself as a professional, and a professional goes to work every day for a certain number of hours. No longer did I procrastinate as much as I had in the past. I set a schedule for writing and dirty dishes be damned. It helped that all of my kids were in school all day, and I had a very patient and supportive husband.
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      • Maryann Miller Maryann Miller 1 month ago
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      • Good writing for me includes characters who are so well-drawn they become real, as well as a believable plot and attention to craft. When starting a book to read, I have to identify in some way with the protagonist. He or she has to be engaging, yet real. As the story moves along, the plot twists have to be organic to the story - not just popping up out of nowhere - and the motivation of characters' actions has to be believable.

        Once story is fully established, a writer must then do a careful edit and rewrite to make sure that there are no stumbling blocks for a reader. If a reader stumbles, she is out of your story for the moment. Too many grammar, spelling, misplaced modifiers, etc, can be stumbling blocks that some readers can't get past. That is particularly true for me because I'm an editor as well as an author and a reader.
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    • AllAuthor AllAuthor 1 month ago
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    • How do you think concepts such as Kindle, and e-books have changed the present or future of reading?
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      • Maryann Miller Maryann Miller 1 month ago
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      • For most of my life books were books. Tangible things that you held in your hand and turned pages to read. That has all changed so dramatically with the advent of digital technology, both for e-books and print-on-demand, as well as the rise in audio book sales. Twenty years ago I never dreamed I would be reading books on an electronic reader or listening to audio books, rarely holding a paperback or hardback in my hands. I moved to a Kindle some years ago, primarily to accommodate getting books to review and ARCs were sent electronically. Then I realized the benefit of having a Kindle to carry numerous books with me on vacation. I still get some paperbacks or hardbacks when I go to an author event and buy a book from one of my favorite authors.

        My move to audio books started four years ago when a health issue made it difficult for me to read, but I couldn't give up my love of books. So I get audio books from my local library, so I have something on hand when I have to rest my eyes.

        Obviously, the younger generations are so tech-savvy that the eBooks and audio are second-nature to them. I think they will always be more willing to read the electronic versions of books than paper, and that's good. At least they will be reading.
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      • Maryann Miller Maryann Miller 1 month ago
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      • When I was writing my humor column for a suburban newspaper - the columns which then became A Dead Tomato Plant & A Paycheck - people recognized me all the time. I was used to running out to the grocery store in whatever I had on, which usually consisted of tattered jeans and a tee-shirt that might have had baby spit up on it. The first time someone recognized me from the picture that ran with my column, I was horribly embarrassed. I quickly learned to change my clothes before going out.

        More recently, I am not always recognized, but I do speak at workshops and seminars, and it is gratifying to know that people are appreciating what I have to share about the business and/or craft of writing. It is also incredibly gratifying when someone comes up to me afterward to say how much they enjoyed one of my books. We write for readers, after all, and I don't think there's a writer alive who doesn't appreciate this kind of feedback.
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